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Better system - home or office?

After reading AnonQAGuy's comment in the browser thread about going from four machines/monitors to one, I was wondering how many developers/IT types here have better setups at home than they do at work? (and having root on the company's server doesn't count)

In eight years developing, my system at home has always been an order of magnitude better than the system at work, and for the past three years I've worked on my laptop at the office because my LAPTOP was better than the desktop system.

To be honest, I think it's pretty sad that we buy better stuff with our personal $$$ than management generally sees fit to give its workers.


Thursday, May 15, 2003

Ya, that $2000 system is going to really kill the company's net income.  Blah.

My home system has been better, with the exception of 1998-2000.  I usually build my own and can find the price/performance sweet spot.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Actually, I'm just the opposite - I have a PentiumPro 200 at home running Windows 2000!

Yeah, it's slow, but for what I need, it works.  I just make sure to have lots of reading material handy.  Besides, all my money's tied up in Barbie clothes, apparently...

I'm buying a new PC this week, though - can't stand it anymore.  (And I have to jump on the .NET bandwagon, don't I?)

Spaghetti Rustler
Thursday, May 15, 2003

At my last job, before I quit (paychecks were bouncing) I had a 90 MHZ Pentium and had to run VB 6.0 and Access 97.  It took forever to do anything.  I'm glad I quit.  ( Funny thing was, I went back six months later to find out if the guy was gonna pay what he owed me and what do I see but brand new computers for the other developers.  He still hasn't paid me.  What a jerk... anyway)

I have a Pentium III 1GHZ at home and am looking to get a Pentium 4 3.x GHZ pretty soon.

Nobody Special
Thursday, May 15, 2003

I have never had a better system at "on site" jobs, than at home.  I am almost always allocated an underpowered system, with a dodgy monitor and keyboard covered in grime.  I swear some employers take delight in bad equipment, which makes me wonder why they expend so much effort to get you to work for them in the first place.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

It alternates. I upgrade my home system once every 3 years or so. It's better than my work system just after I buy it, and then eventually my work system gets replaced and my home computer gets out of date... I had a 233mhz computer until last fall when I upgraded to an Athalon 2100.

Do you really need more than a P1 to surf the web? Heck, I'm using it as a server now!
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Home mahcines always rule - because they have to play games!

Nat Ersoz
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Home. Work has some damned good hardware, but no single-screen system can hold a candle to my 3 heads.

Now work has good hardware: my current work is on a QNX box running dual P4's. But the OS has issues: doesn't support second P4 with our NIC (or some such issue), the compiler is slow (even with ccache)...

Kind of hard to vote, that given.

Mike Swieton
Thursday, May 15, 2003

If your work machine is (unreasonably) worse than your home machine, and there is no chance you will be getting a better machine at work, would you take your own to avoid frustration at work and be more productive?  Why and Why not ?

Thursday, May 15, 2003

RM - our network policy does not allow us to attach anything to the network not purchased by our employer.  i'm sure it's similar most places.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

My work machine (P4 2Ghz) is better than my laptop (1.6Ghz P4M) and my desktop(733Mhz PIII) in everthing except the three things that matter, the memory, the monitor and the chair!

I've had a 19" monitor at home for three years the CTX packed in a year ago so I bought an LG Flatron; the laptop has a 15" 1450 x 1050 TFT screen and at work I get a bog standard Benq 17" which I run at 1024 x 768 and that is the largest monitor in the whole college (and we do have CAD labs!).

I've got the defacto control over where the new machines go in the department and I arranged last time that they went to the most needy first (ie. me, the secretary, and the three or four lecturers who do the admin) but when you find the boss and the secretary still running the display at 800 x 600 after you've changed it what can you say!

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Oh, I forgot to mention that Acer keyboards and mice are vile - so vile I purchased an extra Microsoft Optical mouse and Natural Keyboard.

If only MS software were as good as its hardware!

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Home: Pentium 200, Matrox Mystique, Linux.
Work: Athlon 2000+, Radeon 9000 Pro, Windows XP.

I play my games at work (after hours).

Tim Evans
Thursday, May 15, 2003

For every job where I went into the office, home machine was better -- except for my first job, when I didn't have my own PC yet. :) As someone else pointed out, a lot of that has been due to keeping the PC up to date for gaming.

After I got my laptop, I was using it at work instead of my desktop, as it was a lot faster; the ability to take work home was a bonus, because the 60 mile drive was often enough thwarted by snowy roads.

Now I work at home. But once we've moved into a real office, we'll all have reasonably top of the line PCs. I think a couple grand spent on a developer who makes 80 to 90 thousands dollars is well spent in morale. Good computers, good displays, good chairs, good work area. All important.

Brad Wilson (
Thursday, May 15, 2003

Right now it is practically the same.  P4, same MHz, same 512 MB memory. Mine at home is somewhat more powerful due to a 64MB nVidia graphics card, but the one at work has a bigger monitor.

However, before the current setup I always had a better system at home.

T. Norman
Thursday, May 15, 2003

At home I have a P4 2.4 laptop with 512mb of memory (Dell, fantastic machine, worst support service I've ever encountered), and at work I was - until a few days ago - struggling along with a P3 933 with 128mb of memory.  Having a much faster system at home really emphasized the differences.

The work setup had real problems running .NET and the smart device extension pack for embedded systems.  Had to up the virtual memory and this resulted in the hard drive permanently thrashing away and a very slow machine. 

After a huge amount of whinging (the company made £45m profit last year), they finally caved in and gave our development team (3 developers) P4 2.4s with 256mb of memory.  I really didn't appreciate the amount of political campaigning I had to do to get the equipment I needed to do my job properly.

Problem I encountered is typical within a huge organisation - they have a standard 3-year refresh cycle on equipment and are reluctant to splash any extra cash on whizzy stuff for developers unless it is absolutely critical.

I'll give it a few months for all the egos to mend and see if I can get an extra 256mb of memory...  ;-)

John Fletcher
Friday, May 16, 2003

Notebook Toshiba PIII 450, 320 Mb, love it.
Have a new one in the pipeline Dell PIV 2G, 512 Mb.
Old homebrew IBM686 300, 256 Mb. Isn't used much since we switched to notebooks at work.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, May 16, 2003

Our college we had and still have loads of machines with 32MB, which was standard for bottom-end machines mid-1998. It took the secretary two minutes to open Outlook and if he tried to open Access at the same time the machine froze.

Apart from that the machines were perfectly competent workhorses. After a year of badgering MIS they decided to put through an order for another 64MB of memory. However they were told to send a tender instead of using petty cash for the purpose, and the tender took three months to prepare and another month to OK. By which time the price of memory had gone up and the vendor refused to sell.

I get a new work machine every year because there appears to be no way to get the extra memory or larger monitor otherwise. So I waste a day every year configuring the new machine and then another afternoon reconfiguring the old one for the new user.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 16, 2003

PII-300 at home (perfectly adequate, but then it runs A Real OS), something "somewhat" faster at work. I begrudge every penny I spend on computer hardware, because there's absolutely no need.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Work: PC
Home: Mac
Home is much better!

Rahoul Baruah
Friday, May 16, 2003

It's a wash.  Home has more powerful x86 systems, but everyplace I work has more exotic machines.

So I lose on quality, but it's an astounding deal to get both power and cheapness.  And quality usually comes with an antagonistic relationship with a vendor like apple, sun, commodore, symbolics, neXt...

Friday, May 16, 2003

I wish I had my home system at work. My Athlon 2800 at home is used to check email and run Mozilla.

My 1Ghz Duron at work is used to compile massive (600+ classes) Java projects while running two copies of my IDE, Photoshop, Mozilla, Eudora, and OpenOffice.

Friday, May 16, 2003

No contest. My home machine is a beast compared to my work dekstop. I'm both a hardware and gaming junkie.

Ian Stallings
Friday, May 16, 2003

My work computer has the same specs as the video card in my home computer (350MHz, 128MB).

Saturday, May 17, 2003

For almost a year the Duron 1GHz at home was faster than the Celeron 450MHz. But recently I was assigned a new one (Pentium 4 2.4GHz)

Home system, usually the buy cycle of a business machine (in a geek environment) can't grow unless the developer can justify it. Example: if you write code all day, most modern computers can compile and bundle into a setup.exe in a blink. However, if you are a DBA or data process stuff, naturally increasing data volume will slow you down. But even the DBA can keep improving his procedures so that he can handle more work. So unless the amount of business you are responsible for grows by leaps and bound--you'll never get any justification for more Dell Oomph(TM).

My home system has to meet much more demanding requirements. Home videos are a pain to render if it takes more than 15 minutes.  New games need more frames per second. Reasonably fast downloads need bandwidth. Archivals needs to get done fast so work can resume. Etc etc. The more you use it the more you'll find you have new requirements for it.

Home systems tend to do more than business systems. If your business system is managed you'll probably be allowed to run only certain applications. And it's not right to do certain things on the corporate network. All these restrictions makes it less important to chase megahertz or megabytes.

The Pentium 4 2.4G I am assigned to will be plenty of power for a couple years (depending on how much business we are getting). Especially since we don't have
to depend on our workstation to do everything. There's
networking servers too.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, May 19, 2003

Laptops are so bulky. Can't wait for the computers of the future.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, May 19, 2003

Both home and work are Dell P3/815E systems with 512 MB of RAM running Win2K Pro, so there's not all that much difference between them.

Home has a much better graphics card (GF4 Ti4200 vs the 815E integrated graphics), but runs at 800 MHz; work runs at 1 GHz, has a larger hard drive, and has a slightly better monitor (Sony flat CRT vs Dell-branded 'classic' CRT). I'm not entirely sure which is better. But I think I'm going to grab a Prescott late this year or early next year for my home PC, which will settle that argument for a while, as I don't think I can make a good business case for a new web dev box.

At my last job, my work PC was a late-model PII; during that time, I finally upgraded my ancient Pentium 75 to the P3 box above (though it came with 128 MB of RAM and a TNT2). So my work box went from much faster than my home PC to much slower.

Dave Rothgery
Tuesday, May 20, 2003

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