Intel, Microsoft, and others PC power players like to brag about how fast their computers are by drawing comparisons to “five-year-old PCs.” But does this obsession with performance miss a more important message? We think it does, and there are many more reasons to buy a modern PC than just raw speed.

Interactivity, convenient security, ease of use—these are critical features that don’t appear on spec lists. Even a modern PC’s sheer portability may not be immediately apparent.

If you have an old clunker of a PC and are considering a new one, here are six great reasons to open your wallet.

’Thin and light’ really means thin and light

Intel first developed the concept of a thin-and-light “ultrabook” in 2011, but it really wasn’t until five years ago that manufacturers really embraced it. Today, most premium consumer notebooks fall into the thin-and-light category, with products like Acer Swift 7 line emphasizing a thin, svelte form factor—just 0.35-inch thick and 2.54 pounds. Compare that to something like the Toshiba P845T-S4310 from several years ago: It’s over 4.5 pounds and an inch thick!

laptop thickness comparison Mark Hachman / IDG

Compare the Acer Swift 7 (2018) on top, the Microsoft Surface Laptop (2017) in the middle, and the Toshiba Satellite A215-S5837 (2007) on the bottom. The Toshiba’s lid is thicker than a modern laptop!

2-in-1 tablets offer another option, where you can get the machine’s weight below 2 pounds by removing the optional keyboard. In fact, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 comes in at 1.73 pounds. But whether you opt for a clamshell design with a non-detachable, hinged display; a convertible design with a display that can spin 360 degrees; or a 2-in-1 tablet with a removable keyboard, all of these modern PCs will be markedly thinner and lighter than their aging counterparts. And that improves quality of life.

Fast Startup and SSDs for screaming boot times

Old PCs are laden with a triple-whammy of technologies that slow down boot times: slow processors, poky hard drives, and a comprehensive shutdown/boot procedure. Shoot, you may as well grab a cup of coffee while your PC boots. But newer PCs use a technique called Fast Startup, which wakes your PC from a deep-sleep mode. In essence, your PC hibernates instead of entirely shutting down. 

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sandisk ssd SanDisk

An SSD can be a powerful upgrade to an existing laptop, but they’re increasingly more common in new notebooks.

This means that when your PC starts up after a shut down, it does so quickly—dropping you into the Windows login screen in a matter of seconds. Resuming can take even less time, especially when combined with an SSD (which we still say is the best upgrade that you can give a notebook PC). If you’re not willing to take out your screwdriver and make the SSD upgrade yourself, then buying a PC with Windows 10 Fast Startup and an SSD is your ticket to making sure you can get back to work as quickly as possible

Windows Hello: Your face is your password

Remember the great 1992 hacker movie, Sneakers? One of the plot points hinged on a biometric code with a character identifying himself by literally using “my voice is my password.” Windows Hello is that movie, made real. Instead of using your voice for security authentication, however, Windows Hello uses either a “depth camera” built into the front of your notebook or tablet, or a fingerprint reader that scans your fingerprint like many smartphones do.



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