Below are typical activities for casual, intermediate and power users. Understand confusing terminology or technical terms with our jargon buster.
Web browsing, email, social networking and online programs require little computing power. In most cases, your online performance is determined by your internet connection speed. If you have a fast connection and a high download limit, you’ll likely download more content.
Even a low-end model should be powerful enough to run office and productivity programs. Complex spreadsheets and large PDF files may require a mid-range computer.
Listening to music
Listening to songs won’t require a fast laptop, but a decent amount of RAM and a mid-range processor is a must for people with large music libraries. If you want to listen to music while you work or surf the net, your computer will benefit from extra RAM to handle the multiple activities.
This depends on how you access your media. If you download or stream all your content, your requirements will match the internet usage scenario. If you want to play a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, you’ll need a laptop with an optical drive. Many laptops can play DVDs, but few have Blu-Ray drives. Don’t assume that the laptop you’re looking at can play both. A mid-range graphics card and processor will improve video quality and load times.
Playing computer games
You can get by playing most games on a mid-range system, but to enjoy the full experience of the latest blockbusters, you’re going to need a top quality mid-range unit or a high-end model. Sophisticated games can be very demanding on your graphics card, processor and RAM. Although most games let you tweak some graphics settings to make them usable on less-powerful systems, image quality will suffer. If you’re serious about computer games, consider plenty of RAM, a dedicated graphics card and lots of processing power. Online games such as Call of Duty or World of Warcraft need a fast internet connection as well, but browser-based games (e.g. FarmVille) are usually much less demanding.
Photo/Video/Audio editing and 3D rendering
These programs require a powerful system with plenty of RAM, processing power and a decent graphics card. They need a webcam
and inbuilt microphone, which most laptops have. A larger screen size will provide more room for complex onscreen menu systems.
, Skype etc don’t require a lot of power: a 3G phone can do the job after all. But you’ll need a webcam and inbuilt microphone which most models have these days. A larger laptop will provide a bigger screen which can be beneficial.