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How to buy a laptop for back to school 2021


Choose a laptop with the right specifications for your needs

Lisa Eadicicco / Business Insider

Then you will need to think about factors like how much processor power you need and what size you are looking for in a laptop. Here is an overview of the most important specifications to consider during the buying process.

Processor and memory

The processor of a laptop is the most important factor in determining its performance. Most laptops run on Intel processors, but sometimes you’ll find some powered by AMD chips as well.

In general, it’s best to avoid buying a laptop with a processor that is more than two generations old. That’s because you want to make sure your laptop stays fast and performing for at least four to five years. Investing in technology that is several years old could cost you more money in the long run, as you may need to replace it sooner than you expect.

When it comes to memory, ideally you’ll want a machine with at least 8GB of RAM. RAM often determines your computer’s ability to juggle multiple tasks, such as opening dozens of tabs in a web browser, and buying a laptop without enough RAM can result in slower performance under heavy workloads.

In general, a laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM is sufficient for most tasks. But an Intel Core i3 laptop will also suffice if your budget is a bit tight and you don’t plan on using your laptop for a lot more than browsing the web and watching.

. It’s common to see Chromebooks with low-end CPU and RAM specs because they’re only meant for basic tasks like these.

Display quality

Like anything else, the quality and size of your laptop’s display depends on how you plan to use it. If you primarily use your laptop for writing documents, taking notes, and doing research, you probably don’t need a super high-resolution screen. Many laptops have a screen resolution of at least 1080p, which is all you really need for word processing and basic research.

If you’re already planning to spend $ 1,000 or more on a laptop for other reasons, like processing power, your laptop will likely have an even sharper screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 or 2560 x 1,200. Touch screens can also increase the price, so determine if this is a priority for you before you buy. Some laptops have the option of upgrading to a

screen, but it’s usually more money than it’s worth, especially since it can impact battery life.


Many laptops come with 13 inch screens, but you can also find larger models with 15 or 17 inch screens and smaller 11 inch laptops. Larger-sized models are more expensive and usually come with more powerful processors, while smaller-sized laptops are designed for convenience and portability and are usually equipped to handle only the basics.

Laptops with 13-inch screens sit right in the middle and generally offer the best combination of screen space and portability for most people.

Think about how you plan to use your laptop before deciding which size is best for you. Is your main priority having a device light enough to fit in a small bag and carry around campus, or do you plan to primarily use your laptop in your dorm office?


Many laptops have at least 128GB or 256GB of storage, with the exception of Chromebooks, as they rely on cloud storage. This should be enough for most people, but students working with large video files and photos may want to upgrade to a 512GB or larger laptop.

Keep in mind that storage drives up the price, so it’s important to think carefully about how much you need. If you’re not sure how much storage to get, you can always go with a 128GB or 256GB laptop and buy an external hard drive later if you need it.


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