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Students’ Guide to the Perfect Laptop

Being a college student is tough and if you try to be one with outdated pieces of technology, it might get worse. In other words, your student life is directly proportional to how good your tech is.

Be it online classes, editing videos, making presentations, making songs and even playing games, your PC or personal computer is one machine that just has to be perfect. Also, as we students are mostly on the run desktops are just not practical for day-to-day usage, therefore laptops are our true partners.

However, choosing one isn’t the easiest of the task. As with smartphones, there are a plethora of options and just one of them is perfect for you. And if you do not choose the right partner, then my friend, may God’s grace be upon you.

How much Storage do I need?

The storage or Read Only Memory (ROM) is that part which helps you to store and retrieve your stored files. There are two types of ROM available, SSD and HDD with SSD being the more modern but the costly one.

The cost of a 1TB HDD is similar to that of a 128 GB SSD. You’ll get the best bang for your buck if you use a SSHD or a hybrid of HDD and SSD, but remember to put all of your Windows files in the SSD as that will make your system be lightning fast. The average booting time for a HDD based system is 1:30 to 2:00 minutes while that of a SSD based system is just 10 to 30 seconds. With ideal usage, 1 TB HDD and 128 GB SSD is ideal, while with a little heavy usage a SSD based laptop is the choice to go for. Now if you buy a HDD make sure it is a SATA 3 based while the SSD must be NVMe based (both are very long full forms, really not needed).

What about the RAM and Processor?

Random Access Memory or RAM is that part of your system that helps you to multitask better.
In today’s times, heavy applications and games, a RAM of at least 8 GB is a must for a good performance. While a RAM of 12 GB or higher is needed for heavy usage. But be sure to purchase the latest DDR (again a very long full form, really not needed) 4 or higher based RAM and a dual-channel (two RAMs in one system) as that will deliver you the best speeds and efficiency.
Coming to the processor, we have two brands, Intel and AMD. Both these brands are good and at par. While, AMD is cheaper than Intel and it provides roughly the same performance; Intel is more popular and better optimized in many cases.
When buying a laptop, go for a processor above 8th Generation in Intel’s case (Higher generation means a better and more optimized performance) and 3rd Generation and above in AMD’s case.

If you want a laptop for daily use, i.e., no editing, gaming and coding then an Intel i3 or an AMD Ryzen 3 is the best bet. But if you are editing YouTube videos and playing some amount of games then an Intel i5 or an AMD Ryzen 5 is a must. Also, AMD processors are power intensive while Intel’s are cost intensive.

While the upper versions like i7, i9 or Ryzen 7 are just too expensive for a student, again the higher you go the better performance you get.

Do I need a Graphic Card?

If you are editing videos using software(s) like Adobe Premier Pro, DaVinci Resolve and Adobe After Effects or playing heavy games like Red Dead Redemption II, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Battlefield V or The Witcher 3, then you need a graphic card.

Most Intel and AMD laptops have an integrated GPU (a pre-installed Graphic Processing Unit) but which are Vega Graphics in AMD’s case and Integrated HD/UHD Graphics in Intel’s case. However, Vega graphics are much better than Intel’s Integrated Graphics.
But, if you need more power, an external GPU is required. Best brands for an external GPU are Nvidia, AMD, MSI, EVGA and Asus.

Which brand has the best Laptops?

The brand of a laptop is important for several reasons. Be it after sales services or better software enhancements via regular software updates as well as inclusion of performance enhancement programs.

The best laptops in India are of the likes of hp, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung, Apple and Acer. Now keeping up with the trends, none of these brands are of India origin, the only named brand present is iBall but the quality differs while HCL has stopped manufacturing laptops and computer.

In my opinion (not the best but really good, I guarantee), hp and Asus have really good laptops, having used both of them in software as well as hardware terms. If you want long lasting laptops and can stretch your budget, Dell is the brand to go. Lenovo and Acer have rugged laptops while Apple is an option if you not spec hungry but can spend a lot (like a lot).

What Accessories do I need?

An External Hard Drive will help you to store and protect your important data while helping to increase your laptop’s performance. An external Optical Disk Drive, will help you to use CDs while also decreasing the thickness and weight of your laptop. A mouse will help you to have more free movement as let’s be real you just can’t use your trackpad all the time. A USB OTG (On The Go) will help you to seamlessly transfer data from your mobile phone to your laptop. Another accessory that you can use is a cooling pad, as if your laptop heats up then it will lag a lot (and believe me that is really frustrating), so a cooling pad will help you ito enhance the performance of your PC.

Featured Image Credits: Manav Ahuja for DU Beat

Aniket Singh Chauhan

aniketc@dubeat.com

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