Notebook PCs / Laptop

Are you one of the many thousands of people who are predicted to buy a notebook (laptop) computer this year? Is your desktop system in need of an upgrade and you are considering switching to a notebook? If yes, then this PC World buying guide is for you. In this report, we equip you with all the know-how you need to buy a notebook.

We walk you through the latest information on important components, such as the CPU and graphics chips, and explain what is on offer, to help you determine what you need. We also provide information on market trends and where notebook technology might be heading in the future, as well as tips on how to get that bit extra for your dollar when dealing with the retailer.


Questions to ask yourself


Desktop PC or notebook?

Notebook PC

Is a notebook the computer for you or are you more suited to a desktop system? If you want a notebook as a desktop replacement, you must be sure of your needs: if you think you will want to upgrade in the near future, or work with a larger monitor, then a desktop system would generally be preferable.

To increase your productivity, you can easily use your notebook in conjunction with a second monitor as nearly all notebooks now come with a VGA-out port and in some cases, even a DVI-I port for connection to LCD monitors without an adapter. There's also a growing trend in notebooks with HDMI ports for TVs. Very few, if any notebooks are still equipped with a PS/2 port for an external mouse and or keyboard as most feature at least two high-speed USB 2.0 ports allowing expandability options for printers, mice, joysticks, and other peripherals.

FireWire ports (used to connect items such as digital video cameras and external hard disks) are also quite common, especially in notebooks geared towards multimedia use.

What the decision really boils down to, though, is whether you need your computer to be mobile. For the medium term to come at least, desktop PCs will remain cheaper than notebooks at similar performance levels and provide better value while being easier to upgrade.

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PC World Staff

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