Do you want to know which computer to buy to program? In this article, we are going to tell you what computer specs do I need for programming. With our advice, you will have clear priorities to make the best possible purchase.
What Computer Specs do I Need for Programming
It is not the same to consult what computer to buy to program a basic application, than for something much more severe.
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Programmers do not have the same needs and demands, and therefore this is the first thing to consider. We could classify them into three types:
- Beginning programmers or programming students: They will do a bit of everything, working with all kinds of technologies, so their demands will vary. However, they will typically work with fairly small scales of codes and data.
- Average programmer: You will be working with quite large chunks of codes and for many hours, and you will have to do large builds. However, any decent modern computer is sufficient for this type of programmer, who will focus more on ease of use than simply performance.
- Programmer training AI / Machine learning on his PC: We are not referring here to a more experienced programmer, but simply to one who needs his PC to train complex artificial intelligence models. This can also include students, but rather for projects on their own or masters related to this area.
In this article, we will focus on the first two groups, since the third group has quite special needs for computational power.
If you train GPU-accelerated models, you will need a very powerful graphics card with a lot of memory, and we are already talking about professional graphics or very high-end (RTX 3090 Ti).
In addition, many people will not even use their own computer for this type of task, since they will have access to much more powerful servers or even supercomputers.
Portable or Desktop
One of the most recurring questions in this regard is whether we should look for a laptop or desktop computer.
We cannot tell you with certainty what type of computer to buy to program, because it depends a lot on your needs and budget you have.
In general, laptops are ideal for students and for those who need to take the PC to work, and desktops are best if more performance is needed and the PC will be used for other tasks (such as gaming).
Features You Need to See in Computer for Programming
We are now going to see a series of characteristics that we recommend that the computer you are looking for to program meets. We will focus on the computer hardware.
Processor, RAM and Graphics card
As we indicated before, a normal programming computer does not need an excessively powerful processor.
We can have more than enough with a modern CPU with at least 4 cores, although we recommend 6 cores instead.
The most important thing is that it is modern, so that it has a good IPC and all the technological advances implemented.
As for RAM memory, here we are already entering into something that can be decisive if you use many applications at the same time when programming.
The general recommendation is 16GB as a minimum, but we already recommend 32GB if you really want to have more than enough.
Finally, it is not necessary to have a good graphics card unless you work with applications with GPU acceleration, as we explained before, or if you are also going to play with the computer.
If not, with the integrated graphics card the processor is left over. If you’re buying a desktop PC, make sure it has integrated graphics.
When it comes to storage, these days you don’t go anywhere without an SSD. It does not matter if you are looking for which computer to buy to program or for whatever, you need to have a solid state drive as main storage yes or yes.
As for the capacity, we recommend about 500GB of SSD to go loose, especially if you are going to install several operating systems. If not, about 250GB is more than enough.
Finally, try to make the SSD M.2 NV ME type, especially if the PC is a desktop (laptops usually already have one).
These types of fast SSDs can be of great help when doing a very large build (for example, building Android).
The screen is perhaps the most important, if you are looking for which computer to buy to program, surely you are going to spend hours and hours looking at it every day.
You can’t buy a computer with a bad screen, whether it’s a laptop or a desktop, so pay attention to these two minimum requirements:
- Resolution of at least 1080p (1920×1080), possibly higher.
- IPS panel (or if it is a desktop monitor, VA is also valid).
The opposite of this would be a low resolution screen (1366×768, for example) and a poor quality panel (TN).
You must not be able to use the screen comfortably for hours, if you have a low resolution you will see the text poorly and you will have less space on the screen, and if the panel is of low quality the image will be dark and gray.
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Look at technologies such as Flicker Free, which will prevent eye fatigue, and that the brightness is at least 250 nits. If you are going to buy a laptop and use it outdoors, 400+ nits is ideal.
We continue with this guide of recommendations of which computer to buy to program talking about peripherals.
Just as you will spend hours looking at the screen, you will also be constantly typing and using the mouse.
On a laptop, we can do little (although you can always use an external keyboard or mouse), but on a desktop it is advisable to buy a quality keyboard, mouse and Pad.
For many, it will have to be a mechanical keyboard. Although there are also membrane keyboards, for example with a Chiclets format, which work like a charm. To do this, check out our guide to the best keyboards on the market.
Zahid Khan Jadoon is an Interior Decorator, Designer and a specialized Chef and loves to write about home appliances and food. Right now he is running his interior designing business along with a managing a restaurant. Also in his spare time he loves to write about home and kitchen appliances.