When you go to buy a laptop, you can be overwhelmed by the technical characteristics of the equipment, since if you do not understand a little hardware they probably do not mean anything to you and you end up falling into the usual marketing “traps”, with astronomical figures that do not. they are both actually. In this article, we are going to try to help you by giving you a series of tips so that you are right when buying a laptop, and that it is according to your needs.
Obviously, and although the hardware is the most important aspect to take into account when buying a laptop, there are other factors that you surely want to take into account, such as the size of the screen, that it is light to be able to move it from a site to another, etc. Those factors are up to you since it will depend on what you need it for.
For example, it is not the same to buy a gaming laptop that is rarely going to be moved from its site and in which its dedicated graphics matter more than weight and size than one that you intend to take with you on a constant trip because In this case, you will be more interested in being light and having a good battery life.
The laptop processor
The processor is the brain of the machine, so it is certainly one of the most important factors to consider when buying a laptop. It goes without saying that laptop processors seek to have low power consumption to improve battery life and not need as large cooling systems as in desktop PCs, but we can still find laptop processors with excellent performance.
Depending on your needs, a “dual-core” processor could be enough for you, although the most common today for all kinds of uses (including gaming) are quad-core processors. In any case, you should pay close attention to which processor the laptop equips exactly because it is very common to integrate HyperThreading or SMT technologies in them. In other words, dual-core processors would actually have four simultaneous processing threads, being “equivalent” to quad-core processors that do not.
To check how many cores and threads the processor has, we recommend looking for them on the manufacturer’s website ( Intel or AMD ). That a manufacturer tells you that it has an Intel Core i5 processor will not tell you much, but if you look for the specific processor on the Intel or AMD website you will find all the data.
As a general rule, and unless you are going to use the laptop for professional or editing purposes, the amount of RAM you should look for is 8 GB. Today 4 GB is going to be insufficient, so do not even think about it, and 16 GB may be fine if you are going to use the equipment with heavy tasks and for gaming, but again, 8 GB is a valid figure for the vast majority of users.
Avoid laptops that have amounts of RAM that are not multiples of 4 (8, 16, 32, 64 …) because in that case they are either using RAM soldered to the board or they use different modules, which in the end can result in a lower performance. It is, unfortunately, common to see manufacturers who want to sell you a laptop with 12 GB of RAM, and that usually means that they have 4 GB soldered on the board and an 8 GB module. In this case, although they work in dual-channel, only the first 8 GB will do so, and if you use more RAM then you will be losing performance.
Let’s not talk about laptops that sell with a single memory module running in a single channel. When looking at the characteristics always try to make sure that it includes pairs of memory modules to guarantee that they will be working in dual channel, since the difference in performance is very noticeable.
Depending on what you are going to use the laptop for, the dedicated graphics may or may not be important. Obviously, if you want to use the laptop to play games you will need to look for a dedicated AMD or NVIDIA graphics in your laptop, which will increase its price considerably. But if this is not your case, with the integrated graphics that come in the processor you will have enough for almost everything, even for simple games if you intend to play sporadically.
Do not heat your head: if you are not going to play (or render video, etc.), an integrated graphics will do its job well in multimedia environments, but if you want to play then you will have to consider the acquisition of a laptop that has dedicated graphics, with the consequent budget increase that this implies.
Nowadays it does not make much sense to buy a laptop that does not have an SSD, so the recommendation is that if the laptop has a conventional hard drive, do not consider buying it because you will notice that it is slow from day one. Even those laptops with SATA 3 SSDs are going to provide you with much better performance and ignition times, so the recommendation here is that you always look for options that have SSDs.
Whether the SSD has more or less capacity, whether it is SATA or NVMe will depend on what you need and what you want to spend, but always choose SSD.
Beware of screen resolution
Finally, the screen resolution is also a factor that you should take into account. Some manufacturers still sell (or rather intend to get rid of) laptops with 1366 x 768 resolution screens, and it is something you should avoid. This resolution is very low, and today most web pages are optimized for Full HD resolutions. Let’s not talk about games or when you want to see a series on Netflix.
We also have the opposite option, manufacturers that want to sell you 4K screens. For what? With the size of the screen that laptops have, 4K resolution does not make sense unless you are a professional because you will see everything excessively small. In addition, and especially in laptops that use integrated graphics, this will slow down everything because a large part of the system resources will be “spent” in being able to move the said resolution.
Our recommendation is that you always look for screens with Full HD resolution.
In notebooks that are designed to be small and light, connectivity is often a problem, and many of them have at most one or two USB ports and lack an RJ-45 port for a wired network. It is something that you should also take into account when buying your laptop since if you want greater portability, you will probably have to give up some connectivity.