How to Buy a Good Laptop for Programming and Web Development

If you are a web developer or a budding programmer, you may need to buy a laptop designed for your needs. Sure, there are no laptops tagged “best for programming” yet, but you can determine what’s best by generally going over the specs. Also, unlike with gaming laptops, you may not need to spend a lot of money on a work laptop either. You will most likely be able to buy a good programming laptop for a price between $600 and $700. You will be able to get a really good one if you are willing to spend somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500. However, price is not everything when it comes to laptops. Here are several tips on how to buy a really good laptop for web development and programming needs:

Choose a Decent Processor

You don’t have to spend close to $2,000 to buy a laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor. Some of the best programming laptops come with Intel Core i5 processors. Core i5 laptops are considered mid-range. But these machines can handle a variety of needs, including multimedia and some gaming. Programmers should not have any trouble coding on a Core i5 processor. Some languages, like Python, can even be run on computers with Core i3 or Pentium processors. If you are on a serious budget, Core i3 may suffice, but i5 is the best for future proofing your computer.

Pay Attention to the OS

Windows is the most preferred OS for programmers, and Linux follows soon after. Windows machines are generally more versatile and have higher levels of compatibility than Macs. So, if you are a general programmer, buying a Windows machine will be the best. Linux is also a good option, especially if you like custom designed software and are on a budget. However, make sure the programming language you plan on using can be run on the laptop you buy. For example, if you plan on running Xcode, then you will need a Mac as the other operating systems are incompatible with Xcode. Also, if you are an iOS mobile app developer, buy a Mac as it the best system for programming for Apple devices.

Aim for 8GB of RAM

The more RAM you have, the faster your computer will be given that it has a decent processor. As a programmer however, you won’t need to spend hundreds more on a 16GB RAM capacity. Often, 8GB of RAM is enough for most programming and development needs. However, game developers or programmers who also work with graphics may need RAM around 12GB. 16GB is max RAM at the moment and only heavy graphics designers and video editors need that much.

Go for an SSD

Solid state drives are way faster than the traditional hard disk drives. So, if you can, buy a laptop with an SSD. HDD is fine as long as other specs are in line. If you are on a budget however, you may only be able to afford an HDD. Programmers can really benefit from SSDs. The only downside is lack of storage space. With HDDs, you can get up to 1TB of storage space, while for SSDs it may be limited to 256GB or 512GB.

Don’t fall for marketing fluff. Follow the above advice to get yourself the best programming laptop.

Leave a Comment