I'm starting to program on my 7 year old computer so I don't mess up my 1500 dollar gaming computer. Do I need a fast computer to program?
You can use your gaming computer without issue. I do all of my work inside of a virtual machine to keep it separate from my leisure stuff.
You'd have to intentionally do something incredibly, incredibly stupid to mess up your computer using a program that you wrote. A program can easily mess itself up accidentally, but that's it. You'd have to go through the system APIs to mess with something else. If you're worried about that, just do your work in a VM.
A faster computer will certainly compile the software in less time, depending on the complexity/size of the program (how much code). If you're writing relatively simple programs now an older computer won't kill you.
"Programming" = building something. You can create a program to do anything.
.Suck up all the resources in a cutting edge i7/64GB PC. Or just a program to display the current weather. Or both at the same time.
The old laptop will work fine for coding BUT I would recommend using the gaming build because it will work much better and you wont stuff up the gaming PC unless you do something stupid will C ++ like a program that stress tests the RAM and F**ks up windows (but that is fixable) but you are starting out so you wont run into that trouble at all making basic programs like calculator for example or something like that.