Laptop Buyers Guide
What to consider:
● Choosing the perfect laptop to suit your needs can be a daunting experience with so many options to choose from. To make your purchasing experience a little bit easier, it’s best to ask yourself what you need from your laptop.
● The main types of laptops can be divided into five categories; general laptops, ultra slim laptops, gaming laptops, 2-in-1 laptops and business/creator laptops.
● For sim ple things such as browsing the net, streaming or sending emails, then a general laptop is the perfect choice.
● An ultra-slim laptop is the perfect accompaniment for students and professionals due to its portable, lightweight and sleek design.
● A gaming laptop supports more graphically intense games that an everyday laptop may struggle to run, as well as allow for a portable gaming set-up.
● 2-in-1 laptops combine the benefits of both laptops and tablets. This i s generally done by putting the laptop into “tablet mode” by detaching a keyboard, or flipping a 360-degree laptop screen.
● Business/Creator laptops are high-end laptops used for extreme productivity and are able to keep up with any workload. These laptops are generally loaded with the latest hardware and are packed with plenty of features.
Who is a general laptop for?
● If you are only going to use your laptop for browsing the web, streaming movies and shows, sending emails and using simple programs such as Microsoft Word, then the cheaper general laptop is where you should look.
● There are plenty of models to choose from, with lots of differences in size, performance and portability. They are generally the cheapest option and therefore suited for most budgets.
● They are limited in processing and gaming power, so if you’re hoping to play the latest generation of games at its highest settings or run intensive software, then perhaps look towards a gaming, business or creator laptop.
Who is an ultra slim laptop for?
● If you are constantly on the go and find yourself packing your laptop into a bag often, an ultra-slim laptop is the laptop you should be looking at. It offers great performance in a slim and light package.
● These laptops boast extremely impressive battery life, as well as very fast charging times. They may however be limited in storage space, so it may prove beneficial to pair these with an external storage device.
● They ar e perfect for those who travel often, students currently studying and professionals who need a light portable laptop to bring to and from work everyday.
Who is a gaming laptop for?
● A gaming laptop is fo r the gamers who are looking for a portable or simple home gaming set-up that offers great performance.
● Gaming laptops are typically loaded with powerful hardware to keep up with the demands of modern gaming and t herefore will never struggle when used in day to day life. This intensity of modern games, however, will result in limited battery life whilst playing.
● A gaming laptop can be the perfect introduction into PC gaming. Traditional desktop gaming set-ups can be expensive and overwhelming especially for beginners who don’t know what to look for. They can also be very bu lky and take up lots of space.
Who is a 2-in-1 laptop for?
● 2-in-1 laptops function as both a laptop and tablet. Different laptops employ different mechanisms such as the screen folding over, or detaching to enter a tablet mode.
● These can be useful productivity tools for those who want to combine the features of a laptop and a tablet.
● These laptops will often feature touch screen function and sometimes come paired with a pen or stylus.
Who is a business/creator laptop for?
● These laptops are powerful and come loaded with the best and newest hardware. They generally have some of the best displays and are loaded with high-end features.
● They are built to keep up with any workload and as such, boast impressive battery life. As they are designed with a business-setting in mind, they are compatible with almost all office accessories and external monitors.
● For the professional and creator who is looking for the best performance and speed, as they utilise intensive software when programming, 3D rendering and editing video/audio.
Which CPU should you choose?
● The two major manufacturers of CPUs are currently Intel with their Intel Core selection and AMD with their Ryzen selection. Both companies currently offer great options to suit any workload and have models to suit any budget.
● Intel Core i3 and Ryzen 3 are the introductory models and are suited for simple workstations that are affordable. These CPUs may begin to struggle if doing more than web browsing, emailing and running simple office suite programs. They are generally not ideal at running all these programs at the same time and therefore may limit multitasking ability and productivity.
● Intel Core i5 and Ryzen 5 are the mid-range options and offer good performance in most situations. They will typically allow you to run multiple programs at once and therefore allow for more productivity when compared to the Core i3 and Ryzen 3.
● Intel Core i7 and Ryzen 7 typically have better performance than the Intel Core i5 and Ryzen 5 due to more cores and a higher clock speed. They are suited for systems that are required to run more intensive programs such as those used for video and image editing, 3D modelling, gaming and programming.
● Intel Core i9 and Ryzen 9 are the enthusiast grade offerings of both companies and give extremely high performance for high-level gaming, multi-tasking, professional video/audio editing and 3D rendering.
The key components of a computer:
● The CPU acts like the brain of the system. It runs all programs, calculations and operations. A computer cannot function without one.
● Look for a CPU with a high clock speed and high number of cores if you plan on running demanding software, running multiple tasks at once or playing intensive games.
● Generally, the higher the clock speed (GHz), the faster the CPU. The more cores, the better the performance and multi-tasking capabilities.
● When looking at a CPU, the major manufacturers are Intel and AMD. Both companies have a number of great options to suit any budget and workload. Intel offers the Intel Core series, whilst AMD offers the Ryzen series.
● The graphics card creates the image on the screen and is generally only necessary for gaming, video editing, graphics design and 3D rendering.
● You may need a dedicated graphics card if you want to use multiple monitors but your motherboard only has limited display connections, or in cases when a CPU does not support integrated graphics at all.
● The core clock and the memory size of the graphics card are the two most important factors to look at when purchasing.
● For a gaming laptop, it is a good idea to buy a laptop with a graphics card that has the highest memory size and core clock that you can afford, in order to maximise performance.
● RAM stores small amounts of data but transfers it at extremely high speeds.
● Aim for at least 8gb of RAM for everyday use. This amount will allow for comfortable multitasking whilst using simple programs.
● When gaming 8gb is the absolute minimum, however this will limit multi-tasking ability and background program activity. Modern games are quickly beginning to require up to 16gb of ram for maximum performance and is the recommended amount for many new release games.
● For intense video/audio editing software, programming or 3D rendering, 32gb may be required to get the best performance.
● When considering a storage device, think whether a Solid-State Drive (SSD) or a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) suits your needs.
● An SSD generally has high speeds but smaller storage amounts while a HDD will have high storage amounts but slow speeds. This means that SSDs are typically more expensive than HDDs.
● If your operating system is installed on an SSD, it will allow for extremely fast boot up times and data transfer speeds.If more space is required, consider an external storage device for your system. This will allow you to back up important documents and save any additional files.