This is a loaded question, but from what I have been reading, this is the place to be.

I am interested in buying a laptop. I don't want to get taken for a ride. So when shopping in the stores, I want to have some idea of what I should be asking.

1. Why do you see postings for GBs for laptops separated by memory GBs for and storage GBs?

2. What is a good number for both GBs?

3. Do all laptops come with Wifi capability? And is it true that I don't necessarily have to pay for internet on my laptop because of free accessibility from other users around me that have routers already?

4.When they list battery life, that is only if I'm not charging the computer by plugging it in, correct?

5. Any other information, as written for a pure novice, who is looking to become a real user, is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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    1. Because they describe different components. All computers are equipped with storage capacity and memory capacity (known as RAM). Think of the storage capacity as long term memory - this is where your computer places things it wants to remember for a long time, like your family photos or your favorite song. This storage is usually provided by a hard disk. Memory, or RAM, is quite different. Think of this as short term memory - your computer will forget everything stored here after you shut it off. This memory is used to store things you're doing right now, for instance, the 2 web browsers you have open along with a word document. The hard disk is pretty slow, while RAM is very fast. Using RAM to hold your currently-in-use things makes your computer much faster.

    2. It depends on what your uses are. For basic purposes (internet, email, etc), your hard disk should be around 160GB, while you should have at least 2GB of RAM (with Windows Vista/7. XP can run with 1GB-512MB fine). Notebooks usually don't have >500GB disks, and usually don't have >4GB of RAM.

    3. Pretty much every notebook has Wifi nowadays, yes. It's also true you don't have to pay for internet, and you can logon to other people's wireless networks (if they are unsecure and don't require a password). However, doing such a thing is insecure for your data (you have no idea where it's going) and it's also illegal. I can get free electricity by tapping a power line anywhere in a city, but that doesn't mean I should do it.

    4. By the way you phrased this question, I think you're under the impression notebooks constantly use their battery - you're incorrect. A notebook will only use it's battery when it has to - that's when it has no other source of power. When you plug in your notebook, it charges the battery with the AC adapter and runs itself off of the AC adapter at the same time. That being said, listed battery lives are how much time you have to run your machine without any sort of power cable connected. Of course, the listed battery lives won't match the real one you get, as how much life you get is dependent upon what you're doing while on battery, and what you have the notebook set to. For instance, if you play a game on "high performance" mode with your screen brightness all the way up, your battery life will be much, much shorter than the listed value.

    5. If you're looking to buy a notebook, it's worth it to fill out the FAQ at the top of the forum. Even if you don't intend to buy online, it should help you determine what you really need, instead of what some Best Buy salesmen wants to sell you.
  2. Awesome reply, Frozenlead! I truly appreciate it. I feel armed and ready for making a great consumer choice.

    I have been trying to research this stuff, and I just couldn't gather the information I needed. You knocked it all out in one shot.

    Thanks, again.

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