Laptop specifications

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When you are on a budget and want to buy a new laptop to run IntelliJ IDEA / Android Studio, which specifications matter most?

 

SSD seems to be the most important, followed by RAM. What about the CPU? Does quad-core have any benefits over dual-core when it comes to running IntelliJ IDEA / Android Studio?

Does the graphics card play any role at all?

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8GB RAM, SSD, the more cores, the better. 4 would be much faster than 2 as IntelliJ IDEA utilizes multiple threads when performing indexing and compilation. i3 or i5 should be fine. Graphics card doesn't matter.

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Thank you for your answer. I thought IntelliJ only utilizes multiple cores in multi-module projects. Is that still the case? Maybe I am misunderstanding what that means.

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Code analysis, inspections, building index, all these operations will utilize multiple cores even if you have only one module.

Compiler also runs in a separate process, so the more cores you have, the better.

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Wether 8GB is really enough will depend on the project(s) you are working with. I currently have 16GB and sometimes would be happy for more RAM (but I have to start local databases, run Windows in a VM and have multiple connected projects running simultaneously).

If your laptop has accessible sdimm slots, then I would start out with a single 8GB module (instead of 2 * 4GB), so that you can add another 8GB later on.

(There is a very minor performance penalty when there is only a single module, but I doubt it is noticeable.)

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Well, the RAM part is pretty straight forward to understand. But in terms of CPU, I read everywhere that it doesn't matter for IntelliJ unless you have a multi-module project. Guess this information is outdated then.

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@Serge Baranov, do you know if this also applies to Android Studio?

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Yes, it  applies to all IntelliJ IDEA based IDEs.

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Thank you, you are amazing!

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Full-stack dev experience: 8 Gb RAM is enough for work, but it's not convenient.

My laptop has i5 (2011, 2 cores) + 4*2 Gb RAM + SSD.

 

Serge is right saying these technical specs are enough to run IntelliJ IDEA. But often I need more than just IDE to do my work. It would be great to use simultaneously:

IntelliJ IDEA with plugins (4Gb) + docker containers with microservices (4+ Gb) + Chrome (2+ Gb) + Postman (1Gb) + Linux OS (1.5 Gb)

Additionally, sometimes I need to run a database, or Gradle build, or NodeJS server.

With my current configuration, I can't do this and sometimes I even choose to close IDEA to free RAM in favour of a more lightweight Sublime Text. Sometimes I hit RAM limit and everything hangs on =(

Based on these calculations, 16 Gb should be enough. But better go for 32 Gb.

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I used to develop in Android Studio. 8Gb RAM is enough for Android Studio + Chrome, if you run/debug an application on a connected device. If you need to run Android emulator you may want to buy more RAM.

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