How to Choose a Workstation Laptop?
Workstation computers have different requirements than normal home computers and even gaming ones. Let’s talk a little about how to choose a workstation laptop and what are the basic requirements as it’s getting harder with so many models on the market.
Computers used for work have some specific requirements when it comes to performance. In order to get the best laptop for you, we’ll look at the requirements for different types of possible work.
Design, Print Design, Graphics, 3D Modeling, Programming
Those types of work have almost the same requirements when it comes to hardware, so we’ll combine them in this section.
The most important part of every workstation is the CPU. In order to run heavy software products like most that are used for graphics manipulation and modeling, you need a good CPU. When it comes to laptops, most of them come with decent CPU’s for daily tasks, but not suitable for heavy work. For the best experience, you should look for a quad core i5 or i7 CPU. There are some Intel CPU’s that use less power and are marked with the letter “U” at the end of the model. They’re generally ok, but will bring you less performance when compared with the “non-U” CPU’s, so it’s better to avoid them
System’s memory is the second most important factor when it comes to graphics and modeling. Most of the professional software products use a lot of memory when big images or models are loaded, so you’ll need at least 8GB of memory or 16GB for the best experience. Here just like with the CPU’s there is a memory which contains the letter “L” which stands for low power in the memory type – like DDR3L. This memory is ok again but brings less performance when compared to non-low power sticks.
Some people think that the GPU is very important as they’re working with graphics but in the reality, it’s not like this. The GPU is utilized only with some hard image/video filters and does not affect the overall performance so much, so it doesn’t matter if your laptop’s video card is powerful or not.
Not much to say here as most of the laptops at this price range (around 1000$) come with an SSD, but if you’ve chosen one without an SSD – better choose another one with at least 120GB SSD or with a hybrid drive (SSHD).
Screen size & Resolution
This may seem like a non-important thing, but for working with graphics and programming it is very important. You need a good amount of space to see your code and your graphics, so get at least 15,6″ laptop.
When it comes to resolution, the same rules apply – you need to see more things on the screen, so you need bigger resolution – at least 1920×1080.
Office Work, Documents Editing, Writing
This type of work does not require so big performance and you can get away with a lot less.
CPU & RAM
If this is your type of work, we’re assuming you need more time on battery and you’re using document editing programs more. So for those tasks, you need an energy efficient CPU and RAM, but still with decent performance. A good choice here will be a low power (U series) i5 CPU paired with at least 4-8GB of memory again low power (DDR4L).
This combo will be enough for your daily tasks and office work and will also provide you with great battery life.
Screen size & Resolution
The same rules apply as with the above – 15,6″ screen size at least and 1920×1080 resolution.
For every modern laptop, an SSD is a must, and this is not an exception. If you’re going to earn your money with this laptop, you need an SSD – choose one with at least 120GB SSD or a hybrid drive (SSHD)
For graphics and programming, you’ll need to spend around 1000$. You can get away with less for programming, as the performance there is needed only when running some servers and when building your projects.
For office work, you’ll need to spend around 800$. You can do the same job on a lot cheaper laptop as well, but if you’re earning your money using this laptop – better spend 100-150$ more and enjoy a far better performance and do your work faster.
Brands and Series
All laptop brands have specific series of models for gaming, work, home, business. When you’re choosing a laptop for work, it’s good to choose from their series for work or business.
The differences in the series are motherboards, keyboards, batteries, displays. Those differences seem to be minor, but they’re important when you’re using the laptop for work. For example, business and work series usually have very good battery life and are very durable, meaning that your laptop will last longer and will work at its top performance longer.
If you buy a regular home series laptop it’s very likely to slow down with time and you may need a new one in 2 years for no apparent reason. The parts seem to be the same, but for some reason, cheaper laptops seem to run a lot slower when compared to the business series.
The business and work series laptops are HP Z series, Lenovo ThinkPad series, Dell Latitude, Dell XPS, Dell Precision and other. Another good choice is to get a gaming series laptop – they’re also made for high workload and durability, the only downside is that usually, their batteries don’t last too much.