What would be a good laptop to use for the XL/carbide create?
Any should work. The official system requirements are at: https://docs.carbide3d.com/software-faq/carbide-motion-min-requirements/
The community has some notes on known working configuration at: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Carbide_Motion_Machine_Control_Software#Known_working_configurations — my preferences is for a sealed (fanless) tablet w/ an active stylus (for navigating dialog boxes) — a wireless numeric keypad or gaming controller makes for a nice pendant (I usually use a Wii Remote).
Like @WillAdams wrote - just about any will work. I have been using a Dell laptop running Windows 7 that I bought in ~2006. It has been running carbide create for the past three years just fine. I just bought a second Dell laptop from around the same time off Craigslist to run my second SO3.
People have used very inexpensive Windows 10 tablets as well and they also seem to be working fine.
I wanted a laptop, and I knew that the best way to make Windows act zippy is to max out the RAM and use an SSD (versus a classic spinning-disk HDD). So, I bought a cheap $150-ish refurb laptop from newegg plus appropriate RAM and a cheap SSD. It’s certainly overkill for Carbide Create/Carbide Motion, but it boots in no time flat, and it handles like a dream (and even with big Java applications or Fusion 360).
(Consumer-type RAM prices follow an interesting curve, I’ve found. The top of the line new stuff is priced for gamers. The old stuff is priced for people who have no alternative. In between, it gets cheap, which is great for maxing out the RAM when you pick up a refurb. It’s usually a one-screw job on most laptops, Apple being an obvious exception.)
I know you said “laptop” but I had an old Shuttle lying around…after I found that the laptop I was using had an issue with the USB ports. The Shuttle doesn’t have much RAM but I installed an SSD drive in it and it works great. Seems that Carbide Create, Carbide Motion, and VCarve Pro doesn’t mind the PC architecture at all.
For computers dedicated as a G-Code sender for the Shapeokos we typically buy refurbished work stations from refurbishers, and can generally get a decent 8GB RAM/500 GB HDD multi core tower Dell or HP with Windows 10 for around $100 on an un-named auction site from a certified Microsoft refurbished.
They are typically easy to upgrade, we add a 2GB video card which we can get for around $40 to help with performance on V-Carve Pro.
You may need to add a monitor if the package doesn’t include one. I’ve picked up used 19” LCD panels for around $20 on CL.
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