Avoiding the Slow Laptop


Avoiding the Slow Laptop

Probably the all-time biggest complaint I hear about computers is that they are running slow. Windows is freezing, Internet is not working, it takes tons of time for the system to shut down. You know the drill. In fact, I’m sure also you have experienced this lag and frustration as well. To be honest, it is not possible to completely avoid these situations when the computer momentarily freezes or feels slow. If it was possible, the inventor of such a system would be the richest man ever. However, a more viable option is to shoot for a laptop whose components and features minimize the freezing, lag and stutter. Here are some tips to get you started.

If You Skimp on the Processor…

In case you are looking to save money when buying a laptop, the temptation to skimp on the processor is tempting. But I don’t know if that is such a good idea. The processor is the commander of the laptop and it pretty much makes or breaks the performance. Much of the freezing or lag is due to a budget processor that just doesn’t have enough bandwidth to handle the task or tasks at hand. When this happens, the system must throttle processes, which essentially means putting them into a queue. This will show as a dreaded lag for the user.

What I recommend, if you want a worry-free notebook, is to go for at least Core i3 processors of the Intel family. The Core i3s are often regarded as mainstream CPUs (processors), and while they are not the fastest units they suffice to about 95% of the users, easily. If you however absolutely want to minimize the slow-downs, go on a splurge and get a Core i5 powered notebook. This way, if your laptop has a bottleneck, it surely won’t be the processor. Whatever you do, if you want to avoid a slow notebook, stay away from Celeron processors – they are Intel’s cheapest models and will quickly kneel when you try multitasking or heavier programs.

Storage Drive Matters

In the past, the choice of storage drive was easy. For the simple fact that only one type of drive existed: the conventional hard drive with moving parts. It was either a drive with 5400 or 7200RPM (revolutions per minute) spindle speed, the frequency of how many times the spindle of the drive rotates in a minute. There never was a huge difference between these drives in performance, so they competed more in the actual storage space arena. Hard drives up to two terabytes were available in the market and while fast, they suffered from slow performance.

But this is not the case anymore. In the recent years, a new type of drives has emerged: the solid-state drives. These drives have so-called modern technology; they come with no moving parts and are thus more shock resistant. In addition, they also operate much faster than the previous hard drives. Countless of people have seen tremendous increase in performance after switching from a HDD (hard drive) based laptop to a SSD (solid-state drive) one. Of course, solid-state drives have one downside: they offer less storage than their older hard drive counterparts. But if you want to avoid slow laptop at all costs, such a modern SSD should be your choice number one!

You’ll Look at the Screen All the Time

It is true that the laptop screen has no effect on the actual performance. It is the processor, storage drive and memory that form the core of performance which will then manifest itself on faster response times. That, in turn, will show on the display for the user. So the screen, while important, is just a messenger – it is not the thing to blame if you notebook really feels slow. However, it’s still an important link for computer enjoyment. A low quality screen is uncomfortable to work with, more so when you you’ll be looking at it for hours every day in the best (or worst) case. This is why I recommend investing in a quality screen.

Look for displays whose resolution says 1920×1080 or more – this ensures a proper screen estate, in another words the amount of stuff you can simultaneously show on the display. Full HD screens are probably the most common ones, and they will also work wonders for movie watching. Another important factor is the panel type. If you want to minimize the possibility for washed out colors, look for panel types that say IPS, In-Plane Switching. They are known to reproduce colors very accurately, and as a bonus, also have viewing angles closer to 180 degrees.

Avoiding the Slow Laptop

Try It With Your Own Hands

To get hands-on experience on the laptop candidate is important, however it’s also getting less and less possible in the era of Internet shopping. The demise of brick and mortar shops and rise of E-commerce have led to greater convenience for the buyers – you can get a laptop with a few clicks and flashing of your credit card. However, what you will not get is to actually try the notebook. This will leave some important parts missing, I’m afraid.

Obviously, it would be ideal to try the laptop in person so you get the general feel of it. Is it flimsy or sturdy? Take it in your hand and move it. Does it feel light or too heavy for your taste? Note the thickness and dimensions. The notebook looks sleek or bulky? Does these things matter to you? Also, a thing you can only see in person is the keyboard and trackpad functionality. This is the personal pet peeve of mine – the flow of typing must be smooth as a silk and the trackpad must respond promptly without anything strange going on. So, if you only can, try the laptop in the shop before you buy it. But if you can not, try to find laptops that have user reviews which talk about the build quality, material and keyboard!

Most Importantly…

No matter what fast components, Full HD displays and exotic ports the notebook has, but if you find no use for all of that, your new and shiny laptop is for nothing. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to think what you really want. The tips here are a good starting point for the majority of people, but if you are only a beginner computer user, you might shoot too high by picking a fast laptop recommended in this article. A person who literally only surfs the web an hour in a day or so will benefit from a less fancy laptop. It will not feel like a powerhouse, but there will be enough performance to get your favorite browser going. However, as a soft warning, remember that if you have never tried a faster laptop you don’t also know what you’re missing. Even if you think a 200 dollar, slower laptop will do, think about shelling out more bucks. You will see the difference, most likely even with simple programs such as web surfing!

Now you know a few things that make a laptop slow, or at least uncomfortable to use. If you pick a decent processor (Core i3 or more), a fast drive (SSD), a quality screen (Full HD or more) and try the notebook yourself in the shop before buying, you really can’t go wrong with your choice. However, I must also add that some people don’t really need cutting-edge performance – that’s why you should think what your computer use will consist of. That said, in general, by following the above tips you will get a decent laptop computer that will not lag, and that will put a smile on your face possibly for years to come.

About the author

Akseli Niemelä is an Internet entrepreneur with keen interest for technology, programming and human relations. He has been writing a blog since 2010, with current orientation for content-rich websites. For more information, please read the About section of this website.

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