Choosing the perfect notebook for Windows 7

These quick tips can help you avoid buyer's remorse

Picking a laptop can be a complicated ordeal that amounts to balancing features against portability against price -- and with Windows 7 on the way, the choice gets tricker. Here are some tips for purchasing a notebook computer that will work well with Windows 7.

  • You'll need a notebook with a 64-bit processor to guarantee compatibility with the 64-bit version of Windows 7, which will be the preferred version of the OS. Choosing an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU pretty much guarantees that Windows 7 will run fine. All Core 2 Duo processors support 64-bit applications, and even the slowest of the current batch (the T7200) clocks in at 2.0GHz, which is plenty fast enough for Windows 7.
  • Windows 7 is very visual and offers a lot of eye candy, from the ability to play HD content to showing fancy desktop themes with active content. Because of this, most users will want at least a 14.1-in. display that offers 720p compatibility, meaning WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution.
  • With RAM, more is always better -- 2GB is a good starting point, 4GB is better.
  • For most users, integrated graphics will offer more than enough performance for the visual elements of Windows 7 and associated applications; however, gamers should consider a notebook with a discrete graphics card, which offers improved 3D performance.
  • You'll also want a large hard drive -- 250GB or more -- with a rotational speed of at least 5400 rpm. (7200 rpm will be a little faster, but may not be worth the increased price for most users.)
  • An internal optical drive that offers DVD compatibility helps to turn the notebook into a portable movie theater, always a plus for travelers.
  • When it comes to overall travel weight, buyers will need to consider how much traveling they are going to do with the notebook and how much they are willing to spend -- lighter notebooks are usually more expensive.

Keeping these simple guidelines in mind, there are dozens of notebooks that will fit the bill. If you must buy now, look for a model that includes a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it ships.

Frank J. Ohlhorst is a technology professional specializing in products and services analysis. He writes for several technology publications.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 7notebooks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Frank J. Ohlhorst

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?