Choose Laptop



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Laptop is created with the intent to increase the IT-awareness of it's visitors.

In two tutorials you will learn how to choose a laptop

Part I shows you how to read the specs of  a laptop

Part II teaches you how to actually choose your laptop



How to choose a laptop



The Specs of a laptop are usually displayed as is in this link 


When comparing laptops we look at two cathegories

Physical configuration addresses the physical components on the laptop

Software configuration looks at the Operating System and Applications


Laptop 's physical configuration

The Screen

The screen size determines the size of the laptop and is often the deciding factor for buyers.
Most screens vary between 10' and 18'. When measuring you will find that the visible part is measured from the left bottom of the screen to the right top of the screen minus 1 inch. You have to substract 1 inch from the size given in the specs.

The frequency and screen resolution are also deciding factors. Higher resolutions offer more possibilities for graphical workers and users who offen work with beamers to present there work.

The type
LCD (Liquid Cristal Display) screen is backlit by fluoriscent light via a system that determines the coordinates of the pixels. The LCD display quality changes when you change the angle of view. If someone is standing behind you he will have a difficult time to see what you are showing him as his viewing angle will be different then yours. This is why LCD screens are perfect for administrative work in the office.

 TFT or matrix screen is build up from transistors. Every pixel is a transistor. The view is sharp from every angle so it is perfect for graphical work and entertainment.
LED screens (Light Emitting Diodes) works as the TFT but uses diodes in stead of transistors. It has an advanced vorm of screen correction, uses much less power and has an antiglare functionality that prevents the zon or light from creating a glow on the screen. LED is the newest product on the market and at this time the best option for graphical work or entertainment.


De processor
ProcessorSandyBridgDe processor is the brain of the computer. It determines in larger part the efficiency of the computer. The determining factors for processors are the frequency, the cache and the algoritme used to simultaneously execute tasks. The two big players for laptops are Intel and AMD with Intel being the biggest player on the market to date.

Intel Celeron and Pentium are the lesser processors and can better be avoided.

Intel Core i3, i5 en i7 are the stronger processors. These processors are buildup by integrating multiple individual processors named core's.  The i3 has a maximum of 2 core's and is cheaper but also weaker than the i5 which has a maximum of 4 core's and cheaper but also weaker than the i7 which has a maximum of 6 core's

De Intel i3, i5 en i7 come in two packages (form factors). The Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 is more expensive but also much faster than the LGA 1156. The Sandy Bridge also has an integrated video card which the others dont. The newest powerhouse is the LGA 1366 for i7 processors. It is very expensive.

The processor is often meassured in frequency and cache. The i7 Sandy Bridge has a frequency of 2.7 GHz and a cache of +/- 8 MB in comparison with the i3 of 1.4 GHz and a cache of 1MB.
AMD Sempron and Athlon II are the lessor processors and could better be avoided. At this time the Phenom II is reasonable. X2, X4, X6, X8 explains the number of integrated processors (core's) into a processor. They are cheaper but also slower than the Intel i3, i5, i7 processors
On the market sinds July 2011 is the Bulldog. It comes in X6 and X8 format and is at least as fast as the Sandy Bridge processors. The Bulldog reaches 4GHz according to AMD and is much cheaper than the Sandy Bridge. The AMD processor are backward compatible which means that when a new processor comes out you will probably be able to just switch it with the old one thus upgrading is much easier.


MemoryDDR3Memory is easy. The faster the better, the more the better.

Memory always comes with upgraded forms on the market. The newer the faster. At this time you will find the DDR2 and DDR3 on the market. You can check out this memory table.
Be aware that some laptop brands use propriety replacement memory which only works on their brand. More important even than the type is the size (amount) of the memory.Apart from what Microsoft has determined to be the min and max memory necessary to run their system.

windows xp service pack 3 will run smoothly with at least 1GB memory
windows vista with at least 3 GB memory
windows 7 with at least 3 GB memory
windows 8 will most likely need at least 3 GB memory
The microsoft office programma's don't need much memory unless you work with huge excel sheets or access databases. You will then need an extra Gigabyte.
Graphical programs such as Adobe CS 4 and higher, 3D Studio Max, Microsoft Publisher, Autocad maar ook SPSS will need one or more extra Gigabytes of RAM to run smoothly.

Games especially the advanced games ask for tonnes of RAM and better not be run on Windows XP as XP can not handle more than 4 GB or RAM of which a good chunk goes into the graphical card and the OS. Memory is advertised in its DDR type, frequency and amount.

Het type battery
Battery9CellLi-ionLi-ion of LIB (Lithium Ion) is the best battery on the market to date. It is light in weight and can handle a higher charge than the older NiCAD and NiMH batteries. The NiCAD batteries have an extra fall-back that they quickly loose their capacity to charge when they are often charged from the same minimum charge to the same maximum charge for an extended period of time. You will then have to let them run out completely and subsequently overcharge them to restore their ability to charge. The Li-ion battery comes in 3 vorms; the 3 cell battery which can keep an average laptop running for 1.5 hrs, a 6 cell battery can keep a laptop running for 2 or 3 hours and a 9 cell battery can last for almost 5 hours at a time. The battery is only needed when you use the laptop without a connection to an outlet yet most people tend to leave the battery on the laptop all the time. You can considerable extend the battery's lifetime if you disconnect it and keep it in a plastic bag in a cool place (refrigirator). Be warned never to connect or disconnect the battery while the computer is running. This may damage the motherboard.


Webcam, microfoon en speakers

WebCamWebCam, microphone and speakers are necessary when you are working with Skype, MSN video chat or another type of video chatting program. You will find the webcam at the centre top position just above the screen as a little black shiny circle. The webcam's quality is determined mostly by it's recording resolution. The speakers quality by the .....

Keyboard en touch pad
Keyboard en touchpad quality can only be determinde on feel. The user has to be comfortable using it. The most popular keyboard type is QWERTY English US which you out to choose unless you specifically want something else. Germany and Central Europe have a different layout, as well as France and Belgium, as does Spain and of course also Arabian countries, Japan, China etc.    

For those who often have to type a lot of numbers it is handy to have a keyboard that does not have it's numbers on top from left to right but rather in the bottom left corner.

Hard drive
HDSSDHard drive space. Hard discs come in SATA serial ATA 7200 RPM and the older slow IDE which can better be avoided. Music and Video files are huge compared to documents, so if you are going to keep large amount of music and video files on your computer you should choose a disc of at least 500 GB. SSD Mobility Solide State Drive is the newest Hard Disc on the market. It has no moving parts which makes them more rigid. Laptops with SSD can wid stand greater impact and will not break if they fall to the floor (unless they fall awkwardly of course or if they are smashed).

Optical drives

CD's as well as DVD's come in R Read and RW Read and write.
The number nummer indicates the speed at which it reads, writes or rewrites a disc. Speed is often the determining factor.
key lock is a cable lock which is used to chain your laptop to a post or table. They are used in offices or when you take your laptop to a conference or other public venue.
finger print reader is a log in device that uses your fingerprint as a password.
anti theft webcam support is software that uses your webcam to make a foto of the thief and e-mails it to you as soon as you the thief accesses the internet


Wireless receiver

Wireless receivers come as a\g\n of b\g\n. This means that all wireless standards are supported. Wireless n is the newest standard. It can connect to the router from a greater distance and can transfer data faster. Wireless g was the default standard untill 2010 and many like the ones Telesur uses are in fact wireless g routers. To optimally enjoy wireless n standard you will need to connect a wireless n router to your internet router. We can assist you into doing so. Use this link to request assistance or find our contact info on the home page.



Condition Definitions

 When purchasing laptops online, be aware of the conditions of the products your buying. Below you will find an Lenovo's explanation of the different conditions in which laptops can be purchased.



Order cancelled,
never shipped, or
factory-direct excess



Previously shipped and returned, but never opened or used



Opened, possibly used, tested to pass original specifications

Scratch & Dent

Scratch & Dent

Refurbished, cosmetic blemishes, no impact to operability



Software configuration

Software can be separated in the Operating System and the Applications.

The Operating System runs the computer and the applications.

Microsoft Windows

WinXPis by far the most popular Operating System on the market with MacIntosh and Linux at a distant second. Windows comes in Client and Server versions. Laptops almost exclusively uses the client versions. Mentioning only the versions that are widely in use window Client versions are split into Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. These systems are again split in X86 which is 32 bit and X64 which is a 64 bit system. Although the 64 bit system obviously runs faster, it still has a lot of compatibility problems with applications, printers and other devices. At this time I recommend users to avoid it, unless they know exactly what they will use it for and with and are sure they have the necessary drivers.

The client versions are seperated in a Home version, a professional version and an ultimate version.

The home version has all option that we normally need except the ability to access a Domain. A Domain is a centrally managed network which you will usually find in an organization or bussiness.

The Professional version has all the options of the home version and the ability to access a Domain.

Windows7The Ultimate version has all the options of the professional version and a few added features.WindowsVista

You can download a free trial version from the microsoft website. The trial version will last for 120 days max. Then you will have to buy it online or via a distributor. Click here for the prices if you decide to buy it seperately.

Apart from it's basic OS stuff it has a few applications which you can find in the accessoires folder e.g. WordPad which opens and edits text doments and spreadsheets (like Ms Word and Ms Excel files)
Win8. Windows Media Player for playing, ripping and burning music and video files. You can also download Windows Live Essentials for free. Windows Live Essentials is a suite of applicaties that you use on the internet. For example Live Mail for sending and receiving mail (simplified outlook), Live Messenger a social network program with a videochat feature and Windows Defender (limited antivirus). There are also applets which can be downloaded for free.

At this time an experimental version of Windows 8 is distributed by Windows to anyone who would like to test the system.

Microsoft Office Suite

is een collection of applications which you will typically use personally or to support the work you do in an office.  Office2010
Ms Word, Ms Excel en Ms Outlook are present in the Starter suite and all other versions.
De starter suite costs about .... if you purchase it seperately.
Ms Powerpoint, Ms Access, Ms Publisher, Ms Project, Ms Infopad en Ms Vision can be purchased seperately or as part of a special suite. You can use this link to see the options and prices and to purchase.

Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader is used to read pdf files which is the default type for documents on the internet.

Antivirus programma's

Are necessary to keep your computer free from virusses and malware. Laptops are now being sold with either a starter or a full featured version of an antivirus program. Often Norton or McAffee.
You will surely need an antivirus program e zal zeker een antivirus programma nodig hebben. Be aware that the starter program will only work for a limited period, after which it must be upgraded via the internet or via your local dealer.

You will need an antivirus program if you want to remain malware free.

 This link teaches you more about virus programs and how to purchase.


Nero and PowerDVD

When you have a DVD RW you would probably like a DVD burner application and\or a DVD player on your computer. Laptops often come with a DVD burner application (Nero) and a DVD player (PowerDVD). Of course windows explorer can be used for burning DVD's and windows media player for playing DVD's, but the specific applications have more options.