“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Maya Angelou

While we’ve been in business, we get many of the same questions on a day to day basis. Some of them are simple requests, and others are more complicated. Among all these questions, one of them stands out the most in terms of frequency and the asker’s priority.

After reviewing all our service requests and looking at the trends, the most common question that we’re asked is “How much should I expect to spend on a laptop?”. While this may seem like a simple enough question, there’s a lot of thought and additional questions that need to be asked in this situation.

In this guide, I will outline the steps and process that we follow to help our users determine the best fit for them.

Determine The Device’s Purpose

Seems easy enough, right? A laptop is meant to be a computer used on your lap. Relatively simple. Though, we need to dive a bit deeper into the meaning of this. By determining our devices purpose, we will identify the key needs that must be met when purchasing a device.

The question you should ask yourself in this situation is “What will I be using this laptop for?”

Once you have your answer, you can typically drop it into one of three categories.

  • Home Use
  • Gaming
  • Office Use

If you’re using your device for a mix of these things, we’ll get to that in a little bit.

For Home Use – You’re going to want something that’s moderately balanced in performance. If your primary purpose is to use the internet, play a few games, or watch movies, you won’t have to spend a whole lot of money. Good examples of these computers would be the HP Pavilions, Lenovo Ideapads, Lenovo Yogas, Dell Inspirons and Dell Latitudes. We typically will recommend Lenovo products in this space purely for the durability factor that comes with all their devices. They withstand the wear and tear of home use very nicely.

For Gaming – You’re going to want something focused on CPU, Memory, and Graphics performance. These devices are typically marketed specifically for gaming, and are designed with more in-depth cooling systems, and higher-powered hardware. Companies like ASUS have a whole line of equipment called their ROG (Republic of Gamers) Series, which emphasizes these components. These computers can also be utilized for any other mixed purposes as well.

For Office Use – These computers are typically built with multitasking and productivity in mind. Commonly, you’ll see business-grade computers come with Professional editions of Windows and fingerprint scanners for authentication. Additionally, they typically only come in Silver or Black, and additionally include longer manufacturer warranties for extended support. Great examples of these would be the HP Envy Series, the HP Spectre Series, the HP Elitebooks, HP Ultrabooks, and Lenovo Thinkpads.

Determine Your Budget

Obviously, the next important question is “How much money do I have?”. Whenever I’m thinking about technology, I always joke to myself that “It’s never enough” when looking at my bank balance, but realistically, it’s important to set an amount that isn’t going to break the bank. What’s important to note about this stage, is that typically you get out of your device what you put into it, meaning if you’re investing more to start out with, your device will USUALLY last longer, provided you allocate that money wisely.

For Home Use – You can expect to spend anywhere from $199 for a very low-end Chromebook, to $800 if you’re wanting an HD Movie watching experience or a bit faster response time.

For Gaming – You can expect to spend anywhere from $700 for an entry-level system to $1500 for a nice gaming laptop. The advantage to investing so much, is that you have all the same capabilities as a desktop, but you add the benefit of mobility.

For Office Use – You can expect to spend anywhere from $300 for a refurbished laptop to $1000 for a brand-new med-high performance laptop that meets business specifications.

Determine Performance Requirements

When making determinations on what level of hardware to get, remember the budget ranges above to ensure you stay within a reasonable amount.

For Home Use – You can focus on devices with lower performance for general use. Computers outfitted with Intel i3 or i5 processors are usually a good fit, with AMD’s Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 being about the same if you don’t like using Intel. Don’t go over 8 GB of RAM unless you absolutely need to.

For Gaming – You should focus on devices with high CPU performance. Good selections would be the Intel i5, i7 and i9 Series, or the AMD Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9, a minimum of 8 GB of RAM (16 GB Preferred) and a Dedicated Graphic’s card with a minimum of 4 GB of VRAM. You can scale as high as you need to for performance, but these are my minimum suggestions.

For Office Use – You should focus on comfort and multitasking. Ensure that the devices are well built before anything else. We typically recommend a CPU selection in the range of an Intel i5 to an i7, or an AMD Ryzen 5 or 7. Definitely ensure you have 8-16 GB of RAM, sometimes 32GB, and if you’re doing any CAD work, you will want to ensure you find a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.

With these tips, you can more appropriately identify your needs, and make a better educated decision when purchasing to ensure you’re getting low cost whilst not sacrificing quality.

The next step is to find a vendor that you can trust. We provide Laptop Sales and Service for Residential and Business clients alike, and would be honored by the opportunity to work with you.

Our specialists will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your needs are properly analyzed, your equipment is appropriately selected, and your configuration goes smoothly while integrating the device into your daily routine.

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