If the question often appears in your mind, “do I need a powerful laptop for programming?” you are not alone. That simply means you need the right information about the minimum requirement of a laptop that can let you code, which actually sounds easier to answer than it really is.
We’ve collaborated with developers from JSModules.io to answer this question once and for all.
Well, to eradicate this confusion from your mind, here we will discuss the minimum to maximum specs requirement of a laptop that can help you solve different ranges of problems.
Do I Need a Powerful Laptop for Programming?
In fact, you don’t need to buy a highly powerful and expensive laptop to start your programming journey. You can start with a basic laptop that has 4GB ram and one of the latest dual-core CPUs.
But if you want to future-proof your machine, and you have the money to spend, then you can buy a powerful laptop with the latest hardware for better performance.
In order to clear up this topic, I will go over the most important components of a laptop, which determine how well it can perform when it comes to coding.
So, let’s start exploring the requirements for different stages of programming.
Processor – Brain of the System
Whatever you want to do, the processor plays a crucial role for each laptop. But the demand for power varies according to the type of work you pursue. A speedier CPU is requisite to work on large projects and graphically heavy programs.
Well, a quicker CPU is a plus when it needs to switch between several windows, programs, and screens. With these specifications in mind, an Intel i5 or an equivalent class of CPU is suggested. It will also assure that you will not have to update your notebook anytime soon.
On the other side, Intel’s Core i7 CPU is perfect for game creators. Because game makers must move from the design to the development tool of the game, a dedicated GPU is required to deal with such a program.
With all that, processor generation plays a big role here, especially if you are choosing an Intel chipset. Make sure you are buying the latest generation or at least a 6th generation Intel Core CPU if you don’t have the budget right now.
RAM – the Most Crucial Component for Multi-Tasking
Another significant factor to consider is the quantity of RAM. As a coder, you may be required to use powerful IDEs & virtual machines.
These apps are large and consume a large amount of memory. Running them simultaneously might be putting extra pressure on your laptop. As a result, you should buy a laptop with an adequate amount of RAM.
But for apps or developing software on the other hand, who really need to run virtual machines, IDEs and emulators to assemble large projects would require more RAM. In that case, a laptop that has at least 8 GB ram is recommended.
Likewise, if we talk about game creators, the standard is significantly higher. Level design settings in games require sophisticated hardware to run. We recommend having at least 16GB of RAM or more if you are looking for a powerful programming laptop.
Similarly, you should also focus on ram frequency. Make sure your ram is at least DDR3 1600 MHz or greater. Also, it would be ideal to choose a laptop that offers an extra ram slot for further explanation.
Laptop’s Keyboard – Longevity is Pivotal
Aside from the core hardware, the laptop’s keyboard must receive special attention. Programmers usually spend several hours a day writing code. So, getting a laptop with an ergonomic keyboard is pivotal.
You should choose a laptop that comes with a number pad if possible. Consider keypads with good travel and a delicate touch. The quality and durability of the keys are critical because you will be pressing them for an extended period of time.
Similarly, take note of the keyboard layout as well. Some laptop keyboards may have unusual layouts, with the Fn and Ctrl keys rearranged; or some keys like the Enter, Backspace & Delete keys may seem smaller. So, it deserves some consideration too.
Besides these, a backlit keyboard might also be useful if you operate at night or in poor light.
However, if you are dissatisfied with the keyboard, think about getting a separate USB keyboard. They are more ergonomic to type on in general and using a secondary keyboard will save your laptop’s keyboard from any damage.
Laptop’s Display – Larger Is Better
As programming tasks involve spending a significant amount of time in front of the display, the screen’s size and quality are vital.
Well, as a programmer, you may love putting as little pressure on your eyesight as possible. So for that convenience, I recommend you purchase a notebook with a 15.6-inch screen.
But, if you want something portable, go with a 13-inch or 14-inch screen.
Yes, the resolution of the screen is also worth noting. Full HD screens are recommended for game and software developers. A high res also provides a greater workspace, allowing you to open many windows side by side rather than needing to switch between them.
So, a 4K monitor would be ideal, but the text would be too small, and notebooks with these panels would be too costly.
However, if you can’t afford a laptop with FHD resolution, go with the HD display. It will let you deal with basic to mid-level web development tastes.
You may also consider a higher refresh rate, and a 16:10 aspect ratio if you have the budget.
Laptop’s Price – The Most Important Thing for Most Users
The laptop’s price is one thing that can make or break everything. Because a powerful machine from a reputed brand always costs more than others.
So, you will have to make a balance between your budget and needs. If you just need to do web development, a laptop that comes to around $400 will get your work done; you don’t need very powerful hardware.
But if you need something for developing software, heavy application, or game development, then the price may cost you $500 to $1000 or even more.
So, it’s your job to determine how many programming tasks you need to deal with.
Well, these are the most crucial aspects of a laptop that can let you code without any major bugs. So whenever you choose a new laptop for programming, make sure you buy a computer that fulfills the minimum requirements we mentioned above.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Having an SSD helps to load your code faster, but if you don’t have the budget, you shouldn’t stop for an SSD. You can still start your coding journey with HDD. Later, when you have money, you can upgrade. Just make sure your laptop supports SSD upgrading.
No, you don’t need a dedicated graphics card to start learning to code. Even if your laptop has Intel or AMD’s integrated GPU, you can start to learn. But if you wish to learn something like game development or data science, then you will require a dedicated GPU for a brilliant performance.
It depends on the user’s choice. The bigger one you will get, the more code you will see at the same time. But most programmers say that having a 15.6″ display is ideal for programming as they are slightly more portable than a laptop that has a 17.3-inch screen.
The main reason most programmers (professionals) use a MacBook for their day-to-day coding is the premium experience of the operating system (macOS) and the overall performance of the laptop.
On the other hand, Apple’s MacBook has become a standard for creative professionals; sometimes they love to show off that they are using something special.
Knowing the basic requirements for programming will enable you to begin coding on a budget.
Well, if you can’t afford a good laptop, having a machine with 4GB of RAM and a 12th-generation Intel Core i3 processor can help you start.
But if you can increase your budget a little, buy a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM and an Intel 8th generation Intel Core i5 or a similar multi-core AMD CPU.
However, if you are someone who has enough budget, go with Apple’s MacBook or buy a premium Windows laptop.