Things to Know Before Buying a Computer

Do you need a Laptop?

Why do so many people buy laptops when they don’t actually need it?

The problem is that buying involves emotion. Laptops are not cheap and they are an important part of the lives of many people. Electronic gadgets were sold to people who did not need them because those people went into the store fascinated with the idea of new, portable and charming laptops.

It is great to be excited when you buy but it is also important not to buy just for the sake of buying. Taking a moment to understand what you really need will help prevent an expensive mistake.


Things to Know Before Buying a Laptop

  1. Performance

Performance can be everything when it comes to computing. A faster computer was not needed just to run games but buying a faster computer resulted in a greater speed improvement when running Microsoft Word or browsing the web.

Consider the following before making a purchase:

  • Do you ever create YouTube videos, rip DVDs to your PC or convert videos so that they are in a format readable by your smartphone? These tasks benefit from fast processors. You can save a lot of time if you purchase a faster, more expensive system.
  • Do you play video games? Games rely heavily on both CPU and GPU performance. Many inexpensive laptops won’t play modern 3D games well.
  • Do you edit large files, such as high-definition video or raw audio files? Buying a laptop with extra RAM will have a big impact on performance.
  • Do you have to move files around your drive, or between drives, frequently? If so, you’ll have to look for a laptop with a fast mechanical drive.

These are not the only examples when you want to buy a high-end laptop but they are the most common ones. Remember, buying a fast laptop may be expensive, but the money will be well worth the frustration you avoid.

  1. Portability and Battery Life

In the past, computers were judged by the clock speed of their processor. Consumers always wanted the computer with the highest clock speed. 800 MHz is more than 700 MHZ, so it is better, right? What consumers missed was the fact that processors don’t always have the same per-clock performance and there is more to a computer than the processor.

Today, laptop battery life is causing a similar issue. Many companies are advertising laptops with battery life of six, eight, or even ten hours. But here’s the problem: there is no industry standard for measuring battery life. These claims are tested in factory by each company and are not subject to independent verification. Always use the rule of thumb:  always assume a laptop real-world battery life will be 75% of whatever the manufacturer claims.

The inflated battery life also seems to be influencing consumer purchasing decisions. Eight hours of battery life sounds great but do you really need it? The answer is probably a resounding “no!” If you have never taken your laptop out of the house before, it is probably because you don’t have the need to, not because you don’t have the right laptop for the job.

  1. Resolution and Screen Size

Display size is a charming topic among geeks. If you ask a lot of PC nerds what size of laptop they prefer, most will probably say something between 11 and 13 inches. But the average person continues to buy 15.6 inches laptop.

The geeks will point out that resolution is what determines the useable space on a laptop display. If you have a display 1366 pixels wide and 768 pixels tall it does not matter if the physical size of that display is two inches or two feet. It will display the same amount of information because PC graphics are rendered according to their size in pixels, not their size in inches. This means that many laptops with 15.6 inches display have no more usable screen than laptops with 11.6 inches display.

But the average person has a point, as well. Rendering a given number of pixels over a larger physical display makes everything look bigger. This can reduce image sharpness, but it also makes everything easier to read.

This is a decision everyone should make for themselves; personally, I recommend going for the highest resolution possible on a given display, even if it means paying extra money for the better panel.

Windows 7 has many features that can compensate for a high display resolution. The entire interface can be resized and settings can be adjusted to ensure that text looks great. Remember: the display is a trait that is virtually impossible to upgrade, so make sure you purchase a laptop with a display you will be happy with.

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