How to buy the best laptop in the age of Windows 8

Laptops have changed dramatically in the past few months, making buying choices more difficult. We help you navigate the mobile PC maze.

By Loyd Case, PC World |  Hardware, laptops, windows 8

If you decide that you want an SSD, note that the minimum useful size for most users is 128GB. If you can afford it, 256GB is better, since Windows itself consumes between 20 and 30GB of drive space.

Some laptop users need a lot of storage. If you're a videographer or a photographer who shoots in RAW format, the data files you capture can quickly chew up a lot of drive space. In that case, you might prefer a traditional rotating-media hard drive. Modern Intel-based laptops often have an option for improving hard-drive performance by adding a small SSDtypically 16GB to 32GBto cache hard-drive data. This arrangement is well worth its modest extra cost, as the caching SSD improves boot times and application load times. It won't help overall application performance much, however, on systems that must frequently read from or write to the hard drive. If an SSD appeals to you, consider getting a USB 3.0, bus-powered portable hard drive as an accessory for your system.

Connectivity and ports

USB ports allow you to connect a keyboard, external storage, a docking station, and even some LCD displays to your system. Unfortunately, laptops commonly ship with too few USB ports. Most Ultrabooks, for example, have only two USB ports. If you're lugging around external storage, you'll want at least one USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed) port to improve throughput (assuming that the portable hard drive supports USB 3.0).


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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