Laptops are unfortunately expensive pieces of hardware, yet they are a basic requirement for college classes. You are going to want to purchase a laptop that has the juice to last at least three to four years throughout college. Knowing that, you are going to have to shop for a cheap laptops for college 2013. Over the years, we have made many laptop purchases. Before you finish reading this entire post, you should successively learn what to look for while shopping on the laptop market. Not all laptops are geared up with the latest technology, and that is where we come in to help.
Read on to learn how to shop for a laptop that meets your requirements and budget. At the end, we have even listed a few recommendations to get you started.
Where To Look: Best Stores
Shop around at multiple stores. If you want the best deal, than consider walking into, or viewing many websites for laptop prices. Over the years, we have found the following methods are the cheapest at finding the best deals:
Direct Purchases: Purchasing a laptop directly from Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, or Toshiba gives each consumer the ability to customize their laptop prior to purchasing. Furthermore, they offer deals all-year round on select laptop models.
Resellers: Amazon, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart are three third-party resellers that sometimes offer huge discounts on laptops. The only drawback to this type of purchase is the lack of specification customization that direct purchases allow. Anyone really short on cash should strictly purchase refurbished or used laptops, as they tend to be cheaper in price.
In reality, any 2013 college laptop, or even 2012 college laptop should fare well with today’s software and needs.
Generally, you are going to have two operating systems to choose between. Windows and Mac are the most popular operating systems on the market, and both are popular between college students.
Windows is hands-down the most popular operating system on this planet. Around 80 percent of people are Windows users. One reason being — Windows laptops are much cheaper than Macs. Typically, a Windows laptop can be purchased for below $600, while Mac laptop pricing begins at $1000.00!
Always remember to keep in mind the following:
1. Windows computers are capable of running almost any type of software. Macs aren’t always compatible.
2. Many colleges offer free tech support. What operating systems do they specialize in?
Windows-based laptops are best for school in general. Macs may perform slightly better, however you must be assured that the school doesn’t require software that a Mac doesn’t support.
Choosing a Processor
A laptop’s processor ultimately decides how fast your system will run. A faster processor will allow the system to handle data and tasks at a quicker pace.
Typically, you will want to choose between Intel and AMD processors. i3, i5, and i7 processors are the best Intel has to offer. But for basic software and internet browsing, Intel also has Pentium, Celeron, and Atom processors up for offer. Now, AMD’s best offerings include, the A8, A6, and A4 processors. All other models fit under the word processing and internet browsing category.
Unless you plan on playing some hardcore games or watching movies on your laptop, any dual-core (2-core) processor will be fine. Most laptops nowadays come pre-equipped with at-least a Core i3 or AMD A4 processor anyways.
- Each core is generally able to handle one or two processes at once (depending on the extent). So, if a laptop has a dual-core processor, than it shouldn’t have an issue handling two to four processes at once.
- GHz is short for Gigahertz. If a laptop is labeled to have a 1.40 GHz processor, than each core runs at 1.40 GHz. The higher the speed, conclusively the faster it will be.
You should spend a large part of your time deciding on the processor. It is the most important aspect of your laptop purchase. Any laptop with a low-end processor (less than one-core) wouldn’t be a recommended laptop for college.
How Much RAM
Computer memory, known as RAM, works alongside the processor and controls the amount of data the laptop can handle at once. Most laptops in this day and age have at-least 2 gigabytes of RAM. The more RAM that comes pre-equipped on your computer, the better off you will be. I suggest a minimum of 2 gigabytes of RAM, anything over 6 gigabytes is not needed, unless you plan to game.
Here are a few additional tips to look out for:
- All 32 bit laptops are only able to use 3.25 GB of memory. When making a laptop purchase, never buy a 32-bit system if you want to make RAM upgrades later in time.
- DDR3 memory is the latest version of memory. Laptops running on other varieties of RAM won’t be able to handle data as well.
All top rated laptops for college students in 2012 follow those two explained tips. Even going into 2013, laptops are becoming more advanced. Before you know it, DDR3 memory will be outdated.
A laptop’s storage is extremely important, as it determines how much data can be stored. Typically, a college student’s laptop would be used to store solely school papers and documents, which use up minimum data. However, if a college student plans to use the laptop to store music, movies, and photographs, than they should look into purchasing a larger storage disk.
Here are a few tips:
- Purchase a hard disk drive over a laptop with a solid state drive. Although solid state drives are much faster than typical hard drives, they cost a whole lot more.
- A 7200 RPM hard-disk has a faster rotational speed than a 5400 RPM hard-disk. This allows laptops to retrieve data much quicker.
Most college laptops in 2013 priced above the $300.00 mark have 350 GB or 500 GB hard-drives. All Macbook laptops are slowly transitioning over to solid-state drives.
Being a college student, battery life is extremely important. It sure would be nice to have a battery that lasts throughout the whole school day. So here are a few simple tips to look out for with a laptop battery:
- The more cells a battery has, the better life you will get out of the battery. The only disadvantage is that larger-cell batteries are larger in size.
- Purchase an extra battery. This way you could bring them both to class (fully charged), and you will get through your day just fine.
- Look into a 9-cell battery rather than a 6-cell battery due to the improved battery life.
Even laptops for college 2012 batteries are phenomenal. Just keep in mind that the latest laptops sometimes have better battery life.
Our Suggestions — Cheap Laptops for College 2013
HP 2000-2b20NR: A Windows 8 laptop with a 500 GB hard-drive. It has an Intel Pentium processor, perfect for all college-related tasks (as explained above). Click on the laptop name for additional information.
HP Pavilion dm1-4210us: A small 11.6 laptop with a 1.4 GHz dual-core AMD E1 processor. A decent 4 GB of SDRAM also comes with this deal. Click on the laptop name for additional information.
Click here to view some more decent cheap laptops for college 2013. Hopefully we were able to help you select a nice laptop for your upcoming college classes. Tune in and we will have another post on how to obtain cheap software for college.