With the holidays hurtling our way at break-neck speed, TriQuest is sharing our holiday buying guide early for those planning a PC purchase between now and Christmas Day.  With technology evolving at a rapid pace, it’s easy to get so overwhelmed with new features and options that knowing what you’re actually paying for when you make this purchase can be hard. We all want a great buy that will last, so, here are our recommended considerations to help make the buying part a bit easier this holiday season.

Mac vs PC

Should you get a MacBook or a Windows-based PC?

For the most part this boils down to preference. Most standard applications (like Microsoft Office) are available on both platforms. If there are specific applications you currently use or plan to, check which platforms they are compatible with to help determine this selection. If you are already deep into the world of Apple products and want to take advantage of the connectivity between these devices, then a MacBook laptop may make more sense. If you have a wide variety of applications and cost is a considerable driver, consider a Windows-based PC.

Storage

When it comes to storage, there are two common solutions:  HDD (Hard-Disk Drives) and SSD (Solid-State Drives).

As a rule of thumb, SSDs offer better performance, but are more expensive and not always available in large storage drive capacity. HHDs are less expensive and come in large sizes but aren’t as fast. If your budget is flexible and you want your laptop to boot up and work with local files faster, go with an SSD. If your budget is tighter and you need to store a lot of files, a traditional HDD may be the better option for you. An in-depth comparison between SSDs and HDDs, including their limitations and strengths, can be found here.

Memory

Random-access memory (known as RAM) helps your computer by storing needed data in a quick-access format. Having more RAM will generally provide better performance on a laptop.

Although Windows 10 only requires 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, you really want to have at least 4GB, with 8 GB being ideal for most uses of a laptop. Apple MacBook’s generally come with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM, which is sufficient for the Mac operating system. If you intend to do more intensive graphic design work (such as editing pictures or video), then opting for more RAM is best.

Ports and Peripherals

Be sure to see what ports are available on the laptop and where they are located to make sure you can conveniently plug in the devices you need. Do you need an HDMI port to connect to a TV or projection system? Are there enough USB ports for plugging in a printer and USB drive at the same time? Does it have an SD slot for uploading pictures from a digital camera? In some cases, you may need to purchase an additional adapter to add the connection types you need if not available on the laptop.

Many laptops no longer come with a DVD drive to save on space and weight of the laptop. If you still need to use CDs or DVDs, make sure you either find a model with a drive in it, or purchase an external DVD drive to use when needed.

Determine if you want to get an external mouse, keyboard, or monitor and whether your device has the available ports needed for those devices. Mice and keyboards often use up at least one USB port, so make sure you still have enough ports available for other devices.

The “Best” Laptop for 2020 is… Based on Your Needs!

There’s more to buying a PC than a brand name or operating system. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are excellent times to reach into your pocket for a tech deal, but if you miss your chance this holiday season, there’s always Back to School savings to look forward to!

Good luck and happy hunting!