Holiday Buying Guide for Your Aspiring Coder
Parents often asks us what type of computer their young coder needs to get started with programming. We put together this brief list that will help you find the right gadgets for your aspiring developers.
We will focus on laptops, specifically Personal Computers (PC’s) and Macbook Pro’s (Macbooks). Macbooks tend to be a lot more expensive and overkill for what you want to accomplish when you’re getting started. That said Macbooks are great computers and last a while. As we speak I’m typing this on a Macbook I purchased in college in 2011. If you do plan to go down the Macbook route its best to start off with a pre-owned and refurbished Macbook. We will cover the advantages of having a Macbook and strategies on buying a pre-owned Macbook in a later post.
Before you spend a lot of money on tools, we recommend starting off with PC’s as they are way more affordable and have all the specifications (specs) you need to develop games. You can even code video games using Chromebooks (a Web based computer made by Google). In a later post we will outline all the Web based tools you can use on Chromebooks to develop games and websites.
So here is a list of the minimum specs we recommend for a PC:
- Computer Processor Unit (CPU ): Intel 5 ( i5) or Intel 7 ( i7 )1.6 – 2.5 (Gigahertz) GHz
- Random Access Memory (RAM): 8 Gigabytes (GB)
- Hard drive space: 1 Terabyte (TB)
Computers with these specs will cost between $250 – $500. With these specs you should be able to go to any store and ask the representatives what they have. They will be able to help you with any additional questions. (Also see our buying guide quick reference below)
Where can I find these computers?
- Microcenter: If you’re in DC, Maryland or Virginia (DMV area), there are two locations in Rockville, MD and Fairfax, VA. Microcenter’s selection is really good and the sales representatives are extremely knowledgeable about the products in store. Prices are also really reasonable.
- Best Buy: You can’t go wrong with Best Buy. Their staff is knowledgeable enough to get you what you need and selection is pretty good.
If you’re not a big fan of going to stores, here are some online stores that will help you find what you need.
We hope this helps you find the right computer for your aspiring young coder. The next post will outline the software you will need to get started with game development.