Simplified table for laptop selection

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Move down the columns Type and Details, to select the row in which your requirements fall. Then arrive at the Specs and Key features to look for in your laptop to order.

Type Details Specs and Key features to look for in models
Basic Affordable laptops for basic computing needs
  1. Processor: Intel Dual Core processor (with speed ranging from 1.3Ghz to 2.0Ghz and Frontside Bus from 533 Mhz to 800 Mhz and L2 Cache from 1MB to 2 MB) will do. Intel Celeron or AMD Sempron processors are cheap compromise.
  2. Operating System: Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows XP Home will do.
  3. Memory: 1GB of memory is ideal. Anything more is welcome. But 512MB memory is barely enough.
  4. Hard Drive: With recent trends of storing videos, images on the hard drive a minimum of 120GB is recommended. Bigger sizes are definite advantage.
  5. Graphics Card: Integrated graphics chip like Intel 950 and up will do.
  6. Optical Drive:Dual Layer DVDRW is required. DVD/CDRW is a cheap compromise.
  7. Display: 14.1″ screen is ok. 15.4″ screen is standard.
  8. I/O ports: A minimum of 3 USB ports is required. A multi-format media card reader, a Firewire port, S-Video and VGA-Out port should all come standard.
  9. Extras: Any productivity software thrown in as free (not the trial version) is welcome.
Type Details Specs and Key features to look for in models
High Performance High-end notebooks with speed and power
  1. Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Turion 64 X2
  2. Operating System: Windows XP Professional or Windows Vista Business
  3. Memory: Min. required – 1GB. 2GB is better. More than that is plenty.
  4. Hard Drive: 80GB to 120GB is enough. More required only if photos or videos are stored.
  5. Graphics Card: Min. required – highest end integrated graphics chip like Intel X3100. Discrete graphics chip like nvidia quadro series or ATI fire GL series for 3D Designers or CAD professionals.
  6. Optical Drive: Dual Layer DVDRW is preferred. DVD/CDRW is a cheap compromise.
  7. Display: 14″ is ideal. Any size lower but above 12.1″ is for pure portability. 15.4″ allows to see more details on the screen. Anything above compromises portability.
  8. I/O ports: A VGA port and a minimum of 2 USB ports essential. Parallell and Serial ports are definite advantages but rare to find. Express card slot preferred if fast data transfer from external devices are envisaged. PC card slot is slowly being phased out. But required if support for exisitng cards is to continue.
  9. Extras: Fingerprint readers required to offer minimal protection against data theft. HD security and HD protection against damage preferred to preserve valuable data on the hard drive. Integrated wireless connection to connect to the Internet anywhere in North America is definite advantage.

Type Details Specs and Key features to look for in models
Gaming High-powered gaming laptops with widescreen displays
  1. Processor: The fastest Intel Core 2 Duo Processor your budget will allow.
  2. Operating System: Windows XP Professional
  3. Memory: 2GB memory is adequate. More is welcome.
  4. Hard Drive: More than the size, it is the speed of the hard drive that will give an edge. So a 120 GB, but 7200 RPM hard drive is recommended.
  5. Graphics Card: Much emphasis is placed here for a gaming system than any other category. The fastest graphics controller that your budget will allow is what is recommended. It should be discrete and not integrated. Nvidia Geforce Go 8700M may be pricey, but is justified.
  6. Optical Drive: Dual layer DVDRW is the standard
  7. Display: 15.4″ Screen size is the minimum. 17″ Screen size is ideal. Screens supporting highest resolutions like 1920×1200 lets one see more details. Hence will be preferred while playing locally. Though on-line multi-player mode lower resolutions help in getting a better framerate.
  8. I/O ports: As many USB ports as one get is always welcome. Because they let one to connect all the gaming peripherals that one needs for excellent gaming experience.
  9. Extras: For online gaming if one chooses to play on wireless connection, it is better to make sure that the laptop supports 802.11n
    Type Details Specs and Key features to look for in models
    Multimedia Widescreen notebooks for mobile entertainment
    1. Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Turion 64X2 is welcome.
    2. Operating System: Windows Vista Premium is adequate. Windows Vista Ultimate(32 bit) is welcome.
    3. Memory: 2GB memory is adequate. More is welcome.
    4. Hard Drive: The bigger the size of the hard drive, better it is. 250GB is justified to store all the music, videos, and music.
    5. Graphics Card: Highest end integrated graphics controller like Intel X3100 is economical. But a lower end or mid range discrete graphics controller is welcome.
    6. Optical Drive: Dual layer DVDRW is a standard requirement. Higher end optical drive like Blu-Ray is a welcome improvement and is justified if the screen can support high resolutions.
    7. Display: 17″ screen size is a standard. 20″ screen size is a definite improvement if the budget permits. 15″ is barely enough. Anything lower is not adequate. Whatever screen size chosen should support the highest resolution that budget permits.
    8. I/O ports: All-in-one card reader is a standard requirement. So are Firewire and USB ports. /li>
    9. Extras: All the connectivity that one can get to connect to peripherals like TV are welcome. A VGA out is a standard requirement. S-Video out is a minimum requirement. DVI and HDMI out improves viewing experience if compatible peripherals are there. A built in TV Tuner, helps to watch TV on notebook and to record programmes for viewing later at convenience.
    Type Details Specs and Key features to look for in models
    Ultraportables Slim, lightweight laptops weighing 4 to 6 pounds
    1. Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or Intel ULV Processor
    2. Operating System: Windows XP Professional or Windows Vista Business
    3. Memory: 512MB is just enough. 1GB memory is ideal. Anything more is welcome but not essential.
    4. Hard Drive: Small Hard drives in the range of 80GB to 120GB should be enough.
    5. Graphics Card: Integrated Graphics Controller should do But it helps to be the latest chipset.
    6. Optical Drive: Optical Drives are generally external. DVDRW externals are preferred. DVD/CDRW is a cheap alternative.
    7. Display: 12.1″ is an ideal size. Anything lower will make it hard to read off the screen and anything higher reduces portability.
    8. I/O ports: A minimum of 2 USB ports and a VGA port essential. It helps to have a firewire port. Express card slot is welcome. Support for legacy PC cards to be taken into account if required.
    9. Extras: Any feature that would improve the strength and reliability is welcome. Being a portable unit, much importance can be placed on the security features that are offered as standard.

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