Friday, November 25, 2022

How To Determine What Laptop To Buy

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Good question. Again, the cliff-notes version is that higher numbers are usually better. However, due to thermal restrictions, processors with more cores tend to operate at a lower clock speed. This is why having a PC with more cores might not always offer you the best level of performance.

So, whats a good clock speed look like?

Well, this is going to depends what youre doing with your PC. Some applications run single-threads, others are designed to utilize multiple. For uses where the latter is the case like video rendering and some gaming experiences, having more cores is going to offer up an enormous improvement over having faster ones.

That said, for more everyday things like web browsing, an i5 processor with a higher clock speed is probably going to offer more bang for your buck than a beefier i7.

In a hypothetical world where everyone could afford it, maybe wed all own PCs with the best Intel Core CPU available. However, in the world we actually live in, not everyone needs that high-end performance and not everyone can afford it. For most people, opting for a higher clock-speed over a higher core-count will do just fine as an alternative.

Different Types Of Laptop

The terms laptop and notebook tend to be used interchangeably as a general description. But you can break these down into smaller sub-categories, though they’re not always mutually exclusive.

For example, an ultraportable can also be a convertible which works as both a laptop and a tablet. Also, many devices that are designed as tablets can also work as laptops if you add a keyboard. Some are specifically designed for this, such as several models in Microsoft’s Surface range.

The general term for a full-sized laptop that strikes a balance between portability and functionality.

These can vary greatly in overall size and specification processor speed, storage capacity, memory and screen size.

They range in price from low-cost budget models to high-performance productivity and gaming models.

Thin, light laptops designed for mobility are often described as ultraportable .

Maintaining a super-slim profile means they have to cut out some features such as larger connection ports and reduce the number of connection ports. The smallest models weigh about a kilogram.

Ultrabook is a term coined by computer chipmaker Intel for a special type of ultraportable notebook . Ultrabooks must meet specific criteria for various things such as size/weight, battery life, type of chipset .

Among their strong points is strong security and anti-theft protection built in at the hardware level.

These combine the features of a laptop and a tablet. They’re also known as 2-in-1 laptops or hybrids.

Detachable Or Rotating Hinge

2-in-1s typically come in one of two designs: detachable or bendable. If you prefer a tabletlike, touch-based experience or you won’t need to do a lot of typing, a detachable is probably the type of 2-in-1 you’ll want. This category includes devices such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the HP Spectre x2 and the Dell XPS 12, which feature tablet bodies that house all of the components and ports, and can be used with separate keyboards in order to provide the traditional keyboard-plus-touchpad experience. You can stash away the keyboard to save weight and space, and then connect it again at a moment’s notice when the situation requires it. In addition to detaching completely, many removable keyboards can also bend and fold to become kickstands or protective covers when the situation arises.

However, if you do a lot of writing or prefer a touchpad for navigating the user interface, you may want to opt for a bendable 2-in-1. Systems such as Lenovo’s Yoga 900 and HP’s Spectre x360 have hinges that bend back a full 360 degrees to go into tablet mode and also offer intermediary positions such as tent and presentation modes.

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Choose The Graphics Card

There are two types of graphics solutions found on laptops integrated and discrete. The integrated ones are typically slower while the discrete ones are more geared towards performance. If you are going to use your laptop for playing basic games or just for browsing, watching movies, a laptop with an integrated graphics card is perfectly fine.Discrete graphic card solutions on laptops are typically powered by AMD or NVIDIA. AMD calls their cards Radeon, while NVIDIA calls their solutions GeForce.

These GPUs come with dedicated graphics memory which lets them handle graphic intensive software and games. If you are studying a 3D or computer graphics course, a discrete graphics card is essential.Of course, the other benefit is being able to play high-end games on your laptop. NVIDIAs entry-level graphics solutions are labelled as GeForce 930M, 940M, whereas the mid-range offering start with the GTX 950M and above. AMDs low-end graphics solutions start from the Radeon R5 going up to the R9 series of GPUs.

Will I Be Traveling With My Laptop Or Mostly Working In One Place

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Portability is a major concern for some business owners and a nonissue for others. If you travel a lot or work in different locations on a regular basis, it may be worth sacrificing the screen and keyboard size for a lighter computer. You can always check the dimensions and weight of a laptop under the technical specifications online.

Keep in mind that laptop screens, like television screens, are measured diagonally and that, in general, any device lighter than 3 pounds is portable enough for business travel. Before you choose an ultraportable, though, make sure the device has the ports you require and a battery life you can live with.

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Summing It Up: Which Processor Should You Get

The good news for consumers is that today, even despite well-publicized silicon shortages, is an excellent time to buy a laptop of any kind. Though an ultra-low-cost laptop might use a sluggish entry-level CPU, nearly all $500-and-up models will feature a responsive processor more than suited for everyday usage. There’s no shortage of power on the gaming, content creator, and workstation side of things, either Apple, AMD, and Intel all have competitive offerings.

If you’re an Apple-laptop shopper, your choice is already made since the company started the switch to its in-house ARM chips in late 2020, unless you must stick with a legacy Intel MacBook for specific software reasons. At a minimum, M1 MacBooks are competitive with AMD- and Intel-based Windows laptops, and for specialized applications they can be even faster. The M1 Max-equipped 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro is the most amped-up laptop it offers.

Windows and Chrome OS laptop buyers face a much greater choice with CPUs from AMD and Intel and even a few ARM chips thrown into the mix. Chromebooks generally deliver a smooth computing experience with any processor, though we’ve found ARM chips a bit more sluggish than x86. If you go for an AMD Chromebook, opt for one of the recent Ryzen C Chromebook-specific chips rather than one of the aged A-series. Similarly, an Intel Core CPU will serve Chromebook users better than a Pentium or Celeron if you tend to keep many tabs open at once.

Important Features To Consider When Buying A Laptop

While the overall performance offered by the RAM and CPU will typically be the most touted factors, there are several other components you need to carefully consider.

3.1. Laptop Screen Size & Resolution Options

The old axiom that bigger is better doesnt usually apply when buying a laptop. In most cases, you want to go smaller for enhanced portability. These will be your typical size options:

  • 11 inch
  • 15 inch
  • 17 inch

Its important to keep in mind that as you go up in size, you also increase in weight and decrease in battery life.

17 inch screens are typically meant for gamers who dont mind being plugged into a wall outlet at all times. For the best crossroads between battery life, keyboard size, and display area, we recommend 12.5 inch 14 inch laptops.

You also need to look at resolution options, particularly if you plan on watching full movies or frequently playing games. The two most common resolutions available are:

  • 1366 x 768
  • 1920 x 1080

For true HD, we recommend going with the 1920 x 1080 option, but that may not always be available in budget models.

If you have more money to spend, you can find even higher resolutions that are referred to as retina, 3k, or 4k.

3.2. Form Factor

While laptops used to only come in one variety the standard clamshell youve now got several major options to choose from, including:

  • Normal clamshell
  • Clamshell that can lay 180 degrees flat
  • Hybrid 2-in-1 360 degree hinge
  • Hybrid with detachable keyboard

3.3. Keyboard Style

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How To Buy A Laptop 2021

Mobile computing isnt a luxury anymore these days, having ready access to a laptop is a flat out necessity.

Whether you need to edit video on the go, email your boss, play games, or just keep in touch with family, performance and portability come together when you pick the right notebook.

Although prices have come down, laptops are still a big investment. Thats why you should be confident that youve found the perfect laptop to fit your needs and budget before checking out!

Thats where we come in!

A typical laptop will last between 3 5 years. When its time to replace a new laptop, from start to finish weve got a full guide to walk you through every aspect of the buying process.

Why Trust Our Journalism

How To Buy The Correct RAM / Memory for Any Laptop Computer

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors code of practice to underpin these standards.

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Down And Dirty Specs: A Guide To The Very Latest Laptop Cpus

We haven’t tested every laptop CPU on the marketlikely no one outside of Intel or AMD has, and maybe not even them. But with our general advice behind us, let’s wrap up with more specific laptop processor recommendations for various usage scenarios in the x86 aisle.

Beyond that general specification guide, you can get more granular with cheat sheets for the most common current-generation Intel and AMD laptop CPUs, along with their suggested usages and the kinds of systems in which you’ll find them. These final two tables should be very helpful when shopping the latest-model laptops.

You’ll still see plenty of notebooks on sale with last year’s or earlier chip generations, so an exhaustive list would be impossibly unwieldly. But if you look at AMD’s or Intel’s older CPU families, it’s usually easy to identify the parallel previous-gen versions of the chips listed below. You can safely assume in most cases that, if the core and thread count is the same, they’ll offer slightly lesser performance than the latest parts, but fit in the same relative place in the company hierarchy. If the price is right, don’t dismiss an almost-new CPU.

First, a look at the Intel lineup…

And now for the up-to-the-moment AMD lineup…

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Which Type Of Laptop Should You Buy

You want your laptop to accomplish the things you need it to do. Some laptops are suited for business or professional use, some are geared more toward gaming and entertainment, and others are ideal for day-to-day tasks. Choose wisely, and youll be satisfied with your purchase.

Types of laptops to consider include:

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Decide Your Graphics Needs

Most laptops rely on their processors integrated graphics chipset, usually called something like Intel HD Graphics. This can play simple 3D games at low resolution at low to medium detail settings, but if youre serious about games then youll need a laptop with a dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics chipset. Its hard to determine how quick a graphics chipset will be from the model number, so we recommend searching for graphics benchmarks online to see how a chipset performs in the latesttitles.

Only very expensive laptops can play the latest games at very high detail levels, so if you have the space it may be worth buying a normal laptop and a gaming desktop PC instead.

Related: Best graphics cards

Screen What Size And Resolution Of Laptop Display Do I Need

5 Simple Method

In a nutshell:

  • Unless you have a very low budget, dont settle for less than Full HD, no matter the size.

The graphic below shows the four main screen resolutions you’ll find on laptops and what they are often called.

A laptops screen is one case where bigger isnt always better. If you want a longer-lasting battery and a more portable device, you may want to go for an 11, 12 or 13-inch display most of these will weigh between 1kg and 1.5kg. The largest you’re likely to see is 15 or 17 inches, with weight increasing to around 2kg to 3kg.

is the number of distinct tests we use to judge a laptop screen’s brightness, colour accuracy, sharpness and reflections. These tests make up our laptop screen score – so you’ll know that the higher the score, the better the screen.

Most new models over £300 now have a Full-HD 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution display, and high-end models can have even sharper screens with even more pixels up to and beyond 4K Ultra HD. Generally, the higher the resolution, the sharper the picture.

Only cheaper laptops should have a lower screen resolution of 1,366×768. This is okay and usually usable, but these screens not only lack fidelity their cheap nature means they’re also lacking when it comes to how well colours are displayed.

We also test computer monitors – you can hook one up to your laptop to use as a second screen. See our guide to the best computer monitors to get the low-down on how to pick one.

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How Much Ram Does A Laptop Need

RAM is an important specification to look for in a laptop. Youll want 4GB at the very least for a Windows laptop though wed actually recommend for many people to go for 8GB. That will ensure that the laptop runs well for years to come. Budget Chromebooks can get away with less RAM, such as 1GB or 2GB.

The Abcs Of The Archrivals: Pentium Core Ryzen And More

AMD and Intel differentiate their laptop processors according to all of the basic concepts discussed earlier, but their top-level branding is most visible to casual shoppers. Here are their basic product lines by intended market.

Intel’s mainstream laptop CPU brand is Core, while AMD’s is Ryzen. They clash at every levelAMD’s Ryzen 3 competes with Intel’s Core i3, Ryzen 5 with Core i5, and Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 with Core i7 and Core i9.

Among laptops and Chromebooks retailing for just a few hundred dollars, AMD’s Athlon chips vie with Intel’s Celeron and Pentium lines. AMD has no direct alternative to Intel’s Xeon for flagship mobile workstations, though its Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 can offer similar performance. Xeons are essentially Core i7 or Core i9 processors with extra features, designed to work with exotic error-correcting-code memory and to guarantee smooth operation with specific professional applications for fields like engineering, architecture, and data science.

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The Best Creator Laptop

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the most powerful laptop Apple has ever made. If youre willing to pay the price , youll almost certainly be satisfied with what this machine can do.

In our benchmarks, which test a variety of creative tasks including encoding, playback, and export time, the MacBook Pro 16 did better than any laptop weve ever used the only other machines that have come close to matching this thing in some of our benchmarks are high-end desktop PCs. The battery life is also record-shattering. The 16-inch configuration with the M1 Pro processor lasted 16 hours in my testing making it the longest-lasting laptop weve ever reviewed.

Elsewhere, we have basically no complaints about the newest MacBook Pro. It has a gorgeous display that can reach 1,000 nits when playing HDR content. It pairs that with the best set of speakers weve ever heard from a laptop. If youre looking for a machine that can accommodate a demanding workload while also serving as an excellent multimedia device when youre off the clock, the MacBook Pro 16 is the best device for you.

Everything You Need To Find A Laptop Youll Love

Things to know before buying a laptop

In this guide we cover the most important things to consider before buying a new laptop, along with all the information you need to make sure your new laptop does exactly what you want it to do.

If you still have questions or want to see the latest features and tech for yourself, why not call into your nearest store and speak to one of our colleagues, who will happily help you find the perfect laptop.

CONTENTS

High powered devices for getting stuff done

Large documents and presentations, complex spreadsheets and basic editing

Easily work on multiple applications at once

For those that work at their computer all day

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