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If you had a generous, but not ridiculous budget (ie no yachts!), describe your ideal setup for programming.

What hardware would you have? Desktop and a laptop or just one or the other? How many screens - two, three, four, more?

Private office, work from home, cubicle?

What operating system(s) would you be using?

What tools would you have - IDE, other tools, databases, VCS, documentation?

What local development and test servers and other services would you want - VCS server? Build server? database server?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelT, gnat, GlenH7, World Engineer Oct 22 '13 at 1:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Hot and cold running blondes, a fur sink and a pair of solid gold socks. –  Rusty Sep 9 '10 at 12:14
This doesn't need to be community wiki. See meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/8/… –  Fishtoaster Sep 9 '10 at 15:19
@Fishtoaster: Thanks, I'll remember not to set CW in future. –  Richard Gadsden Sep 9 '10 at 15:30
I just checked in on the boat-programming tag. I guess that didn't get much traction since Sept '10. For some reason it just stuck in my head. –  makerofthings7 Aug 4 '11 at 20:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Computer: desktop

  • Core i7 proc
  • 12+GB ram
  • Scream fast SSD
  • 4 monitors (and video card(s) to match)
  • Apple keyboard, and MS Arc mouse
  • Win 7

Workstation: office

  • The most comfortable chair money can buy
  • A custom desk to suite my needs
  • Hire a decorator to make it awesome
  • A nice leather couch for relaxing
  • An entire wall of whiteboards

Software: MS stack

and last, but not least... Hire Jon Skeet as a personal mentor :)

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+1 just for the Jon Skeet ref. –  Richard Gadsden Sep 9 '10 at 15:31

I've just spec'd out my new workstation and shared it on newegg but it's not on the public viewable list yet. Here are the specs

  • Intel Core i7 2600K (new Sandy Bridge architecture and built for over-clocking, Quad core with HyperThreading for 8 logical cores, and turbo-boost for 3.8GHz)
  • Gigabyte Motherboard
  • 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 RAM
  • Intel X25 120GB SSD
  • 2 Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200 RPM drives (RAID 0)
  • Zotac GTX 460 Video Card (supports three monitors on one card)
  • Blu-Ray Burner (read and write all known media)
  • HP 21" Touchscreen (for multi-touch development)
  • Two Asus 24" Widescreens
  • Antec Mid Tower Case
  • Corsair 750W power supply

(total cost around 2500)

For the workstation I'll be running Windows Server 2008 R2 converted to run as a workstation with Hyper-V for virtualization. (I have System Center Virtual Machine Manager which allows simple deployment of VMs to my workstation or any of my Hyper-V servers on the network).

Dev Tools

  • VS2010 Ultimate
  • Resharper 5
  • Mercurial for DVCS
  • Telerik Ultimate Collection (best .NET tools out there hands down)

Team Collaboration

  • Microsoft Communications Server (Now Lync Server) for telepresence and conferencing
  • TFS Server 2010 for project/change management (looking into doing something similar to git-tfs but for mercurial)


  • Kindle and around $100/week for work-related book purchases (The cool thing is that you connect 5 devices to the same account so you can have a pool of kindles that can be checked out, or you can use the Kindle desktop app as well).
  • Safari books online 10 shelf subscription (for those books that haven't made it to kindle yet).
  • If you build commercial packaged or SAAS software and qualify, join BizSpark and you receive 3 VS2010 Ultimate with MSDN licenses as well as some internal use licenses for Windows, Exchange, and SQL for running your company.
  • This setup will allow your developers to telecommute or work in office depending on your preference.
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Why only a 750W power supply? –  Powerlord Jan 26 '11 at 18:47
The biggest power consumer in the system is the video card which specs that you need at least a 450W supply, I picked a 750W to give some extra space. –  Mike Brown Jan 26 '11 at 20:01

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