Laptop buying guide - Tips for buyers

Confused about how to select a new computer or laptop? This article is a guide on how to buy a computer/laptop. Learn about the three most basic components in a computing device – the hard drive, processor and RAM.

There are still a lot of people out there who do not know how to buy a computer/laptop?. The confusion arises because of the use of too many technical terms which people sometimes do not understand. So what is it that you need to look for in a computer that you wish to buy This article is going to enlighten you about computers and what you really need to know while selecting one for your personal use.

The first thing you need to do is identify your needs. You need to know the purpose you would be using the computer for. Let me be absolutely blunt and forthright with you; if you cannot tell the computer configurations you need in your computing device chances are you are not going to be using it for any complicated programming or applications. It is most likely that you need a computer for using the internet, in which case you will need a basic device.

There are three basic components in a computer that you need to concern yourself with, these are the hard drive, the processor and RAM. These three are what matter the most when selecting a computer. You will notice all other parts in computers are pretty similar on the whole, across various makes and versions. Almost all computers have similar CD and DVD players, screens, wireless connections and all the other peripherals, unless of course you are willing to spend a few thousands on a classy branded device in which case you will get high end stuff. If you require the computer for your very basic needs you should be able to get one for a couple of hundred bucks.

Here is what you really need to check when purchasing a new computer –

Processor – A computer's brain power

The processor is the central hub of a computer. It is the processor that makes a computer function and is in essence the brain of the computer. It is what decides how fast a computer will operate on being switched on. There are two processor manufacturers ruling the market – Intel and AMD. When you are out looking at new computers you will hear the names of Intel and AMD processors. Of the two Intel is the more popular and preferred processor brand.

The sales guy behind the counter will definitely try and influence you regarding which processor is b
etter, but the fact remains if you are going to be using your computer for sending and receiving emails, check social networking sites, pay online bills and do a bit of shopping it doesn't really matter which processor lies within the computer. Both brands have a range of processors from those used for normal computing to ones that are really powerful and designed for much more stuff.

Here is a comparison between processors from the two top brands that can help you in picking a computer with the right processor to suit your needs –

Processor for basic computing – Intel Celeron and AMD – C
Processor for using the net, storing music, videos and images – Intel Pentium and AMD – E
Processor that allows you to work on many things at one time without compromising the quality of performance – Intel i3 and AMD – A4
Processor with extra power suitable for trouble free running of almost all games – Intel i5 and AMD – A6
The best processor in the market with the highest speed and best performance – Intel i7 and AMD – A8

RAM– The most important feature in a computer

RAM stands for Random-access memory or short term memory of a computer. What RAM is and what it does can be illustrated through an example. When you open a program on your computer or go online, the computer requires some data to run the program. This data needs to be placed some place while the program is in use. The place where this data is stored on your computer is called the RAM or memory. The more RAM your computer has the more programs you will be able to run on it simultaneously without the system freezing.

Computers generally freeze when they run out of RAM space. A computer with a 4GB RAM is sufficient for surfing on the net, storing a bit of music and some such stuff. A 6GB or 8GB RAM will of course enable you to do a lot more on your computer and prevent episodes of frequent stalling.

Processor and RAM meant to complement each other

An ideal computer should have a perfect amalgamation of processor and RAM. If you get yourself one with a superbly fast processor and a RAM of 1GB, it will not do you any good. Nor will getting a computer with a high RAM but slow processor be any better. What you need is an ideal balance between the two. An idyllic combination could be a 4GB or 6GB RAM paired with an Intel i3 or AMD A4 processor.

Hard Drive stores long term memory

Computers need both short term as well as long term memories to operate smoothly. The long term memory in your computer is where all your files and folders containing your music, photos, videos, documents and programs are stored. These items remain stored in the hard drive even when they are not in use. Most people are of the opinion that the hard drive is the most important in a computer. The fact is it is not of much consequence and you do not need to get a computer with the biggest hard drive. What you need to stress on most is a winning combination of the processor and RAM.

These days laptops and desktop computers come with small hard drives. It is common to find laptops that have a hard drive of only 320GB as against 500GB in desk top computers. A 320GB hard drive can store a lot of data and most users do not use all that space.


This article is supposed to clear doubts in the mind of computer users who lack knowledge about this awesome device. Now that the three basic components that actually make a computer work have been explained it should be easier for you to understand what you will require in a computer.

So when you walk into a store and the staff there start rattling about processors and RAM and hard drive you will have a more than vague idea what they are talking about and be able to make your own choice instead of being goaded into buying a computer that the sales person wants you to buy!

Just remember if you need a computer for basic requirements then all you will need is an Intel i3 or AMD – A4 processor paired with 4GB or 6GB RAM. With these configurations you will not go wrong and your system should serve you well.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer publishing with Constant Content and sister sites of Techulator. She writes on a variety of subjects that interest her. She is a voracious reader and that helps her keep abreast with the latest in technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Eng. Lit, is a mom, a wife, a homemaker and a qualified teacher.

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