Programming 101 : Desktop PC Vs Laptop For Programming
Should i choose desktop or laptop to learn programming? Well the obvious answer will be any of it will do. But let's change the question to should i buy desktop or laptop when i want to learn about X. This question has been asked so many times that i. Decided to make a post about it.
First, remember your purposes. Do you just want to learn how to program then a desktop PC is sufficient for you. But bear in mind that if you want to learn how to program because you are forced to do so whether you get into college or join a programming class then you will be in a lot of trouble if you choose desktop PC over laptop.
Programming itself doesn't require a very powerful computer, but what you want to program might need you to have certain hardware. For example if you want to learn how to make a simple console based program then you just need a computer that can compile your source code and and also run text editor at the same time. But if you want to program something big like Android Apps or Games then you better get pretty decent hardware or it will be a nightmare. At the time this post was written if you want to make a native iOS app you need to buy something that can run Mac on it.
As you know, that what kind of thing you want to program might need specific hardware, choosing which to buy become easier. If you love Apple product and want to develop it then simply buy an iMac. But if you want to do other thing beside that then you got many more choices to make. Especially when it comes to choosing the right hardware.
Let's talk about the hardware. As you can see Desktop PC are your best bet in terms of hardware price and performance. Laptop's hardware are generally pricier than desktop counterparts because they need to make it as small as possible but still give you a pretty good performance. And bear in mind that some laptop's hardware usually not upgradeable especially its GPU and CPU. But if you don't mind about the price and really need that mobility in the first place then you definitely should get a laptop.
How long you will run that extensive program? If it will take hours long then a PC will be good for you because desktop's cooling system is much better than laptops. However thanks to today's technology you can just send your program to your server and let your server do the heavy lifting which makes laptop a better choice. For example, i don't want to keep adding watermark to most art i upload here. I decided to make automatic watermarker so i can let my server do the heavy lifting for me. And if you want to store some files you can just buy external hard drive or just upload it to your server.
All of this discussion let to a simple list of pros and cons.
Desktop's pros :
- Better cooling system. Ready for 24/7 extensive operation.
- Cheaper than laptop. This one is usually the main reason people get desktop PC.
- Usually faster than laptop. Hell yeah.
- Upgradeable. As long as the hardware and the operating system support it.
Desktop's cons :
- Solid as Rock. Have fun sitting in your lovely chair in the same place.
- Power Hungry. You really need to check your electricity bill after getting one.
- Requires bigger space. Not suitable for small room.
- Instant shutdown when there is a power loss. Instant scream when you forgot to save your project.
Laptop's pros :
- Mobility. Bring it everywhere you like.
- Uses battery. Prevent project lost due to power loss.
- Requires small amount of room. You can even use your "lap".
Laptop's cons :
- Ridiculous price. Someone has to put extra money to shrink something.
- Thermal Throttling. Just don't get too rough with it.
- Slower than desktop. You know it was smaller right?
- Motherboard death. When one of the component die, you will be in a lot of pain.