As a programmer, shopping for suitable computer hardware can be confusing. Your top consideration is storage. You need to choose a computer with enough storage to save you space and handle any additional tasks you might need. But how much storage is enough for a programmer?
Elements That Affect Your Storage Needs
As a programmer, you have five main elements in your environment:
- The operating system
- Code editor
- Web browser
- Virtual machine
- Project file size
For the operating system, you will need between 10 to 25 GB for your system and configuration files. Different code editors will require a different amount of space. However, they need less space compared to Integrated Development Environments. For example, Visual Studio, an IDE, might need between 20 and 50 GB, while Sublime Text, a code editor, only needs 200 MB.
As a programmer, you might need to install different browsers to help create and test your projects. Most browsers are light applications and take a maximum space of 2GB. If you need to run virtual machines to test setups and configurations, consider between 5 and 7GB of space for the device to run properly.
The storage you need for project files will depend on your projects. For example, if you are working on a project with few images, you will need less than 200 MB, while a project with many high-quality images may take 500 MB. On the other hand, a video game web developer might need more space due to the sound and graphics of the project.
So, these different elements will affect the amount of storage you need. A web, software, and application developer might need 256 GB, while a game developer might need slightly more, like 500 GB.
Which Is Better For Programming? – HDD Or SSD?
After determining elements that affect your storage needs, you need to know which between the HDD and SSD storage meets your needs. HDD, Hard Disk Drive, is a mechanical drive with a spinning disc that reads and writes data. A hard disk drive is older hardware and more affordable than SSDs. However, HDDs are slower in reading and writing speeds due to their mechanical parts.
On the other hand, SSD, Solid-State Drive, stores data in integrated circuits. Since they don’t have any mechanical moving parts, they have higher speeds. SSDs are recent hardware and more costly compared to HDDs. There are two main types of SSDs – TLC and MLC. An MLC is an SSD able to store two bits of data per cell, while a TLC is able to store three bits of data per cell. Additionally, TLC SSDs have eight different charge levels, while MLC SSDs have four different charge levels.
SSD is suitable for programmers who need the fastest hardware for their projects and prioritize performance. Solid-State Drives offer fast performance, which translates to faster load times. SSDs are also not prone to failure, making them great for those who are concerned about data loss. They are also more energy-efficient, causing less battery power loss in laptops.
However, if you need more storage on a budget, HDD is ideal. They are significantly less expensive than SSDs, more readily available and less prone to shortages, and tend to have longer lifespans. A large base storage capacity also give them an advantage over SSDs, which often have less storage capacity.
How Much RAM Is Enough For A Programmer?
Most programmers underestimate the importance of RAM in their devices. If your applications need more memory than the memory available on your computer, your computer will become slow. The operating system will then swap data between your memory and virtual memory. RAM is more effective than SSD, and so, when you run out of RAM, your programming experience can become unpleasant.
A minimum RAM requirement for fast build times, multitasking, responsive development environment, and research is 16 GB. However, to run memory-hungry tools, build processes, and support extensive multitasking, you need 32 GB or more.
When choosing RAM, you should consider:
- The form factor to ensure compatibility with your device
- DDR version for memory speed
- Memory speed, timing, and capacity
There are endless computer and laptop models out there. However, your needs as a programmer are different, and you need to ensure you settle for a device that can handle your coding and workload. Thus, storage is the primary consideration. The guide above helps you determine your space needs to work efficiently on different types of projects.