I recently received a research grant with which I can spend up to 2500-3000 USD to buy a piece of equipment.

For my research, I use QGIS, R, and Stata. My new project is also likely to require network analysis for which I have the impression ArcGIS is much more efficient.

Here is the dilemma: I have always worked with Mac products, I am sufficiently confident on my low-intermediate programming skills to make the move towards Linux. However, my IT team is strongly recommending that I purchase a machine running Windows (their suggestion: Dell Optiplex MiniTower; Radeon 350x Video Card to support GIS based research; i7 CPU to support graphical computation for GIS).

The questions are:

  1. Would you follow their advice?
  2. Will I loose too much power if I choose to go with a machine running Linux or Mac and use ArcGIS with an emulating Windows for the network analysis?
  3. If you'd choose the Linux option, which machine would you recommend? And which Linux distribution?

I understand that this is a rather open question, not with the usual Stack Exchange style. If you are planning on voting for it to close, please tell me where else I could ask it.

  • 1
    You are correct that GIS SE is not suited to this type of question. A GIS forum where there can be a lot of back and forth, and many differing opinions, would be better suited. This type of question can also be asked in GIS SE Chat – Midavalo Feb 9 '17 at 17:32
  • Do not buy a Mac - at least get a Dell and if you have to run ArcGIS, you can - but you can also run all the other open source stuff with ease if you need to. Then when you are super awesome with open source and don't need ArcGIS any more, you can wipe it clean and run Linux Mint!!! – DPSSpatial Feb 9 '17 at 17:35
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    Hardware recommendations can be asked for at the Hardware Recommendations Stack Exchange but make sure you read their asking guidelines first. – PolyGeo Feb 9 '17 at 18:25

have them get you an awesome machine. Setup Hyper-V and create a VM based out of OSGEOLIVE - grab the ISO file. Now you have LUBUNTU Linux all setup with all the GIS software and databases. In addition, create a VM with Ubuntu Server and install Docker and run docker containers of other GIS servers and stuff to experiment with as well. When you are ready to deploy run AWS command line tool to convert Hyper-V VM's to EC2 Amazon Machine Images and you are ready.

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