As well as the start of a new academic year, Christmas is the next big-time when people think about buying or replacing their IT equipment. As always, it’s important that you think carefully before making what can be a very expensive purchase.

When you are looking to buy a new laptop, please don’t think just only on price. I have worked with countless laptops where the owner was delighted with the ’bargain’ that they had bagged only to find that the machine ran incredibly slowly as it didn’t have even the minimum amount of memory to run at an adequate speed.

So, what do you need to look at when buying a laptop? Firstly, let’s look at the important component parts:

Think of this part as the ‘engine’ of the laptop. The faster the engine, the faster the laptop will run. For the purposes of this article, I will only look at the Intel processors that are on the market. The Intel family of processors of interest start with the i3, then there is the i5, i7 and lately there is the i9 processor. If all you do is browse the web, write the odd email, an i3 will be sufficient. However, if your budget can afford it, I would start with the i5 processor. If you’re big into graphics/games, then consider the i7. The i9 is only really suitable for those who are big into playing games and enthusiasts.

Memory or RAM, is like our own memories: the more we can store in our memory, the less we need to write things down in order to remember them. If your laptop doesn’t have enough memory, it will then write the data it needs to disk, which is slow as it then needs to read that data back again when it’s needed. If you are someone who likes to have many many tabs open on your browser, you will need a decent amount of memory; otherwise your machine will run very slowly between each task. I personally wouldn’t advise buying a laptop with less than 8GB of memory as this will ensure your machine copes with your demands now and for some time into the future as software needs change.

There are 2 types of disk that you need to consider when buying a laptop: a standard hard disk or a Solid State Drive (SSD). Standard disks come in sizes of terabytes (eg 1TB) and will be more than adequate for most users. SSD are very fast drives and can make your laptop really nippy. However, the ones with a decent amount of storage capacity are expensive, but the price is coming down as more people choose this type of drive. It is possible to have a small SSD (128 GB) as your operating system drive and have a 1TB hard drive for your data –this will give you the best of both worlds. If you only have a small SSD (128GB), you may run out of space as you save more of your data to disk.

If you would like some advice before making your purchase, or you would like me to source you a new laptop, please give me a call and we can have a chat and talk through your options. 0785 509 2227

Remember: a laptop is not just for Christmas, it can be for a number of years if you make the right decision now.

Credit to Gavin Forster for the image.