What components should you look for when buying a laptop to work?

Searching for a laptop to work is not an easy task. In addition to the hard disk or the processor, it is necessary to look at many other components of vital importance. We tell you what to take into account.

The laptops have always been linked to his business use. In fact, due to its high price, the first equipment with these characteristics was only available to employees of large companies and took time to reach individuals.

Luckily, nowadays any user can buy a  professional laptop,  and manufacturers have so many configurations on the market that you can choose the one that best suits your way of working.

No one like you knows your workflow and the needs of your day to day, so you already have a solid foundation. Also, a feature that should be common to any computer or PC you buy is that its components are balanced against each other.

Since each job requires different tools, you must adapt your laptop to those needs to avoid overpaying or finding yourself with the unpleasant surprise that your laptop does not perform as expected when running the applications that you normally use to carry out your work.

To help you choose the best equipment for you, we tell you what are the components and features that you should take into account when buying the best professional laptop.

Know the requirements of the programs you use to work

The first thing you have to do before starting the search for the best laptop to work with is to know the technical requirements of the programs you are going to use in your day-to-day life, as well as taking into account the weight of the files you manage. The choice of some components or others will depend on it.

And it is that a representative of the sales department, who spends all his day visiting his clients, does not need the same hardware as a video game designer or an architect who needs to process 3D data. Different professional needs, different hardware.

Therefore, we recommend that you make a list of the applications that you use regularly and that you search on their website or Google what technical requirements they need to function. 

The conjunction of the common specifications of all of them will give you a very approximate profile of the laptop you need to work fluently.

Choose a comfortable screen

Since we spend much of our time watching the monitor of your PC, l to screen it is one of the most important components in a notebook. 

It not only defines the image quality you are going to obtain, but it will also determine the comfort of use when using multiple windows simultaneously, which is a key factor for your productivity in front of the laptop.

Choosing a certain screen size not only defines your productivity with the laptop on, but it will also be decisive when transporting it, being a more bulky and heavy laptop, or lighter and easier to carry.

No one knows how your work day unfolds better than you, so assess your daily needs well to find a suitable balance in the specifications of your screen. For example, if you need to carry your laptop all day, but you really only use one or two applications at a time, it is best to opt for a compact screen size of about 13 inches to get a compact professional laptop.

If you are practically not going to move it from the office table, it is best to go for larger sizes and work comfortably with several open applications without having to constantly open and close windows.

At this point, and if your budget allows it, the minimum requirement should be a screen with Full HD resolution and an anti-reflective matte screen to avoid the annoying glare of artificial light on the screen while you work.

The processor, the key to everything

The processor is the cornerstone on which the entire system is based , so it is one of the components that you should look at the most when buying a laptop to work .

It will largely depend on whether your daily use experience is satisfactory or not. The brands usually offer the same model of laptop with different configurations from which you can choose the processor that will mount your equipment.

In the face of AMD's drift in laptop processors for the past decade, Intel has positioned itself as the only efficient alternative for a professional laptop, at least until future Ryzen Mobile laptop processors position themselves as a solvent alternative.

At this point a distinction should be made between Intel desktop and laptop processors. In both cases they are referred to as Intel Core i3, i5 or Core i7, but it must be borne in mind that neither their performance is equivalent, nor their power consumption.

Please pay attention when reviewing the technical requirements of the applications where it is indicated, for example, that you need a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, because when using its portable version they can become a dual-core.

Intel also has a vPRO processor edition in its Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processor families that provide additional remote management and security features for professional notebooks. In this way, the IT department can carry out the necessary maintenance and updates, without the user having to stop using it.

You don't always need a graphics card

Regarding the choice of graphics card to work with, once again your professional activity will be the key to selecting the most suitable model, since it will make the difference in your productivity. 

We assume that all notebooks based on Intel processors include a graphics card that is responsible for processing the graphics displayed on the screen. The choice comes when you have to decide if the processing power of the integrated GPU is enough to carry out your daily work, or you need a dedicated chip to get more performance.

If the applications that you usually use in your work can be included in the group of office tools and do not require intensive graphic work, probably with the GPU integrated in the processor you will have more than enough.

On the other hand, if video editing, photography, or 3D texture rendering occupies an important part of your workday, buying a professional laptop with a dedicated GPU is essential to obtain a good performance in these tasks.

This is extended to certain scientific applications in which, despite not being dedicated to rendering 3D graphics, the processing cores of graphics cards are used to accelerate the calculation in simulations. Again we refer you to the technical specifications of your usual software to know if those applications make use of the graphics processor cores.

As in the case of processors, manufacturers tend to launch the same models with configurations with and without a graphics card. Choosing the right model you can save a few euros on the final invoice of your laptop.

How much RAM do you need?

The amount of RAM you need in your laptop to work  is closely related to the use of a dedicated graphics card or not. In a professional notebook, that choice leads the way to demand higher performance from other components.

It should be noted that having more RAM will not make the laptop go faster, but it will launch applications faster and everything will move more smoothly.

If you choose to use the graphics card built into the processor, it is very likely that the laptop you use to work will mount 8 GB of RAM. Since that will indicate that the applications you usually use are not very demanding at the hardware level.

With 8 GB of RAM, the operating system will be able to move the laptop fluidly on a day-to-day basis and will maintain a certain percentage of reserve memory for when an extra peak of performance is required.

On the other hand, if you need to use a dedicated GPU, it is indicative that the software you are going to use will require high performance and will consume above-average resources to apply texture filters or when rendering. In that case, you should buy a laptop with 16GB of RAM or more.

Another aspect to take into account when choosing a laptop to work with are the expansion options. Manufacturers do not usually give many details about it, but by investigating the technical specifications minimally, you can find out if the equipment has two memory sockets in which, depending on the configuration, only one of them may be used or one may be used. capacity below what the motherboard allows.

This leaves the door open for future updates where you could easily double the amount of RAM that your original laptop included. Of course, you must make sure what type of memories it mounts since, if you mount a RAM memory of type LPDDR3 or LPDDR4, it means that it is soldered to the motherboard and will not be able to be expanded in the future.

Speed ​​or capacity, storage is your choice

Many people think that the HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is already an obsolete storage system and therefore do not contemplate its use in a professional laptop.

Although it is true that SSD drives offer much superior performance, hard drives deserve to be taken into account under some assumptions in the professional field.

So much so that some professional-oriented notebooks offer configurations that combine SSD drives for the operating system and applications, and a secondary HDD for large files and data.

This type of setup is especially interesting for professionals in video and photo editing. In their daily work they have to process large files or batches of files, so having a large storage capacity is more important than the speed of data processing, which would fall on the main SSD. 

The drop in the price of SSDs and the constant increase in their capacities has made possible their arrival at notebooks with an affordable price. So, if you do not need to process large files, the SSD will be the perfect ally for your work computer since it will not only make the computer work faster, but an SSD will consume less battery and tolerate the small impacts better an HDD.

Within the SSD category that business laptops mount you can find several formats that determine their price, performance and weight.

If the manufacturer only indicates that it includes an SSD, it is very possible that it is a 2.5 ”format drive.

M.2 SSD 
However, the brand may also indicate that it includes an M.2-format SSD . In that case, there are two possible options: M.2 SATA 3, which offers the same read and write transfer rate that a conventional 2.5 ”SSD can have (around 500 MB / s or so. ); or an M.2 PCIe 3.0 NMVe SSD that offers triple the performance of a SATA SSD (between 1,500 and 2,500 MB / s).

Behind this small detail a price difference can be hidden between two apparently equal laptops, but whose price premium is justified by this increase in performance, something to keep in mind when choosing the right laptop.

Do you work outside the office? Battery matters

If you do not usually work sitting at your office desk or if you do not have a plug nearby, the battery is one of the components that you have to look at, since you will need to be able to work throughout the day without having to plug in the computer to the current. 

Ultrabooks and convertibles use low-power components and processors, so they can keep running for up to 10 hours. These computers have been specifically designed as a professional laptop to travel or to be in constant mobility, so they are computers that are highly optimized to save energy.

The most powerful equipment can not limit energy consumption since they must offer greater performance, so its autonomy does not usually exceed 5 hours of use.

Keyboard and touchpad, the great forgotten

Despite being the components that we use the most throughout the day, the keyboard and the touch panel or touchpad are the great forgotten when buying a computer to work.

Think about the torture that can come from having to spend hours and hours using a keyboard with too hard a key path, too close to the keys, or with a layout that is not comfortable for you.

Our recommendation is to test the keyboard if possible before purchasing the laptop. Open a notebook and simply write a made-up text at your usual typing speed to see if it is comfortable for you to use, if the keystrokes are right and the correct size, etc.

Buy a laptop to work
The same goes for the touchpad. Check that its touch and operation adjust to your tastes, if it is the right size, etc.

Connections, they had better not be missing

With the development of wireless connections and slimming treatments that all laptops in general are suffering from, connections and ports are becoming an endangered species.

The minimum required for any professional laptop is a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI connector and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection to connect accessories wirelessly and transfer data more comfortably.

Some Ultrabooks, whose extremely slim profiles do not allow the integration of multiple ports, choose to bundle the video, audio, and data outputs into a USB Type-C port. 

This will force you to carry adapters to connect them to external screens or projectors that do not have direct outputs to USB Type C, to keyboards, mice or simply to connect a USB key to transfer data.

If you are a photographer, you might be interested in it incorporating a memory card reader. That way you avoid having to rely on an external memory card reader to copy and edit your photos.

With all this information on what components you should look for when buying a laptop to work , you already have in your hand everything you need to choose the one that will be your co-worker for many hours, providing you with the best user experience and all the performance you expect from a professional laptop.

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