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 bit of 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 so much actually. In this article we are going to try to help you by giving you a series of tips so that you get it right when buying a laptop , and that it meets your needs.
What to look for before buying a laptop
It is the first question that you should ask yourself, since there are many form factors and each one of them has its general specifications. For example, if you buy a gaming laptop then it will have a screen of 15 inches or more, a weight that will be closer to 2 kg and its energy consumption will be high. On the other hand, if what you are looking for is a laptop to carry around with a small screen and low consumption, you will not be able to opt for the power of a system designed for gaming.
The processor or CPU
The processor is the brain of the machine, so it is certainly one of the most fundamental factors to consider when buying a laptop. Needless to say, laptop processors seek to have low consumption to improve battery life and not need large cooling systems as in desktop PCs, but even so, we can find laptop processors with excellent performance .
Processors are currently divided into different ranges depending on the type of laptop, usually rated by the TDP. So it’s important to look at the processor name, but generally:
- If the name of the processor ends in H then it is a high performance one, with a TDP of 45 W and, therefore, intended for portable workstations or for gaming.
- If it ends in U, it is the opposite of the previous case, a 15 W TDP that marks an extremely light and portable computer.
- Lately, the ultra-thin gaming ones are appearing, which are found with processors around 28-30 W and are between both worlds. They tend to have hardware like the H type, but at reduced speeds and on much finer computers.
As a general rule, and unless you are going to use the laptop for professional or editing purposes, the number of RAM memory that you should look for is 8 GB . Today 4 GB is going to be insufficient for you, so don’t even think about it, and 16 GB may be fine if you are going to use the computer 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 memory 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 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 work, and if you use more RAM then you will be losing performance.
Let’s not talk about laptops that are sold with a single memory module working in single channel. When looking at the features, always try to check 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.
The graphics card: are you going to play on the laptop?
Depending on what you are going to use the laptop for, dedicated graphics may or may not be important. Obviously, if you want to use the laptop for gaming you will need to look for an AMD or NVIDIA dedicated graphics card in your laptop, which will increase its price considerably. But if this is not your case, with the integrated graphics that comes in the processor you will have enough for almost everything, even for simple games if you intend to play sporadically.
Don’t worry your head: if you are not going to play games (or render video, etc.), an integrated graphics card will do the job well in multimedia environments, but if you want to play games, then you will have to consider buying a laptop that has a graphics card. dedicated, with the consequent increase in budget that this entails.
In the event that you are going to do it, do not get carried away by the graphics model of the laptop to buy. We say this due to the fact that you can find an RTX 3070 model in one model that performs better than an RTX 3070 Ti in another. The reason? One has a lower consumption than the other and, therefore, works at a lower speed. So be vigilant in that aspect, since it is a very common practice of manufacturers.