laptop or PC for the bioinformatics jobs -- specification
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7 months ago
SHN ▴ 40

Hello everyone,

It appears that I won't be able to use a Mac laptop for my analysis at my new workplace. They don't have a Linux-based server available, so I will need to set up everything for my analysis on a Windows PC.

In light of this, I am in need of purchasing a laptop. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations on the best specifications for a good Windows-based laptop that would be suitable for my bioinformatics (proteomics, genomics, transcriptomic) analytical work.

Additionally, since I've been primarily working with Mac for quite some time, I would be grateful for any suggestions regarding tools or software that could facilitate my transition to working with Windows again.

Thank you all for your help and input.

Windows mac • 982 views
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You can do most things with a reasonably beefy laptop these days, and WSL has made bioinformatics on windows, if not perfect, then certainly fairly viable.

I would enquire whether the new place has any budget for e.g. cloud compute or something for the odd task where you really need a remote machine.

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7 months ago
Mensur Dlakic ★ 26k

This is one of frequently discussed topics. You can get more information by typing "laptop bioinformatics" in the search field, or click on the link below.

https://www.biostars.org/post/search/?query=laptop+bioinformatics

In my opinion, laptops are not a good solution for doing heavy-duty bioinformatics. This especially goes for Windows laptops, as many Linux tools don't work on Windows out of the box. Most people run heavy-duty stuff on servers, and laptops are there to set up jobs and for light data analysis. You will have an additional difficulty of working with an operating system that is new to you, so I strongly suggest you find a server somewhere. If your lab doesn't have one, there should be a general resource available.

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Thanks for your suggestion and the link. No, unfortunately, working with a server is not an option for now. I'll do my best to find the best way doing the analysis.

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7 months ago
GenoMax 139k

If this machine will be purchased by your employer then it would be best to check with the IT team and see what hardware they purchase. It would be best to get the preferred pricing and support down the road.

If this is going to be your only machine (i.e. there would be no server or cloud resources available) then you will want to get a "workstation class" laptop (e.g. ThinkPad P series, Dell Precision, HP Zbook), if you can. These machines are beasts (supporting up to 128 GB of RAM, multiple local drives etc). Depending on type of work you are planning to do you can adjust the hardware specs but go for the most RAM you think you will need.

Windows 11 supports Windows subsystem for linux (WSL2) that allows you to run a linux kernel (ubuntu) side-by-side on your windows machine. So with exception of rare program or two you should be able to use most linux software as is. You could always wipe windows and install Linux as the only OS since most workstation class laptops will be supported by ubuntu etc.

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Thank you for the valuable information. Yes, the employer will be providing the PC. I need to hand in my suggestions regarding the laptop and the specifications. A workstation laptop is a great idea. I'll do more research on the above-mentioned machines and the support I can get from the IT team. Thank you again.

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7 months ago
Zhenyu Zhang ★ 1.1k

Unless you don't want to do raw alignment/calling, you'd better purchasing a server, or use commercial cloud for heavy pipeline processing work.

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Unless you don't want to do ..., ..., ...

Avoid double negatives, write simpler sentences. Avoid run-on sentences. As it stands, making sense of your sentence is quite challenging.

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