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Laptop Computer Buying Guide

Laptops are fast becoming as powerful and impressive as desktop computers and, with prices starting at around £300, theyíre very affordable and an excellent alternative to a desktop PC. There are several points to consider before investing in a laptop though.

How fast you want your laptop to be. Whilst 1.2GHz is fine for word processing and the occasional bit of surfing, anything more will need a faster processor. For any type of gaming, consider a processor of around 3GHz. The processor isnít the be all and end all and be careful when comparing laptop computers as different makes arenít really comparable at all. A 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor is not as quick as a 2.0GHz Intel Atom although likely to be faster than an 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

Dual core processing will offer a better performance than just a faster processor and, unless you are gaming on your laptop, 3GHz just isnít really necessary. Again, for serious gaming, look into quad core processing although, if youíre going to these extents then maybe a desktop is better for you.

The graphics card is another point to consider if you are indeed planning on gaming with your laptop. Top of the range laptops will come equipped but look at companies like Nvidia.

The size of your screen is definitely a point to consider when buying a laptop. If the laptop is your main computer consider investing in at least a 15Ē screen. If youíre planning on watching DVDs its worth going for 17Ē or youíll soon get very squinty eyes!

That said, if you are going to be carting your laptop around quite a bit it is important to consider its weight. Anything over about 3kg is going to be a pain to transport with you, especially if youíve got spare batteries or a mouse or a charger to lug around with you.

In terms of memory, it is important to buy a machine with enough to accommodate running a few applications at once. Anything less than 2GB is likely to feel sluggish although keep the price in mind when going for larger memory sizes. Only gamers or people planning on running lots of programmes at once need to purchase anything over 4GB machines.

Disk space is another key feature when buying your laptop. Anything less than 100GB is not going to suffice and disk space is much harder to upgrade in a laptop than RAM. Investing in an external hard drive is also advisable to back up any key documents you may have stored on your laptop.

The other points to consider include the laptopís power supply. Usually these are quite hefty and if youíre planning on travelling with your laptop, a travel supply might be a good investment and are usually available for around £20.

Finally, try to get an extended warranty when purchasing your laptop. A warranty of three years might be pushing it but would be ideal. For a little more upfront investment, it gives you piece of mind and, as laptops can be so delicate, itís definitely worthwhile.





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