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Laptop Buying Guide Chapters

1. What to Consider Before Purchasing a Laptop

2. Recommended Laptop Features

3. Video Memory and Screen Resolution

4. Notebook CPU Speed Index Chart

5. Hints on Buying a Laptop

6. Best Selling Laptops and Notebooks

7. Notebook Reviews and Links




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Notebook Buying Guide - page 2

Recommended Notebook Features

Memory, Memory, and more Memory - Most lower-priced notebooks are sold with 512MB - 1GB of system memory (RAM). If you use your notebook for occasional typing and web browsing you could get by with of 512MB - 1GB RAM but you would probably be much happier with 2 GBs especially if you are using Windows Vista. Power users should try to get a notebook with at least 4 GB or more. It is very important that the memory is purchased when you buy the computer as many notebooks have only one or two memory expansion slots and you will wind up throwing away the old memory when you upgrade.

Batteries - Lithium batteries are superior to other kinds. The typical full size laptop will run between 1-2 hours on its battery. Some laptops can run between 6-8 hours on their batteries. If long battery life is important to you, enquire about battery life before you purchase your laptop.

Hard Drives - 20 GB minimum. Of course, larger is better.

CD-RW/DVD-RW - These drives are standard on almost all notebooks. Obviously the DVD drive is more desirable because it can hold more data and play DVD movies. DVD movie performance will depend on the speed and video performance of the laptop.

Wired and Wireless LAN - All new laptops should have a local area network (LAN) port for plugging into a wired network.
In addition all new notebooks should have wireless network capabilities. New wireless notebooks will be able to use the highest wireless speed available which is termed "wireless N". Some notebooks are still being made with the older wireless B/G capability.

Video Screens - The size, brightness, and clarity of a laptop screen is best shopped for in person. Usually the larger the screen, the heavier the laptop, and the more use of power.

Video Memory and Screen Resolution - The screen resolution of any notebook or desktop computer is a function of the graphics adapter, amount of Video RAM available, the size (pixel density) of the screen shown (e.g. 640x480), and the number of colors used. These screen features are loosely defined by the type of output the screen can produce e.g. VGA, SVGA, XGA, and SXGA as shown in the table on the next page.


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