Everyone knows that technology is progressing at a lightening pace. Every 12-18 months, computers double their capacities. While this is good for consumers, it also means that their older PC's, tablets and phones will find it more and more difficult to handle newer tech like software and higher end attached peripheral equipment. If your current laptop is older than 5+ years old, the chances are that new or the latest updated software won't even run on it or at a minimum, is atrociously slow! This is due to the newer software's need for more memory, faster processing, faster hard drives and sometimes larger storage capacity.
So what is one to do when looking for a new laptop? First thing to do is think about how you use your PC. Are you just surfing the web, doing email and a spreadsheet here or there? Or are you doing higher demand activities like photo editing, video editing and/or gaming? Higher demand could also mean that you keep several active windows of Excel, Word, Quicken and other software open simultaneously. If you are a low-end user, then the basic off-the-shelf computer sold at most brick-n-mortar stores may provide all that you need. However, if you are a high-end demand user, you'll likely need a faster processor, faster hard drive, perhaps even a solid state drive (SSD) and not just more memory, but fast memory. These are more often than not special orders and not what you find in most brick-n-mortar stores.
Second, ask yourself how you treat your PC? Are you hard on your equipment, tossing it around a lot or are in an environment where it gets bumped around a lot? Are you in dusty environments like construction sites? Is there a lot of heat where you're working, like in the hot summer sun? If you are hard on your equipment, you may want to consider a PC that's more military grade to sustain hits, drops and heat. If sun and heat are an issue, you should also consider a solid state drive (SSD) rather than a standard hard drive (HD) since these generate substantially less heat and also weigh less so less weight to lug around.
Third, how long do you anticipate keeping your PC? 2, 5 or more years? Since PC's aren't designed to last more than 5 years, would you rather pay to have it fixed or just replace it since your PC may not be keeping up with the more up-to-date software demands needed. In many cases, you may not be able to find parts for a computer older than 5+ years old and if you can, their cost may be prohibitive. Many computer manufacturers are moving toward an architecture where hard drives, memory and batteries are soldered onto the motherboard. This means that when any of these components break down or you want to upgrade them to a larger capacity, they cannot be individually replaced and you have to replace the entire motherboard, which is usually cost prohibitive. Some true enterprise / business laptops are intentionally staying away from this soldered design specifically so that components can be replaced by a business, saving cost in the end. Even so, some laptops must be sent to a hardware specialist or back to the manufacturer for parts replacement, while others are user serviceable. Although user serviceable, the replacement part may in reality be a proprietary part that you must purchase from the manufacturer at higher cost, which is often not cost effective. As such, make sure all parts can be replaced with non-manufacturer "generic" brand parts such as hard drives and memory which are usually standard sizes. Due to tight amperage, heat, fire and safety specifications, the only exception to this should be the battery. Use only batteries made by the same manufacturer as your laptop since off-brand batteries often do not adhere to the same strict manufacturer power and safety specifications and requirements. In other words, be sure to replace your laptop battery with the same brand and model as your laptop!
Finally, what are your software requirements? Some require Windows 10 Professional vs. Windows 10 Home or one of the other 5 available Windows versions (see 4/11/2017 Blog article for more information on this). Some require a specific CPU chipset such as an Intel i7 and at least a certain amount of available memory (Windows 10 itself takes at least 8gb of RAM just to run the OS, absent of any other software you may want to run).
There are other considerations such as type and number of USB, HDMI and other ports, viewing footprint, screen resolution, comfortable size and weight, battery life, security features and more, which can all play into a check-n-balance of what your laptop can and will do. Bottom-line though, is that for the most part, you get what you pay for.
To stay ahead of the changes in technology the best you can, buy the fastest computer you can possibly afford. If you buy the slowest currently on the market, you're starting behind the 8-ball from the start and will likely wind up needing to replace it sooner than a faster computer because it won't be able to handle new and upgraded software demands, thus spending more money in the end.
For a free consult, contact TheGoToTechGuru.
I love technology and how it enhances our lives! Just think, without the Apollo moon missions, we might not have calculators! Imagine!!