RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘laptop’

  1. How to buy a laptop computer

    June 24, 2013 by Karl

    Laptop Picture berry berry berry berry berry

    Wondering which computer is the best deal?  This article will give you some tips and tricks in knowing which computer will give you the most bang for the buck. This advice is true whether you are buying a desktop computer or a laptop computer, though generally laptop computers are not going to last as long as a desktop, and will be more costly to repair.

    Generally speaking. most laptops have the same basic features.  They all have keyboards, touch pads, microphones, cameras, DVD drives, USB ports, and LCD monitors.  So why the big difference in price?  What exactly are you paying for?  It all boils down to 4 basic things:  the type of processor, the amount of memory, size of the monitor, and the size of the hard drive.  These 4 things are what you need to consider when making a purchase.  The most important of these 4 in making a decision  is the processor.  The hard drive and memory can be upgraded or swapped out easily.

    The brand name no longer means a whole lot.  Historically, there have been good Dell laptops, and bad Dell laptops.  There have been good HP laptops and bad HP laptops.  What you are buying with the name is really the ability for the computer to be serviced during the warranty period, or down the road if it breaks after a few years.  Almost all computers come with a limited 1 year warranty, and generally most of the big name manufacturers offer the same level of support.

    The laptop monitors are all pretty basic.  They have an LCD display with a backlight behind it that allows you to see the display.  There are no magic secrets to deciding which display is best.  Go with the biggest you can find for the money you are shelling out.  A 15.6 inch display has become pretty standard over the years.

    In today’s world, any computer should have at least 4 GB of memory with a 300-500 Gigabyte  hard drive.  Again, look for the biggest you can get for the money you are spending.

    So, how do you distinguish between processors?  20 years ago Intel was the only name on the market, so you had a choice between their older 386 processor and their newer 486.  There was no confusion about which was better.  Now there are many manufacturers out there with hundreds of processors on the market, and distinguishing between them is a guessing game to the uninformed.  Unfortunately, some manufacturers take advantage of this and sell low-end processors in their high-priced computers.  The uninformed public often doesn’t know any better.  However, there is a better way!!!

    Geeks love to get together and compare toys.  Benchmark testing is what the geeks use to figure out which processor is better than another.  Lucky for us, these geeks also like to share their results!!  Here is a site where you can compare microprocessors to see which is faster than another.  Without this basic tool, there would be almost no way to keep track.  This page shows almost all the laptop processors out there, along with their benchmark score.  The higher the score, the better the processor.  Often you will find two laptops around the same price, and one will have a benchmark of less than half the other.  It’s kind of sad how the manufacturers play to our lack of knowledge.  Please note that the prices listed on the benchmark page are for the processors only and should NOT be used as a gauge for the price of a laptop.

    I have a list of recommended laptops in the Frugalberry Store, which I will try to keep up to date.  Please post a comment if I fall behind and it needs to be updated.

    Benchmark Tool Link:

    Processor Image


  2. How to speed up a slow computer

    September 20, 2012 by Karl

    computer berry berry berryberryberry


    This article will show you how to speed up a slow computer (PC, not Mac). It may have been a super fast computer when you first bought it, but over the past years it has been slowing down more and more. The reason for this is all the junk that gets placed on your computer without your consent. I will show you how to clean things up using a few tools that are available for free on the internet. This is the same process that the pros use to speed things up, except the pros will ask you for $150 or more when it is finished.  Many people just get frustrated with their computer and buy a new one when these simple steps can add a few more years to their PC.

    Check for Malicious Software

    The first thing to be concerned with is malicious software that may be hiding on your computer.  Whether you have the best anti-virus (AV) software protecting your computer or not, you should run one more check.  Over the years I have found that no two AV companies will catch the same problems.  It never hurts to double-check.  Before doing anything else, download and install the free version of Malwarebytes.  This is used by the best geeks in the business to check for problems on their own PC’s.  I run it every few months just as a precaution.  It will work alongside any other AV software you currently have, so there is no need to do anything to that.  Just download it, double-click on the downloaded file, and allow the software to install.  Once installed, run a full scan on your computer.  It may take an hour or so, but it will be well worth it.  It will probably find something that is slowing down your machine, or even causing damage.  One machine that I ran it on had over 200 issues that it corrected for me.  If it finds something, it will probably ask you to re-boot your PC when completed.  Do that before moving on to the next step.  If it finds anything, be sure to run the scan again after your computer has re-booted.  It may find more.  Do this as many times as needed until it gives your computer a clean scan.  If you need to do it more than three times to get a clean result, then it might be time to call a local professional.

    Remove junk files

    Now that your computer is clean from any malicious software, you will want to clean up any junk files that are slowing your computer down.  It is possible to do this by yourself by cleaning each of the areas, one at a time, but it would take hours, and lucky for us there is some free software that will do this job for us.  It is called CCleaner.  Again, you only need to download the free version (I always download it from FileHippo, one of the download options on the screen).  When the file is downloaded, double-click the file to install it on your computer, and click-through any install option screens.  When the installation is complete, start the application, and click the “Analyze” button at the bottom of the page.  After it goes through its search, verify on the left that NONE of the “saved password” items are checked, or you will lose all your saved passwords.  This should be the default setting.  Look at the top to see how much space you are saving on your computer!  Now click “Run Cleaner” at the bottom.  It’s that simple!
    Performing these two tasks above will significantly improve the speed of your computer.


    There are a few more things that you can do to speed up your computer, but they are for more advanced users.  Please judge your own abilities and proceed at your own risk.  These instructions are for windows Vista and Windows 7 only.  These same tasks can be completed in Windows XP, but the menu options are different, so they are not covered below.

    Remove applications that you no longer use

    To do this you will need to go into your Windows control panel and select “Programs and Features”.  Alternatively, you can get there by clicking the windows icon in the lower left corner of your desktop and typing “programs and features” at the prompt.  Once there, look through the list of applications on your computer and decide if you can afford to remove any of them.  If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.  If you know you installed it in the past and you no longer need it, then click on it to highlight it, and then click the button on top of the page that says “uninstall”.  Click yes to any of the prompt windows that come up.  After you have removed all the applications that you no longer want, re-boot your computer, and enjoy the faster speed of your machine.

    Remove items from your startup configuration

    If it takes forever for your machine to boot up, there are a few things you can do, but it will affect your performance later.  Almost every application that you install on your computer places something in the startup (boot-up) configuration to speed up the time that it takes for their application to start later.  In doing this it slows down the boot-up process of your computer.  If you are someone like me who keeps the computer running for the whole week, then this shouldn’t be that big of a concern.  If you are someone who boots up the computer every time you use it, then this slow boot-up could be troubling.

    Here’s what you do.  Click on the Windows icon in the lower left of your desktop.  Type in “system configuration” at the prompt and hit enter.  This will open up the System Configuration window.  Make sure you are on the General tab and click on ‘Selective startup’.  Now click on the Startup tab and scroll through the applications that will load on startup.  Un-checking the item will keep it from loading at startup.  Be sure to click the apply button for any changes you make. Now re-boot your computer and see how it goes.  If there are errors or things you don’t like simply repeat these steps to undo what you changed.  Enjoy!

    If you like this article, you might also be interested in: