Are Gaming Laptops Good for Programming in 2020?

Gaming laptops are by no means a cheap purchase, as they boast heavy-duty components that will enhance your gaming experience. 

You might be looking to make the most of what you have and are wondering if gaming laptops are good for programming. 

Gaming laptops are generally much more powerful than what any regular user would need in a computer. 

However, note that the more affordable gaming laptops and high-end professional ones will have completely different specs.

But the short answer to your question is yes, you can use your gaming laptop for programming! 

If you want to really understand what laptops are ideal for coding and programming, there are some things you need to know.

Do I Need a Powerful Laptop for Programming?

When we are talking about programming, having the right laptop that is up to the task can be quite crucial. 

It may seem like a no-brainer that powerful laptops are great, but do you really need a powerful laptop as a programmer?

Of course, it is possible to write code and build programs on almost all laptops.

And yet powerful laptops with machines that have been built to suits this function will allow you to work more productive and efficiently.

Programming itself consists of various types of language and development that require different tools and specializations. 

While there’s no prescriptive approach when choosing a laptop for programming, a high-performing one will often do the trick.

If you are going to program mobile and web developments, we do recommend getting a more powerful machine as most integrated development environments (IDEs) require large RAMs. 

On the other hand, basic programming like desktop apps and terminal-based software should work on any decent machine.

In the end, what kind of laptop you need depends on the type of programming you are doing. 

In general, you should pay attention to choosing a laptop with enough RAM, the right CPU capacity, graphic card, storage, and display.

How Much RAM do I Need for Coding?

RAM, or random-access memory, is one of the most important factors you should be looking at when finding the perfect laptop for programming. 

It’s often regarded as the ‘brain’ of the computer as it stores data, instructions, and memory.

A larger RAM is undoubtedly better as the laptop will be faster and able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, which could be essential for programmers. 

Though keep in mind that price will rise with the amount of RAM, so there is no point in getting excessive RAMs you don’t need.

Different types of programmers will also require different sizes of RAM. 

For instance, web developers do not have to worry about RAM as 4GB is usually enough for their job.

Meanwhile, developers working on applications and software should look for 8GB of RAM at the minimum. 

This is because their IDEs and emulators will take up more RAM space.

Even further up the spectrum are game developers, who we recommend getting at least 12GB of RAM. 

Although it’s safe to say that 8GM of RAM hits the spot for most programming and developing purposes.

The maximum amount of RAM you can get now is 32GB. 

However, only those who will be working with heavy graphics and massive files would need this.

Is Graphics Card Necessary for Programming?

So, do you need a graphics card for programming? 

The short answer is no, you don’t really need one.

The long answer is: It depends. 

Nowadays, a graphics card is not necessary for programming or coding.

If you’re just writing code, then you really don’t need one. 

Just remember that decades ago, people can program software just fine using their old and slow machine.

So, no, you don’t really need a graphics card for coding and programming.

Especially since CPUs are now very fast and will be enough for most computing operations.

Now, if you’re asking if you should get one, again, that depends. 

The only time you will need a GPU is if you’re making a game or doing something that requires a lot of graphical processing power. 

If you want to make games or do graphics work, then yes. 

If you’re going to be able to play games that you design or program at higher settings, then yes. 

If you’re writing software that is used by others, then you really don’t need one. Since most software doesn’t require a powerful GPU. 

GPUs are mainly used for simulations and visualizations. 

The only time you will need a GPU is if you’re doing something graphics intensive like rendering, simulations, or visualizations.

What Processor do I Need for Coding?

We would like to emphasize again that there are no one-size-fits-all laptop specs for programming. 

In general, a stronger computing power means that you can boost your productivity as the laptop can process data and instructions faster.

Even with a large RAM, a laptop might still be slow if the Central Processing Unit or CPU is not new and updated. 

Older CPUs might have difficulties processing files and compiling data the way you need.

When using a laptop for coding, we would recommend having a processor that is at least an 8th gen Intel i7. 

Or on the AMD counterpart, you can opt for the Ryzen 7 line ups.

This will ensure that you can work efficiently without worrying about slow speeds and outdated processors, therefore improving your workflow.

Programmers could also benefit from upgrading the laptop’s GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, especially for those working with graphics-related apps like video editing software. 

A GTX 1070 or 1080 should suffice for most programmers, though NVIDIA also has an excellent RTX series.

Additionally, screen resolution and displays are essential too, especially for jobs that involve image development. Try to look for an IPS display and with at least 2K resolution.

Final Thoughts

Overall, gaming laptops have been specifically designed to create smooth and immersive gameplay, so they will often have decent RAM and CPU—both things you would need for programming.

This means you can comfortably use gaming laptops for programming. 

However, it may be beneficial to separate your gaming and work laptops in the long-term.

About the Author
Hi, I'm Steve. I'm a proud gamer. I have been active within the gaming sphere for 30+ years. As gaming is something I enjoy very much, I want other people to enjoy it also. That is exactly why I started this blog.

Leave a Comment