How do you research your laptop and computer buys?

17
Found 10th Aug 2017
Hi

Being a logical guy, i was wondering how you determine whats worth buying and whats not when purchasing a new laptop/computer. I.e what websites do you use to check if a certain graphics card is good compared to another? thats a specific example but where do you learn whats good and whats not for what price etc.

Thanks
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17 Comments
You learn this stuff just by being intrested, watching video's
reading articles, what are you looking to do build a pc or?
There are plenty of guides and videos online as far as components go, and it might be worth looking around on various computer related forums. If I'm looking for a new laptop, I generally buy used Lenovo ThinkPads as they are built like a tank, have modular parts and many of them are only a year old.
Original Poster
I wasn't really gonna build, but i see pros on this forum always giving advice on whats a good graphics card and i wonder how to do they gage 'good' and what resources do they use to compare their ideas of whats good and bad. like i found a ranking system of graphics cards, like when you guys see the name of a graphics card of processor on a laptop how do you know if its good? what things in those components affect the performance. if i saw intel i3 thats like in my head thats a good one because its intel it must be right? but my logic tells me thats dependant on model etc and the other compenents that are used with it. Think i am making less and less sense the more i write?

just want a few websites to strt by looking at what makes a good priced laptop.
I ask on here I do know the general components of computers and what's considered good, but it also depends on the manufacturer and the generation of stuff etc (e.g. i5 isn't just i5- there are different variations of it). Also when it comes to AMD, absolutely useless

One hint: don't get built-in graphics cards unless they're rated good. Mine is useless but I'll admit I had no clue about computers when I got it
Original Poster
I'm probably asking for the impossible, but like you say things like 'amd are 'useless' but what do you mean, i'm being really autistic about it, like is it a speed issue? what affects speed? am i going to have to go to wikipedia and look up everything? i feel that is the next step lol. i FEEL SO ALONE BEING A NOOB IN COMPUTERS.
Original Poster
like for example, i did a quick search on amazon, and found this laptop amazon.co.uk/d/n…top

how would you know if the price is good for the spec? do you go a certain website to check out of computers with the same hardware ?
kindestguydead30 m ago

I'm probably asking for the impossible, but like you say things like 'amd …I'm probably asking for the impossible, but like you say things like 'amd are 'useless' but what do you mean, i'm being really autistic about it, like is it a speed issue? what affects speed? am i going to have to go to wikipedia and look up everything? i feel that is the next step lol. i FEEL SO ALONE BEING A NOOB IN COMPUTERS.

You have a lot of factors that effect speed but the main ones are CPU and GPU performance.

Amd make good CPUs but they aren't as fast for single core tasks so are slightly slower than intels CPU in single core performance. Amd tend to produce cheaper CPUs with more bang for buck so are a good compromise.
Original Poster
cheers for the comments but i'm probably not explaining right. I wanna understand how people knwo what 'bang for buck' is? i just been reading and you can generally gage what generation an intel processor is by the number after the dash, e.g intel i7 - 3770 is not as up to date as i7- 7770, which you could kind of guess would mean its not as 'good' as the 7770 cos its an earlier gen model. things like that is there a website that just tells you what to look for and put a price range on each, like if i see a spec on computer i wanna be able to say ok that processor is usually around this price and can play this game, whereas that graphics card is usually this price and plays the game but their total price in this machine is more than double what they are separate?

I might just give up on this and just start researching about what makes a good hardware performance and durability and current price spreadsheet for all of them or something.
kindestguydead14 m ago

cheers for the comments but i'm probably not explaining right. I wanna …cheers for the comments but i'm probably not explaining right. I wanna understand how people knwo what 'bang for buck' is? i just been reading and you can generally gage what generation an intel processor is by the number after the dash, e.g intel i7 - 3770 is not as up to date as i7- 7770, which you could kind of guess would mean its not as 'good' as the 7770 cos its an earlier gen model. things like that is there a website that just tells you what to look for and put a price range on each, like if i see a spec on computer i wanna be able to say ok that processor is usually around this price and can play this game, whereas that graphics card is usually this price and plays the game but their total price in this machine is more than double what they are separate?I might just give up on this and just start researching about what makes a good hardware performance and durability and current price spreadsheet for all of them or something.

It depends on what you want to use the PC for. Intel are good for gaming and emulation whilst amd offer more cores on average and are better for running loads of applications at the same time or highly multi threaded applications.

Passmark and youtube will give a good indication of speed difference. Motherboard form factor and chipset also play a role if you require extra onboard resources.
Original Poster
Thanks, i didn't even know that the second gen intels were actual faster or the same speed as the 7th gen which focus more on TDP upgrading. So gues you're right, top of the range migh tnot be what you need if you are looking for speed only
Generally for Laptops notebookcheck is hard to beat.

Desktops are harder since a lot of the english language sites are obsessed with performance so tend to completely ignore features and only review high end stuff with nothing from the real world to keep them grounded. These days I generally find Hardware.fr and ComputerBase.de are the best sites, although Anandtech sometimes have good articles on the technical side of things, and Techpowerup do good graphics card comparisons, with a wide range of models and games tested.

Passmark should be avoided, as the results are often not representative of real world use.

A lot of it are just facts about the industry that you pick up over time. For example graphics cards generally match the model one place up and one generation older in performance, so the 480/580 is similar to the 290X/390X.

Price-wise for desktops you can just look in the shops. There are plenty of major component shops around like Ebuyer, Scan, CCL, OcUK and so on. Laptops are trickier to judge value on because you have to put a price on things like materials use and the quality of components. You should only buy the laptop offering the highest specs for the money if performance is what you mainly care about, and aren't bothered about a poor quality screen, spongy keyboard or nasty trackpad.


kindestguydead1 h, 54 m ago

Thanks, i didn't even know that the second gen intels were actual faster …Thanks, i didn't even know that the second gen intels were actual faster or the same speed as the 7th gen which focus more on TDP upgrading.


Not really. Anandtech did a test on Skylake ('6th generation' in Intel marketing jargon) and found it about 25% faster like for like. In reality it's faster still for most chips because of the 'TDP upgrading' - the ability to run at faster clockspeeds at the same power levels. The i7-7500U must be about 75% faster than it's Sandy Bridge predecessor in terms of purely CPU power, and the other things on the chip like the integrated graphics have improved even more.
I find the nicest looking iMac, buy that and then I put on my smug face
EndlessWaves3 h, 0 m ago

For example graphics cards generally match the model one place up and one …For example graphics cards generally match the model one place up and one generation older in performance, so the 480/580 is similar to the 290X/390X.


Be careful with this one. It's true that nVidia cards generally increment their model numbers by 90 for each level of performance for each successive generation (so, the 1060 roughly draws equal with the 970, 1070 with the 980, 1080 with the 980ti, etc), but the rule doesn't necessarily follow with AMD's cards because they tend to cheat, and re-release the exact same GPUs with the model number incremented by 100.

So, with AMD, the 290 became the 390 with no real performance gain (aside from a trivial clock boost and some slightly faster VRAM), and although the 480 followed the +90 rule, the follow-up 580 was just a retread of the 480's GPU but with another trivial clock boost. It's for reasons like this that AMD are a company which should generally be avoided, unless you're prepared to put a bit of research in to confirm that the 'new' product you're interested in buying is in fact materially different from the one you already own, but with an inflated model number.
dxx20 m ago

It's for reasons like this that AMD are a company which should generally …It's for reasons like this that AMD are a company which should generally be avoided, unless you're prepared to put a bit of research in to confirm that the 'new' product you're interested in buying is in fact materially different from the one you already own, but with an inflated model number.


Uh, nVidia do exactly the same thing. The 700 series was a rehash of the 600 series, ditto the 500 series and the 400. The GTS 200 models and 9000 series recycled chips from the 8000 series. And remember how many Geforce 2 MX derivatives there were? It's lack of Hardware Transform and Lighting was catching out gamers on a budget for years.

nVidia have had an unusually frequent release cycle lately so the last couple haven't done so, but they're certainly still spinning things with their naming conventions. For example for the latest generation of mobile chips they announced that they're finally achieved parity with desktop parts.

While the GTX 1060 was a successor to the GTX 960-equivalent GTX 970M rather than the GTX 960M in performance, it was also a successor to the 970M in price and power draw too. They'd just moved the naming convention up one step.

If you avoid a computer because of marketing games, you won't be able to buy enough components to make a computer.
EndlessWaves1 h, 6 m ago

Uh, nVidia do exactly the same thing. The 700 series was a rehash of the …Uh, nVidia do exactly the same thing. The 700 series was a rehash of the 600 series, ditto the 500 series and the 400. The GTS 200 models and 9000 series recycled chips from the 8000 series. And remember how many Geforce 2 MX derivatives there were? It's lack of Hardware Transform and Lighting was catching out gamers on a budget for years.nVidia have had an unusually frequent release cycle lately so the last couple haven't done so, but they're certainly still spinning things with their naming conventions. For example for the latest generation of mobile chips they announced that they're finally achieved parity with desktop parts.While the GTX 1060 was a successor to the GTX 960-equivalent GTX 970M rather than the GTX 960M in performance, it was also a successor to the 970M in price and power draw too. They'd just moved the naming convention up one step.If you avoid a computer because of marketing games, you won't be able to buy enough components to make a computer.




With the 700 series, afaik, nVidia only rebranded a single GPU, for which they followed the +90 rule. I'm not sure about the other cards, but given that these cards date between 5 and 10 years old, I kinda feel like you're grasping at straws.

You don't have to avoid companies altogether because of shennanigans, but it definitely makes sense to be cautious with those who are the most ruthless and sketchy in the scams they play. That includes AMD, with their current-gen cards.
Original Poster
EndlessWaves14 h, 9 m ago

Generally for Laptops notebookcheck is hard to beat. Desktops are harder …Generally for Laptops notebookcheck is hard to beat. Desktops are harder since a lot of the english language sites are obsessed with performance so tend to completely ignore features and only review high end stuff with nothing from the real world to keep them grounded. These days I generally find Hardware.fr and ComputerBase.de are the best sites, although Anandtech sometimes have good articles on the technical side of things, and Techpowerup do good graphics card comparisons, with a wide range of models and games tested.Passmark should be avoided, as the results are often not representative of real world use.A lot of it are just facts about the industry that you pick up over time. For example graphics cards generally match the model one place up and one generation older in performance, so the 480/580 is similar to the 290X/390X.Price-wise for desktops you can just look in the shops. There are plenty of major component shops around like Ebuyer, Scan, CCL, OcUK and so on. Laptops are trickier to judge value on because you have to put a price on things like materials use and the quality of components. You should only buy the laptop offering the highest specs for the money if performance is what you mainly care about, and aren't bothered about a poor quality screen, spongy keyboard or nasty trackpad.Not really. Anandtech did a test on Skylake ('6th generation' in Intel marketing jargon) and found it about 25% faster like for like. In reality it's faster still for most chips because of the 'TDP upgrading' - the ability to run at faster clockspeeds at the same power levels. The i7-7500U must be about 75% faster than it's Sandy Bridge predecessor in terms of purely CPU power, and the other things on the chip like the integrated graphics have improved even more.


now were talking. those websites are what i was looking for. sothats where you tech guys get some info. well explained, sounds like know your computers.
dxx12 h, 34 m ago

With the 700 series, afaik, nVidia only rebranded a single GPU, for which …With the 700 series, afaik, nVidia only rebranded a single GPU, for which they followed the +90 rule. I'm not sure about the other cards, but given that these cards date between 5 and 10 years old, I kinda feel like you're grasping at straws. You don't have to avoid companies altogether because of shennanigans, but it definitely makes sense to be cautious with those who are the most ruthless and sketchy in the scams they play. That includes AMD, with their current-gen cards.



Gosh, a whole five years. I'm sure company culture has completely changed over such a long time period.

It's such a common practice in the industry that I'd expect nVidia to resume doing so as soon as fortune swings the other way. Even Intel do it at times.

The 700 series used the GK208 chip that launched in the GT 640 Mk. 2, the GK107 chip that launched in the GT 640, the GK104 chip that launched in the GTX 680 and the GK110 chip that launched in the original GTX Titan.

The only new chip was the late addition of the 750 & 750ti which were a trial run of the Maxwell design that would go on to be the 900 series.

I did a quick count up and since the start of 2013 of the 45 nvidia graphics launched on desktop and notebook, 38% of them have been available as an earlier chip with a different first digit and no changes beyond clock speed teaks or different memory amounts. That's only including _50 models and above.

Calling it a scam when it's such a common marketing method is just silly. If you were expecting more performance then the problem was that your assumption didn't match the past behaviour of the industry.
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