This laptop buying guide provides gives the most overlooked, but essential facts needed for a good laptop buying guide, helping you get the right laptop for your money. The most basic consideration for a good laptop buying guide is…
What is your laptop for? (i.e. What programs will you use?)
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Laptop computers in my opinion refer to larger portable computers. I say anything that has a monitor bigger than 12″ qualifies as a laptop, rather than a notebook.
People get duped into getting too much with new computers. Too many features and optional extras. We’ll cut to the core of the most needed bits and pieces and get just what we need for what we are doing.
There are three categories:
Mid level programs
Let’s have a look at them.
Basic programs are the programs we use from day to day. These are generally light and not very demanding on the system and its components. Pretty much every computer on sale today has more than enough power to run these applications.
These programs include:
web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc)
office programs (Word, Excel, OpenOffice.org, etc)
chat programs (Skype, MSN, Google chat, Yahoo! Messenger, etc)
basic 3D games (Pacman, Tetris, puzzle games, pop the bubble and stuff like that)
Any standard operating system will come with one of each of these programs after a standard installation. Windows comes with games and the others (excluding MSOffice) and Ubuntu Linux, a friendly to install Linux build, comes with one or more of each. All these programs will run on a computer with 1GB or memory and any modern processor. A computer for these will have a processor ranging from an Intel Core processor upward. Monitor sizes will be 13″ – 15″ in size.
Mid-level programs start to take a higher toll on the system. Typically there will often be more than one program running at the same time, which will require more memory. The programs are also a little more taxing on the system and will require more processing power to keep them running smoothly.
These programs include:
image editing programs (Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Photoshop)
3D software (AutoCAD, 3D Studio)
video players (with high definition movies)
Quite often just some extra memory will make a lot of difference. In practice 2GB gives more than double the memory to programs because part of the first gigabyte was being used by the operating system. Computers will have more memory, with similar processors to the ones mentioned before, but with slightly higher speeds. Monitors will be up to 15″ in size and sport more USB ports, firewire ports and security features like locks and fingerprint readers.
Power programs take the most from the system. The vast majority of power programs are basically 3D games. They need graphics cards, faster processors and more memory. These are the most taxing and are for the most part only played seriously on desktop computers, although many laptops can do very well.
These games include:
Models in this range will most likely have cool designs on the outside and can have very large monitors up to 19″ in size. These are not very portable, but can be lugged around if needed.
To conclude the laptop buying guide, simply know which programs you will use. Don’t get anything beyond that. It’s often better to get one that’s just right and then get another one, or a cool pocket PC. Hope this laptop buying guide gives you enough insight to get your next buy just right.