Finding the best laptops for programming students and programmers in 2020 is a difficult task especially for a laptop newbie. Don’t worry our expert programmer (Peter Anderson) made this selection easier for you.
If you’re searching for a new laptop in 2020 to build any kind of software. From mobile apps to data science, pipelines to websites. You’ve literally got thousands of options each with a different set of specifications built for different needs.
In case you are in a hurry and need to goto our recommendations instantly. You can follow up HERE.
I’ve taken some time to sift through all the various options. And gave my recommendations on what the best current laptops are for three price ranges.
- A small budget laptop for students.
- A mid-range laptop for generalists.
- A high-end laptop for professional programmers.
- 0.1 BEST LAPTOPS FOR PROGRAMMING STUDENTS AND PROGRAMMERS
- 0.2 1. Acer Nitro 5 (Student Laptop)
- 0.3 2. Dell XPS 15 (Generalist Laptop)
- 0.4 3. Razer Blade (Professional Programmer Laptop)
- 0.5 List of Best Laptops For Programming Students (IN 2020)
- 1 FINAL WORDS
My Own Configuration (It’s Secret)
The MacBook Pro
Let me start by telling you what my own configuration.
I’ve got a 2017 MacBook Pro that I use as my laptop for access to editing software.
I like the touchpad and OS X is built on top of Unix. So I can use the terminal to help me code efficiently. However, I really dislike the touch bar. And I’m honestly getting disillusioned in general with Apple, lately now.
Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up and you know. Watch me get a new laptop soon seriously probably the high-end one that I’ll recommend to you later in this article. I always run out of storage space so I bought a LaCie external 2 terabyte storage device. That’s very durable to store all my footage and extra projects on.
Custom Desktop PC
I also do all of my serious work on a custom-built desktop computer that I built for $1600.
Inside of a Corsair 750d ATX full tower case, I’ve got an Intel Core i7 processor, 18 GB’s of RAM, 1 terabyte of hard drive storage, 250 GB’s of solid-state storage and Asus prime Z370 motherboard. And an Nvidia made EVGA 1080 TI GeForce graphics card for deep learning.
All of this is attached to a 27-inch Asus monitor. Additionally, Nvidia sent me two monster-like GPU’s, but I gave those away to some of you because I love you :). Regardless this setup works great for me. I never have to worry about overheating.
It can pretty much run everything I throw at it machine learning, deep learning, mobile development, and gaming. It runs on Windows but I use Bash for Windows which is a Linux shell. That runs seamlessly in a Windows environment letting me install dependencies and perform all sorts of UNIX operations, yay.
When it comes to buying a desktop it’s best to just build one. Because it’s way cheaper if you build it yourself. And it’s fun, you learn a lot about how computer hardware works. It’s like an adult version of Legos. And see if something goes wrong you’ll be much more attuned to what component is at fault.
So my official desktop recommendation is to build it yourself. Do not buy a premade one. And if you really want OS X, just make it into a Hackintosh, :P. Here, we go with the list.
BEST LAPTOPS FOR PROGRAMMING STUDENTS AND PROGRAMMERS
If you’re on a budget and a student, the Acer Nitro 5 is the laptop for you to get coming in at 750 dollars. It is obviously one of the best laptops for programming students.
Although it’s a bit bulky weighing about 5.4 pounds, the 15-inch 1080p display makes up for it. As does the keyboard, it’s solid and snappy with a tactile bump in the middle of each keystroke giving it a satisfying springy rebound.
The trackpad sits a little left of centre, right below the main keyboard. And the machine has a decent selection of ports like Ethernet USB 3 and an SD card reader, also USB 2 and an audio jack port.
I picked this one because it offers an exceptional processor for the price. The 4-core 8 threaded I5 coffee-like processor shines and performs well on most mainstream applications and games. It’s also got a lower-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card for deep learning.
And when things get hot it’s got dual-fan ventilation plus a cooling system. Which isn’t as loud as many gaming laptops. It will be able to handle pretty much any programming tasks you can throw at it except for iOS development.
Since this laptop runs on windows, that’s why you should build your mobile apps with flutter which is a single language called Dart. Dart compiles down to both iOS and Android code. And if you want to learn more about how to build flutter apps you may google it. I build flutter apps for a range of use cases.
Now for the mid-range budget option. This is for programmers who want quality and have budget constraints but are a little more flexible meaning they can spend a little bit more.
The new Dell XPS 15 is the one for you coming to a price of more than a thousand dollars. The base price is 1100 but my version adds the GPU for 250 dollars to trained neural networks like a boss.
It has got a functional design aesthetic that’s not necessarily the prettiest but it’s pretty slim. And allows for you to switch out batteries easily. It’s also got every port you could possibly need. Two USB 3.0 connectors, Ethernet, HDMI out and an SD card reader.
It also provides a separate Thunderbolt 3 connection for plugging into high-speed devices like an external graphics card. It’s pretty durable as well, resistant to bumps and extreme temperatures. I like the little fingerprint reader, to secure the laptop.
And it’s got a great 1080p display. Also, the keyboard offers a very good typing experience. Each Key has 1.7 millimeters of travel and requires 72 grams of force, making them deeper and stronger than the keys of most business laptops.
It has got a whopping 11 hours of battery life which is impressive for its powerful Core i5 processor, 500 gigs hard drive and 256 gigs SSD. It’s also got 8 gigs of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU.
Now for the high-end version for professionals, who have some money to spend. I recommend the Razer Blade coming nearly at $1500 as a base model, but with upgrades can go up to $3,300. It’s one of the best laptops for programmers (Professionals).
Let’s just discuss the base model, though. First of all, it’s beautiful, it’s aluminum chassis gives off a Macbook like feel. The $1500 base model has at 2.2 gigahertz Intel Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of SSD with a 1 TB hard drive it’s also got an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and 1080p display.
This notebook is slim but it manages to fit in a surprising number of ports including USB 3, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI mini DisplayPort and a headset jack. The keyboard keys aren’t clunky but they’re not mushy either.
With 68 grams of actuation force definitely better than the MacBook Pro keys. You can run pretty much any application or game on this thing. But while it’s more powerful it sacrifices battery life lasting up to 5 hours, using dual fans for cooling along the way.
THINGS THAT MATTERS THE MOST IN PROGRAMMING LAPTOPS
Let’s start at the basics to give you an overhead view of what specification should matter to you the most if you are buying one of those programming laptops in 2020.
1. Good CPU
First and foremost, a really good CPU or Computer Processing Unit is crucial to have.
The fundamental operation of a CPU is called an instruction. The operating system of a computer will feed the processor one instruction at a time and it performs it. Each CPU has a set of instructions that it accepts and understands and this is called the instruction set, and it’s hardwired into it.
So in a single cycle, a CPU will fetch the next instruction decode it, execute and repeat it, simple. But still smarter than Cardi B :p. Whenever you’re compiling some code or running some simulation software, the faster the CPU is, the faster those processes will occur for you. That means the focus should be to get the fastest processor you can afford.
Next in line in terms of performance is the RAM or Random Access Memory.
Because processors are fast and hard drives are slow. To avoid long wait times instead of having the processor read and write to the hard drive directly, RAM is the place data is temporarily stored so that reading and writing is much faster.
A bare minimum you’ll need is 8 GB’s of RAM. And I don’t think any kind of serious programming can be done on a laptop with less than 8 gigs of RAM. Unless you’re coding PHP. But that’s not serious programming. It’s always good to have neuro RAM on the laptop to efficiently run local servers compilers code editors and web browsers simultaneously.
In terms of storage getting a great Solid-State Drive (SSD) is essential.
It will save minutes off of your project with all the files and apps you’ll use. Hard Drives (HDD’s) are slower so they’re found mostly on cheaper laptops. And SSDs are a lot faster which is why they’re usually found on laptops priced higher than $600.
Getting an SSD should be near the top of your priorities. This will give you significant performance improvements over a standard hard drive. Since they use multiple flash memory chips to store data instead of a rotating disk with a magnetic coating like a hard drive would. Every operation will be a lot faster with an SSD including booting up the OS, compiling code, launching apps and hacking into fortnight’s servers :p.
4. Graphics Card
When it comes to graphics cards, it’s no secret that deep learning projects require GPUs to run state-of-the-art performance. So, you want at least one of those preferably from Nvidia.
5. The Keyboard
The keyboard programming is a lot of typing. So you’ll want to use one that’s comfortable and durable.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had keys pop out of my own laptop because I type like a fiend.
6. High-Resolution Display
Also, a high-resolution display is a must. Make sure it’s easy on your eyes as you’re going to be spending hours staring at it.
Reducing eye strain during those late-night coding sessions is really important. A 4k display is kind of overkill for a laptop. Especially when you consider the added costs and the battery drain that you will encounter, 1080 pixels is ideal.
7. Good Battery Life
Lastly, if you travel a lot having a good battery life and lightweight design is a plus.
List of Best Laptops For Programming Students (IN 2020)
In case you are in a hurry and need an instant skimming of the whole article. You can check our list below.
- Acer Nitro (Best Laptop for Programming Student)
- Dell XPS 15 (Best Laptop for Programmers)
- Razer Blade (Best Laptop for Professional Programmers)
So, above I have listed 3 best laptops for programming students and programmers in 2020. All three of my picks have onboard GPUs for deep learning applications but at a time. That means you can train models for hours for computer vision, natural language processing and virtually any machine learning tasks. What I recommend is to check up each laptop thoroughly and max out the free time you get for each.
Hopefully, you will start doing serious AI work. But that’s why each of my picks has an onboard GPU for local training. So, in conclusion, the best laptops for programmers are the Acer Nitro 5 for students, the new Dell XPS 15 for mid-range budgets and the Razer Blade for professionals.
If you enjoyed this article smash that comment button. And whatever laptop you find. Use it to build wealth for yourself by empowering other people. And I promise you’ll always be happy and fulfilled.
By the way, if you’re new here welcome. Subscribe to our newsletter to get notified of my latest articles. My picks are suited for any type of programming, web development, game development and machine learning research. Happy Shopping. See you :’).