If you are planning to purchase a notebook computer, then there are seven key questions that you will need to ask yourself. Doing this will enable you to arrive at the kind of quality notebook that best suits your purposes and current budget.

1 - How portable, how powerful?

The issue of size and weight will determine how easily you will be able to carry around your notebook computer. After all, one of the reasons why you may have decided to purchase a notebook computer in the first place, is most probably based on the issue of portability. You will need to strike a balance based on your needs and requirements between ultra-portables and desktop replacements. The former offer very small-sized and light weight computers but will often sacrifice a number of items in achieving this. For instance they will tend to get rid of optical drives, among other items that may be important to you. With desktop replacements they will usually tend to be heavy and bulky making them a little difficult to carry around.

2 - What should be the processor speed and type?

The processor speed will contribute heavily to how fast you will be able to accomplish tasks on your notebook computer. If your notebook is meant to be mainly a web browser, with word processing and maybe a DVD player, then any processor that has a speed of 1 GHz or more should work. However if you have in mind a desktop replacement then you will need a high-end processor of 1.6 GHz or higher.

Secondly the type of processor is an important consideration too. Processors based on Centrino technology consume less power and yield improved battery lifetime.

3 - What Screen size, what resolution?

It is important to check the resolution of the screen on the notebook you are purchasing. Everybody would like a larger screen but some large screens have such a high resolution that it is counterproductive and makes the reading of standard fonts difficult. You will also have to remember that the larger the screen the heavier and more difficult to carry your laptop computer will be.

4 - Should the notebook have a convincing optical drive?

In laptops nowadays, the choice of optical drives is important. Laptops have these days been turned into portable DVD players with the DVD-ROM or CD-RW/DVD combo drive. They can even be plugged into a home theater system. The problem is that many ultra-portable laptops quite often lack an internal optical drive to save on space.

5 - Do you require redundant ways to access the Internet?

Ability to connect to the Internet is a key feature. You should be careful to look for systems that include a built-in 56 Kbps modem and Fast Ethernet. If you wish, you can go further and look for a computer with an integrated 802.11 b/g wireless adapter because locations with hotspots for connectivity are rapidly and constantly growing.

6 - How long would you be away from the mains on average?

A portable computer with less than two hours of computing time on a single charge is a big waste. You should look to get a system with at least 3-4 hours of battery life.

7 - What Warranty options should you be looking at?

Because laptops are moved around a lot, they are much more likely to break down. Many people make this mistake with laptops because we hardly follow up on the warranty for PCs. Remember that laptops are different because they take much more abuse on the go. So you should ensure that you get at least a one year warranty from the manufacturer.

Sabir Rizvi is a seasoned IT professional who writes for Notebooks Guide, an informative guide for laptop buyers. Visit the website to read more of his articles and reviews at http://notebooks.alwaiz-arts.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sabir_Rizvi



Although a number of factors have to be taken into consideration the first question should always be the same. How will this computer be used? Making a list of what the system will be used for and focusing on the two or three most important will help to make sure that the purchase will provide long term satisfaction.

Computer Performance Myth

Many people purchase computers to use Internet services like e-mail, chatting or browsing. If the machine is to be used mostly for these services, any computer that supports Windows XP or Vista should be adequate. A common misconception is that the speed of Internet services depends on the power of the machine. This is partly true, but it mostly depends on the speed of the connection provided by the ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Choosing Computer Hardware

When the computer is used for desktop applications the memory and drive space become critical. Gaming computers need drive space as well, but processing power and video memory are especially critical. A good monitor is also required and may be purchased separately to get the desired result. Laptops are more portable and can do most anything a desktop computer can, but will normally cost $200 or more for a comparable system.

How can the memory, drive space and processing power be evaluated?

  1. Memory is the easiest to compare between systems. Make sure it has at least 1GB (Gigabytes) although 3 or 4GB would be better for a gaming computer. The video card on the computer will also have its own memory and should be at least 128MB (512MB for serious gaming). The memory cache is another important resource that should be at least 1MB.
  2. Drive space should be at least 100GB to support the addition of programs. If it will be used for drive intensive applications like photography and video editing, consider a drive that has at least 250GB of space. The speed of a hard drive is evaluated in rpms (revolutions per minute) and it should be 5400 or higher for laptops and at least 7200 for desktops. Another way to evaluate a hard drive is the Average Seek Time which should be as low as possible.
  3. Processor speed is important for most applications and is measured in GHz (gigahertz). Most new computers come with processors that are at least 2.0GHz and that will be fine for most people. Gaming and processor intensive application users may want at least 3.0GHz. Keep in mind that some computers have multiple processors. A dual-core 2.0GHz system is actually running two processors at that speed which makes it twice as fast as a single processor machine for some operations.

Other ConsiderationsBesides these basic computer components, the expansion slots should be examined as well. A user that knows that his preferred video device uses an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port will make sure the laptop or desktop he chooses has one. Not all computers have the same peripheral devices.

Read more at Suite101: How to Buy a Computer: Questions to ask Before Purchasing a Personal Computer http://pc-hardware.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_buy_a_computer#ixzz0mtyxXF1k