Are you a budding computer programmer?
Mastering different in-demand programming languages is a must. However, complementing it with a high-quality laptop ensures your work is less stressful.
Finding a laptop for programming students and professionals can be tricky. With so many options available, how can you find the best laptop for programming?
Continue reading below for some considerations when buying a laptop for programming.
Start With the RAM
Computer programmers design, develop, and test software. Their output must meet high standards and best practices to ensure both the performance and reliability of their games, websites, and applications.
Interestingly, one of the biggest challenges programmers face is the demand for fast and constant production. Having the right amount of RAM on your laptop is crucial for programming and coding.
The minimum amount of memory for serious programming is at least 4 GB. However, the ideal is 8 GB since it allows you to run multiple programs simultaneously. Application programmers run emulators, IDEs, and virtual machines to compile their projects.
If you are developing video games, 12GB to 16GB of RAM is better. Also, focus on a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD) for faster operation. An SSD can speed up its various functions.
It boosts your code compilation, project loading, and OS booting. Get at least 256GB for your SSD. However, aim for 512 GB or 1 TB SSD if you have an extra budget.
Students can take the more affordable route of getting a smaller SSD. Move your OS to the SSD and transfer your frequently used apps and documents. Keep other items like videos, photos, and music in an external drive.
Mind the Processor
Another critical element of a great laptop for programming is a powerful central processing unit (CPU). An Intel i7 quad-core processor is enough to cover heavy processing tasks. If you are not a fan of Intel processors, the latest AMD processor is the best alternative.
As a student learning about coding and programming, an i5 processor is enough. Never neglect the frequency and opt for at least 3GHz.
Other actors to check in a CPU are the number of cores, cache size, and thermal power design. Some CPUs use inferior designs, causing them to overheat quickly.
A Hi-Res Laptop for Programming
Programmers spend several hours in front of their laptops. A high-resolution display screen covers all details, especially the small ones.
The more display screen space, the better it is for your eyes. Most affordable laptops have about 1366 x 768 screen real estate. Unfortunately, it is not enough for multitasking.
Using these displays is a subpar choice for image crispness. You will find it hard to read minute details on a small display screen after several hours of work.
On the flip side, a 4K display can be too much for your programming requirements. After all, this screen requires a lot of battery power.
A 4k screen will also cost more. The money you spend for this feature is more optimal on upgrading other laptop components.
Stick to a laptop with at least a Full HD 1920 x 1080 display. If you have an extra budget, consider bumping it up to a 1080p display.
A 15-inch laptop screen is excellent for convenience. Otherwise, 13 to 14-inch screens are better for portability.
The Operating System
Your chosen type of laptop also depends on your preferred operating system (OS). The OS is the most vital software inside your laptop. It is responsible for managing your software, hardware, memory, and processes.
You will have more choices when picking Windows over macOS. Windows offers Windows 10, but an alternative OS is Linux. The latter is an open-source OS allowing modification and distribution.
Aside from being free, Linux has various versions. Most laptops from reputable sources offer pre-installed Linux OS. If you prefer a MacBook, you will severely limit your options since it is only exclusive to Apple products.
If you wish to develop and play games on your laptop, Windows 10 is your best option. For building apps and heavy files, Linux and macOS perform better than the former. In most cases, Windows 10 has slow write speeds and file reads.
For top-notch security, macOS and Linux edge out Windows OS. Windows is the most vulnerable among the three, especially against ransomware.
Keyboards Also Matter
It’s often unnoticeable, but having comfortable fingers while typing also helps your efficiency. Mechanical keyboards are becoming popular in recent years. However, consider trying keyboards before buying a specific laptop.
Identify your preferred keys and make sure they are easy to reach. A keyboard with an elevated design will help you hit these faster. The scissor mechanism of MacBook keyboards is pleasing because of its fluidity.
Alternatively, find a keyboard with full-size backlighting and a dedicated numeric pad. Backlighting will help you see through the keys when coding under low light.
For the trackpad, get a wide one with enough room for a fingerprint reader. Test the trackpad to ensure smooth responses, especially when performing multi-touch gestures.
A Long Battery Life
Your laptop should have a minimum battery life of 8 hours. It is non-negotiable, especially when you are working outside and have no socket to plug in your laptop. Aim for a battery with 12 to 14 hours of performance.
Sometimes, manufacturers oversell their laptop’s battery life. Instead of believing what the manual says, check various third-party appraisals. Find out what users say about their experience concerning their laptop’s battery life.
Visit various tech forums and get the majority’s consensus. Take note of laptops with poor battery life and remove them from your list.
The Right Graphics Card
Lastly, invest in the right graphics card. For programming and coding requirements, an integrated graphics card is better than a dedicated one.
The former is cheaper than the latter. You can use the saved money to buy a more powerful CPU or an SSD from a more reputable brand.
Consider getting a dedicated graphics card when you are developing video games. And Nvidia graphics card will serve you better than the 2 GB integrated card within your laptop.
Boosting Your Laptop’s Performance
Never stop at finding the best laptop for programming and gaming development. Boost your laptop’s performance by getting rid of unnecessary files and programs. Identify the applications serving no purpose and remove them.
As an alternative, go to the system startup and disable these applications from loading. Check your notification banners and limit them to the more important ones. You can leave notifications for your meetings and emails.
Even if your laptop has a large memory, keep close track of your system’s performance. Install tracking tools to identify the programs eating up your RAM. These tools provide an overview of your laptop’s memory, disk space, CPU, battery, and network speeds.
Install the latest antivirus software and update your OS. Malware is one of the possible culprits for a slow-performing laptop. Through a proper virus scan, you can detect malware and remove it as soon as possible.
Caring for Your Laptop
Keep your laptop clean whenever you can. Invest in compressed air or liquid laptop cleaner to keep your device dust-free. Wipe the screen and put a screen protector to keep it safe from scratches.
Protect your keyboard from wear and tear with a keyboard skins cover. It prevents dust accumulation while absorbing the impact on your fingers. It will also protect your laptop from accidental spills and food crumbs.
Keep the power cord in good shape by bending it properly. Use a surge protector when using your laptop at home. When charging the battery, never leave it plugged all the time.
As soon as the battery gets full charge, unplug the cord from the electrical socket. Use the laptop until the battery is almost out before charging it anew.
Get a durable laptop sleeve. You may also use a laptop bookbag or laptop case. Accidentally dropping your laptop can happen if you are working in different areas. The impact can lead to your laptop crashing or losing some of your files altogether.
If you need to work outdoors, keep your laptop away from direct sunlight. The UV rays can cause serious problems to different components.
Make Better Buying Decisions Now
Now you know how to pick the right laptop for programming, you can complete your tasks faster. You will also get the best value for your money by investing in the right specs and upgrades. It ensures you can install as many helpful tools as you can.
However, finding the best laptop for programming is not the only purchasing challenge you will encounter. Look for a reputable shop near your area to ensure your purchased computer is new and free from defects. Check their online reviews to ensure their legitimacy.
Did you find this guide helpful? If so, read our other posts and learn more valuable tips today.