Jason Kim's Blog

My Macbook Alternative

I started using Macs since 2011. My first Mac is 13-inch MacBook Pro from Late 2011. It was a versatile laptop which I was happy to pay a slight premium for. It served me well through out my school years and it was a perfect development box. It was ideal for light amount of gaming to destress as well. Over the years, the machine started to wear out, it's become sluggish to the point where I could no longer be productive anymore. It was time to look for another laptop.

I considered purchasing a 2016 Macbook pro, but the specs were lagging behind its contemporaries in the same price range. It used to be that I would be paying 100 to 200 bucks more for the mac when compared to PCs that have similar specs. Compare to that, now I was looking at paying from 400 to 700 bucks more for the mac. This was unacceptable. I decided to buy a PC instead. For daily usage of web browsing and gaming, I planned to use Windows 10 and for software development, I planned to use Ubuntu installed on the same machine.

I decided to buy Acer Aspire E 15 for $509.99. This was an amazing bargain for a laptop that has ok cpu, acceptable ram and usable discrete graphics card. Also, the main harddrive offered is an SSD. The laptop comes with 4 USB ports and a SD card reader which is perfect for me who wants to get into photography.

I decided to upgrade 2 things hardware wise. First I wanted to increase my storage. The machine comes with 250 GB SSD, but given that I want to play games and store many photographs, I needed a larger harddrive. Also when I partition the harddrive for Ubuntu, I wanted to leave myself at least 100 GB for development. I bought HGST Travelstar 7K1000 2.5-Inch 1TB for $61.99. That left me with extra 1 TB of storage to play with.

Also another easy upgrade that I decided to make is doubling my memory. I bought Crucial 8 GB DDR 2133 MT/s RAM for $44.99.

Installations for these parts are extremely easy, and tutorials can be found easily online.

And finally dualbooting Ubuntu on the machine requires some preparation, but it's definitely doable and just having UNIX compatible terminal beats all the effort required to set it up in the first place.

Overall, preparing a personal development machine that is able to play some games at $616.97 was totally worth it.