Gaming laptops are high-performance machines. Except for those bulky and heavy workstation laptops, none can outcompete gaming laptops when it comes to raw performance.

But programming isn’t as performance-heavy as gaming, so why get a gaming laptop for programming? And besides, why would you need a dedicated graphics card for programming? Let’s find out.

What type of laptops are best for programming?

Programming in itself isn’t as resource-intensive. You can just use a text editor and do programming just fine. But devs and programmers require a wide variety of tools, many of which are CPU or GPU intensive. So having a good set of hardware is crucial for a decent programming experience. And in this age of AI and ML, a GPU seems more like a necessity than an option for programmers and developers.

A good laptop for programming should have at least a strong CPU and enough RAM for smooth multitasking, fast storage, a good screen that does not strain the eyes, and optionally a dedicated graphics card.

Ultrabooks and Notebooks for programming?

For most programmers, ultrabooks and MacBooks are great options. These portable laptops feature a faster processor and plenty of RAM for smooth multitasking. Most ultrabooks also feature a bright display, a solid keyboard, and provide excellent battery backup.

Dell XPS 13 is a solid ultrabook.

Do you need a Graphics Card?

A graphics card is not directly required for coding purposes. But depending on your field of expertise, you may want to get a specific set of hardware. For example, if you are a web developer, a MacBook, or an Ultrabook (without a discrete GPU) is going to be perfect. But say if you’re a game developer or an ML engineer, you want your laptop to have a dedicated graphics unit.

Gaming laptops are great for programming

Because of the ultrabook’s smaller size, the CPU performance is pretty limited. Besides, those CPUs are designed to be energy efficient. So if you need raw processing power, they aren’t the best suit.

If you’re serious about performance, buy a portable workstation or a gaming laptop. We recommend gaming laptops over workstations since they are quite heavy and bulky. You can’t just take a workstation wherever you go. But with a gaming laptop, you can.

Solid CPU Performance

At the primary stages of development, any program can lack proper optimization – which can result in a longer execution time. Having a strong CPU enables faster execution, which may help increase productivity. Besides, a fast, multi-core processor is useful for running virtual machines or containers.

And in terms of CPU performance, only portable workstations can match the performance levels of a gaming laptop. Most gaming laptops feature multi-core AMD or Intel processors with higher clock speeds – perfect for smooth multitasking and running VMs.

Comfortable keyboard

Most gaming laptops feature high-quality keyboards that are fast, responsive, and comfortable to use. This is another reason for getting a gaming laptop for programming. Because as a developer, you’ll spend hours typing. That’s what makes the keyboard one of the most important tools in your day-to-day job.

Bright screen

For the best gaming experience, most gaming laptops feature a bright and crisp display. And a brighter and bigger screen is important for programming in the daytime. This makes gaming laptops a perfect suit for programming in the daytime.

A graphics unit

A dedicated (also known as discrete) graphics card isn’t very important for programming. But a decent GPU is a must for game development or in machine learning applications. Besides, as the field of AI expands rapidly, you may want to consider a graphics card, even if you don’t need one right now.

The good thing is that all gaming laptops come with a high-performance discrete GPU to run games at high framerates. This kind of graphics performance is exactly what game developers and ML experts require.


So are Gaming Laptops necessary for programming? No, you can be well off by using a much simpler configuration for programming. But are Gaming Laptops good for programming? Absolutely, yes!

Should You buy one? Well, the answer depends on many factors including your budget and profession. Here, check out our list of gaming laptops for programming.

By Jessica T

Hi I'm Jessica and I'm one of the authors on SmashGadget. I love all things tech and gaming. Hope you like my reads.

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