When you start looking, you may well be surprised to find that getting hold of a really cheap laptop is actually pretty easy. They’ve come down considerably in price since tablets have entered the market, and refurbished ones are better value still. These are used or previously broken laptops which have been professionally restored to a good standard. The main problem then, is not finding a cheap laptop; it’s finding a cheap laptop that is right for you. It’s no good buying something that costs hardly anything, but doesn’t actually do what you need it to.
Here are some quick points to follow:
- Don’t get drawn in by the size of the laptop’s hard drive. This has no impact whatsoever on the performance of the computer; it is for storage only.
- AMD and nVidia are the companies that make graphics cards. If the graphics are powered by anything else, such as Intel, they are integrated, not dedicated.
- More cores do not instantly make one processor better than another, nor does the processor speed. Roughly, look for more cores and more processing speed, but be aware that they aren’t the only measures of how good the CPU is.
- More RAM is always better. Salespeople may make a fuss about 2GB of RAM, but be aware that top spec new gaming laptops do have up to 16GB.
You can pick up an entry level laptop with a 15” screen for very little. If you’re just looking for a computer that will allow you to surf the web, and run a couple of office applications, then a basic model will do you fine. You needn’t worry about specification as they haven’t made laptops that can’t do this for years.
If you need something quicker, that will comfortably run several applications and maybe some media, then you might need to think about specification. 1GB of RAM is enough to get by on, and a dual-core processor is favourable.
For a home-entertainment laptop, ensure that the screen is of a high resolution, and find out how good the speakers are. Make sure you’ve got 2GB of RAM. Modern laptops are very good at handling movies by using integrated graphics, which means that the graphics are processed in the same unit as the CPU.
If you want to play games, then a dedicated graphics card is essential; without it, you’re very unlikely to be able to play anything but old games. At this point, the higher specification of everything you can get, the better your laptop will be. Be aware however, that gaming laptops do often command a premium, and if you’re looking for a cheap one, it may be a couple of years old.
Work out exactly what you want out of your laptop, and a refurbished one could be an excellent choice. Do some research into specification before you make any decisions, and you won’t be disappointed.
About the author: Adam Hart-Davies writes on behalf of SCH Trade, who provide an excellent range of cheap refurbished laptops, desktops and peripherals