New Laptop – Don’t Be Fooled by Marketing!
Hi guys, this is my first post! I’m basing it on something which I’ve experienced just recently. I was in need of a laptop especially as University was just about to begin.
The obvious solution was to visit the well-recognised companies such as Argos, Curries and so forth however I realised that these companies had been using subtle marketing. What I mean is that they would boast about something small such as 3GB Ram whilst the processor was a mere Intel Celeron 2 Duo, something which was not recent, nor worth the price. The specs need to complement one another, but these did not. More after the break…
In addition, many of these came with the Anti-Virus offers, however these programs use up a lot of system resources, many of the alternative freeware software from Microsoft, Avast etc. are far more efficient and free! What more does a student want than to save money? What’s more is that these program offers with laptops are just a ploy, Microsoft Office is already available at a discount from students as long as you are a student.
What I advise is; look at the full specifications and compare them to others laptops, you will automatically see the differences in specs and in price. Bear in mind, those on very good offers are normally units that companies want to clear as they are “old” stock. It’s important to evaluate the size of the laptop you need, because you will need to lug it around with you from lectures and tutorials.
The main things I look for when buying a new Laptop is the following;
CPU: This is the engine of the computer, and just like a sports car will need a different engine to a people carrier, you need to be clear on what your usage needs are. A general tip would be to stick with the Intel core i series (i3, i5 and i7) as these are the most current chips from the market leader. Atom and Celeron processors are designed for small netbooks, unless you’re specifically looking for that kind of device, make sure you stay away from those two. AMD are Intel’s biggest rivals and offer many worthwhile options, but you might run into compatibility issues with their chips.
RAM: Allows you to do more things at once. The more RAM you have, the more programs you can have open at once and the more responsive the system will be when multitasking. DDR3 RAM is the current industry standard, if you see DDR2 stay away. Most laptops come with 4GB of RAM these days, but this is usually upgradable either at purchase or later down the line.
Graphics Cards: If you’re doing anything graphically intensive, like playing games, editing movies or working in Photoshop a lot, a dedicated graphics card will vastly improve performance as it offloads this specialised work from the CPU. Integrated graphics are getting better and better at getting the job done too, so unless gaming is really important to you, you can probably get by without a dedicated card.
Hard Disk Drive: The storage vault of your laptop. 320 to 500 GB of storage is standard, but you can opt for more if you need it: if you’re planning on storing lots of high definition movies on your laptop you might want to go up to a terabyte (TB) Otherwise, if storage isn’t so important and speed is crucial, consider a Solid State Drive (SSD). Instead of spinning platters, these use memory chips like in your phone or camera. To get similar amounts of storage as with a hard disk you’re going to have to pay a lot more, but if you only need around 100 GB or less, the speed and stability improvements are phenomenal.
Operating System: The basic software on the computer. Windows, Mac OS two OS’s you’re most likely to encounter on a laptop, and the vast majority of the ones you’ll see in the shops will be running Windows 7. I’d advise you to stay away from older versions of Windows as you’ll have lots of security and compatibility issues. If you’re interested in using Mac OS, you have to buy an Apple Mac. The decision between Windows and Mac is a big one that warrants much further explanation, but for now the basic points would be that with a Mac, you pay a lot more for similar specs, but you get a better build quality, cleaner aesthetics and top rate support in case anything goes wrong. If you’re prepared to spend £900 or upwards, it’s certainly an option, but below that figure Windows is your only choice.
If you have any questions please ask us in the comments!