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6 Things to Consider When Buying a Laptop for Programming

Have you started working as a programmer, and have been thinking to get a laptop that can be good for programming?

If you are thinking, then you are in a good state of mind because I have seen many people just get any laptop without getting the specific one depending upon their work. That is where they make mistakes, and they regret them later.

Just think, if you are a gamer, you would probably get a gaming laptop which high-end specifications, but if you are a normal user who only browses the internet and do light office work, then you would go with a normal laptop. Similarly, if you are a game developer, again you will go with a laptop that has a high-end GPU  because your work will be too much focused on Graphical performance. Therefore, there are some specifics for laptops for programming and coding as well.

Let’s get into more detail in this article which I am going to write on my experience because being a tech blogger, I have been debugging codes and scripts once in a while. Thus, I am the right person to give guidance and recommendations on this…

Since we are talking about the things to consider when buying a laptop for the programmer, I consider a normal programmer who writes code.

8 Things to Consider When Buying a Laptop for Programming

1. RAM

RAM is one of the most common things that everyone knows about or talks about, and this awareness is because of smartphone usage because everyone talks about phone RAM. Thus, since it is very popular and one of the most important hardware components of your laptop, I am mentioning this first.

RAM is the component that stores the data and information temporarily so that the CPU quickly accesses it, and processes the jobs quickly. That means that whatever work you are doing on your laptop is temporarily stored in RAM. So, your RAM should be well enough to hold everything and stops your system to lag.

In general, I would advise you at least to go with 8GB of RAM if you are a programmer. However, if you are into web development, there little compilation and heavy tools are needed so, you can even work with 6GB RAM. But, in the case of software developers, there is a need for at least 8 GB RAM because they need to run heavy IDEs, run virtual machines, and also work with various emulators simultaneously. If all of them work simultaneously, little RAM may not be able to store them well, and the system will start to lag.

Now, coming to the gaming development programming, there is a need for even more RAM because there is heavy graphics you have to render, thus, 16GB is the minimum RAM I would advise.

These RAM requirements are the minimum. But, if it comes to recommendations, I would always go with at least RAM of 16GB for even light work. I have taken up all three cases of Web, software, and game developers because in each of the works, programming is required, and they need different RAM requirements.

Point to note that, if you are still confused about how much RAM you would need, and you have a good budget for it, then whatever type of programmer you are out of three, just go with 16GB RAM. And, you are good.

I have made a table for the same so that you can easily get what I am trying to explain.

RAM Requirement Table for Web Developers, Software Developers and Game Developers

Web DevelopersSoftware DevelopersGame Developers
Minimum RAM6GB8GB16GB
Recommended RAM8-16GB16GB or more32GB or more

2. Processor (CPU)

The processor which you know in general terms CPU is the Central Processing Unit. It is responsible for all the processes that your laptop does. It is the brain of the computer system. It is the most important component of a computer system. Again, when it comes to choosing the best laptop for programming it varies depending on the usage.

Does your programming work require to use of so many software tools or applications simultaneously, with multiple instances of each of those apps? Does your work need to spend hours compiling tons of data?

If your answers to the above question are YES, you must get a high-end processor with more cores that will give the optimum processing power to do these kinds of tasks quickly and efficiently. With fewer cores, it is difficult to compile huge codes. For mid-level programming,  I would advise an Intel i5 processor or more. Nothing less than this. Moreover, if you are into game development you should get more i7 processor or their equivalent.

I have created a table for Processor requirements for different programming requirements shown is below.

Processor Requirement Table for Web Developers, Software Developers, and Game Developers

Web DevelopersSoftware DevelopersGame Developers
Minimum ProcessorIntel Core i5 or equivalent AMD processorIntel Core i5 or equivalent AMD processorIntel Core i7 or equivalent AMD processor
Recommended ProcessorIntel Core i7 or equivalent AMD processor or higherIntel Core i7 or equivalent AMD processor or higherIntel Core i9 or equivalent AMD processor or higher

3. Display (Screen Size)

Although you can do programming on any size of the display for an optimum experience, I would advise you to get the biggest screen size you can get. The reasons are many for choosing the big screen. Firstly, the smaller the screen the smaller the text and icons, which put more strain on your eyes. Also, having a bigger screen means you have bigger space for writing codes. You can see more codes on the screen without the need of scrolling.  More scrolling while you code, is quite distracting.

If you have to travel frequently to meetings, and tours, then you can set up an external display at home and have small-sized laptop which you can connect to that display. This way, when you are working from home which you will do most of the time, it will put less strain on your eyes, and the space will be bigger as well. And, when you have to travel, just disconnect the bigger display, and take your laptop along.  This way, both of the purposes get solved.

One more factor is that while coding, you need more vertical space than horizontal, so always try getting the display with an aspect 16:10. Moreover most laptops offer an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Nowadays, a lot of people go for touchscreen laptops, I would recommend not going with those because that doesn’t help in anything related to programming but rather add up more money to the overall cost of the laptop.

Lastly, I would still say that display size has nothing to do with the performance or compilation, so even a small screen size would do the job well but having a bigger one ease you in working by giving more space to look at, and also, puts less strain on your eyes.

4. Storage

Storage is another factor that you must consider while getting a laptop for your programming work. A good amount of storage allows more space to store your files, IDEs, and other things, and still, you have more empty space. If you take low-storage laptops, the storage will be filled up quickly and it will impact the overall performance. Thus, having a good amount of storage is good, and most importantly, I would advise you to forget HDD, and go for SSD because SSD is the new technology and work faster than HDD.

Being a programmer, I would advise you to get a 512 GB SSD laptop. 

5. Battery Backup

Battery Backup is another thing you should consider while getting a laptop for your programming needs. In the age we are living in, we don’t just sit in the office and work but we have to work on the go as well. Thus, having a good battery backup is always good, and you are able to work for a longer time without charging again and again.

So, when you are going to get a laptop, make sure to know how much backup that gives. Moreover, battery backup doesn’t play any role in the overall performance of your laptop. Just that you can use it for long time at one charge if the battery is good.

6. Keyboard

Although laptops have their own keypad which is well enough, there are people who still love to have an external keyboard attached to their laptops to increase the efficiency of their work. If you are one of those, you should get the best keyboard which helps you keep typing for long hours without any strain on your fingers. Coding needs you to type a lot. And, when it comes to keyboards, my favorite is Mechanical Keyboards because they are too good. The key clacking sound and their tactility helps you quite well. I have used Logitech Mechanical Keyboard when I used to work on Desktop computers, that you can see here. You can connect to your laptop as well, and enjoy.


Getting a laptop for your programming needs isn’t a difficult task but you should not just get any. You should keep these things into consideration, and then make purchase decision. Hope you liked this guide. If you have got any questions, do ask me in the comments.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is a blogger who has been blogging for a long and has good knowledge about Laptops and computers. He pursued Bachelor of Computers, and because of that, he is too much into computers. He loves computers, and love to write about them as well.

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