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The quest for a new laptop

Updated on January 11, 2020
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i am a long-time avid technologist. i began my tech career in the Apple world but moved to Enterprise Solutions later.

I need a new laptop

I have many friends online that message me about that. So many that I started putting together what I consider to be a laptop picker process. This is easy to use. First read all the components. Then come back and assign a value to each of them. I normally put these into a table and then rate each of the parts independently.

An example of this might be;

  • Memory most important
  • SSD drive next
  • Processor next

But that could be reversed if I decided I needed a new laptop to do video editing. Then the processor might move up. So figure what it is that you need to do with this new Laptop. Video editing, photo editing makes having a graphics chip as well as a processor makes more sense. If you are someone that runs Virtual machines on your laptop, you need more memory.

SSD drivers perform faster but are more expensive.

what should I consider?

  1. Let's start with memory options. The first thing to consider is to get as much memory as you can. You may only have two programs you are using today, but over time you are going to want more programs. You may want to edit that picture of Aunt Jean, or sit down and rewrite your resume. You will find ned up with applications. The more memory you have, the longer your new laptop will last!
  2. SSD drives versus traditional platter-based hard drives. Here is the reality of HD’s; they range in speed. Cheap laptops have 5400 RPM drives. The Mid-Range is 7200 RPM, and more than that in terms of speed is ultimately better. 10,000 and 15,000 RPM HD’s are available. SSD drives are int hat 15000 RPM range or more and really can speed up your computer.
    1. You don’t, however, need to get an SSD drive that handles everything you have. Get one to run the Operating system and your programs on it (300, to 500 gigs) and then add a USB drive to your computer.
    2. USB drives can be faster or slower to be aware of. Get a USB 3.0 port on your computer and use that for the drive.
  3. Operating system: I will tell you that the relevance of the OS is wholly a choice.
    1. macOS – The MacOS has been around as an OS for many years now. The current version is based on a Unix kernel and uses the Intel processor.
    2. Windows (8 or 10) – Windows 7 is hours from no longer being supported (the 13th of this month). Windows 8 and Windows 10 are the current versions.
    3. Linux (many flavors) many flavors, I’ve played with Ubuntu, Mint, CentOS, and a couple of others. All work well.
    4. Chromebook – a new entry was running the google ChromeOS. You are limited to the Google office suite, but ChromeOS requires less memory and has a much longer battery life.
  4. Battery – The battery life argument is one that continues to rage. I have a laptop for work that has an 8-hour battery, and I use that all the time. I have a laptop at home that is mine that has a 3-hour battery, and frankly, that works also. It is about how long you want to be disconnected.
  5. Onboard graphics chip, this is optional today unless you do a lot of gaming, or you are into producing graphics. It does, however, having a dedicated graphics chip speed up your computer.
  6. Cost is critical, but if you consider how long you will be keeping the laptop or desktop, then you can determine how much to spend. A good laptop today, runs around 1000 US dollars. A good laptop will last around three years. The battery really won’t, but you can always replace the battery.
  7. Procesor – be aware of the many available from the current low end of the market, an i5 chip. The middle of the market is the i7, and the i9’s are the top end of the processor market.

As you consider the seven items above, create a quick table that lists the seven and then rate them. Make sure you are unbiased in your rating. Each computer you look at in the store or online will offer some things for free with it (really isn’t for free, but well, you get the concept).

Buy the laptop that best fits what you think you are going to need in a year. If you only get a computer that is good enough now, you won’t be happy in a year.

Good luck with your new computer quest!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Doc Andersen

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