Comparing Computers

whaka2, May 17, 5:03am
I know there are lots of threads on here about computers and helping people pick one. I get so overwhelmed in the shops and know nothing about the differences.
I have a price for a "15.6" HP Business Notebook - i7 Processor
HP ProBook 450 G2" at approx. $1300 and was thinking I would need more memory but then told this one has a faster drive.
Can someone advise me how I can tell and if I will know how fast a drive is, is memory very important or can I install more at a later date if it isn't enough (current comp has 2 GB memory which is full), is i7 the bees knees and do I need it. A bit overwhelmed really. Normal usage at home nothing major. So question is what do I look for? willing to go up to $1500.
Thank you in advance.

r.g.nixon, May 17, 5:15am
'Normal' at home, means an i3 (or preferably i5) is all you need.
4GB of RAM is enough. An SSD for programs and storage is better than a HDD, but holds less.

There will be websites that discuss 'best laptop for $1000' and similar. Get your google on.

vtecintegra, May 17, 5:51am
Can you post a link? Your post doesn't say how much memory, or what type of drive the system in question is using.

Anyway dual core i7s (like in the Probook) are a waste of money as they are only slightly faster than an i5 and considerably more expensive.

schizoid, May 17, 7:10am
There are dual core i7's now?!

I don't really keep up with laptop hardware so much, it wasnt even so long ago I discovered laptop i5's are only dual core.

Still, on topic, any of these from i3 to i5 are still good enough for basic use. Probably the best thing you can look for is a SSD. Maybe save some $ in your budget to add one, if whatever you decide on doesnt already have one.

vtecintegra, May 17, 7:16am
There have always been dual core mobile i7s, they're just a lot more common now ULV CPUs are the norm.

Mobile quad cores have either HQ or MQ after the model number

schizoid, May 17, 7:26am
The Sandy Bridge i7 in my old laptop is a QM, which is a full 4 core, 8 threads. Probably chews the power a bit more than these modern ones though.

ianab, May 17, 10:25am
Yes it's confusing

It's like buying a car. Do you buy a 4cyl, a 6 or a V8? They all "work" in the same way as a I3 / 5 / 7 work.

But do you get 4WD, or a turbo, or a coupe or a station wagon?

See it depends what you need.

You NEED enough CPU grunt to run the programs you plan to run. Normal home use? An I3 will do fine. Want to play serious games, edit video, Render the next Hobbit Movie? Then you need more grunt.

RAM? Again you need enough. 2 gb can be limiting. 4 - 8 gb is more normal. Again depends what you are doing. If you aren't using the extra RAM, then it's wasted. A 3D rendering work station might run 64GB of RAM to maximise the performance. But it wont make TM or your favourite cat video load any faster.

Hard disk? More capacity is good. You can store more stuff. Faster (SSD ) is better just because it works faster. You look at the cost / benefit. A 256mb SSD is faster, a 1 tb magnetic disk can store more.

Graphics chip? May or may not matter. If you are gaming it's probably the MOST important thing to consider. If you are surfing the net, it doesn't matter at all, as long as the cat videos play.

Then you have the other things like how good the keyboard / screen / speakers etc are. Does it have enough ports to connect stuff? Can you connect it to your TV? Do the speakers sound tinny? How is the battery life, more powerful chips use more power etc. Things like that matter in every day use.

Probably confused you more. But I would suggest very different PCs depending on a users actual needs. (and budget) Paying an extra $500 for a machine with a fancy fancy graphics chip that you don't use is silly. Maybe better to spend that on Fibre Broadband so TM loads faster. That sort of thing.

pop7, May 17, 3:34pm
Have you thought of a Mac .I have had windows computers for years and for a change and reasons of portability and battery life I recently purchased an 11 inch Mac book air . I personally love it very easy to use and wonderful battery life . I prefer it over an ipad which I have as well.

whaka2, May 17, 9:18pm
Thanks for all the help, yes ianab - I likened it to purchasing a car too - so many options and figuring out which is perfect for you takes time. I guess the difference is not really visual with computers. I will take all of this into consideration and probably buy the one that looks good - total woman way to go.

cafc2012, Nov 9, 2:19am
If "Normal usage at home " does not include editing videos or playing state of the art computer games, that i7 processor is not necessary, and a cheap option will save you some money.

It might help if you tell us the make and model of your current laptop, and what you dont like about it, and someone here can suggest a suitable, simple set of specifications you can use as your "bottom line" requiremenbts (then you can chose the one you like the look of that fits those specifications). By the way, how the laptop looks is important too, especially if you are using it every day.

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