What is the best PC for developers? Good question!
It’s been a while since I wrote a post on my blog. Between vacations and getting back to work, I’ve been quite busy and haven’t had much time to write something interesting.
However, I regret this because I love writing, sharing, and providing advice on the world of web development, which, in addition to being my job, remains one of my greatest passions.
During this break from the blog, I received many messages from readers asking for advice on buying the best PC for development.
Today, we have a plethora of products and thousands of reviews, which instead of simplifying the purchase often do nothing but raise doubts and create more anxiety than necessary.
The PC is important for us!
For many people, the PC is just a tool, an object that allows them to access the internet, read emails, and create documents, to be used marginally during the day.
For us developers, it’s not like that. The PC is our best friend (or worst enemy…), it is a tool, but it is also THE tool, the machine with which we do everything.
We spend entire days typing on the keyboard, but not only that. Even the classic secretarial tasks force us to use the PC for most of the day, but we are “more inside” our computers.
We use advanced tools and communicate almost directly with our machines, and they must always respond and be available, not disappoint us or suddenly give up.
A few months ago, I changed my computer, after thinking long and hard about the machine to buy, analyzing various perspectives, and in the end, I made my choice, but I’ll tell you at the end. First, I want to tell you about the journey that led me to the purchase.
Operating System for Developer PCs
I have never been a fanboy of any company or project. In my life, I have used both Windows and Mac OS and Linux without major problems from anyone. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and I don’t think there is an absolute winner; they simply have different areas of use.
The first computer I bought on my own, “with the sweat of my brow” after the first paychecks, was a Macbook, the fantastic Macbook White from 2010. At the time, I worked as a developer and wanted to start recording some musical demos, so the Mac was the best choice.
In 2016, I switched to Windows. The Mac was starting to slow down, and at the time, I worked as a teacher. I used the computer very little; mostly, I used the Office suite to create cards for students and Gmail to read emails, nothing else.
So, I got an Asus Vivobook with which I also started occasionally doing a bit of gaming. Nothing exaggerated, but every now and then in the evening, I liked to relax and play a little.
Since 2018, I have embarked on a career as a Freelance Web Developer and have always used the ASUS, increasing RAM and replacing the SSD with a better one (I have always loved assembling and disassembling computers, super fun! ? ?).
However, this year I felt the need for a change. I started working on large projects and found myself having to do not only development but also Sys Admin for a server. This experience opened me up to the fabulous world of Linux!
Linux, what a wonder for programming!
As a kid, I had installed Ubuntu on my old desktop PC, one of those gray/yellowish machines with a cathode ray tube as big as a crate of Moretti, and I had messed around with it a bit, but I had abandoned the project and hadn’t installed Linux anywhere else.
But I’ve always loved the philosophy of Open Source. I alternated my life between technical and philosophical studies, and somehow, open source brought together both of these parts.
The idea of not having to be slaves to software appealed to me! There are millions of ways to do something, and being forced to use one chosen by the developer somehow is a limitation of freedom. But here we go into the boring, so I’ll stop…
The fact is that I really liked Linux! Being able to do practically everything using only the keyboard and terminal, abandoning the annoying mouse, saying goodbye to wrist soreness, and feeling like a hacker just by navigating through folders! Fantastic!!!
I started using Ubuntu at work.
I chose this distro for its stability. I tried many, but I needed to install a series of tools without fear of crashing everything, and Ubuntu, if nothing else, is stable from this point of view.
I found it very good, but not the best.
If for development, it was ideal, it wasn’t for all the ancillary activities that I do as a freelancer, such as task management, managing email addresses (I read emails from 12 addresses…), graphics, etc.
This was a problem for me…
How to combine the beauties of Linux with optimal productivity?
Mac OS, is it the best???
And here comes the good old Mac OS, a great operating system for developer PCs.
If you see the crowd of developers with the illuminated apple on their knees in Google conferences, there must be a reason!
Mac OS is really good for programming.
It combines a Unix system with the stability and fundamental design and productivity software for me and many freelancers.
With Mac OS, I can operate from the terminal with the same ease as Linux (or almost), and at the same time, I can use Photoshop and Figma for design and Spark for email management (I love this program! If you don’t know it, check it out).
Moreover, Apple products are beautiful! And I don’t say this in a superficial way, but they are really well-crafted and convey a pleasant feeling every time they are used.
Steve Jobs wasn’t wrong about design!
Spending the entire day on a machine and inside a beautiful, pleasant-to-the-touch, silent, and well-crafted system is a completely different experience!
This has only 2 disadvantages: price and games.
The price is higher! And there’s little to be done here except wait for offers or look at used ones. But if we look at the top-of-the-range notebooks from other companies, in the end, the price difference is not that high.
For gaming, Apple is doing something, but the standard remains Windows on the PC side.
In the end, I got the Macbook Pro, and I’m doing great! I think it’s a great PC for developers.
For my activity, it’s the ideal machine—fast, portable, beautiful, and functional.
Certainly, I still have the old Asus to play with.
Also, I have a nice partition with Elementary OS for when I want to nerd out a bit and tinker without fear of breaking everything!
At the moment, for my needs, surely the Mac is the best machine in many ways. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it comes very close.
I really like the evolution that various
Linux distros have had in recent years. Thanks also to social media and especially YouTube, many people are entering open-source, and this is a good thing, both for diversification and for the growth of individual distros.
If in a few years, we can find well-crafted machines like the MacBook Pro (it seems that Huawei is trying with the Matebook 13) and if some programs for managing design and productivity finally come to Linux, then for my needs, we will be close to perfection, to the PC for developers of my dreams.
I really hope it can happen!