Laptop Recommended Specifications

Below are my recommendations. I can tell you that there are less expensive choices that what I am listing. If you are looking for a laptop to last for a year or two, these are not the specs for you.
I typically lean toward Dell laptops because I have first hand seen proven reliability. Another strong contender is Lenovo. The Business Class version of Dell (Latitude) is also high in quality, and the abundance of used parts that are available make them appealing when looking further down the road. When (not if) your laptop need repair, there is sure to be a used part available as an option. This is often a consideration for older computers where it does not make good financial sense to sink a lot of money.

  • Windows Version: The current version of Windows is 10. You may still find computers with Windows 8 or 7, but be sure that whichever version of Windows that you buy is 64 bit as opposed to 32 bit.
  • Processor: Intel i5 fifth generation or higher. My experience in having AMD processors in laptops has not been great.
  • Memory: 8 gigabytes or more. Do not spend extra for more memory.
    This component can usually be updated in the future. But I recommend making sure that it IS upgradeable just in case.
  • Hard Drive: The latest technology is “Solid State”. You will find that the amount of storage space is much less than a typical traditional hard drives, but the performance and reliability gains are well worth the sacrifice.
    If purchasing a traditional drive, I recommend 500 gigabytes or more AND a second drive for backup. Keep in mind that for most of us, the traditional hard drives fail before they reach their maximum capacity. (this component can be updated in the future)
  • Screen Size: This is going to be a personal preference. Keep in mind that if this laptop is going to be used for travel, a larger screen will add significant weight!
  • Touch Screen: Again, this is personal preference. Windows 8 and 10 were designed to be used with touch screens. However, I have found that when a touch screen is purchased it is hardly used if at all. It also add significant weight to the computer.
  • Optional Accessories: There are many other options such as webcam, sound systems, and disk drive. These are going to vary based on the manufacturer.

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