Student Buyers Guide
What to consider:
● Students should look to see if a laptop or tablet is more suited for the type of learning that they wish to achieve.
● A laptop will often provide more functionality than a tablet, especially in school or a learning setting.
● A tablet will be simpler and easier to use, but some functions may be limited compared to a laptop.
Deciding between a laptop or a tablet:
● A laptop is more suitable for the student who needs to take lots of notes in lectures or class, for those who need to write up lengthy assignments and create informational presentations.
● A tablet is for the student who may prefer the touchscreen and pen for interactivity and who needs the portability and faster load up times of a tablet. Navigating digital textbooks in some cases can be easier on tablets compared to laptops.
What to look for in a laptop:
● Picking a laptop with a long battery life ensures that it will last for as long as possible throughout the school day without needing to be recharged as often.
● Look for a laptop with lots of storage space if you need to save or download many different files. Remember to back them up to another location, otherwise consider investing in a portable SSD or HDD.
● Purchasing a laptop with an SSD will greatly reduce the boot up time of the laptop and increase the file transfer and opening speeds.
What to look for in a tablet:
● Look for a tablet that has a screen size that matches your needs. Smaller screen sizes improve the portability of the tablet, whilst a larger screen may be more functional.
● Look for a tablet with a long battery life for more convenience. Tablet battery life will vary between devices.
Can’t decide between the two?
● A 2-in-1 laptop may be the perfect choice for you. Although not quite as sleek and easy to use as a proper tablet. The ability to switch to a tablet mode whilst on a laptop can be extremely beneficial in an educational setting, giving you the benefits of both a laptop and a tablet.
● Many modern 2-in-1 laptops also come with a smartpen as a feature, these can be extremely useful aids when taking down lecture notes, trying to solve tricky problems and for working in groups to achieve goals.
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.
● Generally, the higher the clock speed (GHz), the faster the CPU. The more cores, the better the performance and multi-tasking capabilities.
● 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.
● 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.
● 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.