Honestly, your whole laptop is pretty underpowered for development. The amount of ram and the processor especially. My advice for bang for the buck is first increase your ram to as much as you can afford or as much as the laptop holds. You can’t change the i3 so after that maybe look at an SSD.
I’d recommend building a desktop PC (if you have the money to do that, of course) since your laptop is pretty slow for this type of work.
1.7GHz is really slow, you should have something at least 2.5GHz, 3GHz would be optimal. Your processor also only has 2 cores which limit your multitasking and multithreading capabilities (helps a lot on both UE4 and VS).
4GB is also very little for game development, Unreal and VS together are going to use up that pretty quickly. I’d say 8GB is the minimum.
Changing your HD to an SSD would increase performance, but not a lot. The processor would still be a huge bottleneck.
However, if you can’t buy a PC you should do what [USER=“1384187”]Joe Wilcox WisE[/USER] said, but the CPU will still be a huge bottleneck and your compile times are still going to be slow.
It would not benefit a lot, maybe 5-8% faster, because what is the point of having data faster if the system can’t handle it at that much speed? Save the money for your future system, so you can have it faster.
Also SATA SSD are faster than SATA hard drives but they are constrained by the max speed SATA interface can handle.
There is a guaranteed gain with core count and faster RAM and the more RAM the better because it means less use of hard drives or SSD.
I don’t use notebooks with Unreal actually, once I did and it overheated and the HD went poof, but I live in a tropical country, so… I will never use one again.
Notebooks are limited to upgrade on memory and store (memory only if you got spare slots), you want a machine that will last for you at least 5 years if not more, being you will add more memory, more storage, get a new graphics card, and this you can do only with desktop ones. If your issue is space you can go after a custom PC using ITX case form factor which are quite small. I know someone which instead of purchasing a monitor, purchased a drawing tablet with display, so he could use it for modeling and also as a monitor.
At my country that Dell model costs the same as a desktop computer with monitor, using 8/16 core AMD CPU, 32GB RAM, GTX 1060, SSD, 1TB storage, 500W PSU, keyboard, mouse and a nice 27in Full HD monitor, which is at least 50% better performance than that notebook.
Nilson is correct. While moving to an SSD would give you a slight small increase in speed, I think you’re far more bottle necked on your CPU and RAM. The other DELL you posted seems like a better machine. A laptop in itself isn’t a bad choice for development, just keep in mind that most laptop throttle when not plugged in. In your immediate case, adding RAM is your best option but you’re never going to get great performance out of an i3/i5.
No idea, but I can tell you that you will be better off with a desktop and get it for less then the cost of a gaming laptop.
Would save more if you bought a non-brand name machine too.
In my opinion, the price hike that comes from buying a brand name machine is not worth it, despite maybe having better tech support.
I currently use a laptop for UE4 development and it works pretty well, but it is more expensive than an equivalent desktop would be. It’s a Lenovo Yoga 720. Specs wise it has got an i7-7700HQ, GTX 1050, 16GB DDR4. I live in Sweden and it cost me about the equivalent to 1900 USD including tax.
I’d say the important bits is:
Preferably an i7 or equivalent (although I haven’t tested with an i5; should perform slightly worse, maybe negligible)
Dedicated GPU (there exists non-M Nvidia laptops like mine, opt for those as they perform better than the models ending with M)
lots of RAM (minimum 8GB, but more is better)
Also remember to configure a “high performance” battery plan! It’s often hidden on newer laptops so you’ll have to create a custom power plan and it’s easy to miss.
Even with all that though, performance bogs down in any heavy scene. It well suited for smaller indie/mobile games but not really AAA-titles, at least not for testing in 60fps etc.
If you are willing to sacrifice some portability (meaning heavier/bulkier laptop) then “gaming” grade laptops should perform better than mine.
As for desktop, I used to have an i7-4790K, GTX 970, 16GB DDR3, and it did feel snappier than my laptop (could easily run 144fps) so any mid-to-high tier desktop will mostly outperform the best laptops.
The problem with i5’s are they don’t support Hyperthreading and have a smaller cache. I haven’t worked with i5’s on a laptop for UE4 dev but I have on a desktop and it’s as painful as an i3. But there is nothing wrong with using a laptop for development you just have to know the limitations.
$200 in my country is a lot of money too, but the amount of difference will vary depending on the shop you can find those models, the difference can be even less. Those added resources values around (prices from newegg.com):
memory 8GB ~= $69 (you need to put 2 x 4GB or 2 x 8GB or 2 x 16GB) notebook memory is more expensive too
SSD 128 GB ~= $24
GTX 1060 ~= $160
GTX 1050TI ~= $140
so the new model that model has 69+24+20 (diff from gtx1060 & gtx 1050ti) = $113 and at that store the model you choose costs $927.74 and the one I mentioned $1049.00 (diff $121.26), but newegg is not the cheapest place, but just a convenient place where you can find a lot of things. We don’t have such places in my country.
Hey I know the topic is almost closed, but I had to comment on this after seeing it.
Op you have 4gb of RAM, windows would take on average 3 (and I’m being very optimistic here), visual studio AT LEAST 0.7GB without a solution loaded. Essentially leaving you with almost nothing for the actual project.
I’d be willing to bet that your computer is using your swap like crazy, and since you have a HDD, this should very, very slow.
Because of that, upgrading to an SSD would actually make a much bigger difference than “5-8%”, though of course the even better course of action would be to upgrade your RAM.
The key here is in the numbers that you used in your initial post.
The fact that VS takes THIRTY MINUTES to load but your build only takes 15 minutes clearly shows that the problem lies in disk I/O (caused by both the lack of ram and the fact that its a HDD), not because of processing power.
But don’t take my word for it, you should take a look at your Resources Monitor (just press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC on windows) and see for yourself. Or even better, use gadgets or rainmeter to display your CPU, RAM and HDD usage on your desktop. I find that useful in general, but for game dev it’s actually mandatory to be aware of your game resource usage. So why not use it to monitor your resource usage in your IDE while you’re at it