Laptops by far and wide are tools to portable computing on the go. They have come a long way and will only continue to get better as the time passes. However there is such a large selection that it can sometimes be baffling to the end user to pick one if he/she doesn’t have the required knowledge when it comes to purchasing a laptop and will often end up with something that is sub-par or unsuited for their exact usage pattern. So here is a detailed guide to choosing a proper laptop for your specific usage. And don’t forget to visit to stay updated with the latest tech news.
- Gaming: This is probably the most deceptive category when it comes to laptops as most of the general public assume that having that Nvidia sticker on the palm rest means that it is a gaming laptop. This is such a wrong notion and companies regularly use it to their leverage to market the specified model as gaming laptops, indirectly.
Well first and foremost, the most important aspect when it comes to a gaming laptop is the GPU and one that is often the most easily confused among the average Joe. Like CPU’s laptops also have different GPU chipsets and each of them has perform differently. On the whole, GPU’s in laptops come from two different manufacturers, namely AMD and Nvidia and both of them have different target audiences. AMD is primarily targeted at the lower end of the spectrum as they have yet to capture the gaming market as Nvidia and are meant mostly for people that either need a little more graphics prowess than stock or need AMD to run application specific software needing Open CL/Vulkan applications. Nvidia is a bit more complicated as it has two different lines of laptop GPU’s in the mainstream, namely the MX/ GT and the GTX. So here are a few essential pointers to keep in mind if you are considering buying a current generation gaming laptop.
- Skip the GT/MX series for gaming as they are really low end parts meant for light casual gaming and are more intended for multimedia and accelerating CUDA applications.
- Always get an i5 or i7 when it comes to CPU’s as they will have enough processing power to feed the GPU in intense gaming situations. The last thing that you need is a CPU that cannot keep up with the GPU or vice versa.
- For gaming only, start with a minimum of a GTX 1050 level chip for the laptop as that is essentially the same as the desktop counterpart when it comes to gaming. Current generation gaming GPU chipsets include the GTX 1050, 1050ti, 1060, 1070 and the 1080.
- If the GTX part number is followed by a Max-Q, then it is a power optimized version of the same chip which has been tuned for better power efficiency with a small performance loss.
- (Optional) Always opt for a M.2 based storage or something that at least supports M.2 as an upgrade option.
- Travel/Work: This category is rather simple as it doesn’t have as many variables as gaming laptops. This category of laptop is mainly dominated by thin and lights and ultra-books. Considering that work laptops generally include opening and closing a number of time every day, your main priorities should be looking for something that is durable and lightweight. So here are the main things to keep in mind while buying a work/Travel laptop
- Right now AMD isn’t at its best when it comes to laptop CPU’s when it comes to energy efficiency as they are still a generation or two behind but that might change soon as they release the Ryzen Mobile range of chipsets later this year, so if you need your laptop urgently, get an Intel or simply wait if you can as Ryzen mobile is supposed to be AMD’s comeback to the high performance energy efficient mobile computing solution for the laptops.
- Use an M.2 Drive or SATA SSD. Mechanical hard drives require quite a bit more energy to operate as there are mechanical parts involved. Also the performance gains will be hugely noticeable.
- Always see battery reviews for you choice of laptop as it will be the most important thing when it comes to a Travel/Work laptop.
- Touch screens are a desirable thing to look out for in this whole laptop category as it makes usage so much more intuitive.
- The more the available ports, the better.
- Those on a budget: Let’s face it, budget laptops don’t usually have the best of hardware and are often built on a strict budget for cost cutting. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot get a good deal on it and here is how to pick a decent one for yourself.
- See if the laptop supports an M.2 slot on the motherboard for storage expansion.
- Try to see if it has the any of the following ports – USB 3.0, USB Type-C, Thunderbolt, Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI/Display Ports.
- Avoid the temptation to get an Optical Drive as they are pretty much obsolete by now.
- Look for more RAM, especially in faster formats like DDR4 and better processors. A good way to judge the processor is to look up for benchmarks on websites.
- Features such as backlit keyboards are very desirable.
- The presence of a low end graphics solution is desirable as it will enable you to play less demanding games every now and then but keep your expectations in check.
- MacBook Enthusiasts: There isn’t much to be said here as MacBook’s basically follows the same principle as consumer laptops. The things to remember when buying a Mac are as follows:
- You’ll lose out on quite a few common ports so spare extra cash for a dongle.
- Pick a MacBook that has the performance that you need and not for the extra flair.
- Don’t skimp out on Apple Care packages are MacBook’s aren’t generally easy to repair via 3rd party shops in case of a breakdown and repairs definitely aren’t cheap to begin with without Apple Care.
So there you have it, suggestions for buying a laptop for every customer.