Buying a laptop shouldn't be hard. We can help with that.

Let's face it: Buying a new computer can be hard and confusing if you don't know what to look for. No worries, we are here to help!

When shopping for a new laptop, there are several components to keep in mind. You might be looking for a particular size screen or want a model that gives a sharp, beautiful image. You might want a certain type of keyboard or a certain number of USB ports. Laptops are very personal devices and it's wise to select one that suits your specific needs. 

No matter which brand and model you decide to buy, it's important to know that there are three main components of a laptop that will determine your overall satisfaction when in use. Those three components are:

  • The Processor (or CPU)
  • The RAM (Random Access Memory, usually referred to as "memory")
  • The Hard Drive

We are going to guide you through each one.

The Processor

Simply put, the processor is the brains of the laptop. Without it, you have a very expensive paperweight. The processor is the single most important component to research. Purchase a system with a processor not suited for your needs and you will hate your laptop for the time you own it, and we don't want that.

So what makes the processor so important? We aren't going to get too technical here (shopping for a laptop is supposed to be easy, right?). The more powerful your processor is, the more instructions it can handle. This is important to consider when thinking about your everyday tasks. Think about it in car terms. You might be crazy enough to take a compact car off-roading in the mountains, but more than likely, you will not be satisfied with the results. Another example would be if you took a large SUV speeding down a winding road. In both cases, the vehicles could do it, but they really aren't good for doing anything other than what the engineers had in mind when designing them.

We sell laptops that mostly use Intel processors. Intel produces a majority of the processors used in computers today. They have different levels of processors, but for the consumer line of processors you will find their Core family of processors. You will find them numbered as i3, i5, and i7. You can define these as good-better-best. Some systems will also have a i9, but they're reserved for high premium systems. Again, we don't want to send your head spinning, so here is a easy way to decide which one to get:

  • Core i3 is best for users who are looking for solid performance for a great price. If you simply want to check email, browse the web, and create the occasional document, this is the way to go.
  • Core i5 brings great performance for most of us users. It's flexible enough to handle many tasks you throw at it. If you are into streaming video, playing mid-level games, and do a little photo and video editing here and there, this is the processor you should consider.
  • Core i7 brings the best performance out of the three. Here is where your hard core gamers, creators, and power users will find their match. So if you are into editing high definition videos, music production, high resolution photo editing, 4k streaming...you get the point...this is your processor.

Now that we know how much computing power we want, let's take a look at the other two components.

RAM (or Memory)

Memory is pretty simple to explain.  It stores instructions temporarily for the processor to carry out. Those instructions come from whatever application or program you are running.

Ever experience slow down in your computer when you have a million programs running at the same time? More than likely, your computer has exhausted all the RAM available and it is having a tough time sorting everything out.  So, the more memory your system has, the less frequent you will experience slow down while using any number of programs.

Memory used to come in smaller increments, but new systems are going to start in gigabytes (GB). As websites and applications get more powerful, they will require more and more of your system. A good size to start is 8 GB. Most casual users will do fine with that size. If you are purchasing a gaming system or a system where a lot of media creation will be involved, it's strongly recommended you purchase a laptop with 16 GB or more simply because it ensures good performance right out of the box and it's cheaper to buy a system now with adequate RAM than it is to upgrade your system with more RAM later.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is your closet. This is where you will store all of your stuff. All of your documents, photos, music, movies and games are going to be saved here. The sizes here are also measured in gigabytes and terabytes. In terms of measurement, 1024 gigabytes equals 1 terabyte. The smallest hard drives you will find these days are 64 GB. It's very important to consider how much space you want to start of with. Though you might purchase a system with a specific size, that doesn't reflect how much space is available to you out of the box. Microsoft Windows 10, the operating system, takes up about 20-30 GB of space itself. So, in a 64 GB system, half of it is already gone before you start using it! As a rule of thumb, get as much space as you can within your budget.

For a speedy system, you want to make sure your system comes with a Solid State Drive, or SSD. These drives are similar to the flash memory you find in your smartphone in terms of how quick you can access a file. 

Now that you have read this over, we hope you are more confident in your purchase decision. Still have questions? Email us at info@compvana.com with your more specific questions!