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5 Laptop Component Myths

Walking into a computer store can be a difficult process. The sales guys are often pushy, they think they know everything, and you can end up walking out with something that you don’t really need or want. These are five of the most common things that you might hear about the specs of a laptop or computer, which simply aren’t true.
  • Hard drive space is really important – Because the numbers are big, computer adverts and salespeople like to shout about the huge storage space that a laptop might have. The fact is however, this is one of the least important things to think about. Unless you’re going to be filling your hard drive with games, music and movies, you’ll struggle to fill a 500GB disk. You can store things in the cloud now anyway, so it’s even less important. Disk space doesn’t affect performance in any way.
  • More processor cores are always better – This is a yes and no statement. Yes, the more cores your processor has, the better it will be, but this does not mean that a hex-core is always better than a quad-core. There are far too many variables to make a statement like this. You’ll find that the most powerful quad-cores can cost several times that of some hex-cores, and will easily outperform them.
  • A faster processor speed is always better - As with the number of cores, the speed of a processor is a good indicator of how good it is. The problem is that this is not a hard and fast rule by any means. The only real way to find out how one processor compares to another is to check out some benchmark comparisons between the two. You could also find out how much the CPUs cost individually; the more expensive one is likely to be the better one.
  • You need a graphics card for movies – You’ll struggle to find a laptop that won’t happily play movies without a graphics card. Most laptops that have come out in recent years have integrated graphics, which are perfectly capable of playing even HD films. Don’t listen to what the salesperson might try to tell you, but be very much aware of the next myth.
  • Integrated graphics are like a power-saving graphics card – Integrated graphics are not a substitute for a dedicated GPU by any stretch of the imagination. If you need a GPU to play games, then only a GPU will do. The laptop might have a shiny sticker that says ‘Intel HD Graphics’ but this doesn’t mean there’s a dedicated graphics processor in there. ATi/AMD and Nvidia are the only manufacturers you’re likely to see, though they may be under a different distribution name.
Don’t ever buy a laptop without doing some research. There are plenty of resources out there which will allow you to work out what’s good and what’s not; figures and stats are better than whatever a salesperson might tell you.