The Content Marketer’s Guide to Buying a Laptop

 Hannah Wiginton

Category: Productivity | Writing
You've got to have to right tools for the 'write' job. Whether you're like me and have been taking care of business on your old, slow laptop and it starts acting quirky or you're just ready to upgrade, there are multiple factors you need to consider when choosing a laptop.

You’ve got to have to right tools for the ‘write’ job. Whether you’re like me and have been taking care of business on your old, slow laptop and it starts acting quirky or you’re just ready to upgrade, there are multiple factors you need to consider when choosing a laptop.

This guide is meant to help content and technical writers and all of us marketing ninjas find a laptop that’s suited for writing, editing, and creating marketing materials.

I’m by no means an expert on ‘best computers’ or the best options for your specific situation.

While searching for mine, I researched TONS and have personal knowledge with a techy mind. I also consulted with someone who has been gaming on PCs for years, just bought my son his first desktop gaming computer (the kind you put together yourself), and knew the tasks I would do as a writer and a marketer.

I now have a mini-education after all this.

I’m hoping to help save you some time and at least point you in the right direction.

In this article:

Considerations when buying a laptop
Determine your specific needs
Processor
Memory (RAM)
Storage
Graphics
Screen Type, Resolution, and Size
Budget
Miscellaneous
Before you begin shopping
Laptop suggestions
My tech

Considerations when buying a laptop

There are several different factors you need to look at when buying your laptop. This is why searching for one can get overwhelming. Once you start to realize all the different customizations available, you’ll start to sweat.

We like to write and market, not worry if our tools will do the job.

You need to look at:

  • What you need it for – actual tasks you know you will do or want to do in the future
  • Processor
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Storage Size
  • Graphics
  • Screen Type, Resolution, and Size
  • Budget

Determine your specific needs

You’re a content marketer. You have 38 Chrome tabs open doing research, a couple of Google Doc tabs open, Figma for quick content mockups, Google Analytics to review stats, and maybe Slack running in the background.

Wait, is that just me?

You also create videos, screen shares, and GIFs in video editing and screen capture programs. You probably do some image editing and processing in Photoshop or similar programs.

You have a lot going on while you’re trying to write your article, create new web copy, update the documentation, or edit videos and photos.

You need a laptop to help you tolerate tame the madness.

Alright, time for the specs. If you don’t mind a desktop, you can get more for your dollar, but if you’re after portability, laptop is the way to go.

Let’s talk technical here.

Processor

Processors make the computer do all the things. Savvy?

This is one of the most important aspects you need to focus on for your laptop.

Processors are based on “Cores.” Remember those commercials from years ago – “This computer uses DUAL-Core Processors and it’s sooo amazing!!!” That’s only 2 Cores – not fast in this day and age.

Typically, more Cores = Faster. However, you also need to look at Cache and Clock Speed (Ghz). Here’s a breakdown about processors and what they can do.

Cores will help when processing videos and images, like when creating images for articles and documentation. Each software uses Cores differently but with more Cores, it spreads out the processing.

Your best bet is to look for the latest generation processor. Older processors are not as advanced and well, they’re older technology.

I recommend you go with a laptop that has at least 6 Cores.

While 4 Cores will get the job done, processing times will be slower and more frustrating. 8 Cores would be amazing but finding the latest generation 8 Core laptop isn’t as common. (Desktop is a different story.) They’re out there, but expect to spend at least $2,500 to $3,500. And if that’s your budget, I say go for it!

The two top brands in this category are Intel and AMD.

For laptops right now, look at the Intel Core i7 and i9 – 9th and 10th generation processors. (This will change when they release new generations.) When viewing laptop specs, this will look something like i7-10750H or i9-10850H.

Intel i7 – 10th generation

Intel i9 – 10th generation

For AMD, look at the AMD Ryzen 4000 Series in the AMD Ryzen 5, 7, or 9 in the latest generation.

AMD Ryzen Laptop Processors

Key Takeaway: Find a laptop with a 6 Core processor

Memory (RAM)

You need Memory (RAM) to cache (create a snapshot) all the programs and tabs you have open.

RAM is the second most important feature you need to throw money at.

On my previous laptop, I had 8 GB of Memory. With 24 tabs and Slack open, it consumed 7.3 GB of RAM. It doesn’t take much to fill up that memory allocation.

I recommend you get at least 16 GB of RAM.

Many laptops have 8GB of RAM but as you can see, your programs can eat that up quickly. 32GB of RAM is probably overkill for your writing self, but you do you.

Key Takeaway: Get the 16 GB of RAM

Storage

With the awesomeness that is online cloud storage, this won’t be AS big of a deal as your Processor and RAM. However, if you’re into making lots of videos, especially high resolution or 4k, integrated storage is essential.

While you may not need much storage, the type of storage you get in your laptop is important.

The latest and greatest is SSD storage.

This is an upgrade from the previous HDD storage. You will see HDD has a lower price point when compared to the same size in SSD, but you will lose speed. See a comparison of SSD vs HDD.

Specifically, you want to look for NVMe SSD storage. Read about SSD types.

Storage these days is cheaper than it used to be so look for a minimum of 128 GB NVMe SSD Storage.

I recommend at least 256 GB and even 512 GB.

Storage space is really up to you as it’s pretty simple and inexpensive to add external storage down the road.

Integrated storage is useful if you are making videos or images and saving them on your drive. You can then either backup using a service like Backblaze that backs up you entire computer or you upload them at the end of the day to Google Drive.

Key Takeaway: Aim for at least 256GB NVMe SSD Storage

Graphics

Graphics cards are a major selling point for gamers. But, unless you as a writer, plan to turn into a Twitch streamer playing Fortnite every day, it’s not too important.

NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti is your basic but nice graphics card. If you want to upgrade, go for the NVIDIA RTX 2060 or up series.

If you do want to game a little on your laptop, at least get a basic graphics card and a laptop with a higher refresh rate (60hz refresh rate is basic and the norm – 144hz is a nice upgrade).

This will help your monitor ‘keep up’ with the ever-changing display in a game. You also need to look at FPS, but I didn’t do much research on FPS, so look into that.

Key Takeaway: Get a NVIDIA GTX 1650, 1660Ti, or higher

Screen Type, Resolution, and Size

Screen size is a personal preference. I am a fan of the 15.6″ screens. You can also choose between 14″ or 17″ (or 13″ for the Macheads) which will change the cost slightly.

Screen type and resolution have to do more with where your budget lands.

If you decide to get an i7 latest generation processor with 16 GB RAM, most have a minimum of a 1920 x 1080 LCD IPS screen.

So no matter what you choose, you’ll be getting a really nice screen resolution.

Key Takeaway: Choose IPS, 1920×1080 screen

Budget

I looked at hundreds of laptops in my research.

The suggestions I’ve given you will show you laptops starting at $1,000 up to around $2,000 depending on what you determine is most important to you.

If you have a bigger budget, you can get faster processors, more storage, better graphics, and 4K screens.

Key Takeaway: Expect to spend a minimum of $1,100. The rest is up to you.

Miscellaneous

You’ll also need to decide if you want a number keypad (10 key). Some 15.6″ laptops come with the number keypad but many don’t.

Many have backlit keyboards where you can change the color of the keyboard.

You’ll also realize many of the laptops with the specs I listed lean toward the “gamer” crowd with more color and graphics on the laptop itself. That’s because gamers need fast tech and these laptops have it!

Before you begin shopping

With any laptop series, multiple variations with different specs are manufactured. When you find one you like, don’t assume you’ve found the same one for $300 cheaper on another website.

Just because it’s called a Dell G7 does NOT mean every other Dell G7 you find is the same computer. They all have different specs so you need to really look at each specification to compare apples to apples.

Laptop Suggestions

This is not an exhaustive list but here are some options to get you started. With these, you can get an idea of the cost vs. what specs are important to you. These all include a minimum of i7 or i9 9th and 10th gen processors, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage, and a decent graphics card.

Dell G7

Acer Predator Triton 500

HP Omen

ASUS Rog

ASUS Vivobook

Eluktronics MAG-15

Razer Blade 15

ASUS Vivobook

ASUS Tuf

Tracer IV R 15

ASUS Predator Helios 300

MacBook Pro – 16″

Here’s a search on NewEgg filtered with all the minimum specs – Laptops for Content Marketers

Look at Amazon, NewEgg, BestBuy, IBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, and search custom laptops in Google.

My Tech

I hope this has given you some more information and a head start into buying a new laptop.

I finally went the HP OMEN 15.6″. It has 16GB RAM, i7-10750H, GeForce 2060 RTX, and 512 GB SSD. I also purchased a 27″ LG IPS 4k Monitor. You can also check out all the tools and software I use regularly.

Now, get out there with your awesome self and save the world and businesses with your amazing content!

*Some of the laptop links are affiliate links. This means if you buy it through my link, I’ll get a few cents or dollars from the retailer. However, I really did search the internet far and wide looking for laptops in my own quest to buy one. Hope it helps!


Discuss this article or just say hi on Twitter @hannahwiginton

About the Author

I’m Hannah Wiginton. Writing is my thing! ✍
Everywhere you look, crafty words are used to tell you about products, people, and services. 
Let me help your business excel by writing rockstar content marketing articles, crafting compelling website copy, or creating your technical support documentation. 
Find out how to Work With Me. Discuss this article or just say hi on Twitter: @hannahwiginton or LinkedIn: @HannahWiginton