Gateway laptop good for starter or nah?

Hi there, i am a beginner who wants to start learning. My old laptop doesnt have the right specs though. So i am looking for a new one on a budget. I found this one but i am unsure since i cant find anything that mentions coding about it. Here are the specs

  • Windows 10 Home
  • 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 Processor (2.40 GHz, Up to 4.20 GHz, 8M Cache)
  • Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
  • 14.1” LCD IPS FHD Display, (1920 x 1080), Edge-to-Edge
  • Precision Touchpad
  • Tuned by THX™ Audio
  • 512 GB Solid State Drive
  • 16 GB Memory (RAM)

This cost $449

Any advice would be appreciated. This laptop
search is overwhelming.
Thank you

Hey @Jenmo welcome! I saw that this is your first post in the community, so I want to first wish you a hardy welcome.

For the laptop, that’s a great question. 16GB of RAM is fantastic. 512 GB SSD is good. Honestly if you are starting out, you won’t be running many things that will really tax your system. fCC does a lot of stuff in the browser too, so having a PC that can run Chrome will be great as you get started.

Windows is alright when starting out and are doing stuff on fCC and Codepen in the browser, however later you might find yourself wanting to run Linux overtop of it (especially if you use The Odin Project at some point). You’ll have to teach yourself commands on the Windows command prompt that will be different than Mac and Linux too, so keep that in mind.

If you have a budget of $500, another option is seeing if you can find a used or refurbished Macbook Air.

You probably won’t see many laptops specify themselves as coding laptops, especially at the entry-level. The Dell XPS 13 Linux is the only one I’ve seen specifically marketed as a Developers laptop.

But overall the laptop seems fine for starting out. What’s the brand?

Thank you for your answer!
I was looking at a refurbished Mac book air… but I never had an Apple computer before so I don’t know if I want to get familiar with it. I do have a new iPad Pro though.

What mac would you be recommending? So are you saying I will probably need a Mac in the long run?

The laptop specs are from the brand called Gateway. They are Walmart exclusive brand.

You don’t need a Mac to do programming. A refurbished Mac is just one of many options at that price point. You should just get the best hardware you can find with whichever OS you prefer at the cost you can afford.

When shopping for laptops for development, there are only really a few specs that matter in most cases.

  • CPU specs - faster processor = faster tooling/reloads/compiling.
    • however if your not doing anything super heavy, this is minor. Faster is always better, but when starting out you usually wont be doing anything heavy enough to feel the effects of a weaker CPU.
  • RAM - more ram = more tooling open, and running at the same time
    • however if your not doing anything super heavy, this is also minor.
    • this is important for having multiple tabs and “multi-tasking”, so 16gb is usually the bare minimum. 8gb is too low for most cases.

And thats almost it. HD space even on the low end (128gb) is doable if your economical with what your downloading. 512gb is enough.

All other specs don’t matter, and are more “niche”. If your doing heavy machine learning processing locally, you might want a GPU. But if your not doing that a GPU is complete and utter overkill.

Ultimately, programming means running some software that reads text (your code), and you reading/writing text. Such requirements means you can do this on lots of different systems and operating systems.

Even something like which operating system doesn’t matter as much either, as most tooling is cross platform.

FreeCodeCamp itself runs on anything, since its all web-based, anything that supports a web browser could be used. So you could technically use a low-end Chromebook to learn freeCodeCamp, but then hit a wall when you want to go out and develop locally.

Overall, I think the laptop you found should be fine to get started. Its not a powerhouse, but you don’t need one to learn to code.


Thanks everybody for your help!!

Use the laptop before you buy it. This is probably the most important thing, because the price means it’s severely skimped on something (screen quality, keyboard quality, build quality, trackpad quality etc). That may be absolutely fine, what has been skimped on may not matter at all for your usecase! But use it first to see how it feels. The actual on-paper specs are not reflective of whether it’s junk or whether it isn’t junk. That is a very cheap laptop, find out why it is so cheap.

Hey @Jenmo, nice! I haven’t heard from Gateway in a long time but that’s a brand that’s been around awhile. You don’t need a Mac to program, but a lot of folks use it. It also depends on where you end up working too. I’ve used both Windows and Mac when coding and both work well.

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