Minimal Laptop Requirements

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Hello,

I am a mac user however i would like to get the least expensive windows laptop that i can to use for AVR programing, AVR Studio, and some other windows only apps..

The only information i could find is at minimum a pentium 2 to support the ISPmk2 and at least windows xp to run avr studio 4. I have also seen recommendations of nothing less than a pentium 4 in general although i have no idea how this compares to other processors. Intel atom, celeron, mobile, or even an AMD processor.

My question is will one of those $350/$400 el-cheap-o laptops fit the bill? I may even go used but again what's the min.. Possibly a stupid question but better safe then sorry.

Thank you for your time,

Self proclaimed Captain Link

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Quote:

My question is will one of those $350/$400 el-cheap-o laptops fit the bill?

There is always the risk that something makes it not working, but generally speaking you can not buy a laptop today that will not have enough ooomph[tm] to handle AVR Studio. What you do need, of-course is Windows and as there is a pletoria of versions out there it is hard to give any guarantees. I'd suspect that Studio would run on almost any Windoes version from W2K onwards. I've run Studio for almost four years on a Windows XP Home machine, which you will have a hard time finding today on a new mavhine I suppose. The likely OS for a new cheapo machine is Vista Home, and I would suspect it to have no problems with Studio. (If you're like me, you will have a problem with Vista, and quickly learn to hate it, though...)

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Personman wrote:
My question is will one of those $350/$400 el-cheap-o laptops fit the bill?

I use a $500.00 laptop with all of my development, though that machine isn't my primary machine. The laptop I'm talking about is a Dell Inspiron 600m running Windows XP professional at 1.2GHz. This is the last model of notebook that Dell offered that still had a parallel port - a requirement for my printed circuit board software security dongle.

On the workbench I use a dell 4600 desktop. I can't even tell you what class processor it is, except that I know that it runs at 2.2GHz and has 500MB of RAM.

I do agree with Johan, most any of today's notebooks will run AVRStudio. But to use a serial port, you will need an USB --> RS232 converter for the legacy ISP programmers and the STK500 development board. And if you prefer some of the "Home-brew " programmers that use the parallel printer port, you might be out of luck.

And remember... It isn't that you need raw speed in a machine, as I have some software that works just fine on my 10 year old 500MHz Compaq 1640 notebook, running Windows 98SE.

Where the current day Windows operating systems are concerned, it's really quite simple...

"What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away!!! "

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Thanks to both of you, that pretty much answers my question.

I still see some new laptops offering windows xp, though not many, and believe me from all i have heard i intend to avoid vista.

I ordered an AVR ISPmk2 so for the time being not having a serial port will do.

Thanks again.

Self proclaimed Captain Link

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You need about 512MB RAM to run XP well. However, I have run XP successfully on just 128 MB RAM. Try also to get a laptop with USB2.0 support (although it is not necessary for running AVRISP mkII).

Any new laptop will do the job. However, even second-hand laptops will do for this purpose. The slower laptops will take longer to boot up and load applications, but AVR Studio and AVRISP mkII don't need much speed anyway. If one of your friends or relatives has an old laptop that they have replaced with a beefier machine, that should be fine.

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I have an old Compaq armada (also known as tank, i dropped it on a brick floor and it kept going...) laptop with a Pentium 2 233MHz, 96MB of RAM. It's running Windows XP and I must say it does so admirably, taking about 5 seconds to awake from sleep. I used it for AVR development and had few problems other than builds took very long, but it did run. You would have to look hard to find a laptop that didn't run the AVR toolchain.

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You might want to add RAM to whatever you buy (it's usually the best upgrade you can make), but do that aftermarket. And RAM is so cheap that it's silly.

My laptop is an XPS M1210, with the slowest Core Duo (not Core2, just Core) that was available, I think it's 1.6GHz. I get great battery life, and it still has very decent performance.

If I recall, the Atoms just have less cache, no virtualization, and are made on a very small process. I have an atom-based board that I'm going to build into a digital picture frame (w/ 20" LCD), and it's certainly an acceptable performer. It draws so little power that the northbridge (with DDR2 memory controller and video) draws more than the CPU.

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"AVR studio" works fine on Win98 with 700MHz CPU - my primary development machine.