The most important component to your notebook computer is the processor or CPU. There really are only two processors you should consider if you are purchasing a new notebook computer. The first is the Intel Core 2 Duo and the second is the Intel Core Duo. These chips are top of the line. But don’t worry, there are plenty of rigs utilizing these chips that still come in at well under $ 1000.
Don’t make the mistake of looking at short-term price alone. If you want to get a cheap notebook computer for $ 400 but you get one that is already utilizing old technology you will be buying another cheap notebook computer in a year or two. Whereas if you spend a little bit more and get a cheap notebook computer that will last you 3-4 years, you will end up saving several hundred dollars in the long run. What I’m saying is shop around to get a good deal on a quality computer. Don’t just buy the cheapest thing out there.
The second thing to look for is the memory or RAM. You need at least 512MB of ram to run today’s operating systems. That being said having 1GB of RAM is preferable. It won’t cost you that much so buck up a few extra dollars and get the additional RAM when you purchase your notebook computer. You will be happy you did.
Battery life is also extremely important. The purpose of getting a notebook computer is because they are mobile. If you constantly have to plug in your notebook computer it kind of defeats the purpose. The better notebooks can get 3-6 hours of use from a fully charged battery. Other factors affect battery life but the CPU plays an important role. The Intel Core 2 Duo gets the most performance and has the best battery life. Chalk up another plus for the Core 2 Duo. The Intel Core Duo also facilitates great battery life. AMD’s Turion line ranks well but the performance isn’t as great as the Core Duo line of chips.
Hard drive space is important as well. If you don’t have enough space you will constantly be backing up items so you can clean out some space on your hard drive to keep your computer running. Keep in mind that media files take up the most space. So if you aren’t storing large amounts of movies and music on your computer you will probably be just fine with a 60-80 GB hard drive.
Other factors to consider are your peripherals. For example, you need wireless internet access. If your cheap notebook computer doesn’t come with one you’ll have to purchase a wireless card. Does the computer have a multimedia reader? Depending on how often you need to transfer information these can be quite useful. Your optical drive can be important as well. Does the cheap notebook computer you are looking at have a CD/DVD burner? Having a drive that is interchangeable might be a nice feature to look for as well.
So, now that we know what we are looking for how much will all of this cost? For new notebook computers you can get a Core 2 Duo machine starting around $ 800. If you look around and don’t mind buying used you can find a pretty decent cheap notebook computer for $ 400-$ 500. However, buying used you generally forego the warranty.