Other general PC features that your laptop must have..

While a laptop is unique in it's own way, it is still a computer and there are some basic features you should know about when buying any computer. We have discussed them here.

Hard drive

A hard drive is your computer's main permanent storage unit. It holds large amounts of data and programs, and all the information stays put until you decide to delete it. The more space your hard drive has, the more stuff you can do. The more movies, games, songs etc. you can store. So it would be best to go for the highest space you can find in your budget.

Most laptops start with at least 4.3 gigabytes (GB) of hard drive space, but you might want to consider getting more.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

If your hard drive is your computer's "long-term memory," then the RAM is its "short-term memory." RAM stores information on your computer, but when you shut-down the computer, everything that's stored on RAM is lost. 

Words that you type or a computer game that you're playing are stored in RAM unless you specifically request for the information to be moved onto your hard drive (by saving it).

If it's your habit to simultaneously type a paper, play solitaire, browse online, and e-mail your mom, you'll need a lot of RAM. The more applications you run at once, the more RAM you use.

Also if you require your laptop for elaborate mathematical simulations or you want to play the best 3d games or use the biggest 3d software, you will need huge amount of RAM, or your laptop will go very slowly. So the higher the RAM the better.

Central Processing Unit (CPU or Processor)

The CPU is the brain of your computer; it does all the necessary thinking and runs the programs. While the CPU speed is not as important as hard drive or RAM space, get as much speed as you can afford because it does make a difference.

Incase you are confused, the Pentium I, Pentium II, Pentium II, Pentium IV, AMD etc. are all the different types of CPU’s. Go for the latest one. If you don’t, three years down the line, no programs will run on your computer.


A port is a slot or hole through which you connect external material such as microphones or web cams or mice etc. You can also avoid using the laptop's uncomfortable keyboard or input device by connecting a desktop keyboard and mouse to the laptop through its ports.

Currently, all laptops feature a serial, a parallel, an infrared, and a universal serial bus (USB) port. When buying your laptop, try to get “at least two” USB ports (The more the better!). Now-a-days, printers, scanners, mice, keyboards, everything is connected though a USB port. In fact, in the near future, serials and parallels are likely to be completely wiped out. 

CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drives

It’s where you put your CDs or DVDs incase your confused. You want to get a CD-Rom drive for sure! However, we highly recommend going in for a drive that is a CD writer as well as a CD reader. This is because, if you do not do this, you will have a tough time transferring information from your laptop to someone else’s computer/laptop.

Suppose you want to transfer, 100 songs or some software from your laptop to a friend’s laptop, you will not be in a position to do this without a CD writer. Taking your hard-drive to your friend’s computer is out of the question. Laptops are packed.

If you do not buy a cd-writer, your other option for transferring info is to use a USB stick. But that is an added cost and even though you may have a USB port, people to whom you want to transfer to might not have one. But, almost all computers have CD drives. So get a CD-Writer. It makes life easy. If you got the cash, even get yourself a DVD-reader and writer that also read and writes CD’s.   


The modem's main job is to turn the digital information from your computer into analog signals that your phone line can understand (and vice versa). As far as you're concerned, a modem allows you to use “dial-up” Internet (i.e. Internet though your phone line!).

Modems come in all types of speeds; better modems allow for faster downloading.

However, if you intend to take a broadband connection, you will not need a modem. You will need a “Network Card” or a “LAN Card” so it would be a good idea to go in for a laptop with a built in modem and a LAN card.

And that’s it! This is everything you should know about and ask for when buying a laptop. And now....

Next - Final Suggestions >>

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Table Of Contents

  1. How to buy a laptop? - Introduction
  2. Why do you want to buy a laptop? Do you need one?
  3. The things you MUST consider!
  4. Other things you must know...
  5. Final suggestions