Buying a Laptop: Thank Goodness Its No Longer 1999

Buying a Laptop: Thank Goodness Its No Longer 1999

This is a guest post by Dave at, thanks to the folks from HP.

I’ve been an ardent computer user since the early 90s.  This is actually quite a big deal, considering I was in middle school or so at the time.  I still remember my first computer, an Intel DX4 100 Mhz  (brace yourself, more nerd-dom incoming).  I then upgraded to an AMD K6 233 Mhz, followed by a Pentium III 450 Mhz (overclocked to 600 Mhz), and three years later I hopped back on the AMD bandwangon with a Mobile Athlon XP clocked to 3.2 Ghz. And now, 6 years later, I’m finally sitting on an Intel Core i5 clocked to 3.0 Ghz.

Suffice to say I’m a real hardcore computer geek.  If you’re also a computer hardware fan, you’ll notice that I’m also an EXTREMELY cheap ass, as I actually upgrade my computer infrequently, skipping generations of new chips in between (generally, I’ve upgraded about every 3+ years).

The fact is, I always consider a computer a major purchase.  My mindset was shaped by the hefty $2,000 price tags circa 1994, and I haven’t been able to shake that. (I suppose my wallet should thank me for being a 90s computer guy at heart.)

Because of the hefty price tag in my head, I was always incredibly wary of buying a laptop computer.  Not too many years ago, you’d have to part with quite a pretty penny to get comparable performance out of a laptop computer compared to a desktop computer.

Thankfully, we’re well into the 21st century and buying choices and options have never been better for the average laptop shopper.  Whatever amount you’re comfortable spending, you can really go far (in performance) with your dollars. Here I’ll break down one of HP’s most popular laptops as an example.

The Ultimate Bang for Your Buck: HP’s dv6t Quad Edition

This is the quintessential mainstream laptop that will be solid for both your wallet and performance needs.  All configurations of the HP dv6t quad edition laptops come with a quad-core processor (the brain of the computer), making it immediately faster than all of the older processors I’ve listed above (except for my desktop Core i5) — combined.

When you think about it, it’s really amazing how far along computers have come in terms of hardware capability.  We still have the same word processor software, similar web browsing experience, etc.  Unless you’re a hardcore computer gamer, your computing experience probably hasn’t changed all that much through out the years.

The best seller HP dv6 quad edition with Blu-ray player is currently at $854.99 after coupon “NBK85678”, includes latest perks such as USB 3.0 and a fast Radeon graphics card.

In that vain, the HP dv6t quad edition series of laptops will last you many years to come.  This laptop has almost the same exact hardware specifications as a MacBook Pro 15 which runs about $1,800 at retail.  Comparatively, the dv6t usually costs around $800.  In fact, it gets you a faster graphics card (for those hardcore gamers we mentioned earlier), more RAM, and a free blu-ray player.  Say what you will about the PC vs Mac debate, but PCs usually give you way more performance and features for a much, much cheaper price.

How Long Will Your Shiny New Laptop Last?

I’ve already mentioned above that a new laptop such as the HP dv6t quad edition will easily last you at least a few years.  The exact time frame, however, depends completely on the type of work/play you do on the computer.  If you use only all the basic things such as word processing, streaming videos, listening to music, and web browse — you might use your new HP laptop for 5 or even more years.  The fact is, software in those aspects won’t really catch up to your dv6’s processing abilities until many years later.

Now, conversely, if you (or someone in the household) plays a significant amount of computer games, or dabbles in the realm of video/photo editing, you will probably need to upgrade the computer after 2 to 3 years of extensive use.

Whatever laptop you end up buying, you can rest assured you’re getting a pretty solid value (well, as long as you’re not getting out-right ripped off, like 2x the price of a comparable machine) because a new computer today should serve you well for many years if you take care of it.  Computers have come a long way since 1994, and the things I can do on my laptop now amazes me when I think back to the days of a 4 MB (that’s right, “MB” not “GB”) RAM module, costing me over $100 just so I can play this silly game call X-Wing.  It’s a good time for a computer nerd (especially a cheap one), and its a great time for all computer users out there.

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