This article was originally published in Lenovo StoryHub: https://news.lenovo.com/what-laptop-should-i-get-top-things-to-consider/  

Kati Dietzsch is a Computer Programmer, Coder and Lenovo Innovator. She wrote the following article. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Every craftsperson must pick the right tool for the job. While it’s possible to cut a piece of wood in half with a pocketknife, it’s obviously not the most effective approach. The other way around, a chainsaw would be slightly over-the-top for making a peanut butter sandwich. 

Technology is no different. With countless great (or sometimes not-so-great) hardware to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 
 

Choosing the right tech 

The first thing I do before selecting new technology is identify my needs, both in general and for specific tasks. There are a few things that are important to me in every tech product. For instance, it’s important to me that hardware is sturdy – otherwise, the device wouldn’t survive long in my hands, knowing myself. I also need products that are reliable, durable, and can be upgraded if needed. All of these are reasons why I love ThinkPads. 
 

Identifying the hardware 

When it comes to identifying what kind of hardware I need, I first ask myself some questions: 

  • What fits my lifestyle? Do I need something portable like a tablet or something stationary like a desktop computer? 
  • Is it for work or for leisure, like gaming? 
  • Are there any constraints like compatibility with something I already own? Do I need a certain operating system? 
     

Selecting the specs 

Once I have an idea of what device I’m looking for, I can then dive into the details. Starting with some important key specs such as processing power, memory, storage, and graphics. 

Processing power – As every schoolbook will tell you, the CPU (central processing unit) is the brain of your computer and has great influence on its performance. 

Memory – To put it simply, the more RAM (AKA what controls how much your device can think about at one time) your CPU has access to, the more effective it will do its job. Each program requires memory to run smoothly, if you don’t have enough RAM for the software you’re trying to run, things are going to operate extremely slowly. 

Storage – The speed of your computer is also determined by the performance of your storage drive. Most modern computers use an SSD (solid state drive) rather than a hard drive because it’s a lot faster. 

Graphics – Graphics cards are important for – you might have guessed it – graphics. That means if you’re planning to play video games, render high-res videos or images, build 3D objects or even train a neural network, I highly recommend selecting your graphics cards accordingly. 

And let’s not forget… 

If it’s a laptop, I also take its battery life, weight, size, display resolution, keyboard, types of ports, and webcam into account. For tablets, I look at connectivity. Finally, even though it might not be my number one priority, if a product is designed well that’s a great plus, too. 

Prioritizing is key 

You’ll hardly get a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, you need to prioritize. 

For example, let’s assume you’re looking for a laptop to learn programming with, browse the web and occasionally use some office programs. For this purpose, you won’t need the newest CPU, tons of RAM and storage and a high-end graphics card. Something like an Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a reasonably sized SSD are enough for a convenient start. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a good gaming laptop to play the newest games, you definitely need more powerful hardware. An example configuration to start with would be an Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU, 1TB SSD to have enough space for all your games and a FHD display. 

With all the talk about hardware, we shouldn’t forget about software, especially operating systems. For gaming, I recommend a computer that comes with Windows. And while it’s not much trouble to install Linux, it’s certainly nice for Linux fans to get a computer that has it already installed. 

In conclusion, with all the device options available, it all comes down to what you need. This doesn’t have to be the most powerful and expensive solution you can find – sometimes you need a chainsaw, and sometimes the pocketknife is enough. 

If you’re interested in programming, coding, gaming, and all things STEM, follow my #LenovoInnovators journey on Instagram @miss.molerat. 

Comments

Parents
  • I generally agree with Ben here. I have helped countless people purchase computers, and I have been purchasing Lenovo computers of all types for more than 15 years. Lately, I have become a dedicated fan of the Yoga line. But there are few brick and mortar stores that have people who know what Ben knows. So when I am helping people find the right computer (mostly laptops), and I am just doing this as a friend with no financial incentives of my own, I have them go to a store and get their hands on laptops. Here is why: They need to figure out what size is right. Many laptops get parked on a desk and don't go anywhere. Then I recommend they get a 15 inch or even a 17 inch. But I recommend that they try it. If they need to lug the thing around, then size, weight and battery life do matter. And you get what you pay for. Sure, MacBook computers have fancy screens, but for most of us and our work, we don't really get that much benefit from the extra cost. That is why I love the Yoga line. Things like RAM and SSD size have standardized. We won't be filling up a 1TB SSD that much. If we do, we should be backing up in somebody's cloud anyway. So I make sure the person is comfortable with the size they get. After that, the rest is not a big issue. And as long as you have enough RAM (not more than 16GB), you will be fine. I never help gamers, because that requires way more power and speed than most people will ever use. When you buy new, try to get a better processing chip. When you go from a five year old laptop to a new one, you will notice better speed. Final thought - when replacing your laptop, find the affordable balance between the fastest greatest and regretting that you got something that was already dated. As for timing, not adjusting for the post-pandemic world, the best deals are usually in August and December.

  • Some really good advice! Your comment "when replacing your laptop, find the affordable balance between the fastest greatest and regretting that you got something that was already dated"  Really sums it up pretty well.

  • Thanks for the compliment, Brian. I live in the real world, and one thing I always do in stores is have the sales person (usually a young man) show me how spending more money for the better technology will actually help me in the real world. Sometimes the guy knows the answer, and sometimes he simply doesn't. It reminds me of the time our nephew's girlfriend was selling Cutco knives. She went on and on about how this one particular knife would make your life in the kitchen so wonderful. But in reality, she had never cooked anything. And my wife was fond of her free knife that said "Pioneer Seeds" on it. I am not a tightwad, it is just that I know better than the "latest and greatest" will actually solve your problems.

Comment
  • Thanks for the compliment, Brian. I live in the real world, and one thing I always do in stores is have the sales person (usually a young man) show me how spending more money for the better technology will actually help me in the real world. Sometimes the guy knows the answer, and sometimes he simply doesn't. It reminds me of the time our nephew's girlfriend was selling Cutco knives. She went on and on about how this one particular knife would make your life in the kitchen so wonderful. But in reality, she had never cooked anything. And my wife was fond of her free knife that said "Pioneer Seeds" on it. I am not a tightwad, it is just that I know better than the "latest and greatest" will actually solve your problems.

Children
No Data