HowTo: FNATECH’s guide to choosing the right laptop
Getting the right laptop may be a bit difficult for some, to be honest, one can easily get lost in the sea of laptops that is currently available. We here at FNATECH have seen a lot of people regretting their purchase of laptops, due to many reasons too. Some bought faulty laptops just because the offer looks too good to pass up. Some felt their laptop performs inadequately and some just can’t be satisfied until they get the best of the best but that’s a problem of ego more than anything. Also, around this time of the year, parents tend to buy things for their sons and daughters to get them ready for overseas studies and some even demand their parents to buy them laptops on the guise of studying overseas. Whatever the reasons are, we are here to help.
First, you need to know that this guide is merely for reference, you must make your own assessment of it and rely on it at your own risk. And any purchase you made after reading this guide is fully and solely your own responsibility.
Some people might be new to the terms I will be using in the guide:
HDD= Hard disk drive
CPU= Central Processing Unit
GPU= Graphics Processing Unit a.k.a “graphics card”
Now, onward to our guide,
Knowing the types of laptops:
It is essential to know which type of laptop you are going to purchase, buying the wrong type of laptop may lead to frustration and disappointment. To know which type of laptop is the right one for you … you need to know what you are going to do with that laptop.
This is the type of laptop you would use for work (duhh), it would not need extreme amounts of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) capacity but instead requires long battery life and since it’s for work, VGA port(s) for presentations and reliability, you would not want the laptop to just stop working one day after just few months right? Perhaps a webcam for video conferencing would be good too. Generally, this type of laptop is the modestly priced ones as it has fairly low specifications.
HDD Space: 100GBs, unless you plan on doing massive data-basing then I’d go for something else (a server perhaps?).
CPU: Any will do, go for Intel Atom or i3 if you want increased battery life.
GPU: Intel GMA 4500x or AMD ATI HD3200 will provide more than enough power for your laptop.
Others: VGA ports, a webcam, preferably lightweight as you will be carrying it a lot.
Cost: Usually less than BND1200.
This is the type of laptop you would use to watch movies and listen to music with your friends. A large and fast HDD to save all those movies and music, a large widescreen display, multi-core CPU, optical drive that can play DVD or Blu-ray discs and if you are the type of person that likes his/her media on the go, stereo speakers and good battery life is also important. This type of laptop can handle the occasional light and casual gaming but no more than that.
HDD Space: At least 320GBs.
CPU: Any dual core from Intel or AMD will do.
GPU: An Intel GMA 4500x or AMD ATI HD3200 will already be enough to handle High-Definition playback.
Others: DVD/Blu-ray disc drive, large Screen, 3GBs of RAM.
Cost: Would probably cost from BND800 to BND2500~
This is the type of laptops you use for heavy (hardcore) gaming. With a high end graphics card, good air flow, bright and large screen, multi-core CPU and a probably short battery life. A gaming laptop is typically expensive, it’s like an improved media laptop only so much more better. Battery life is usually not an issue as gamers usually understand that they should always plug their laptops to a mains supply when gaming and also because people tend to buy gaming laptops only for their mobility as opposed to carrying a desktop all around.
HDD Space: At least 320GBs.
CPU Speed: A quad-core CPU such as an i7 and similar.
GPU: ATI HD series or NVIDIA GeForce series, read more about it later below.
Other: DVD/Blu-ray disc drive, large Screen, at least 4GBs of RAM, ethernet port
Cost: From the puny BND1500 to the godolike BND4000 above.
This is the type of laptop that you use to surf the internet, it doesn’t really require much hardware-wise, small screen, long battery live, good HDD, lightweight and usually cost very cheap. Although you might want to check out what hardware they use for wireless if you are one of those ‘Network Analyzer’ guys. It’s similar to a work laptop only you don’t do much work on it, unless it is your work to lurk the Internet like me.
HDD Space: 250GB
CPU: Intel Atom
GPU: not very important
Other: 1GB RAM
Cost: Less than BND1000
3D Work Laptop
This is the type of laptops you use to do CAD work or 3D modelling on, awhile ago this can only be done on high powered desktop but technology had improved a lot since then. You are no longer stuck in your office for hours on end, you can now do your job at a cafe while you are having a nice cold lemonade. This laptop is NOT similar to gaming laptop, well, apart from the GPU, the two laptops are pretty similar.
HDD Space: 500GB
CPU: Quad-core or i7
GPU: AMD ATI FirePro or Nvidia Quadro FX
Other: 8GB RAM
Finding Out the type of graphics card you need:
Often times, people thinks that any graphics card is good enough to run anything, well it is not true. Graphics card are quite specialized. And just because of this, people often have high hopes for their new laptop and only to find that their laptop is inadequate for their needs. People who wants to do a lot of gaming should not be buying laptops with only Intel GMA 4500 as it’s GPU. Similarly, people who doesn’t want any games on their laptop should not have NVIDIA GT335M as their graphics card.
There are two main manufacturer of GPU, ATI and Nvidia, and these two uses similar coding system for their cards for easy identification.
ATI usually names their card as 45xx, 57xx, 69xx
Nvidia usually names their card as 2xx 3xx 5xx
xx can be anything from 00-90
how to know which card you will need is to understand the coding system.
00 to 50 is often the low tier card, used for everyday stuff, like watching movies and streaming videos on the internet. i.e youtube. and sometimes enough to play game at low settings
60 is the mid tier card, enough to run any games at medium-high settings depending on the game
70 to 90 is the high tier card, enough to play any games at the maximum settings but not very recommended on a laptop unless it has a good cooling system.
Generally, the higher the number is, the better the performance is.
For gaming you should go for the ATI HD series or Nvidia GEFORCE series (GT/GTX/GTS) and always go for dedicated card. Good for fast rendering, like gaming
For Professional work, you should go for ATI FirePro or Nvidia Quadro FX. Good for heavy rendering like 3D modelling.
WARNING: Intel GPU is not for gaming, it’s just enough for basic home uses only
Finding the right brand
With so many brands out there, it can be difficult to choose which offers the best deals. And sometimes, an offer can be too good to be true. I’ve seen and heard a lot of stories how people get cheated of after buying a seemingly ‘too good to be true’ laptop only to find out it is faulty.
There are four main reasons why a laptop can be ‘too good to be true’:
1.It is on offer– they are trying to advertise the laptop by selling it as cheap as possible as to make name and gain strong supporters, it’s a marketing strategy. These kinds of laptops are often of good quality but the offer does not last long.
2.It is secretly faulty – companies just trying to get some easy money by selling faulty laptops at cheap prices. This kinds of laptops are everywhere and we shall discuss how to spot one of these later on.
3. It is an old laptop – in order to meet the sales quota, companies often sell old laptops at a very cheap prices, this does not necessarily means bad, some of the old laptops are there to tell you they stand to the test of time.
4. The materials used are cheap – this is ok if the laptop are made to be cheap but when they also advertise seemingly too good to be true performance for that price, they must be cutting some corners there.
How to know the laptop of your choosing is the right laptop.
let’s say i want a Dell Alienware M11x, which is true bytheway.
from there you can see that the M11x have a known hinge problems which is quite serious. From there you also know that the problem is being addressed to.
another example would be,
and you can also ask around whether people are satisfied with their purchase or not.
These are the brands we here at FNATECH recommends for each of the categories list above
Lenovo Thinkpad series – these babies last for along time, it might be a bit pricey but for a life span of more than 20 years, it worth the investment.
Apple Macbook – Macbook is build purely for Media enthusiast, it’s capable for editing movies and pictures and by extension, viewing it too. A lot of web designers and movie producers have turn their heads toward Apple, just to show much easier it is to use Apple software in their line of work.
Asus Republic of Gamers series – not a lot of people see the potential in Asus gaming laptop, and those who see it does not regret it.
there is also, Dell Alienware, HP Envy, MSI GX series and Sager
any Netbook – surfing does not need much power and with netbook your surfing needs is easily quenched, note that some OS have remixes that caters for smaller screens on Netbook. Check out Ubuntu Netbook or Windows 7 Netbook
3D work Laptop
Not many laptop comes with a professional GPU so to compensate they use high-tier gaming GPU so we can’t recommend any specific brands.
whatever your choice of laptop will be, there is always a small chance that it will break down for no reason, it really depends on luck. And if you are lucky, the warranty is still applicable, in which case you can just return it before it’s too late.
always backup you data when using a laptop. and GOODLUCK.