Tech News and Commentary
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James in Nashville, Tennessee asked: “I haven’t bought a laptop in about 6 years and now I’m gonna need to buy a new one, primarily for work but also some pleasure. I understand CPU and graphics, but what other technologies I should be ensuring are in my next laptop? And any suggestions on these?“
James, the components are largely the same as they always were.
If you’re interested in gaming or video editing, a good CPU and a decent graphics card will help. For general performance, RAM still matters, and the same as before, you do have storage options, but those may have changed a little.
Since 6 years ago, SSDs have both gone down in price and gone up in popularity, an SSD is definitely an upgrade you should consider. It will make your computer noticeably faster in a similar way to what you’d notice on an older system after upgrading the RAM.
This depends on your personal usage, but a lot of people can also get away with smaller drives than before. These days people do more online and less on the computer itself, so often times smaller drives are not a problem for average users.
Other than that, not much has changed. Bluetooth is nice to have if you have an interest in wireless accessories like mice, keyboards, or different types of audio products, but that will likely be bundled in with your WiFi in the same chip.
Ports are not really a concern, since almost anything will run off of typical USB. USB-C may change that since it legitimately is a more versatile type of port, but that will take some time, since everything anyone owns is the older USB Type-A.
You might also want to check compatibility on your end with anything you might want to keep. For example, if you’re looking to replace a desktop but want to reuse your monitor, you may want to check that the computer has the right output for it (most modern ones use HDMI, you may be using something different).
This may sound like strange advice but you may not need anything near the latest and greatest, and quality may be more important to future-proofing than power.
Most people don’t need a computer at home at all these days thanks to smartphones, and since so much has moved to the cloud most powerful computers are largely wasted. Depending on what you do for work, you may be able to skip hefty price tags and go for a much cheaper option without ever noticing the difference.
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