- WHY DO YOU NEED A LAPTOP?
- WHAT APPLICATIONS ARE YOU GOING TO RUN ON YOUR LAPTOP?
- DO YOU HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS?
- WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Let's discuss them one by one.
(1) WHY DO YOU NEED A LAPTOP?
Many people looking for a laptop actually already had an old laptop. They are actually looking for an upgrade, a replacement. So, what is your experience with your old laptop? Are you happy with some special features or stylish design of your laptop brand. Different laptop manufacturers build their laptops, often with their unique "signature" features and style. That's why, often times Lenovo users love Lenovo. And, Dell fans love Dell. The opposite is also true, users of a certain brand name may hate a certain thing of that brand and promised not to buy from that brand name again.
Well, this could be very subjective, sometimes even unfair, as manufacturers may have improved their technology and design over time. A loved feature may have become obsolete. Still, your feelings should be respected. I love Lenovo, but I won't insist a Toshiba-lover to change over.
Are you looking for a performance upgrade? You may feel that your old laptop is tooooo slow. You may be surprised that simply buying a new computer may not solve your problem.
- It's not uncommon that Windows XP users when upgraded to their new computers running on Windows 7, can't feel much improvement
- If a laptop user tries to run his same applications on a Atom netbook, he's going to suffer a lot
A more scientific way to evaluate a performance upgrade is by comparing the processor speed. Though not precisely accurate, still you get a general idea of what does it mean in performance gain.
- Suppose you are currently using a Pentium 4, 1.7 GHz CPU laptop computer, with a CPU benchmark of 202; your upgrade to a laptop with a Core i3 2330M 2.2 GHz CPU, with benchmark 2589, means an upgrade of processing speed about 12 times*
*Note that this DOES NOT mean that your computer will actually faster 12 times. Factors like hard disk drive bottleneck, network bottleneck, software getting more complicated, OS loading more features, etc. will slow down your new machine.
For a list of CPU benchmarks - http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
That's also why the different names - a NETBOOK and a LAPTOP. You will find most NETBOOK runs on CPU with processor benchmarks below 1,000. Even an entry level LAPTOP computer has 2 or 3 times higher in processor benchmarking.
What could affect the performance of a laptop? A number of factors, here are some items should look at.
- CPU benchmark (as explained above); not just the "GHz", which is very misleading
- Hard disk type, SSD (Sold State Drive) surely out-performs a SATA disk
- For SATA-disk laptop, check the rotation speed; a 5400 rpm HDD is slower than a 7200 rpm HDD
- Laptop with a separate graphic card generally speaking has higher performance than one with integrated graphic card
- Chipset technology, which may be difficult to compare, but can have a great impact on your system's performance
... to be continued.