How to Choose the Right Laptop: A Step-by-Step Buying Guide
Choosing a laptop for yourself is not an easy task. Even if you know the ins and outs of laptops or are unsure about which laptop to buy, the process of buying the right laptop is not easy at all. Many factors go into choosing the right laptop for you. Even by visiting the websites of manufacturing companies or retailers, sometimes it is not possible to know many necessary things.
In our today’s blog we will try to give some useful guide so that you can get an overall idea about modern day laptop and its accessories.
Things to look at consistently:
1) Which operating system do you want?
2) Know the CPUs you need
3) Graphics card
4) Select the processor
5) How much RAM is needed?
6) What kind of storage space is needed?
7) Ports must be checked
8) Check other things including Webcam
9) Now make your choice
Select the preferred Operating System
Before looking for a laptop, first know which operating system is best for you. You need to know which software’s you will run and which Operating System is helpful to run those software’s. Once these things are confirmed, you can decide what hardware you will need.
There are four major operating systems available in the market. Each of these has its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Let’s briefly know about these Operating Systems-
Windows – If you need various Microsoft apps like MS Office, Access, or Outlook etc. then choose a Windows laptop with your eyes closed. Besides, the number of Windows laptops is more than other OS laptops in the market due to its requirements.
MacOS – Apple’s MacOS is more beginner friendly than Windows. But its problem is that it is largely controlled by Apple’s own hardware. If you haven’t used an iPhone or iPad before, it won’t be your first choice. And the option of laptop i.e. MacBook is also specific in the market.
Chrome OS – If you do most of your laptop tasks in a web browser, then this Chrome OS might be the right choice for you. Chrome laptops that are in the market (Chromebook) will also cost less. So if you want any operating system in tight budget then you can choose this Chrome OS. But note that apps like Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office won’t work here.
Linux – Even if you don’t have apps like Microsoft Office, there’s no stopping work. Yes, you are getting many replacement apps for Microsoft’s apps on Linux. Apps like LibreOffice, Darktable (Adobe Lightroom replacement), and GIMP (Adobe Photoshop replacement) are available on this Linux operating system.
Learn About Processors (CPUs)
You now know which operating system you want and have some idea about the software you’re going to run. So now you can figure out the minimum hardware specifications you need Now the thing you should look at is the processor, also called chip or CPU.
Processors from both companies run the most in the market. These are – Intel and AMD
Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 processors are the main ones in Intel’s chip line. Among them Core i3 is the least powerful and Core i9 is the most powerful. In many cases, everyone writes and says i3, i5, i7, i9 etc. except because of the repetitive nature of this Core name.
It should be noted that Intel uses some numbers and letters between these chips that indicate the processor’s capacity and generation. For example – Intel Core i5-10510U This is exactly how laptop manufacturers list the processor type of laptops on their website.
It should be noted that Intel Core i5-10510U has 10 indicating its generation, that is, it is a 10th generation processor. The next two or three numbers (510) indicate its capacity. For example Intel Core i5-10510U is more powerful than Intel Core i5-10210U. Again Intel Core i7-10350U has three numbers lower than 510 but its capacity is higher because its processor is i7 which is always more powerful than i5.
The letter at the very end indicates the special purpose of Intel’s chips. That is, the letters Y, U and H etc. indicate some kind of specialty of the chips. For example, the chips written U work on the laptop’s power efficiency. Chips labeled H are designed to increase performance. Similarly, Y chips work to increase battery life.
An AMD processor, for example the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, has a ‘3’ in the name indicating its generation (note, in this case, the higher the number, the better the processor). And ‘6’ means how powerful it is. Note that this ‘6’ is called a medium-powered chip. Anything less than this, such as ‘3’ or ‘4’, indicates a weaker chip. The next two numbers don’t really serve any purpose. And the last ‘X’ indicates high performance. In this case ‘U’ means Ultra-low power.
Are there any major differences between Intel and AMD? It is actually difficult to answer. It is possible to differentiate them according to specific benchmarks. If you only do web browsing and document editing or small work, then Intel’s i5 and Ryzen 5 can be recommended to you. Intel i7 and Ryzen 7 and Intel i3 and Ryzen 3 can be safely recommended for similar tasks.
But when you buy for heavy tasks like graphics related or video editing, you will definitely find the difference between these processors. When it comes to graphics performance, AMD’s processors perform slightly better than Intel’s. However, recently Intel chips have narrowed the gap with AMD.
Want to know about graphics card
Every laptop actually technically has a graphics card. But it all depends on the motherboard. We more specifically call them “integrated graphics”. You can play simple casual games and watch HD quality movies with these graphics.
But if you are a regular gamer and do video editing work then you have to rely on discrete graphics card. Yes, the same applies to your laptop. AMD and Nvidia make most of the graphics cards for laptops.
Most Intel-based graphics cards are Nvidia graphics cards from the GeForce line. These cards are basically Max-Q cards. These Max-Q cards are Nvidia’s power efficient and laptop friendly desktop cards. An example is the GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q card. Although the laptop version of these cards is 20-25 percent less powerful than the desktop version, you can use them for smooth gaming and video editing.
AMD’s graphics cards are from the Radeon lineup. These are called R-series cards. Radeon R9 is the most powerful, followed by Radeon R7 less than the previous one and Radeon R5 even less.
What kind of RAM does it take?
Random-access memory or RAM as we know it; This is the part of your laptop that holds your data while work is being processed. Much like a desk, if what you’re doing doesn’t fit on your desk, your work won’t be done right. Similarly, if the RAM of the laptop is not enough, your work will not be done well, it will be stuck.
That being said, 8GB of RAM is fine for the average Windows user. You can further increase its performance by upgrading to 16GB later. Note here that if this RAM is connected to the motherboard in the laptop, you cannot upgrade it later. So before buying a laptop you should check whether there is an option to upgrade the RAM or not.
A minimum of 16GB RAM is recommended for heavy workloads. But with 32GB, you can safely do any work without interruption.
However, Chrome OS doesn’t need that much RAM. You can do general tasks well with 4GB, and with 8GB you can open many tabs and browse the web smoothly.
When it comes to RAM, the terms DDR4 and DDR3 are important to know. DDR stands for double data rate. You will get better speed by using DDR4 RAM. DDR3 is relatively old and not used much nowadays.
SSD storage or HDD?
Hard drives are where your data is stored. Currently SSD or solid state drive is used by everyone. Although you will find HDD or Spinning Drive in many budget laptops.
You should buy an SSD of at least 256 gigabytes if you can afford it. SSD gives relatively faster performance especially when you get SSD with NVMe connection. Note that it is able to transfer your data to and from hard drives faster than previous SATA versions. Sometimes you can find laptops that run SSD operating systems with NVMe and old SATA drives as storage. In this case you are getting a budget friendly choice which can give you good speed.
Check the ports
Just as the CPU, RAM, and hard drive affect your laptop’s performance, the type and number of laptop ports are equally important. As per the basic requirements, your laptop must have a USB-C, a USB-A and microphone/headset jack. But having a USB-C charging option is best. If you are a photographer, make sure that the laptop has an SD or MicroSD card reader. Because photographers or creative persons need these cards to take content on laptop.
A laptop can’t even be thought of without a webcam. Although there are so many low-end laptops on the market these days that you won’t get a webcam! Low-budget laptops usually have a 720p webcam. But you will get better resolution Webcam for professional work. In that case, the price will be a little higher.
Where to buy from?
You must have checked the above points well. Now from where to buy your laptop is a big concern. In fact, this matter is as important as all other matters. Rather, it is more important to say!
Buying such gadgets should always be done from a trusted retail store or manufacturer’s website. Manufacturer’s website will guarantee you the correct product. And reputed retailers will provide you with the right products as well as various customer support. Your chances of cheating on pricing are also less in this case. Buying from an unknown store does not guarantee the benefits of the said items.