Affordable SOHO Laptops
Modern laptop features run the gamut from small, simple, no-frills notebooks to large-screen, feature-rich desktop replacement systems. The trick is to find the right laptop for your needs without breaking the budget. It’s really all about features, so start with basic computing capabilities, and then look at some attractive business features. There are four main elements to any computer: the processor, memory, display, and storage capacity. For some users, portability is also a make-or-break consideration. Computer repair
A modern laptop processor includes two or four cores. This multiplies the laptop’s computing power if you have applications that can take advantage of the cores. Both Intel and AMD processors are excellent choices. Look for Intel Core i3 processors as a minimum, though Core i5 models are preferred. Laptops with Core i7 processors are best and may be found in high-end systems. On the AMD side, a business can consider AMD A-series and Athlon II X2 processors, while more sophisticated processors like the AMD Phenom II quad core will drive up the laptop’s price.
Almost every laptop manufactured today includes DDR3 (double data rate 3 memory), so it’s just a matter of picking the right amount. A good rule of thumb is to treat 4GB as a minimum; that’s plenty to run Windows 7 and several business applications simultaneously. You can get away with as little as 2GB of memory, but don’t expect peak performance, especially when engaging in memory-intensive tasks. Laptops with 8GB may fill the need for memory-intensive tasks like CAD, but expect to pay a premium.
The size and resolution of the laptop display is a big differentiator in price. Systems with 15.6-inch low resolution displays are quite inexpensive. But consider spending more to move up to 900p (or even 1080p) displays. High-definition resolutions will be essential if you want to impress clients with high-definition video clips and other media-rich presentations. Displays at 17 inches will boost the system price, but a large display may be helpful for multitasking users. Generally, business users won’t need laptops that have high-end video cards).
You can find plenty of entry and mid-level laptops with hard drives ranging from 250GB to 320GB, which is plenty of space for many users. Larger drives might be better for storage-intensive tasks like video editing, but expect to pay a bit more for the additional storage.
An HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port will connect a laptop to a digital television. This offers a better-quality picture than conventional analog video cables, and is a great feature for sharing crystal-clear HD video and other media with clients on their HDTV.
Mobility requires wireless connectivity, and almost every laptop includes a standard 802.11g/n wireless adapter. But some mid-range business class laptops also provide additional high-speed communications capabilities such as built-in 4G mobile broadband, which can connect you anywhere there is cellular service available. This is an important feature for road warriors who need to be connected even when away from the SOHO’s wireless broadband router.
Memory Card Reader
Laptops may incorporate one or more memory card readers that support a variety of memory card formats such SD Secure Digital). This is a great feature for users who work with digital cameras.
The inclusion of a webcam and microphone (usually atop the laptop’s display panel) is not new, but business users are now engaging in video conferences regularly. These features have a new emphasis on business laptops, and businesses can find webcams ranging from simple models to high-resolution 2.0-megapixel devices.
Business information is sensitive and increasingly guarded by regulatory protections. This means laptop users need to demonstrate care and diligence to protect that data from theft. Some laptops incorporate biometric fingerprint readers or match the webcam with software to provide basic user facial recognition in addition to other laptop logon credentials.
The introduction of USB 3.0 provides transmission speeds to 5Gbps, which is much faster than USB 2.0. This can benefit business users that routinely work with high-speed peripheral devices such as video cameras and external mass storage devices. USB 3.0 is also backward-compatible with USB 2.0 devices.
Smart Computing | Nevember 2011 p.13
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