We often are asked how much does a computer cost.  Many times it is in reference to if it makes sense to do a repair or “just buy a new computer”.

The simple answer is that laptops typically range from $300 to $4000 for a new laptop.  The reason for the range in price has to do with features and quality. Let’s discuss Windows laptops first. Most manufacturers will have two product lines. The cheaper laptops are in the consumer line and the more expensive are considered “business laptops”.  Lenovo (the world’s largest computer manufacter and the company that bought the IBM PC business) uses the name Ideapad for their consumer product line and the name Thinkpad for their business line.  It is common to find a Ideapad and a Thinkpad with the same processor, same size of memory, same size of hard drive but priced at $500 and $1500 respectively.  The 3X difference in price has to do with the quality of the components used in each product.

Customers of Best Buy frequently walk back the aisle and look for the cheapest laptop that has a specific processor, a certain amount of system memory and a certain size hard drive.  Others look for a laptop that looks “pretty”. That is not the best way to purchase a high quality machine that will provide years of service. Usually if you pick the cheapest computers available, you will be very disappointed in the reliability.

Quality of components can be explained as follows:

The other reason for laptops to vary in price is that the more expensive ones will have more features. Here is a partial list of some items that drive up the price of the laptop:

Because business machines are built so much better than consumer laptops, it often makes sense to purchase a used business machine rather than a new low end consumer machine.  We usually have Thinkpads in stock that have come off a 2 or 3 year corporate lease. These machines will typically last longer than a consumer laptop and be equal or less in price.  We often even have engineering level machines.  Recently a very advanced home schooled HS senior purchase a Thinkpad W series machine from us to do advanced computer simulations.  He was enrolled in an on line class and needed such a high end computer. Our normal customer of our refurbished machines is typically a professional that works in RTP that wants a home machine similar in quality to the machine he uses at work. The most enthusiastic customers are typically small business owners that were going through consumer laptops at an alarming rate and found that machines from us last much longer and not only is less expensive to own but also does not cause the same level of aggravation of failing constantly.

I should add that Apple offers good laptops. They are typically over $1000 in price. We do find that they are similar in quality to business machines from Windows manufacturers. There is a difference in quality / reliability between the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

If you have a question about computers, give Absolute Computers a call. Located in Cary, North Carolina – we are convenient for folks in Angier,  Apex, Cary (of course), Chapel Hill, Clayton, Durham, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Knightdale, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Raleigh, Wake Forest and Zebulon. We have folks that drive here with their computers from Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, Sanford and Wilson. Finally we have people ship us their computers from across the US. We often get computers shipped to us from the west coast and most of the states between there and NC.