Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Laptop Buying Guide 2014

Tablets might be getting all of the attention these days but Laptops & Notebooks are still the computing device of choice for most of us. Why?? you might be asking.. well the answer to that is simple. Tablets are no use when it comes to document writing,  creating presentations, editing videos, doing accounts basically anything is easier on a laptop. Tablets are great for browsing the net and doing a bit of online shopping or maybe watching a movie but that's about it.

Here are some Compufix tip to buying a new laptop.

First up you need to decide what operating system or "platform" you want. In simple English this means do you want a Microsoft Windows 8.1, a Apple Mac OSx or Google Chrome OS.. 

If like me you have been converted to using Google Apps and Google Drive then a Chrome OS is very hard to ignore. Laptops with Chrome tend to be a lot cheaper and quicker. The downside is you cannot install the likes of Microsoft Office and a lot of printers etc.

Sometimes sticking to what you are used too is the best option and for many that would mean Windows 8.1. A word of warning. 8.1 has introduced a lot of changes and can take a bit of getting used too.

What size system do you want?

Before you decide anything else, you need to figure out just how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are usually categorized by their display sizes,:

11 to 12 inches: 

The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11 to 12 inch screens and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds. However, at this size, the screen and keyboard will be a bit too cramped for some users.

13 to 14-inches: 

Provides the best balance of portability and usability. Laptops with 13 or 14-inch screens usually weigh between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds and fit easily on your lap while still providing generously-sized keyboards and screens. Shoot for a system with a total weight under 4 pounds if possible.

15 inches: 

The most popular size, 15-inch laptops are usually quite bulky and heavy at 5 to 6.5 pounds, but also cost the least. If you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often or use it on your lap, a 15-inch system could be a good deal for you. Some 15-inch models have DVD drives, but you’ll save weight if you skip it.

17 to 18 inches:

If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17 or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity. Because of their girth, laptops this size can pack in high-voltage quad-core CPUs, power-hungry graphics chips and multiple storage drives. Just don’t think about carrying these 7+ pound systems anywhere.

Know your Specs and research before you go to the shops!!!

Notebook specs such as CPU, hard drive, RAM, and graphics chip can confuse even notebook aficionados, so don’t feel bad if spec sheets look like alphabet soup to you. What you need really depends on what you plan to do with your laptop. More intensive tasks such as 3D gaming and HD video-editing require more expensive components.

Here are the main components to keep an eye on.

The least expensive laptops on the market have AMD E Series or Intel Pentium CPUs, which will struggle to handle serious productivity or media tasks but can handle web surfing. Intel Atom processors are also low-performance, but offer long battery life.
Expensive tablet / laptop hybrids often use Intel’s Core M CPU, which is faster than Atom but not as quick as the company’s Core Series (Core i3, i5 and i7).

If performance matters, don’t settle for less than an Intel Core M for thin systems or a Core i3 CPU /AMD A Series for mainstream laptops. If you’re spending over $500, demand at least an Intel Core i5 CPU, which is capable of increasing its clock speed dynamically when you need more performance. Power users and gamers should settle for no less than Core i7 sytstem, preferably a quad-core chip.

When it comes to memory, or RAM, even the cheapest notebooks have 4GB these days so don’t settle for less. If you can get a system with 6 or 8GB, you’ll be better prepared for high-end applications and lots of multitasking. Gamers and power users should look for 16GB of RAM.

Hard Drive: 
For most users, a fast drive is more important than a large one. If you have a choice, go for a 7,200-rpm hard drive over a 5,400-rpm unit. Even if you have several movies and games on your hard drive, a 320GB should provide more than enough space, but 500GB or 750GB drives usually don’t cost much more.

Flash Cache: 
Any Ultrabook and some other notebooks come with 8, 16 or 32GB flash caches you can use to increase performance. While not as fast as an SSD, a Flash cache will help boost load and boot times while allowing you to store all your data on a large hard drive.

Solid State Drives (SSDs): 
These drives cost quite a bit more than traditional hard drives and come with less capacity (usually 128 to 256GB), but they dramatically improve performance. You’ll enjoy faster boot times, faster resume times, and faster application open times. Plus, because SSDs don’t have moving parts such as mechanical drives, failure is much less of an issue.

The more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on-screen, and the sharper it will look. Most budget and mainstream notebooks come with 1366 x 768-pixel resolutions. However, if you have the option, choose a laptop with a higher pixel count 1600 x 900 or 1920 x 1080 —always go for the highest res you can get. You’ll see more of your favorite web pages, multitask better, and have a better movie-watching experience. Full HD panels (1920 x 1080) cost about $150 more than your typical display, but are worth the splurge, especially on larger screens.

Some pricier notebooks even come with screens that are 2560 x 1600, 3200 x 1800 or even 3840 x 2160. Though most movies aren’t available at such high resolutions yet, the picture will be sharper.
Touch Screen: Windows 8 is simply more fun and immersive with a touch screen, but if your laptop is not a hybrid with a bendable or rotatable screen, you can probably live without it. Though you can get a touch screen system for under $500 these days, the difference in price between similarly configured systems with and without touch is $100 to $150.
Graphics Chip: For the most part, an integrated graphics chip (one that shares system memory) will be fine for basic tasks, including surfing the web, watching video, and even playing some mainstream games. But a discrete graphics processor from AMD or Nvidia (which has dedicated video memory) will provide better performance when it comes to the most-demanding games. Plus, a good GPU can accelerate video playback on sites such as Hulu, as well as speed up video editing.

As with CPUs there are both high and low-end graphics chips. Nvidia maintains a list of its graphics chips from low to high end as does AMD. In general, workstations and gaming notebooks will have the best GPUs, including dual graphics on the most expensive systems.

1 comment:

  1. This guidance will help to get the right model of laptop. If you face any technical issues then, get the technical help from ET solutions LLC who will guide you for how to stop google chrome help from popping up and all the technical issues.