When learning programming, not a few people wonder what kind of laptop is actually good to use? Especially with dozens of brands and hundreds of types of laptops available in computer stores, it makes us even more confused in choosing.
The answer to this question is really simple. All laptops can be used for programming. Eeeit, there is a catch. Although all laptops can be used for programming, the more appropriate the type of laptop used with the type of programming being carried out, the more productive a programmer will be at work. In addition, there is a type of programming that can only be done on certain laptops because of the limitations given.
In general, there are several things that we must pay attention to in choosing a laptop for programming, namely:
- Screen resolution
- CPU speed
- Amount of memory (RAM)
- Hard disk type and size
- Operating system
- Graphics Card
Portability is the main reason why programmers use laptops. Laptops allow us to work anytime and anywhere with or without electricity (but have limited time).
If the reader is the type of programmer who will move around a lot, then a laptop with a screen size of 13 or 14 inches is the best type of laptop because it has a relatively smaller size. However, if you don’t move around too often and need a higher specification, choose a laptop with a 15-inch screen. Usually (not always) laptops with 15-inch screens have higher specifications than laptops with 13 or 14 inches sailing.
Even though it looks trivial, screen density can have a very important role for a programmer. This is because most of the time we will be looking at the screen.
The majority of laptops have a resolution of 1366×768. This resolution does not have enough space for multitasking. Plus, the text that is displayed also looks less sharp but it is sufficient for general programming.
The best resolution is 1920 x 1080 or commonly known as Full HD. This resolution has ample space for multitasking because it can display multiple windows simultaneously without losing the required information. The sharpness of the screen is also very good and will definitely spoil the eye.
For a screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, it is usually only available on computers with rather high specifications with a 15-inch screen. There are several types of 13 or 14 inch laptops that have Full HD resolution but they are very rare and are usually quite expensive high-end laptops.
Actually there is one other type of resolution available, namely 4K or retina displays. 4K resolution is a type of resolution measuring 4096 x 2160 and retina display is Apple’s term to describe this large resolution.
Even though it has a very high resolution with incredible sharpness, the 4K screen will also eat up more resources so it will drain the battery faster. If you’re not really doing a job that requires a very large resolution (a designer seems to need a high-resolution screen more), simply stick to a Full HD resolution screen.
Don’t push yourself too hard if your budget isn’t sufficient, the 1366 x 768 screen is actually enough. Multitasking can still be done, although it is limited to only two applications simultaneously (left and right). What if you need more than two? Just use ALT + TAB.
CPU speed has a significant influence on the performance of our laptops. The CPU (or processor) has several specifications, namely cache size, number of cores, frequency, etc. We don’t need to analyze this specification too deeply. Laptops with Intel Core i5 processors alone are great for most programming needs.
If you have limited funds, Intel Core i3 and even Dual Core processors can also be used if the only requirement is for web programming.
Amount of Memory (RAM)
For web programming needs, a laptop with 2GB memory is sufficient. It would be better if you can use a minimum of 4GB of memory. In essence, the more RAM memory, the better. If there is luck, upgrade it little by little.
The exception is programmers who need heavy work such as Android programmers or game programmers who use engines like Unity, Unreal, and the like. For this type of work, we must have a large memory. For Android, 4GB is the minimum standard only for Android Studio with loading times that can train our patience. I can’t imagine using Android Studio on a laptop less than 4GB, it will run very, very slowly. So, if the reader is doing Android programming or other programming that takes up a lot of resources, use at least 8GB of RAM which can work smoothly and comfortably.
Because RAM usually has two slots, the upgrade process is easier and cheaper. With limited funds, we can buy a laptop with 4GB RAM and later add it with 4GB RAM so that the size becomes 8GB. Techniques like this can help save costs.
Types and sizes of hard drives
So far, the authors have not paid much attention to the importance of using SSDs. An ordinary HDD is enough, at least using our HDD can work without a hitch. However, if it turns out that the work being done still feels slow even though you already have “good” laptop specifications, think about using an SSD.
The ratio of SSD to HDD speeds can reach 1: 3 to 1: 5. Just look at the comparison of the boot time between HDD and SSD from the following PC World site:
SSD prices are quite expensive. For 128GB, the price is between 700 thousand-1 million, where at the same price we can buy a regular HDD up to 1TB in size. But prices don’t lie, SSD speeds are much, much higher. Therefore, the schedule is someday to upgrade to an SSD at least for the system (128GB is enough). Other data (movies, songs, documents, music) can be stored on an ordinary HDD.
What do programmers do most often? Of course writing code. Having a comfortable keyboard for coding is very influential for a programmer. Softness when pressed, feedback obtained, the distance from one button to another sound like gibberish. But believe me, a good keyboard is not only important for gamers but also important for a programmer.
For programming or regular use, there are three operating systems that are most widely used, Linux, Windows, and OS X. If the type of programming is not limited by the provider, any operating system can be used. What types of programming are limited so that we must use one of these operating systems? iPhone, iPad, OS X, and other Apple products. To make applications for Apple products, we must use OS X, which means we have to use a Macbook type laptop. Making applications for Apple products cannot be done outside of the operating system it makes, so Linux and Windows cannot be used.
Game programming. There are also many game engines that can be used on these three operating systems, but some popular game engines can only be used on Windows or Windows and Mac only. Examples of these game engines include Construct 2 (Construct 3 is cross platform), Corona, GameMaker Studio, GameSalad, RPG Maker, and Frostbite.
Apart from game programmers (especially those who use 3D game engines), the graphics card has little effect when coding. So, to save costs, we can choose a laptop with an ordinary graphics card (integrated graphic card). Unless the reader also wants to play games with the laptop, an external graphics card is a must-have component.