Did you know that as of 2018, more than 90 percent of Americans own a computer?
But, as people continue to adapt to this age of mobility, more users are getting rid of their computers and buying laptops. Fortunately, there are many types of laptops that can compete even with the latest desktop PC.
Are you thinking of buying a brand new laptop but aren’t sure what to look out for? If so, in today’s post, we’re going to break down the key components to look for while searching for an affordable laptop.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider while looking for a brand new laptop is the OS. As you already may know, there are three major operating systems: macOS, Windows, and Chrome OS. Yet, of course, there are other operating systems, but they’re not as common as the ones mentioned before.
Let’s briefly talk about each one so you can understand which one will suit your needs.
Without a doubt, Apple has created one of the most user-friendly and stable operating systems in the market. The macOS also has a sleek and elegant design, which adds to the laptop experience. This OS is perfect for people who work in the graphic design industry as it provides lots of essential tools for that field.
Sadly, if you’re an avid gamer, you’ll want to steer away from the macOS, as most gaming developers create their games on Windows. Unfortunately, that means a very limited number of games are available to play on the macOS. But, the good news is that some older game titles have been optimized for macOS, so if you like playing games like Age of Empire or Minecraft, you’re in luck as they work.
Perhaps the most common OS for a laptop is Windows, as the requirements are easy to meet on any laptop, old or new. Additionally, Windows can be upgraded or tweaked to your heart desire, so if you ever wanted a fully-customized OS, then Windows is that one for you. Also, a Windows laptop is more open-ended when installing new programs since most programs are designed to run on Windows.
And as previously mentioned, Windows is perfect for gamers as developers create and optimize all their games for this OS. But, of course, because of all its open-ended features, Windows is the prime target for hackers. So, if you decide to get a brand new laptop with Windows, be sure to get a powerful anti-virus.
Even though Chrome OS is a new contender in the computer world, it has shown to be a powerful operating system. One aspect that stands out of this OS is that it operates like a smartphone or tablet, which means that instead of programs, it has apps. But, in more recent models that have Chome OS, you’re able to install traditional programs.
The Chrome OS is perfect for people that have and use an Android phone or tablet as the OS automatically syncs with the mobile devices. And while the amount of PC games available for the Chrome OS is low, you still have access to the entire PlayStore game catalog.
Another important feature to consider before buying a laptop is its processor. The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is what gives the laptop its processing power or, in other words, how fast your laptop process data. So as you can imagine, the better the CPU, the faster your PC will be.
And the most popular CPU manufacturer is Intel, so any laptop that isn’t macOS will carry a sticker saying Intel powers it. Here are the latest Intel chips:
As you can expect, the i7 or i9 are powerful processors that can handle intensive editing and computing processes. And if you truly want a behemoth of a laptop, be sure to look out for Lenovo’s Intel Evo platform as it carries the i9 processor and other features that increase its processing capacity. But, if you’re an average laptop user, you can settle with an i3 or i5 CPU as it has enough processing power to complete basic tasks.
The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is what helps your laptop generate images on your screen. But, of course, most CPUs already have an integrated GPU mounted on the chip, which means that the better the CPU you get, the better GPU you’ll get as well. But, some laptops allow you to install an additional GPU, which means you can install higher-end graphic cards.
Here are some of the best ones:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
- AMD Radeon RX 6800M
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7
Of course, if you plan to use your new laptop for basic activities like web browsing or document writing, then the integrated GPU is more than enough to get the job done. But, if you enjoy playing PC games like Battlefield 2042 or Call of Duty Vanguard, you may want to consider adding an external GPU.
The RAM (Random Access Memory) handles the temporary storage and access of information. So, while the CPU dictates the processing data of permanent applications like the OS or GPU, the RAM manages programs like web browsers or even video games. So, in simple terms, the more RAM your laptop has, the better laptop performance you’ll have while using multiple programs.
Here are the best RAM’s for laptops:
- Corsair Vengeance LED
- G.Skill Trident Z RGB
- Kingston HyperX Predator
- Kingston HyperX Fury
- Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
If you want your laptop to last several years, you’ll want to look for one that has at least 8GB. Additionally, some laptops have extra RAM slots, so you could increase their overall RAM power if you wish. And if you want a really powerful laptop, try to upgrade your RAM to at least 16GB.
How much storage your laptop has is entirely up to you as the sky is the limit. But, there are two types of storage systems in the computer field: HDD and SSD. The HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is what most older laptop models have, while most modern laptops come equipped with SSD (Solid State Drive) technology.
The main difference between HDD and SSD is how fast programs start-up, or data is uploaded to the drive. An SSD will always outperform an HDD, as it uses NAND (non-mechanical features) to access the stored data. As you can expect, though, SSD is usually a lot more expensive than a traditional HDD.
Additionally, some people purchase a laptop with HDD since it’s cheaper and later get an external SSD. So, if you want to save a couple of hundred bucks, consider doing that.
Nowadays, most manufacturers are reducing the number of ports their laptops have as most input devices use USB-C ports. But, most Windows laptops still have HDMI, ethernet, and USB 2.0. But, Apple has stripped away all of the ports in favor of their Thunderbolt 3 port, which means if you purchase an Apple laptop, you’ll need to buy a port hub.
So, be sure to double-check what ports the laptop has before buying it, as it can save you the hassle of finding a port hub. If you do need a port hub, be sure it has the following ports:
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the port hub has a decent power output, as it will affect how many things you can have plugged in at the same time.
As mentioned in the intro, people are in constant motion, which means they can’t always have the luxury of peacefully sitting down to use their laptops. That’s why some people look for laptops with touchscreen support, so they can use them while standing or in cramped places. Fortunately, there are many Windows laptops with touchscreen support, but there are downsides to this feature.
For example, if something happens to your screen, you may need to pay a hefty repair fee. Additionally, while the laptop has touchscreen support, that doesn’t mean the program has it. So, you may find that some programs you use are not touchscreen compatible.
Hopefully, with this comprehensive guide, you’re ready to buy a brand new laptop. But, of course, once you find a laptop with the specs you want, be sure to test it out in person at your local electronic retail store. So, stop using your old laptop, and go find a new one today! Did you find this guide helpful? If so, we have other tech guides, so be sure to check out our other posts!