Laptop Buying Guide

Buying a laptop can be a daunting task these days. Numbers and codenames are bandied around looking impressive and are generally not all that helpful or in some cases misleading.

This guide will help you understand what to look for when buying a laptop and allow you to make a decision you are happy with for hopefully a long time.

WHAT ARE YOU BUYING YOUR LAPTOP FOR?

Your laptop needs will change depending on your intended use. Make sure you think about and try to isolate what you will be wanting your laptop for.

  • Serato DJ
  • Scratch Live
  • ITCH
  • Serato DJ Intro
  • Serato Video
  • Music production
  • Video editing and production
  • Graphics
  • Business/office use
  • Internet/music downloading
  • Or a combination of these

THINGS TO CONSIDER OTHER THAN DJ USE:

Internet use

Anytime you access the internet you are exposed to potentially harmful computer viruses. Windows machines are particularly susceptible to computer viruses, where as Macs are not. Even with protection software, you may find that your computer becomes infected with viruses if you're not careful.

Music production or video editing use

Are you wanting to use your computer for music production? Graphics or video editing? These kinds of use place a much greater strain on your computer than most other applications. You will want to get a better laptop than if you were just using it for DJ work. If you are using it for visual work, make sure it has a good graphics card, large screen and a sizable and reliable hard drive. Under specification machines will struggle to perform with these kinds of applications, even if they work well with other software.

Large Media Library

If you have a large music and/or video library you'll probably need a large internal hard drive. While we recommend you try to keep your media on your laptop's internal hard drive, it is becoming more common to use external hard drives to store large media libraries. Keep in mind the limitations of using external USB devices, and make sure that your computer can handle plugging in all the USB hardware you require.

Serato Video

Unlike audio programs such as Serato DJ, Scratch Live, ITCH or Serato DJ Intro - Serato Video is very resource intensive, and as such will perform better with a more powerful laptop, especially one with a good graphics card. Serato Video scales its performance to your card, i.e. the better the card, the better the performance.

Look for a laptop with a suitable video output. DVI is a recommended digital connection, which will provide the best quality. VGA is an analog standard for many computer monitors. There is also S-Video for analog televisions.


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