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Laptop buying guide 2014: Why budget PCs are the best for startup businesses

Updated on October 9, 2014

If you have been making plans to set up an office for your startup business, you might have been tempted to buy a computer with breathtaking features in order to keep pace with new technology.

This makes sense, but the reality is that – if you are on a budget – you need a great deal of prudence to make the right selection.

Keep in mind that the more the features, the higher the price. Nevertheless, spending big during the early stages of your business – as you would know – is not a good idea, especially if you are unsure you will maintain an adequate cash flow for your business on the long term.

For that reason, buying only what you really need is imperative. Forget about the trending products and the buzz around you. In other words, your priorities should come first.Now, an easy way to know what budget PC will be compatible with your needs is by taking the main characteristics of a computer into consideration:

These days, most budget laptops come with Windows 8 systems.
These days, most budget laptops come with Windows 8 systems.

Portability

Portability counts a lot as it determines how often and where you can get access to the files saved on your computer. If you plan to run your business entirely from your office, then a desktop computer will surely do. The main disadvantage is that you will probably be unable to work after office hours.

If you plan to move around a lot, meet with clients and have them glance through your work, then a laptop will likely be your choice. Once fully charged, the average laptop battery will provide you with over 3 hours of uptime – just enough to advance in your work whenever you do not have access to a socket.

Performance

This is the most interesting part, as this is primarily what sets the price range. Desktops are usually more powerful than laptops, and this is why they are often more expensive.

Whatever you decide to buy though, make sure you examine the RAM, processor and hard drive first. From a common user’s prospect, these key components are at the center of a computer’s performance.

The following paragraphs serve to help you briefly understand what a memory, processor and hard disk drive are; but for more detailed explanations, read my other hub or check out the links at the end of this article.

RAM

This stands for Random Access Memory, and it plays an essential role in determining a computer’s ability to work with information simultaneously. The larger the memory, the more applications are able to run at the same time without any risk of freezing.

A minimum of 4GB (gigabytes) of RAM should be plenty for you to deal with Microsoft Office applications, browsers and multimedia programs with ease.

Products like the HP Pavilion 15z-n100 Notebook PC (4GB of RAM) or the Inspiron 15R Non-Touch (6GB of RAM) are good options with starting prices around $500 or less, excluding instant savings.

Processor

A processor is responsible for a computer’s ability to multitask. The faster a processor is, the more expensive it is, but the better you can perform heavy tasks and switch between applications rapidly.

For many people desperately in need of high performance, the Intel i5 vs i7 debate is one that has no conclusion. But worry not, because if you have nothing to do with art, entertainment or gaming, then you will most likely be comfortable with entry-level processors such as Intel’s Core i3 CPUs.

These are often built for budget systems and work just fine for normal usage, which usually involves using Microsoft Office applications and browsers, as well as music and video players.

Hard Drive storage

Whenever you save a file on your computer, this is where it goes. Nowadays, most laptops and desktops come with storage devices having above 500GB of space – giving your files more than enough room to be kept.

The Toshiba Satellite L50D-AST3NX1 laptop for instance, which has a standard price of approximately $600 and an 8GB memory, comes with 1TB of storage (equal to a thousand gigabytes).

Dell's Inspiron 15R laptop comes with a 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, Windows 8, 6GB memory and 500GB hard drive.
Dell's Inspiron 15R laptop comes with a 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, Windows 8, 6GB memory and 500GB hard drive.

How much are you willing to spend on your business PC?

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Conclusion

Consider yourself lucky if your startup business is not part of the world of entertainment media, as this means that budget PCs are a good match for you. Interestingly, most official online stores operated by manufacturers make promotions and offers year-round, letting you save dozens of dollars on the budget laptop or desktop of your choice.

So why aim for 2TB of storage and spend around $1,500 on an HP ENVY 17t-j100 Leap Motion when it is not necessary? Why wish for a multi-touch screen like that of Lenovo’s IdeaCentre A730, which is priced at over $2,000?

If you are willing to start your business the easy way whilst you are on a budget, just make yourself a simple rule: avoid spending extra cash on what you will not need on the long term.

Touchscreen laptops and desktops are usually more expensive than their non-touch equivalents. But is this awesome technology really worth the extra money when you are on a budget?
Touchscreen laptops and desktops are usually more expensive than their non-touch equivalents. But is this awesome technology really worth the extra money when you are on a budget?

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    • profile image

      ... 2 years ago

      Best laptops for startups would probably be the Lenovo Thinkpad Edge series. They are simple office laptops, and the lower priced models don't cost more than $500.

    • isaacasante profile image
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      Isaac Asante 3 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      @Kathycarr, thanks! I'll try to write more about technology...

    • Kathy Carr profile image

      Kathy Carr 3 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Great information. Thanks. Useful info.

    • isaacasante profile image
      Author

      Isaac Asante 3 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      Thank you so much ChristyWrites!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      For any startup business, this hub is a must-read! I like how you break down the details into RAM, performance, and more. It is well written too.