In 2014, my parents bought me a laptop with the following specifications:
- 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4510U Processor (2.00GHz 1600MHz 4MB)
- Windows 8.1 64
- 14.0" FHD LED 10-Point Multitouch (1920x1080)
- Intel® HD Graphics 4400
- 8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600 MHz
- 256GB SSD
- Bluetooth Version 4.0
- 4 Cell 32 Watt Hour Lithium-Ion
At the time, it cost $779 plus $63.10 in tax, so $842.10 in total. It lasted me through high school, most of college, and continues to work great today. In 2019, I bought a new laptop with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, but I can still use this one to work and play video games.
So, how do you choose a laptop that will last?
There's three things to keep in mind.
- Pay more up front. If you are young and don't know what you will be doing with your laptop in a couple years, then it's better to pay more up front for a slightly better laptop. It's much cheaper to buy a great laptop now than to buy a good one now and a great one in one or two years. A few hundred dollars now is cheaper than buying an entire new laptop later. If think you want extra specs, or you think that you might want them, then get them the first time.
- Get at least 16GB of RAM. This is plenty enough to do most office tasks and enough to play most video games.
- Get SSD storage. If I were to buy a new laptop today with similar specs (8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, and one of the latest i7 processors), then it would cost me much less than it did in 2014 because SSD storage is much cheaper now than it was in 2014. I think one of the main reasons why my laptop lasted so many years is because the storage continued to work. If I had gotten a laptop with HDD storage, it would definitely not be working as well as it does today.