Best High Performance Laptop:
With great performance power comes great responsibility... of carrying a heavier-than-average laptop around. If you're hoping to push the capabilities of a portable computer, the more hardware the better. As you add storage space, memory, and other components, the size and weight of the laptop increases.
Many laptops in this category are still portable, but not necessarily something you want to tote around town or use in the field. They tend to have screens in the neighborhood of 15 inches or larger, and a chassis that weighs upwards of 7 pounds. They are also thought of as desktop replacements, since their performance is on par with desktop computers.
These high performance laptops remain more convenient than actual desktop computers, however. They are still laptops after... all, taking up far less space than a desktop, and can be set up anywhere in your home or office in a snap. And if you really need to, you can pack it away and take it mobile.
If you like to order off the menu, then you'll easily fall in love with Origin and their desire to offer the most powerful and custom-configurable laptops money can buy. Starting at $2047, the EON17-SLX is the most powerful laptop series Origin offers. This model fuels you up for any high-performance situation with its Core i7 processors, up to 32GB of RAM, and even dual NVIDIA Graphics Cards in SLI. As long as you can afford the EON17-SLX, you're sure to be impressed. Read Full Review »
While it may look like a MacBook, the similarities end there for HP's flagship line, the ENVY. Their latest in the series of high-end, high-powered laptops is the Envy 17-3290nr 3D Edition, featuring powerful Core i7 processors, 8GB of RAM, HDD/SSD combo, and a 17.3" HD, LED-Backlit 3D Display. This laptop is nothing short of awesome. Read Full Review »
Say goodbye to that desktop computer taking up all of your desk space and replace it with the 18-inch Alienware M18x. This overclocked model ramps the Intel Core i7 processor up to an impressive 4.0 GHz, making it rival full-sized computers in performance. This is an excellent choice in a market cluttered with high-performance computers of all shapes and sizes. Read Full Review »
While it's a hefty $2,800, and doesn't offer equally-priced hardware for the cost, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is an excellent choice for those who prefer the Mac OS X Operating System while needing serious hardware. Featuring a powerful Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, the Retina-equipped MacBook Pro continues to be an avid choice among hardcore consumers demanding powerful hardware for their laptops. Read Full Review »
Featuring a 17.3" HD 3D display, Core i7 processing, 16GB of RAM, and NVIDIA's most powerful graphics card, the GTX 670M, the Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7290 is perhaps one of the most powerful laptops out there. This model features the very best Toshiba has to offer to consumers worldwide. The only question is if it's the right laptop for you. Read Full Review »
Ultraportable laptops are as cutting edge as you can get. By concept, these machines are built to be the lightest in their class, while sacrificing as little in the way of convenience and power as possible. While they may weigh as much as a typical low priced netbook, this category of laptops will always outperform pared down machines, making them ideal for the mobile professional. Packing cutting edge computing technology in slim, durable, attractive enclosures often comes with a premium price tag so this category isn't for buyers on a budget.
Considering the Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, huge storage capacity, and 13.3" HD screen, the true surprise for Toshiba's flagship ultrabook is that it features all of this inside a .6" form factor and weighs less than 2 and a half pounds. Thanks to these features though and more with the Portg, you'll get your mobile computing done without even breaking the bank. Read Full Review »
The Xotic PC brand is renowned for their customization options, and they go above and beyond with the ASUS U31SD ultrabook model offered by their firm. Featuring a wide array of customization in features, powerful dedicated graphics, and a tiny 13.3" form factor, their ultrabook is the go-to choice for heavyweights everywhere. Read Full Review »
The Macbook Air is perhaps the most iconic ultrabook out there, and Apple continues to do justice with their latest models of the powerfully portable laptops featuring the latest in Core i5 technology, integrated graphics, and much more. It's apparent Apple is keeping up to the par of competition and bringing out the bets in their mobility-minded products, especially with the Air. Read Full Review »
When you consider all it has to offer, Lenovo's brand new ultrabook, the X1, is perhaps their greatest innovation yet in portability and powerful technology. Featuring Core i5 processing, 14" 720p resolution displays, 128GB SSD, and military-spec ratings, the Thinkpad is ready for whatever you're willing to throw at it. Read Full Review »
The ENVY series if HP's latest push into high-class, high-quality computing, and their newest ultrabook model, the SPECTRE, is no exception. With a light-weight but high-fashion design alongside heavy-duty hardware including Core i7 processing and 256GB SSD, the SPECTRE is a shining star in the HP line of laptops, and a great ultrabook for professionals everywhere. Read Full Review »
Best Laptop under $1000:
20 years ago, a sub-$1000 computer was pie in the sky, especially if you wanted the latest and greatest hardware out there. And if you wanted a laptop, forget it! These days, though, laptops sell for as little as $300, let alone the grandeur of a thousand dollars. While some laptops still sell for much more, it's a relief to know that hundreds of laptops of all shapes and sizes are available in the sub-$1000 price category. While you may have to skip out on bleeding-edge hardware like 3D Displays and Solid State Drives, a large number of laptops out there carry respectable hardware and are available for less than a thousand dollars.
The Y580 (20994EU) blows the competition away thanks to high-end hardware and Lenovo's reputation for durability. Featuring a 3rd generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GTX 660M 2GB Dedicated Graphics, and a 750GB + 64GB HDD / SSD combo, this laptop is one of the fastest out there priced under $1000. Read Full Review »
The Pavilion series has been the iconic HP brand of all-purpose laptops for years, and their latest member in the pedigree goes far beyond the Pavilion name in performance and price. The dv6t-7000 Quad Edition features powerful graphics, high performance Core i7 processing, 8GB of RAM, and more, all within a sleek, brushed metallic chassis, and 15.6" HD Brightview display. At $999, this laptop is a hybrid in performance and affordability. Read Full Review »
Sony's VAIO 15.5" S Series brings a truly complete multimedia experience at a price that just can't be beat. What makes the SVS15113FXS so special is its full HD 15.5" LED-backlit display, powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE graphics, 6GB of RAM, and a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5 processor. The 15.5" S Series is perfect for those on a budget but love to watch videos wherever they are. Read Full Review »
Toshiba's Tecra R950-SMBGX1 laptop does justice in offering excellent performance and features, along with the Toshiba brand of high-quality production. Some of the awesome features packed in the R950-SMBGX1 include a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 processor, AMD Radeon discrete graphics, and a 15.6" LED-Backlit display, all for less than $1000. Read Full Review »
The XPS 15z may not feature the very latest in the world of Intel processing, with only 2nd Generation Core i5 processors, but very much makes up for it with powerful hardware and a $900 bottom line. The processor, which is only about a year older, saves a lot of costs for Dell and allows the company to offer 8GB of RAM, a 750GB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M graphics, and a 15.6" HD LED-Backlit display, which makes the XPS 15z an excellent choice for serious computing at a sub-$1000 cost. Read Full Review »
Best Budget Laptop:
Just a few years ago, you were lucky if you could find anything on the market for a few hundred dollars that could run Windows and get your work done. At the time, The Celeron M, and lower-end Pentium Processors were the king of Intel's market of laptops and notebooks, and things have changed a lot since! Not only does your smartphone probably have more powerful hardware than your last budget laptop, but the new ones today will likely just blow you away. In a world where pinching pennies is essential, the market for notebooks of all shapes and sizes has grown substantially from the handful available just a few years ago to dozens of models now featuring the latest Core i3 and i5 processors, tons of memory, and even discrete graphics.
With an astonishing Quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, Radeon graphics, and 15.6" HD display, there's a lot of good that could be said about the Aspire AS556-7402, however probably the most that could be said is simply that it's $449.99 price is a flat-out shocker. This makes the 7402 an excellent budget laptop no matter your need. Read Full Review »
Starting at $569, the VAIO E series SVE151190X Enhanced of notebooks carry with them a higher starting price out of the gate, but the option for great customization and feature versatility at your fingertips. Starting with a Core i3, and 6GB of RAM, for a few bucks more you can make the jump to the latest in Core i5 technology and much, much more. All in all, the VAIO E is a great option when you can perhaps spend a bit more compared to the other pre-built budget oriented laptops out there. Read Full Review »
Starting at just $499, the HP Pavilion dv4t-5100 Entertainment Notebook carries with it that balance between performance, price, and versatility, offering up not only the great features you'd expect out of a mid-range budget laptop, but also the opportunity for easy upgrades based on your budget, with an excellent starting point. This laptop is the go-to choice for those looking for budget and a little get of everything in mind. Read Full Review »
While a bit higher in price when considered to be a budget notebook, you get what you pay for with Toshiba's Satellite L855D-S5220. The starting model features a Quad-Core processor, discrete graphics, and 15.6" display all inside a compact unit, and that (and much more) is why the Satellite L850 is a great buy for those with a strict budget in mind, but willing to pay in the $600 range for powerful processing. Read Full Review »
Dell took their Inspiron 15R 5520 series of laptops back to the drawing board recently, and came up with a newer model that takes budgeting computing to a whole new level. While it maintains a powerful HD display, they threw in some great stats at a sub $600 mark, giving it a lot worth talking about. Read Full Review »
Best Business Laptop:
When it came to getting work done for the office, it used to mean getting your hands on the most powerful hardware out there for a small fortune. In the few decades we've been using computers to make our lives at the office easier, the market has transitioned from having powerful computers to having the most cost-effective, portable, or dependable units out there. Today, the hardware behind a computer matters as much as ever, but affordability, reliability, and compactness have become equally as essential.
The ThinkPad deserves credit for being much more than a business laptop, but instead as the very icon that people think when they hear the words "business laptop". The T series ThinkPad focuses on a very businesslike balance between portability and computing power, and the T530 with Intel Core i7 Processing accomplishes this beautifully. Read Full Review »
The Origin line of laptops may very well be a popular choice among gamers and overclockers alike, but the EON15-S should be noted as an excellent business laptop as well. This model is best suited for those who need the most powerful hardware wherever they are, especially if they find themselves waiting on processor-intensive projects day after day. Read Full Review »
For those looking for something new to handle their projects with ease, the HP Pavilion line is the go-to choice thanks to its market diversity and ability to satisfy just about any need. HP's dv7-7012nr is an excellent choice for business people looking for a balance in power and portability, and it comes at a great value. Read Full Review »
The stylish new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is more than just a laptop for work. It's a statement to the new wave of consumer-friendly business, and may present the right image for you and your business. Featuring powerful hardware, high-resolution graphics, and a design like no other laptop, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display lets you do any work with class. Read Full Review »
Featuring powerful Core i7 technology alongside modest specs and a beautiful HD display, the Dell Latitude E5430 looks to offer standard hardware to businesses of all sizes while keeping the budget a priority. With this hardware and mindset, the Latitude E5430 is a excellent choice for the budget-minded business. Read Full Review »
Best Laptop for Editing:
Whether it's FinalCut Pro, Sony Vegas, ProTools, or any one of the many DAWs, Video editors, or other forms of production software out there, one think you probably know for a fact about editing is how taxing it is on your system, no matter whichever is your preference. Because of how in-depth editing software has become in the advent of new technologies such as Blu-Ray and High-Defnition, we need faster and faster computers to quickly and efficiently make the changes we want to our videos & music to achieve perfection. But with the right processors, RAM, high-speed HDDs or SSDs, and other hardware under the hood of your laptop, the next editing job will be a breeze
Origin, formed by a group of former Alienware executives after the Dell buyout, is world renowned for offering computers and laptops that are not only 100% customizable, but capable of just about anything you can imagine. The EON17-SLX is the best Origin has to offer in the world of mobile computing, allowing you to plug in just about anything you want into the computer, such as the best overclocked Core i7 processors, 32GB of RAM, and SLI NVIDIA Graphics. With this hardware, the EON17-SLX will make any project a breeze - if you can afford it. Read Full Review »
With the ENVY series, HP looks to balance brilliant design with powerful, affordable hardware. They've accomplished it well with their overkill ENVY 17-3290nr 3D Edition, featuring some of the best hardware on the market while still being cheaper than a MacBook Pro. With Core i7 processing, 8GB of RAM, a HDD/SSD combo, and 3D HD LED display, the ENVY 17-3290nr is a great mix of powerful production hardware and portability. Read Full Review »
When it comes to editing software with ease, Apple's Mac OSX is renowned for featuring powerful software like Final Cut Pro and Pro Tools. There's no better way to get a project done on Mac OSX as elegantly as with a Macbook Pro with Retina Display. Featuring powerful hardware, the beautiful Retina Display, and a $2,800 price tag, the Macbook Pro is unmatched for editing on OSX. Read Full Review »
If you need a computer with enough RAM to run even the craziest of projects, then Lenovo's Thinkpad W series may be right for you. The W530 - featuring Core i7 processors and up to 32GB of RAM - offers up some of the best hardware on the market, and gives an editor a fair fight in creating brilliance with any of their projects. Read Full Review »
The Force/MSi 1762, built by Xotic PC, offers up plenty of options for customization along with souped up hardware to ensure a production experience bar-none, no matter where you are. Featuring the latest in Core i7 processing by Intel, top NVIDIA graphics, fast storage device, and large 17.3" FHD display, it's a laptop that can tackle any of the toughest projects you have. Read Full Review »
Finding the Best Laptop: Buyer's Guide
Unless you know specifically what you're going for, you're likely to be confused by the vast array of choices in the laptop market. A quick glance will make it seem as though price has little bearing on size, performance, and features. That being said, there are distinct niches and structures in this market that each cater to a specific group of users. You'll find that once you decide what you need your laptop for, sorting through all of the different models and options becomes more of a preference thing above all else. Here's what you should be looking for when looking to buy a laptop.
The first thing to decide is which category of laptop you need. There are five relevant 'standard' categories, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Depending on your preferences and requirements, you can narrow down which category you'll be shopping in.
The smallest laptops sold today fall under the 'netbook' category. This includes models like the Asus EeePc and the Acer Aspire One. Netbooks are miniscule laptops with shrunken keyboards and pointing devices, and are entirely different from the other categories of laptops when it comes to design and components. Both the small size and low cost of a typical netbook requires the omission of items such as optical drives and legacy device support, leaving a very basic set of USB, 3.5mm audio jacks, and ethernet ports. The low-voltage processors that are commonly found in netbooks emphasize efficiency for long battery life (over 10 hours in most cases), and thus make do with lower performance that may not be up to everyone's standards. On the other hand, netbooks combine their tiny size and light weight with full internet connectivity via built-in Wi-Fi. This makes it easier to bring the netbook with you wherever you go and remain connected to the internet for basic tasks such as email and web surfing. A more recent trend involves mobile broadband-equipped netbooks paired with service plans sold by wireless companies, so internet access can be anywhere. Netbooks have screen sizes ranging from 7 to 12 inches, and are definitely not suitable for all-day work thanks to the cramped ergonomics and eye strain inducing postcard-sized screens. Other features include the widespread use of solid-state drives, due to their energy efficiency and lack of moving parts to be damaged. Choose a netbook if you need a highly portable computer with you at all times and don't have performance requirements beyond checking email, web surfing, and occasional note taking/word processing. Check out the best netbooks to see our recommendations in this category.
The next category encompasses small laptops that are extremely light and easy to carry around, yet offer decent performance. These computers are appropriately named 'ultraportable', though the term 'ultrathin' is beginning to see increased usage. While ultraportables may be confused with netbooks at first glance, laptops in this category are usually much more expensive and feature higher performance. This includes models like the MacBook Air and the ThinkPad X-Series, both of which include regular processors and weigh in at under 3 pounds. Ultraportables do not come equipped with optical drives, as doing so would take up space and increase weight. Screen size ranges from 9 to 13 inches, and several models in this category include a full-size keyboard for better ergonomics. Some may argue that ultraportables are simply hopped-up netbooks while others prefer to see them as scaled-down 'normal' computers. Whichever viewpoint you choose, there's no questioning the fact that an ultraportable is much better suited for all-day work. However, some may be turned off by the high price. We've selected the best ultraportable laptops, so go ahead and see our recommendations if you're shopping for a computer in this category.
Thin and Light
'Thin and Light' laptops tend to be one of the more popular category choices in today's market, with models like the Apple MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro defining this category perfectly. The laptops in this category generally have 13-inch screens, and are good for everyday tasks including web surfing, email, and even some gaming. Optical drives usually come standard in this category, as well as a larger number of ports than ultraportables and netbooks. While the performance won't necessarily blow your socks off, these computers utilize dual-core processors and 2-4GB of RAM for competent performance. You'll also find roomy hard drives ranging from 160 to 500 gigabytes. Still, 'thin and light' laptops have drawbacks just like everything else. The 'light' portion of the name is often debatable, with the white plastic MacBook weighing in at a touch under 5 pounds. This may not sound like much on its own, but the weight will quickly get tiring if you need to lug your computer around constantly. The 13-inch screen size is either an ideal compromise between size efficiency and usable space, or an annoying size that accomplishes neither. Thin and light laptops often forgo dedicated GPUs, instead drawing from the on-board memory. These computers are best suited for those who work on their computer often, but need something small enough to not be a chore to tote. If this sounds like you, see our recommendations for the best thin & light laptops.
'Mainstream' laptops are considerably larger than models from the previous three categories, but that's about the only feature that laptops in this category share with each other. These laptops come equipped with screens ranging in size from 14 inches to 16 inches, though a 15-inch widescreen is the most commonly found option these days. The larger size allows the inclusion of optical drives and discrete graphics cards, though not all models feature the latter. Laptops in this category can be relatively inexpensive, but the price can just as easily head in the opposite direction depending on the performance and features. Budget-friendly options are equipped with dual-core processors running at (comparatively) lower clock speeds, while pricier models can be found with quad-core processors and high-end mobile GPUs. Battery life is not a strong point with mainstream laptops, as the higher power requirements are not conducive to energy savings. When considering a mainstream laptop, be sure to do your homework and make certain that the model that you're going to spend money on has exactly the features you want. For our recommendations, see our list of the best midrange laptops.
The largest laptops are 'desktop replacements'. These machines are definitely too heavy to be accurately referred to as 'laptops', and should be seen as compact all-in-one desktop computers that can be moved around more easily than traditional towers. Desktop replacements carry a screen size of larger than 17 inches, and come equipped with high-end processors and powerful GPUs. These computers stretch the meaning of 'portable', as some models can approach 10 pounds and will not fit in standard laptop bags. You'll find that desktop replacement computers generate massive amounts of heat and deplete batteries unbelieveably quickly, making them suitable for use only when placed on a desk and plugged in to a power source. On the other hand, desktop replacements can rival desktop computers in terms of raw speed and processing power, and many video and graphics professionals have adopted these models due to their increased portability. Desktop replacement laptops are also a favorite amongst PC gamers for the same reasons. Computers in this category place extra emphasis on outright performance. Expect to pay a premium for a high-spec desktop replacement. Check out the best high performance laptops for our recommendations.
Not every laptop will come equipped with the features you need or want. For example, manufacturers generally omit extra features on lower-priced models to keep prices down and to entice shoppers to spend more money on a higher-spec option. Here are a few of the features that you should look for when buying a laptop.
- Integrated 802.11g/n Wi-Fi: In the age of instant information, most laptops come from the factory with an integrated Wi-Fi adapter. However, there are still some bargain basement low-end models that do not include this feature standard. Be sure to check carefully before committing to a purchase, as retrofitting a Wi-Fi card to your laptop is not the easiest task in the world. The latest standard is 802.11n, also known as 'Wireless-N'. You'll need access to the corresponding Wi-Fi network for best performance, even though 'N' adapters are backwards-compatible with older standards. If you don't already have a wireless-n router, have a look at our best wireless n routers.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth capability is a nice feature to have, especially if you want to use a Bluetooth wireless mouse without tying up a USB port for the dongle. Most cell phones can also be paired to a laptop for various purposes via Bluetooth. Keep in mind that some manufacturers offer either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but not both at the same time. If that's the case, prioritize the latter unless you have another solution already lined up.
- Hard Drive: Most laptops these days come with at least 120GB of hard drive space, with extra-cost options to increase the capacity. There's no point in skimping on hard drive space, so do yourself a favor and get the biggest hard drive you can. This has several benefits, not the least among which is having a larger hard drive that you can store more files on. Larger capacity hard drives are more future-proof, as they tend to eliminate the need to upgrade your laptop. Something else to consider is the hard drive speed. 5400 RPM is the most commonly found speed with laptop hard drives, with 7200 RPM drives being optional. While 5400 RPM hard drives are fine for most purposes, a 7200 RPM hard drive will offer faster access speeds and improved performance that professionals and gamers will appreciate. On the other hand, 7200 RPM hard drives tend to deplete batteries more quickly than 5400 RPM drives.
- Solid State Drives: While this is not a strictly necessary feature, there are some manufacturers that offer a solid state drive (SSD) as an option to replace the traditional hard disk drive (HDD). These drives function identically to USB flash drives and have zero moving parts, making them extremely sturdy and resistant to data loss due to damage. SSDs are also more energy-efficient than standard HDDs, thereby increasing battery life. Given that, SSDs are still much more expensive than a comparatively-sized HDD, and have limited storage capacity.
- Blu-ray: Now that Blu-ray has emerged as the winner of the high definition format war, manufacturers are increasingly equipping their offerings with optional Blu-ray drives. If you option your laptop out with a high-definition optical drive, make sure that it's equipped with an HDMI output so you can playback movies on your HDTV. You should also ensure you can take advantage of the increased resolution if you watch the movie on your laptop, so be sure the laptop screen natively supports 1080p.
Nobody wants a slow computer, especially if a large monetary investment is required. Netbooks aside, you want to look for powerful dual-core or quad-core processors. Clock speed is no longer the definitive measure of performance, though comparing clock speeds of similar processors (Intel Core i7 with Intel Core i7, Intel Core 2 Duo with Intel Core 2 Duo) should give you a rough idea of performance within the same processor family. Quad-core processors will handily outperform dual-core processors even with lower clock speeds. Only the more expensive, higher-end laptops will come equipped with quad-core processors. Unless you're planning to do intensive video editing, graphics work, or gaming, a quad-core processor is largely unnecessary for most tasks.
Netbooks deserve a section of their own due to the unique specifications. While the dual- and quad-core Intel i3, i5, and i7 processors are dominant in the larger laptops, netbooks have unique processor requirements that focus on low power consumption and high energy efficiency. These computers generally come with Intel Atom processors (or the alternative equivalent) - these are low-voltage processors with rather underwhelming performance specifications compared to 'regular' laptops. These processors are fine for light web browsing and word processing, though don't expect to be able to play games or watch HD movies on a netbook.
The amount of RAM directly impacts the performance of your computer. The majority of today's laptops come with at least 2GB of RAM, which is adequate for most everyday tasks. You may want at least 4GB of RAM if your laptop use consists of data-intensive applications. Video and graphics professionals (and gamers) should consider going for the highest amount of RAM offered by the manufacturer - usually 8GB. RAM sticks are usually user-replaceable with the exception of some netbooks and models like the Apple MacBook Air, where the RAM is soldered directly to the motherboard.
Laptops with larger screens usually offer discrete graphics cards as opposed to 'integrated graphics' which draw memory from the on-board RAM. Although light users aren't likely to notice the difference (with the exception of shorter battery life), those who require graphics processing capabilities will want to go for the best available. 1GB of graphics memory is common these days, with some GPUs offering 1.5GB or more. Keep in mind that powerful GPUs will consume massive amounts of power, restricting their use to desktop replacements that will rarely see unplugged use.
Price & Value
The price of laptops can vary greatly from under $300 for a basic netbook to over $5000 for a fully-equipped desktop replacement. Although many manufacturers advertise attractive 'starting at' prices, this is before any additional options are included. Here's an example: let's say a 15-inch laptop is advertised by the manufacturer as 'Starting at $499'. You'll see how quickly price can bloat once you add on the more powerful Intel Core i7 processor ($300), 4GB of RAM ($200), 500GB 7200RPM hard drive ($150), 1GB graphics card ($200), and productivity software ($300). Before you know it, you're looking at a total of $1649 before taxes for a laptop that was an enticing deal at merely $499.
Consider what the laptop will be used for. If your only usage consists of using your laptop for class and doing school work, spending $2500 for a high-powered graphics-capable model is excessive. You'd be better off looking for a 'thin and light' model costing around $1000-$1400 depending on how many extras you want to add on. Likewise, if you need a computer for professional work, that same 'thin and light' laptop simply will not suffice at any price. Consider ponying up the extra coin for the fastest, most powerful desktop replacement you can afford, and be sure to load it up with the most RAM and the best graphics card offered. When shopping for a laptop, match up your intended usage with the appropriate model and get the best option available to you.