Building PCs for specific use cases can be interesting. You can hand-craft the hardware as per your requirements and get an appropriately performing PC.
When you want to build a PC for programming, you will need a lot of processing power to handle the complex coding. But there are other factors to consider too.
Therefore, in this PC building guide, we shall take a closer look into the step-by-step procedure for building a programming PC.
How to build a PC for programming?
A PC that is going to be made specifically for programming should have hardware components that balance the following features:
- Compatibility with Programming Languages and Tools
So, when you decide to build a programming PC, you have to choose hardware that possesses all these features within it. But how to exactly pick out the hardware for our programming requirements?
To do that, we are giving you a simple step-by-step procedure you can follow to get the right set of hardware for your programming PC. You can use this guide to find the hardware with the right specifications and get the best performance, reliability, and compatibility.
Guide to Building a Programming PC
The following are the steps you should take when seeking to build a programming PC:
- Specifications Required and Budget
- CPU selection
- Motherboard Selection
- RAM selection
- Storage Solution
- GPU selection
- Power Supply Unit (PSU) selection
- PC case selection
- Peripherals and Accessories
Specifications Required and Budget
The first and foremost thing you should consider before buying any kind of hardware is the specifications. All the hardware you are going to choose depends on the program you are going to run in abundance. So, it is important to know the system requirements to run that specific program.
Every program specifies a minimum and recommended system requirement. While it is better to get at least the recommended system specifications, it is governed by your budget.
Budget plays an important role in choosing the specifications even if you aim for the best. Therefore, decide on your budget and decide on the specifications.
The recommended system requirements give you an overall idea of the hardware required for running the program. It will be enough for its function. But you might need higher processing performance. So, we shall discuss what kind of hardware is needed in general for a programming PC. We will also recommend some PCs for Entry level, Mid-Range, and High-End Programming PCs.
CPU is the most crucial hardware for a programming PC. Because coding heavily relies on computing power and the CPU is the one that can provide it.
While choosing a CPU for programming, it is always recommended to get a multi-core and multi-thread chipset. At least 6 core and 12 thread chipsets can be better for compilation of the coding, and it can swiftly execute it too.
If you want to have higher processing power, you have to go for higher cores and threads. Also, you have to consider the clock speeds of the CPU. The clock speed must be at least 2.2 or 3.2 GHz.
Having an unlocked CPU that can be overclocked is also better for getting a higher performance at all times.
A motherboard combines all the hardware and aids in communication between all of them. Your motherboard should be suitable for the CPU you have chosen, and it should have the following:
- Expansion slots for RAM
- Network ports with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Better heat sinks
- Sufficient USB and other connectivity ports
- Sufficient Storage slots that include HDD and SSD
Programmers or coders use a lot of RAMs to aid the CPU in faster compilations. Therefore, it is very important to have quite a few RAM slots. Similarly, having faster storage solutions is great for running programs efficiently. Therefore, having sufficient SSD slots and HDD slots can be better.
Heat sinks in the important areas of the motherboard can handle the thermals better. Even if you don’t use a separate cooling system, these heat sinks can be very useful in removing the residual heat generated.
Similar to a CPU, RAM plays a vital role in the performance of a PC. The CPU seeks the aid of RAM to perform the operations. Therefore, the RAM must have more memory as well as faster clock speeds.
Choosing the latest gen RAM like the DDR5 or DDR4 can be better. Because they have higher clock speeds like 4800MHz or 3200MHz respectively. DDR5 is expected to go up to 6400MHz in the future.
As for the memory space, you should at least get 8 GB. If you get 16GB or more, it will be very much useful to perform high-end programming computations.
We know that there are two kinds of storage available, HDD and SDD. HDD offers large data storage space at an affordable cost while SSDs are costlier even at the least space. But HDD has very less data reliability while SSDs can last for years without any issue.
Having a combination of these two is better in many cases. Especially if you have a restricted budget, you can use it for other crucial hardware and go easy on the storage.
Having at least one SSD with a minimum of 256 GB will be better for coding. You can store the program’s files in SSD and access it faster. Also, getting an NVMe SSD is better due to its higher reliability and efficiency.
As for HDD, you can get 2 to 3TBs of storage for a cheaper price than SSD and use it for storing large files.
The need for a good GPU depends on the program you are going to run. If you are into game development, renderings, modeling, etc. you will need a good GPU. Otherwise, you can just get a basic video card and not waste money on it.
If you need higher graphics power, then you must at least get an RTX card from Nvidia or RX card from AMD. These GPU series cards can provide you with stable performance and they also work well with many programs without any issues.
Having a VRAM of at least 4 GB is compulsory for better performance. Also, having higher cores can help in providing higher graphic processing power.
We all know that PSU must be selected according to the power usage of all the hardware chosen for the build. Calculate the wattage required and get a PSU with a power rating of more than it. Don’t get the exact power supply. Because when you want to expand, you cannot buy a new PSU too.
The PSU must have at least a bronze rating for better efficiency and going for a silver or gold rating is recommended. Getting a modular PSU will be very useful in the build and it is better for cable management too.
PC case selection
You will at least need a mid-tower case to accommodate all the hardware appropriately. If you don’t need a big GPU, then you can go for mini towers too. But it is best to go for mid-tower since it offers better space for upgradation.
Peripherals and Accessories
Peripherals and Accessories are part of any computer system, and they include:
A monitor is an important tool, and a coder at least needs two monitors. Also having a large monitor is very useful to type large lines of code with ease. Some programmers even use secondary monitors in a vertical fashion to accommodate large amounts of code lines.
Having at least 24 inches monitor and having a bigger size monitor than it is better. Also, if you are planning to buy more than three, try to get a dock for easy mounting.
The keyboard is another peripheral that makes your coding life easy. Having a comfortable keyboard that enables a better typing experience is crucial.
Mechanical keyboards can be satisfying and provide a good computing experience. But you must choose the right type of switch like the Cherry MX Brown Silent for noise-free typing. If you want a smooth typing experience, you can go for membrane switches or rubber-dome models.
A mouse is not very much required for some programmers. But when you do the modeling or game development programs, you might need a responsive mouse with a higher DPI and polling rate.
Let us now see some recommended PC builds for each programming level and get to know the programs that can run in each of these builds.
Also Read: 8 Important Equipment needed for PC Build
Recommended PC builds for Programmers
Entry-level Programming PC
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- Motherboard: MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200
- Storage: Crucial MX500 500GB SSD
- Power Supply: EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W
- Case: NZXT H510
List of programs that we can use on this PC
Why this PC is good for Entry-level Programmers?
You can look at the specs and understand that the choice of hardware is not too basic. But it is only good for basic programming since the CPU is a Ryzen 5 3600 with an average clock speed, cores, and threads. Students or beginners in programming can get a decent performance with this build and they don’t have to spend a lot of money.
Mid-range Programming PC
- CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200
- Storage: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB NVMe SSD
- Power Supply: Corsair RM650x, 80+ Gold 650W
- Case: Fractal Design Meshify C
List of programs that we can use on this PC
Advanced IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA, Visual Studio, Android Studio, Unity, and programming languages like Python, Java, C#, Swift, Rust, etc. Additionally, this build can handle some GPU-accelerated programming tasks.
Why this PC is good for Mid-Range Programmers?
The build is simply great for most programmers who are at the intermediate and advanced levels. It also enables better support for high-level coding and programming languages. If you add a GPU, you can perform graphic-related coding, design, and modeling without any issues. If you have a better budget, this is the build you have to aim for.
High-end Programming PC
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- Motherboard: MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI
- RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3600
- Storage: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB NVMe SSD (Primary) + Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD (Secondary)
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
- Power Supply: Seasonic Focus GX-850, 80+ Gold 850W
- Case: Cooler Master MasterCase H500P Mesh
List of programs that we can use on this PC
Resource-intensive IDEs and software for graphics-intensive programming, game development, machine learning, and data science, including programs like Unreal Engine, Blender, Adobe Creative Suite, MATLAB, TensorFlow, etc.
Why this PC is good for High-End Programmers?
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X provides the ultimate performance in any kind of scenario and you can simply run any program at its hardcore. We have also included a GPU in this build so that it can suffice any kind of program. If you want a saturated build for your programming PC and you can afford some big tech, then this is the build you should go for.
Does coding require a strong PC?
Yes, the major components that are required for coding are the CPU, RAM, Motherboard, and Storage. If you manage to get the best or at least our recommended mid-range build, you can code anything with that system. Even if you are a beginner, it is better to do a mid-range build which can get you going for a long time without major upgrades.
Why customized PC is better for programming?
A customized PC is better for any use case including programming. Because, you have the freedom of upgrading the PC whenever you like, and you are very much likely to perform an upgrade if you are into programming or coding. Therefore, a custom build primarily allows you easy upgrades.
Secondly, the choice of hardware is up to your requirements, and you can go high or less as per your need. You may not need a GPU for your use case, and you can simply avoid it if you custom-build a PC. Therefore, it is always better and recommended to build a PC than get a prebuilt one.
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Here is our complete guide to building the best programming PC as per your needs and requirements. Make sure to go through each and every hardware so that you will not make any wrong decisions. Also, check out our recommended builds as per your level of programming knowledge.