“Which computer should I get?”
Get the lightest and fastest laptop you can afford that run Linux Mint Cinnamon. I suggest the Dell XPS 2-in-1 9757 15" black aluminum and carbon fiber with 4K screen and AMD Radeon graphics for maximum Linux compatibility. I paid $1200 for mine and it has more than double the power of the Macbook Pro I had previously that cost more than twice as much — even the aesthetics are superior on all counts. If that is too much I have had great success with the Acer aluminum laptops with touch screens from Target and Walmart in the $300 – $600 range.
Keep in mind that joining the terminal master race will make the requirements for your laptop very short and your battery life very long. All you really need graphics for is the occasional web browsing for research and entertainment and maybe a light-weight game as a diversion.
You Must Have a Laptop
Any technologist working in the last 20 years will tell you that you must have a laptop — even more in the Gig Economy. Your laptop demonstrates both your skill and style. It is your most important tool besides your brain, eyes, and hands.
Do Your Gaming on Something Else
My recommendation is to get an MSI Trident “console killer” running windows to remain a member of the PC Master Race of gamers. It is light enough to carry around, plugs into anything, and has very powerful graphics.
Do Not Buy a 10 Pound Gaming Laptop
Nothing says “I am an absolute complete idiot” more than lugging around a 10-14 lbs Alienware or some other gawd-aweful gaming laptop brand. You can’t even get good gaming out of them and you have to plug them in instantly — which begs the question, what was the point of all that weight for that big ugly battery?
If your a serious gamer act like it. Don’t be a casual. Use the right tool for the job. When you work use your Linux laptop. When you play use your portable gaming rig. Don’t be stupid.
Do Not Buy an Apple Computer
Apple has fallen.
Having a MacBook Pro was a standard developer tool for almost a decade, but times have changed. There is no clearer indication of that then the most recent Dell XPS line of computers. They are literally identical in all the ways that matter to the MacBook Pro. Dell has apparently seized on massive migration that seems to have started in 2018 and looks to continue..
According to the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Survey:
- 49.9% of developers use Windows.
- 26.7% use MacOS.
- 23.2% use Linux.
Not only have developers abandoned Apple like a sinking ship, but so have investor with Apple’s stock price plummeted by more than half in 2018 after being the highest valued company ever a year before. Apple lost the entire value of Facebook in one year — but their vision and direction are completely moronic at this point. This is showing up all over in the tech culture and industry:
popular YouTubers making long videos about why they switched and never looked back — including designers and audio and video producers and DJs,
comments like “Mac free” in random posts and pics showing people’s personal workstations,
the huge pro-privacy movement and activism against planned obsolescence from the rising generation,
the ridiculously unwarranted and continuous price hikes,
the biggest security vulnerability in history when Apple made the admin password on all systems in the world empty and then “fixed it” only to make it worse,
the pivot to “streaming”,
the pushing of Swift and partnering with Trump while Tim begs people not to go to college and come work for Apple because no one wants to learn their dying technology and come work for them,
the class-action lawsuit against the company for the ridiculously bad keyboard on their power-draining stupid Macbook Pros with a cute little touch bar instead of the critical
the decision to put the entire macOS division under and reporting to the iOS division,
the monstrous fail of a new building none of the developers asked for or wanting forcing them into an open floor plan.
At this point people quietly laugh at you behind your back if you have a Mac — especially those who once had them. So many in the mainstream have not yet realized this. Now you know. Macs are an objectively horrible decision for almost every possible computer user — except possibly DJs and sound engineers.
Do Not Buy from iBuyPower
Worst company I have ever worked with. Computers arrived without even working and they told me to watch a video about how to take it apart and fix it because something must have moved during shipping. That actually happened.
“What is the best computer for hacking?”
The closest computer you can find.
Perhaps the biggest mistake noob hackers make is buying a powerful laptop and loading it up with Kali or whatever and then not being able to do anything without their script-kiddy laptop. The worst among them won’t even bother learning how to boot from a thumb drive.
First—and pay close attention—every hacker needs a powerful server rig to which they can login anytime from anywhere. Unless you are trying to hide your hacking this can be at home home in the corner. Many will also eventually setup this rig to do some sort of crypto-mining. This power can be leveraged from anywhere—including (the good) capture the flag competitions (no CyberPatriot is not one of them).
In fact, you could make the case that the best hackers at any such competition will not depend on their laptop at all, so long as it has
ssh installed in some fashion and a Bash shell. All the tools and such required should be kept on the rig at their latest level so they can be downloaded instantly when needed from anywhere. That way any computer can be turned into a hacking workstation by simply downloading Putty (in the case of Windows) or using the built in terminal on Mac and Linux. This is why learning to use a terminal CLI and
ssh is so critical.
Keep in mind “powerful” does not mean “can play any game at max settings” so make sure you know the difference before investing money. Most can find very powerful, unused computers in their relatives basements that can be reimaged with Linux to become very powerful server rigs.