HotHardware's Notebook Buyer's Guide
Starting Down the Rabbit Hole
We are going to go start down the proverbial "rabbit hole' for notebooks in the coming weeks. And because of this, we need to lay a few things out before we go on. First and foremost, certain notebooks are designed with certain people in mind. Five or six years ago, not everyone was cut out to own a notebook, for a variety of reasons; which of course included pricing versus desktop systems.
However, the drive down in notebook prices and the variety in notebooks have made it possible for most of us to own or plan to own a notebook. After all, notebooks have come a long way since they were only in the reach of the most professional of businessmen and running in the $4,000+ price range.
Keep in mind that a notebook really can never be what a desktop is to most people. There are severe limitations in how far you can upgrade and the computing power is for the most part going to trail the best of what the desktop field has to offer. Granted there are those outrageously large notebooks that are designed to allow for CPU, GPU, hard drive, and optical drive upgrades, they are few in number and you can be sure that you will be stuck within the original notebook's motherboard/chipset. The fact that these notebooks aren't really that "mobile" at all make it less appealing for those in the true blue "on the go" crowd.
Unlike desktop owners, there is a bigger focus on a budget for notebook owners, after all it is much harder to repair a notebook (heaven forbid that you need to). Also when it's getting time for an upgrade, notebook owners tend to go one of two ways: use the notebook until it dies or until the next best thing comes out.
So with some of these factors in mind, let's move on to an analysis of the current state of the nation for Mobile Computing with a little "Laptop 101" introduction.