# What computer specs would you recommend for taking on game programming?

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I've decided i want to get into game programming as a hobby. Right now I've just been learning my C++, so my laptop has been keeping up, and I'm sure it should be able to handle 2D game development as well. However, I'd like to get an idea of what this hobby might cost me down the line once I start getting into 3D rendering.

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A reasonably modern computer can handle pretty much anything an individual developer can create.

Think of the most advanced games your computer can already run. Those games are developed by enormous teams with hundreds of experts investing tens of thousands of hours writing code that pushes the limits.

Your hobby game may do a lot of things, but your hobby game will be a walk in the park compared to the work required for AAA games your computer is capable of running.

The minimum requirements for the major engines right now (Unreal, Unity) is a 10-year-old machine.

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Well that is great to know lol. I'm primarily a console gamer, so the only specs I've looked for in my computers were to handle photoshop/lightroom/Illustrator. I was mainly worried because I've tried dabbling in video editing, but my laptop couldn't keep up(which was expected).

Well thanks for the input Frob.

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Posted (edited)

I've been doing most of my at-home work on an older laptop, despite having a much better desktop available- and I've been treating it as sort of a benchmark or minimum spec for how well the project performs.  If my small project game can't run on this old laptop, then that's a sign that I've made choices/mistakes that are costing me too much in terms of performance.

If what you have now is enough to comfortably use the tools you need, then that's good enough.

Edited by trjh2k2

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Without knowing the specs of your current machine( it could be from the late 90s for all I know )...

If your laptop has its own dedicated graphics card, can run the OS smoothly...yeah, just stick with it.  Just about any computer from the last five years will allow you to achieve any level of skill you wish to obtain.

When using 3D/2D packages like Maya/Blender/Photoshop/GIMP then just be mindful of your system and video memory.

Oh, and don't forget to back up your work on separate storage such as a second or external harddrive.  All the code you write is your life work - the cost of losing that is far more than the cost of a new laptop...

Hope this helps!

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Posted (edited)
On 18.08.2017 at 10:37 PM, Anri said:

Oh, and don't forget to back up your work on separate storage such as a second or external harddrive.  All the code you write is your life work - the cost of losing that is far more than the cost of a new laptop...

This guy devs. This is very important, who knew it could be SO important for me.

Edited by tyhender

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Buy the best for the money you got, that makes easy choise.

New computers are always far better then second hand with these hidden specs you dont think of.

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21 hours ago, the incredible smoker said:

New computers are always far better then second hand with these hidden specs you dont think of.

Care to elaborate on "hidden specs"?  I'd almost argue that, at least in terms of laptops, the value you get for something new isn't great right now.  I looked around for new laptops maybe 6 months ago and found the current options to be pretty disappointing.  Small hard drives, usually-upgradable parts are being soldered in, and specs don't seem to have gone up significantly in the last few years- so a $1k laptop now doesn't get you much more than what that same$1k would have got you 4-5 years ago.  Instead, anything less than a "high end" laptop mostly gets you something like a glorified internet browsing machine.

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Usually the most visible things are the CPU chipset, the chipset of the graphics card, the megabytes of memory, and the gigabytes of hard drive space.

Memory chips can make a big difference.  They have a wide range of speed, timings, and voltages. Some will automatically overclock to safe limits. Laptops often focus on chips that have less heat and consume less power. As you may suspect, that also typically means worse performance than chips consuming more power and generating more heat.

Hard drive speeds are usually a hidden difference. Sure several computers may all have 1TB drives, but that doesn't mean they're equal.  One with a 5400 RPM drive may struggle to reach 50 MB/s reading files. A 7200 RPM drive may comfortably reach just past 110 or 115 MB/s.  But it isn't just spindle vs SSD.  A cheap SSD may struggle to reach 200 MB/s but a high-quality SSD may read over 2500 MB/s, over ten times faster than a bad SSD drive, and over 50 times faster than a slow spindle drive.

Motherboards are usually a hidden difference. The types of connections between systems, PCIe x16, x8, or x1 can make a huge difference. The interconnections between devices can make a substantial difference.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, frob said:

Usually the most visible things are the CPU chipset, the chipset of the graphics card, the megabytes of memory, and the gigabytes of hard drive space.

Memory chips can make a big difference.  They have a wide range of speed, timings, and voltages. Some will automatically overclock to safe limits. Laptops often focus on chips that have less heat and consume less power. As you may suspect, that also typically means worse performance than chips consuming more power and generating more heat.

Hard drive speeds are usually a hidden difference. Sure several computers may all have 1TB drives, but that doesn't mean they're equal.  One with a 5400 RPM drive may struggle to reach 50 MB/s reading files. A 7200 RPM drive may comfortably reach just past 110 or 115 MB/s.  But it isn't just spindle vs SSD.  A cheap SSD may struggle to reach 200 MB/s but a high-quality SSD may read over 2500 MB/s, over ten times faster than a bad SSD drive, and over 50 times faster than a slow spindle drive.

Motherboards are usually a hidden difference. The types of connections between systems, PCIe x16, x8, or x1 can make a huge difference. The interconnections between devices can make a substantial difference.

This. I just want add to not underestimate the CPU power-section of a motherboard (where the most of MOSFETs, capacitors and inductors lie). One of the predominant price factors between a good and a discount-market piece of silicon is the power section: even if you are not interested on a wide range internal or external device connectors, a decent power-section can make the different between a long-live machine and a piece of garbage you have to recycle in a couple of year. The same applies to the power supply unit: do not save those couple of bucks just to spend them in a pizza.

Edited by Alessio1989

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