The Only Laptop Buying Guide You Need

Laptop Buying Guide

Have you owned a stream of sub-par laptops? If you’ve had to replace laptops every year or two, you might be choosing the wrong devices for yourself. You need Laptop buying guide.

A little insight into how devices work allows you to make the right decisions for yourself, keep laptops around for longer, and save yourself thousands of dollars. We’re going to run through the things to look for in a laptop today.

Hopefully, our laptop buying guide will help you understand computers, sift through your options with more confidence, and get the perfect laptop for yourself. 

Let’s get started. 

  1. Identify Your Needs

The first thing to think about through this process is the intentions you have for the device. In other words, what do you use your laptop for? 

Are you someone who spends most of their time browsing different internet pages? Do you have to use a few special applications for your job? Are you a gamer?

Everyone does things differently, so everyone could benefit from a tailor-made laptop. That said, most people pick through the few devices at their local store and wind up with something that doesn’t meet their needs. We’re often sold on particular devices without knowing anything about them. 

That leads to excess costs on things that might not matter to us. While your salesperson might be very nice and accommodating, they’re still trying to sell you something. The more you spend, the better they do. 

Walking into that situation without any insight will leave you penniless. So, take stock of the things that you use your laptops for. Then go through the following guidelines and pick out the things that might be beneficial to you and prioritize them when it comes time to make a purchase. 

  1. CPU Power

The central processing unit (CPU) is like the brain of your computer. It’s composed of millions of small transistors that switch on or off to manage the task at hand. In fact, a CPU can host more than 100 million transistors. 

Each one is effectively an “on” or “off” switch that directs electrical signals onto the next transistor. When you scale that process up 100 million times, things get very complex and allow devices to do the wonderful things that they do. 

So, the more capability that your CPU has, the better your computer will manage tasks and function smoothly. You’re not looking for the number of transistors when you make your purchase, though. 

Instead, you’re looking for the number of cores that the CPU has. You’ll often see four or more cores in a computer. You can get up to 36 cores if you have the budget and the need to do so. 

Each processing core is like a different section of the brain that can think about discrete things at once. Each core allows you to do another simultaneous task or two. That’s not to say that a four-core computer can only do four things at once, but it will start working a lot slower as you add more things. 

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How many processing cores do you need, though? 

Laptop Processor Buying Guide

A four-core processor does the track for the average computer user. You can effectively work online, listen to music, stream videos, and do just about anything you would need to on a day-to-day basis. 

You can even run some powerful applications like music software, games, and more. As you start to run your device on those labor-intensive programs, though, you’ll see that things don’t run perfectly. Things glitch, slow down, and there might be some delays. 

If you’re a music producer, for example, you need more than four cores. Running multiple programs at once, incorporating external devices, and managing the whole situation is more than a basic computer can do.

The same is true for dedicated gamers. Gaming, in many cases, requires more processing power to run sophisticated games at a level that’s acceptable in 2021. 

Gamers can get by with 6 cores, but their experience improves as more cores get added. So, don’t invest in more than you have to, but make sure that you have enough to do the trick. 

It’s advisable to reach out to your community to see what other professionals or users recommend for the activities that you use your computer for. 

Choosing Clock Speed

Clock speed refers to the speed of the central processing unit. This speed is measured by GHz. The higher the gigahertz, the faster your computer runs. 

Again, baseline clock speed functions well when the computer gets used at normal levels. There’s a threshold that the user has to cross before the device starts to operate slowly. 

Gaming is a perfect example of where that threshold ends. Gaming occurs quickly, often in real-time, and it’s essential that the computer keeps up with the game. The same is true for recording music, for example.

Without a quality clock speed, the computer might miss valuable, nuanced recording audio information that’s irreplaceable. In those instances, investing in clock speed is a must. 

It’s also possible to mix and match clock speed with the number of cores. 

High clock speed and fewer cores allow you to engage with a single application at a very solid speed. So, if you only use one big application at a time, you might not need more cores if you invest in a higher clock speed. 

Alternatively, someone who works on multiple light tasks at once might skip clock speed and invest in more cores. For example, someone who works on a lot of different web pages at once while engaging with spreadsheets would meet those criteria. 

  1. Memory Components

There are two key aspects of memory and storage that you should consider. 

The first one is your hard drive storage. Most people who use their computer on a “normal” level only need around 300 gigabytes of storage. That number gets a lot more manageable if you leverage storage with cloud storage and don’t download a lot of excess information. 

For example, storing a number of movies on your computer might bump your needs up a little bit. 

The same is true for people that use applications that house a lot of additional files or require more. For example, someone who works on photoshop a lot might need a little more memory because that application produces more and more files as you work on each image. 

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Any time you’re working intensely on a particular application, you tend to generate massive numbers of files over time. 

Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM is another tier of a computer’s memory. Random-access memory allows the computer to engage with wide-ranging information that you’re using at the moment. 

Think of hard drive storage as long-term memory and RAM as short-term memory. It draws on the things that you’re doing at the time and ensures that those files are ready to get accessed if need be. 

Instead of putting in the extra work to dig through gigabytes and gigabytes of memory to produce a file, RAM allows the computer to reach into a shallow pool of files and find what it’s looking for. 

Standard users get by with around 8 gigabytes of RAM. Those who are gamers or professionals need a minimum of 16 gigabytes. Investing in 32 gigabytes of RAM is ideal for those who engage with demanding programs on a professional level. 

Going beyond that is only needed in professional cases where an individual’s job or hobby requires them to work with a large number of files in a very demanding way. Editing a feature film is a good example of a situation like that. 

  1. Additional Factors to Consider

The things above are the pertinent things to think about when you’re buying a laptop. Those are the nuts and bolts that exist under the glitz and glam. 

Beyond that, it’s important that your device is functional. Things like the keyboard, screen size, and additional components are all important as well. Aesthetics play a part, too. 

You have to like the way that something looks and feels in order to engage with it every day. That said, too much emphasis gets put on the way a device looks or the brand that it comes from. Those are the things we can see, so they’re the things that get thrown into marketing and branding. 

It’s important to have an understanding of the devices you’re interested in before you go to the store. Take a look at, for example, and get a good feel for all of the products. That way, you’re less likely to get distracted and leave with something that won’t meet your needs. 

Do your research, select a device or two to look at, and use that information when you’re interacting with a salesperson. When your baseline criteria get met, that’s when you look at the aesthetic and functional aspects of the device. 

Laptop Buying Guide: Interested in Digging Deeper Into Technology?

Hopefully, our laptop buying guide was helpful to you. There’s more to learn about technology and where it’s headed, though. 

Whatever your interests are, we’re here to help. Explore our site for more insight into the world of technology, computers, central processing units, and more. 

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