At Advance Computer Systems, we know that choosing the perfect laptop can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to buying a laptop to make sure you get a machine that does exactly what you need it do to. We’ll cover the most the important things to consider before buying a laptop, as well as information you’ll need to make sure it does exactly what you require.
A laptop’s operating system (OS) governs the way your interface looks, how it works and which software you can run. When it comes to choosing an operating system, there are three main ones, each with different benefits.
1. Windows 10
We’d argue that Windows is the most popular operating system, which means that if you’ve used a computer before, the chances are it ran on Windows. Powerful, yet super easy to use, Windows is a great place to start.
• It works with any device, whether you use a smartphone, tablet or PC. Plus, finding files is straightforward, regardless which device you’re using.
• It works with hardware and software you already own, meaning you save money buying new devices or programmes that are compatible.
• It supports and protects against viruses, phishing attacks and malware for the whole lifetime of your device.
• It’s the best choice for gamers, as it has the most games available.
2. OS X
This is exclusive to Apple computers and features an easy to use layout. Again, if you’re new to computing or just prefer simplicity when it comes to navigation then OS X is a good choice.
• It works on all your Apple devices flawlessly. If you have an iPad or iPhone, transferring contacts, apps and files will be very easy.
• It’s great for design as some of the most popular design software is optimised for OS X.
• Certain popular accessories and software aren’t compatible with this operating system, so be aware that you may need to buy additional accessories.
3. Chrome OS
This system is a web-focused one that’s main goal is to get you to your online content as easily and quickly as possible because anything unnecessary has been removed.
• It’s quick and easy website access makes it ideal for web-based computing.
• It’s great for Google Play as it’s the only OS that gives you access to over one million apps.
• But beware, most PC software isn’t compatible with this OS, so it’s not an ideal choice for anything other than web-based computing.
This can be described as the brain of your laptop. Whenever you open a program, load a file or even just move your mouse, the processor makes all this possible.
How many cores do I need?
We generally recommend buying a laptop that has at least a dual-core processor. This is because it can handle several activities at once and allows you to quickly move to different windows and have more tabs and apps running at once. They’re also great for quickly running demanding software like music production programs and editing photos.
What is memory cache?
Before tasks are handled by the processor, they must queue up in the memory cache. A larger memory cache allows your laptop’s processor to sift through demanding tasks quicker. To be honest, you only really need to worry about this if you are planning on running professional-level creative software, such as photoshop – if you are, be sure to look for at least 4 MB or more.
This is an important specification to consider if you need a high-performance laptop. However, it’s worth remembering that RAM has nothing to do with the number of files that you can store on your laptop – that’s down to the storage size of your device.
What does memory (RAM) do?
Computer tasks are stored in the RAM where the laptop processor then picks them up and makes them happen. Having more RAM means that the processor is able to take on more tasks at one time – so it’s vital if you run demanding software.
How much RAM will I need?
When buying a laptop and choosing the amount of RAM, you need to consider what type of activities you’re likely to be doing. More RAM improves the overall performance of your computer, so really, you’ll never lose out by choosing more RAM.
Below are some rough guidelines.
• 4 GB – To browse the web, update social media and watch videos
• 6 GB – Researching and writing essays, working on office presentations and creating spreadsheets
• 8GB and over – Streaming HD films, editing videos or photos as a hobby, music production as a hobby or gaming
• 16 GB and over – Graphic design, professional photo or video editing or CAD design
This refers to how much storage space your laptop will have available for documents, software and anything else you save.
The size of screen that you require is a great way to quickly narrow down the amount of choice you have when buying a new laptop. The most common size used to be 15.6” – however people are now opting for a smaller screen size as you no longer have to sacrifice performance to have a portable device.
What screen size will be best for me?
If you’d like a perfect mix of visibility and portability, then we’d recommend you buy a laptop with a 14” screen. Screens that are smaller, like 10.6” or 11.6” are definitely much easier to carry around with you but might be too small if you spend most of your time looking at spread sheets or typing up documents.
If you spend more time at your desk working than you do on the go, you might find that 15.6” is more suitable for you.
If you’re looking for the largest screen available, that would be 17.3”. While this size laptop might be more difficult to carry around with you, they offer the best and clearest view of your content, making it great for multimedia.
Buying a laptop? Let us help
Hopefully this guide will help you while buying a laptop and ensure that you get one you love but if you still have any questions, why not give us a call on 01904 653789 or click here. We’d love to help you find the perfect laptop.