What Should You Look For In a New Laptop: The Laptop Buying Guide

Just received some bucks from your savings and thinking of buying a new laptop? Be sure to check our Laptop Buying Guide

Just received some bucks from your savings and thinking of buying a new laptop? Don’t go too fast yet. Let’s make some plans, note down some things and then you can go hunting for your new laptop.

Laptops are very similar to desktops, but with some big advantages, one of the most important is mobility, Lighter weight and, of course, they don’t need to be plugged (always) in order to work as they run on battery. Let’s take a view on things that make or break a laptop deal and then understand how much power do you really need for your new Laptop.

THE LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE

PROCESSOR 

Intel is the brand that you should go for if you are looking for performance. AMD is a good processing option for desktop but when it comes to laptop processor AMD just can’t compare to Intel, also it is rare to find a Good Laptop running AMD Processor.In the Intel’s line of processors, Core i3 is good for everyday Office works, web browsing, Media Playing and light gaming. Don’t expect good gaming performance from it.

For mainstream works and Mid Level gaming, you can go for Core i5 processors, they have good turbo boost capabilities and they are also not so expensive.

If you are into real resource intensive tasks, video editing, running several virtual machines and playing latest games on Ultra Settings you should pick a Core i7 series.

Intel Core and Core M processoers
Intel Core and Core M processors

Some things apply to all processors. The first one is core count. Dual Core and Quad Core are standards now. Some i5 and i7 variants have 6 or 8 cores, you probably don’t need them.The fact behind that point is simple: Really few software are optimized to use more than Two cores at once. Even new games are rarely optimized to use more than  4 Cores at once.

Intel Pentium Processors are for entry level and cheap laptops and usually they have 2 Cores. New Intel Core M series processors are meant for Web browsing and for longer battery life they are used in super-slim Ultrabooks and New MacBook.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM (or Random Access Memory) is one of the main components that decides the performance of your laptop. When you are picking a laptop you need to care about RAM size. Windows requires at least 1 GB (or 2 GB for 64-bit version) of RAM to run. It is quite low, however for a new laptop nowadays at least 4GB is a must have. 4GB is sufficient enough for running a couple of software at one. Still For future proofing and good speed of laptop 8GB is the sweet spot.

For Microsoft Office and very casual gaming, 4GB will work. although you can run pretty much every software on a 4GB machine, performance may be sluggish if you want to run several virtual Machines or Video editing software such as Adobe Premier Pro on your laptop.

DISPLAY OF LAPTOP

Pay special attention to the display, it is the thing that you are going to stare for a long time. The market is full of different options when it comes to Screen size and quality. Size varies from 11″ to 15″ (some 17″ monsters are also available) You will find two kinds of Displays on the market mainly. The first one is LED and the second one is TN Type. TN type displays are cheaper but personally I have found that colour and viewing angles are worse than LED screens.

The third thing that matters about displays is their resolution. For an entry-level system, you will find XVGA screens having 1366 X 768 pixels on the screen.  The upper tier has screens with full High definition display having resolution of 1921 X 1080 Pixels. Some models most notably some ultrabooks  have display of 1440p resolution. As usual more is better as more pixels result in the sharper image.

STORAGE

 Laptop buyers guide
SSDs are faster than Hard Disk Drive(s)

Do you need speed? Pick a laptop with a Solid State Drive. as they are faster and lightweight. There is one major drawback though: the Price. Models with SSD will cost more than the same size Hard Disk Drive. Most entry-level laptops ship with at least 500GB of Hard Disk Drive. for extreme performance you should always go for an Solid State Drive instead for Hard Disk Drive, however if you are tight on budget or you need more storage go for a laptop with Hard Disk Drive.

GRAPHICS CARD

A Graphics Card plays a very important role in gameplay as it renders the game visuals and send them to display, not just games but also they are really useful in video rendering and conversion. You have two options when it comes to Graphic Cards. The first one is integrated and the second one is dedicated or discrete graphics card. Integrated cards are a part of processor and they good enough to run Windows Aero and play High Definition Videos. You can also play some old games on them. Intel names their integrated graphics solutions as Intel HD Graphics 1000, 2000, 3000 and upto Iris 6300.

Dedicated graphics cards are better for playing games at good framerate. AMD Redon and Nvidia GeForce are most popular for dedicated graphics cards. NVidia 720M, 820M and AMD R5 etc. are entry level graphics cards and with an i5 Processor they provide playable frame rates if you keep graphics settings medium.

OPTICAL DISK DRIVE

Most MacBooks and Ultrabooks ship without a DVD or Blu-Ray Drive as it helps in keeping laptops slim and lightweight. Most of the works on computer can easily be done without them so it shouldn’t hurt everyone. In India most mainstream and entry-level laptops ship with a DVD Drive. If you are a hardcore gamer or want to watch movies from Blu-Ray Disks be sure to opt for a laptop with a Blu-Ray Drive. It will increase cost though.

OPERATING SYSTEM:

Almost all brands ship with Windows installed. If you want to use Linux or Any other OS Here is the thing: you can save almost 2000 INR on a laptop if you buy a laptop running FreeDOS or Linux. Finding a laptop with FreeDOS or Linux is not so tough. Remember that if you want to run Windows buying a licence latter will cost you more, this is because PC makers such as Dell or HP buy OEM Licences that are cheaper than retail copies of Windows.

OTHER BELLS AND WHISTLES:

if you work on a darker environment, a laptop with backlit keyboard will be very helpful. Also a new laptop should have at least One (Should Be more) USB 3.0 Port.

Where Should You Buy it? Online or Offline

Online Shopping is usually cheaper that buying the same item Offline from a Showroom. Still you can’t judge the quality of laptop just by looking at a photo on the website. I recommend that after selecting a laptop Online you should go to a shop and see and feel the laptop for yourself. You can buy it from any place (online or Offline) later.


 Image Credits: Wikimedia, Microsiervos Geek Crew

The Truth behind Building a PC: It is not as good as it sounds

Companies who build PCs for consumer markets have many advantages over DIY PCs. Let’s see how…

Knowing how to maintain your PC and how to optimize it for gaming are the basic things. You can’t say yourself a true PC expert if you haven’t built a Computer. Taking parts of a computer and showing your magic on them by building a complete working PC are one of the Best pastimes of a true PC enthusiast.

Building a PC instead of buying it gives you a complete freedom – whatever parts to choose and so on. But it is not the best choice always; Companies who build PCs for consumer markets have many advantages over DIY PCs. Let’s see how…

Messed up wires, holes in Liquid overclocking, Fried PSUs and more

Imagine thinking building a $2500 PC – a monster rig – and you mess up something, the result may be a heavy paperweight. Sounds cool? Not at all. I don’t mean to discourage or insult anyone but that may happen on DIY projects whereas on Pre-Built PCs it is not your problem. Their wiring, RAID setup and PSU
(Power Supply Unit) configuration etc. is almost always perfect.

About Warranty? No Warranty

Almost all parts of PC ship with at least one – or event more – year warranty. That should assure most of us. If any part messes up, sometimes it is easy to be benefited by warranty but it is not always.
Sometimes part manufacturers just blame the fault of other components such as Motherboard maker may say that the problem is caused by Power Supply. Whereas when you by a pre-Built PC and a problem shows up you just have to dump the PC at manufacturers Service center – rest the problem is theirs.

It is easy to upgrade always.

A PC is a PC, and upgrading a PC is simple in any case either it is a DIY (Do it yourself) PC or a Pre-Built. There are some Pre-Built PCs who are a little bit difficult to upgrade, but in most of the cases all you have to use is a screwdriver and you are good to go.

The Truth behind Building a PC: It is not as good as it sounds

 

The Eye Candy

Talking about the Beauty of the box… you have a lot of choice, the $130 NZXT Phantom 530 case is just one beautiful example. For more aftermarket customization there are not so easy options. A lot of Pre-Built PCs do come with custom designs and sizes. Several high end Pre-Built PCs look a lot hotter than same range Cases.

Building is not always cheep

Sure you can get a killer deal on amazon for motherboard, PSU and any other thing, but wait; OEMs don’t buy parts from that websites. They order the parts in a bulk and that’s why the same part will cost you more than them. You may get more Bang-of-the-Buck on Pre-Built PCs

What to do…

At first just after you have thought that you need a PC you should make your budget and then check online if any Pre-Built PC is available for you, if not you always have the option to get your hands dirty and build it yourself. And if you are lucky enough the new PC is just a few clicks away.

Image Credit: Sean MacEntee on flickr, Intel Free Press on Flickr.

Beginner’s Guide : What is Inside your Laptop?

You certainly have a laptop. Haven’t you? These are PCs that can be taken anywhere you go and can be used almost everywhere. A Desktop Computer typically comes at a lower price than a laptop, still Laptops beat desktops when it comes to mobility and Power Savings. Laptops are different to desktops at some level such as they dont have a power supply and they use a smaller Hard Disk Drive (usually 2.5″ in Size) also Laptops have smaller graphics processor than their Desktop Counterparts.
Here is an Infographic about Hardware of Laptops that will be beneficial for beginners in understanding what is a laptop made of.

Via eBuyer

Click on the image to enlarge.
What is inside laptop

What is RAID: Explaining the Tech

RAID stands for Redundant array of inexpensive or independent disk. Actually it is a technology by which we can use more than one physical hard drive simultaneously to get better performance and Data redundancy.

RAID stands for Redundant array of inexpensive or independent disk. Actually it is a technology by which we can use more than one physical hard drive simultaneously to get better performance and Data redundancy.
Any user can just plug any number of hard disk in his computer and use them but using a technology like RAID increases the performance and stability of your system.
An SSD is always the fastest solution of data storage but it is not as much secure as some of RAIDs.

Based on the technique of Implementation there are many kinds of RAID available. we have shortlisted some of the most important types of RAID

What is raid?
RAIDs are mostly used in Servers

RAID 0

In this type of RAID all the data is distributed into each disk equally, Confused? Lets simplify it imagine a file, now distribute it into 4 parts, now imagine 2 RAID disks now write data part 1 in drive A , data part 2 into drive B , next Data part 3 into drive A and at last data part 4 into disk B. now writing speed and reading speed will be much more faster, but this performance will come with a risk, if any disk fails all the data will be lost.

RAID 1

It is really simple, it consists of a mirroring. All the data is written into both disks, it increases the writing time but the reading time is decreased. If any disk fails user need not to be worried. All the data can simply be recovered from other volume. In this RAID system the highest reading speed is limited by fastest Disk in RAID whereas writing speed is limited by the slowest Disk in system. There is one more drawback the total size of RAID volume will not be the sum of each disk size but it will be equal to the size of smallest disk.

RAID 5

This technique is a lot complex than the above methods, it requires at least 3 disks to create RAID of this kind. This technology uses block level stripping in the disks and in distributed parity (which means the data that can be used to recover data) .It provides protection against data loss and also slightly improves the performance. In this type of RAID if any disk fails the data is recovered from the distributed data. As this it requires 3 or more disks it us normally used in high performance servers.

 RAID 6

Last but not the least ,RAID 6 uses double distributed parity in block level striping. The major difference between RAID 5 and RAID 6 is that it can withstand the data loss up to two physical disks. That means even if two disks are damaged the data can be restored. If you want to create a RAID with a lot of disks, RAID 6 is really useful.

Which RAID should anyone use? The correct RAID type is based on the use and needs. Simply put, if you need pure performance and you don’t care about data recovery than you can go with RAID 0. If you are not so high on budget but data loss protection is your primary need you should use RAID 1. And if you are going to make a high performance server or NAS then you can use RAID 5 or RAID 6. Although there are other RAID types available. In this article we have only discussed the most widely used standards. Anyone should do his homework about RAID types first before using any kind of RAID system.

GETTING RAID: As RAID can be implemented by using 2 or more disks. There are 2 ways to make it possible :

RAID BY USING SOFTWARE

Modern age software can be used to make a RAID system in a PC. Windows servers support RAID 0 , 1 and 5 where as Windows 8 has introduced a new feature called storage spaces. Apple’s MAC OS X supports RAID 0 and RAID 1.

 RAID BY USING HARDWARE

Any computer user can implement RAID by using a RAID controller. These are supplied with proper drivers and firmware.


Image Credits : dariorug on Flickr, CWCS Managed Hosting on Flickr