Laptop Requirements for Coding

angelarae63 profile image Angela Whisnant ・1 min read

Hello Friends!

I really love this community! So many of you have replied to my requests for feedback and I very much appreciate that! I have another request, though....

I am getting to a point in my Development journey where I need to buy a laptop suitable for coding. In the past, I have had both Mac and Windows-based computers. To me, they both have their strengths. I have never worked with Linux, but am dying to try one of the simpler distro's.

I would love to hear from you all regarding the spec's I should look for in whatever I buy. Are there brands you prefer? What operating systems are you most comfortable with when it comes to coding? How much storage will I need? Will processor speed be a factor? Finally, if you had to replace your laptop tomorrow, what would you buy?

I should probably mention that, since I started my webdev classes, I have been using my Son's Asus ROG laptop, which has worked very well, but I can't afford $2600 for one of these.

Y'all have not steered me wrong, so far...can't wait to see what you think!

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angelarae63 profile

Angela Whisnant


Former Computer Operator at SAS Institute. Budding web developer looking for small projects to gain experience.


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Look for a Lenovo Thinkpad. They work very well on Linux. In terms of which Linux distro to use, I recommend Ubuntu because it's very user-friendly, the updates are frequent, and it's just easier to find tutorials targeted at that distro since it's so popular.


Hey, Erika! I was looking at the Ubuntu download today. There are two versions, 18.04.2 or 19.04...which do you recommend? 18.04.2 is LTS (long term support) but 19.04 is not. Which do you use?


Hi Angela! I usually stick with the LTS version, because it should be more stable. I'm using 18.04 on my devices and servers, I'd recommend that just to be on the safe side.


Actually, I am looking at one of these seriously. It's an L340 with an i7, 1TB HDD and 8gb of ram. I think I'd be happier with an SSD, though...


I purchased an LG Gram in January ($1,000 on Amazon) and removed the Windows OS and installed Ubuntu 18.04. I used Ubuntu for two years before that and have always loved it. The person who recommended the laptop to me uses it with Windows and doesn’t have any issues. It’s one of the lightest laptops you can get with the specs it has. It feels like its half the weight of a MacBook Pro I just got for work. 😅


I'll check it out. Light sounds good. So you are coding and working on Mac and Linux? I'll have to wait 'til I have my own. My son won't let me put Linux on his Asus:0(


At home, I use my personal laptop which has Linux on it. My job provided a MacBook Pro for working so that's when I use Mac. It's definitely not easy to switch between, especially because my LG's keyboard is wildly different from the Mac. 🤣


I primarily do security tool development and contribute to a couple of open source projects. That said, I do a good amount of work on my Samsung Chromebook Plus since it has a built-in Linux distro while I'm commuting into work or sitting on the couch.


Whaaat?! A Chromebook with a Linux distro? What a great idea!


I've been wanting to do this for years but not destroy the beautiful design intentions of the Chromebook itself by converting it to straight Linux. About a year ago they added a stripped down version of Debian as a small VM so it became a perfect mobile development platform for me!

My only small complaint is the lower-end CPU takes a few seconds longer than I'd like for Goland or Pycharm to lint my code and do auto-imports!

Hi Matthew! I was looking at the Samsung Chromebook Plus today. Do you mind sharing your model number? Amazon is fraught with older models that might not have the Linux Distro.


Hey, ya'll have some great recommendations! I wasn't expecting so much pro-Linux support, but I'm glad to see it, I guess my thinking in that direction is correct. I will continue looking and let you guys know what I actually do buy. Thanks so much!


Dual boot is your friend when developing cross-platform. Doing SCSI pass through calls on a OSX machine is near impossible. Static Library compilation in Windows is treacherous. Every OS had its benefits. Don't choose wisely, just don't choose.


Hey Angela, there are already really good recommendations here! If I had to buy a new laptop today I'd look into some of these:

  • Dell XPS 13 (They come with pre-installed Ubuntu and work reeeally good)
  • Thinkpad (Like Erika Heidi recommended you).
  • System76 laptops. They have their own Linux flavor preinstalled too. Very nice machinnes with a really nice range of affordable options.
  • Oh I also forgot to mention Tuxedo! Another Linux computer retailer (from Germany). They have really good laptops too with preinstalled linux.

As for the distro, Ubuntu, Mint (Ubuntu based, very user friendly) or Fedora are probably you best bets. System76 machines come with PoP!_os also Ubuntu based and very user friendly.

Important to mention, if you are not going to use Windows 10, choosing a pre-installed linux option means that you are saving around 100$ in a software license you are not going to use, which can translate into a better SSD or more RAM.

Good luck!


These all sound really good! I didn't realize I could buy a laptop with Linux pre-loaded! Checking Amazon, now.....


For coding needs you can go fine with a laptop with an ssd (at least 256gb), lots of ram (at least 8gb) and a good cpu (intel i5 or ryzen 5 or higher). Rog laptops tend to be expensive because of the gpu which u dont actually need unless you gonna do game development. As for os, its a matter of preference unless you gonna do mobile development then you definitely need a mac for making iphone builds


Whatever you pick up, make sure it has ample amounts of RAM (16+ GB) and an NVMe drive. Those two things make your computing experience all around swift and lag free, and having only NVMe drives will help your battery life.

Personally I picked up an MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, beatiful aesthetics married with a beastly i7 8750H and an RTX2070 for light on the go gaming. :)


Go for Linux (Ubuntu or CentOS) or MacOS. A laptop with 8gb, i5 or i7 (if you want to run heavy software like android studio or IntelliJ idea) and at least 256 GB of SSD will be enough. Right now, I am working with the latest MacBook Air and it has been great so far.


In my honest opinion, if you're going to spend $1k, you might as well just get a MacBook, or at least a laptop that is hackintosh compitable. The reason is because the Mac OS probably is going to give you the most enjoyable experience since all the videos and articles you read will be based on Mac OS. I want to also point out, Mac OS is not Linux. They are very different operating systems. So if you have the cash to drop, then drop it on a Mac, if you're looking for a cheaper option, then Windows is pretty much all you get, i3 processor is the minimum and and i5 is more than enough. If you use a rich heavy text editor like Jet Brains then perhaps i5 with at least 8GB DDR4 of ram would give you a pleasent experience. Best bang for your buck is Hackintosh, if you're ready to get tech savvy (But I'm sure you wouldn't ask this question if you knew). But it all comes down how much you want to use in learning tech. If you want to only focus on code, then go the Mac.


Well, if you're into design and development then it's best to have mac or windows because of illustrator, photoshop.
But if you are into solo development, then I would prefer giving a try to linux. I have worked with linux environment for about 6 months. It's great.
A laptop with 8gb ram, i7 most probably and with 256 SSD will work like charm for you setup. :)


Get an ultrabook by Asus which can be quite affordable these days with tons of battery life to write code and lightweight.