Help me buy a laptop (several questions)

Buying a new laptop.

Firstly, is it necessary to buy anti-virus software?
Or are there enough free programs out there that I don’t need to?
Pretty much every virus I have contracted so far has been defeated by Malwarebytes.

Second question is what is a cache, and how big should mine be (what are the ramifications of only 1MB versus 3MB etc).

Third is whether or not Windows 7 is any good.

Forth is what does memory do, and how much is needed (1GB or 2GB or 3GB).

And are the different processors really that different?

And is there any important issue that I am forgetting to look at.
As a disclaimer, I should add that I can use computers fine, I just have little idea of how the components work. For me there is fast computer, slow computer etc.

You don’t need to buy antivirus protection. You can get it free.

AVS / Avast are excellent. Spybot and Malwarebytes are good too. Microsoft Security Essentials often find things the others miss and you have Windows Defender.

You should have AVS or Avast and probably Malwarebytes or Spybot too.

Windows 7 is excellent. You probably want to go with the 64 bit version, unless you have a good reason not to. Like you have software that won’t run on 32 bit.

If you have the 64 bit version of Win7 you can have more than 4g of memory. Actually the 32 bit only uses about 3g to 3.5g of memory even if you have 4g installed.

How much you need is what you use the computer for. For most people 4g is enough but if you do a lot of gaming or video editing, you will find you need more.

The bigger the cache the quicker the computer can access what’s stored in it. Again how much you need depends on what you need.

The key thing is write down what you are going to use your computer for, then buy your computer around that.

For laptops, if you order online, you have to go into a store and look at the one you’re going to order. This is really important.

First of all weight is essential. Everyone has a different tolerance for how much their laptop should weigh. You need to physically pick it up and feel it and see how it feels to you

Second you need to type on it. Different laptops have different keyboard. My laptop doesn’t have a number pad, I miss that a lot. Yeah I know you can buy a number pad and plug it in, but I know the next laptop I get will have a number pad on it.

Third you need to check out the screen. Again this is just a personal preference. Some screens present things a bit different. It’s not good or bad it’s just a matter of what you like.

Fourth consider things like, do I have enough USB ports? Or do I need an external modem?

Things I would get is a eSATA port. Most laptops don’t have them, but if you’re getting an external hard drive to compliment your laptop an eSATA port blows a USB port away

Also I have a built in digital TV tuner to my laptop and I love it. That is something that you may or may not want.

When you revist this thread tell others what you want to do with your computer, especially if you’re a gamer. Then the others who are into that (especially if you seriously play games) can tell you specifically what you’ll need.

As implied by Markxxx’s questions, if you’re just going to use the laptop for basic office tasks, web browsing, and media viewing, performance isn’t going to be an issue even with the cheapest nastiest notebook with a bottom-of-the-line processor. I’m running Windows 7 on my 1.5 ghz Atom netbook with 1 gb RAM, and I do notice some slowdowns at times, but even the cheapest “proper” laptop will be far more powerful and have enough processing ability to handle any basic task.

How exactly are you going to use this laptop?

Tbh, I mostly do web-surfing and document editing/preparing, but I occasionally have to run high-demand programs like photoshop and stuff like that.

I play the occasional line, but I don’t do multiplayer.

Basically, I want a good all-round laptop that I can play the odd game on.
I want something more powerful than I strictly speaking need, so I have the option should life (as it does) throw something at me.