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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I think he's missing a lot.

    Laptop computing power is smaller than desktops (specially because it has to keep its processor cool in a tight environment). They are also more fragile, with less mechanical protection than desktops. Their keyboard is also smaller. Parts for replacement are much more expensive. You can't easily add disks (though it won't matter if the lab has a centralized data server). There are smaller memory limits (if you work with engineering apps it bothers a lot).

    I used to use a laptop f
    -- Godoy.
    • The big speed difference between laptops and desktops has typically been the speed of the disks. The small disks they cram into laptops are usually slower.

      I believe the fastest laptop disk you can get is 5400 RPM, while they are coming out with 10000 RPM IDE disks now for desktops (you can get 15000 RPM SCSI). Also, you can gain some speed advantages on a high-end desktop by running multiple disks and distributing the disk load. I have a laptop that I swap in a disk for the DVD player though, and use an external CD player if I need it.

      I'm a big believer in laptops, myself, although I don't know if I would be if they were bolted down.

      For me, the most frustrating thing to productivity is if my work environment is not exactly as I expect it to be. With a laptop, I can work anywhere and things are where I expect them to be.

      Where I work, they use laptops where you might expect small servers to be used. They have a server cabinet full of pull-out drawers that have laptops in them. These are all for these specific apps that require a lot of dedicated systems and a lot of redundancy. It's a legacy app that runs really really fast on modern hardware, so the speed is not an issue.

      I think the big advantage to laptops for maintenance is that so much of the hardware you need is all there and integrated. Nobody will install an odd sound card or a different disk. You can quickly swap the entire system out and it'll be the same. With desktops, there's always the inevitable drift in configurations.

      That being said, they are more expensive and more difficult to service. Actually, if you are experienced with a certain model, it's pretty easy to swap in and out memory, disks, even displays and main logic boards. They do a lot of that where I work, it doesn't take long and the various swapped components always work together.

      I think, ultimately, it's more a management issue than a technical one. If you support desktops, some dweeb in administration is going to start buying cheap-disk-of-the-month or off-brand-sound-card-o-matic, even motherboard-of-the-week. That can make support a nightmare.

      • All the limitations of laptops aside, I do think it can be easier to outfit a lab with laptops than desktops. I don't know the logic your friend was using, but the easiest justification I've seen is on the lifecycle cost.

        Machines are going to break, so you need to have spare parts on hand from a PC organ bank. Desktops change constantly, and there's a risk that what you have on hand will be incompatible with what you need to fix. Laptops cycle less frequently, and there is much less variability over ti

        • That would be my word for using laptops in a university lab setting. I know, I am going through an upgrade cycle at a university lab.

          You can't buy near the trailing edge. These machines have to last 3 years minimum. That means getting the most performance per dollar, there is no comparison between laptops and desktops.

          Others have written about some of the physical and peripheral issues. You brought up cannibalization for parts and dealing with a variety of configurations. You can by lots more similar mach