From gaming to streaming to simply browsing, a laptop is an essential gadget to have in our world today. But, choosing one may not be as simple as walking into a store and picking it. There are a couple of factors that you should consider if you want to get great service from a laptop. Obviously, everyone wants a laptop that gets the job done without the constant lags, crashes, and freezes. So, whether you want to purchase one online or from a brick and mortar store, here’s everything you need to know to help you make an educated decision.
Do I Need a Fast Laptop or an Ultrafast Laptop?
When it comes to how fast you want your laptop to run, you have to consider the processor. A processor is the brains behind every computer. It's what performs all the logical and arithmetical operations on your laptop. If you're not tech-savvy, the mention of processors and microprocessors can get confusing very fast. One thing for sure is that you don’t want a laptop using outdated technology. Currently, it's rare not to hear about Intel’s Core-based CPUs (Central Processing Unit) or simply processors. For instance, Core i9 is the fastest of them all, followed by Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 in that order. The majority of mainstream computers use Core i5 and Core i7. Depending on what you’ll be using your laptop for, the processing power should be on top of your list.
What About RAM?
RAM (Random Access Memory), just like a processor, affects the performance of your PC. The higher the RAM, the more you can multitask on your laptop. Typically, RAM is measured in gigabytes (GB) and the least amount of RAM that any computer can use is 2GB. A laptop with a 2 GB RAM can only be good for sending emails, browsing and checking your social media posts. However, if you’re a heavy computer user where you have several web browser windows open, you're streaming, and using other programs at the same time, you’d probably want a higher RAM, say 4GB, 8GB or 16GB. Most laptops come with a 4GB RAM stick already pre-installed, which for a basic user, is sufficient. If you plan on buying RAM separately, you should verify your laptop’s clock speed and look for a RAM stick with the same speed. Likewise, check out the specifics of the RAM. For instance, a DDR2-800 is definitely faster than DDR2-400.
How much information do you need to store on your laptop? Disk drives are measured in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). The higher the number of gigabytes, the larger the capacity of the disk drive. All the programs you install on your PC and all the files you create are stored on your hard disk drive. So, if you handle a lot of files that occupy large disk space, you would want to get a disk drive with a large capacity, say 1TB. On the other hand, if you’ll only be using your computer to perform basic tasks such as sending emails and you don’t plan on installing many applications, a 500GB hard disk drive will probably be sufficient. If you can afford it, opt for solid-state drives, which are faster than hard disk drives. You also want to consider the speed of your hard drive. For instance, a 7200rpm disk drive is faster than a 5400rpm hard drive.
Laptops are designed to be portable, meaning you can use them wherever you go. That’s why battery life is crucial. High-end laptops like Microsoft’s Surface Pro can give you more than 15 hours of battery usage before you can recharge. However, the results may be different when put to real use. That said, be sure the check the capacity of battery life before settling for a particular laptop. This is especially important if you spend most of your time away from power sources.
Laptop Size and Screen Size
Laptop size matters a great deal depending on what you plan to do with your laptop. You should know that a laptop’s size cannot be changed. This means that, whatever size you choose, you’ll stick with it until you dispose of it. Laptops come in varying sizes starting from 11.6 inches all the way up to 17.3 inches. If you're always on the move, a smaller portable laptop makes more sense. Besides, smaller laptops usually weigh less compared to big laptops. However, choosing smaller laptops may not support enhanced graphics cards, CPUs or other specifications compared to larger laptops. For instance, due to size limitations, you may find fewer USB ports or a lack of other connectivity options like HDMI ports.
If you plan to be typing a lot on your laptop, the quality of the keyboard should be a priority. The layout should be easy to use and comfortable. You don’t want a cluttered keyboard that makes it difficult to find basic keys like the arrow keys. Additionally, backlit keyboards allow you to work in dark environments without straining your eyes.
If you're a PC gamer, then you understand how important higher speed, higher capacity graphics cards can improve your gaming experience. Apart from improving the visuals, a dedicated graphics card can handle more graphics load and at a faster rate. If you want a dedicated graphics card, which is usually purchased separately, check out the specifics of the different brands before buying it. You’ll find the likes of Intel, AMD Radeon and NVIDIA graphics cards on the market. Do your research first before deciding which one to go for.
Last but not least, you may want to think carefully about the type of operating system (OS) that you prefer. Windows is the most popular OS and the likely choice for most PC gamers due to the wide variety of games available. Mac and Linux are other alternatives that you may or may not find useful. Each operating system has its ups and downs, and with thorough research, you’ll get the one that suits your preferences. Ask for advice from computer technicians just to be sure that you’re getting what you really want. Again, this depends heavily on what your intentions for using a laptop are.
As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider before buying a new laptop. And with the rapid advancement in technology, the rate at which laptops are being upgraded is at an all-time high. If you have extra cash, you can speak to the manufacturers to customize your laptop by upgrading specific hardware like graphics cards and CPU.
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