Are you in need of a new laptop? As you shop around, you will undoubtedly run across machines with carbon fiber cases. These will be some of the more expensive business machines, just so you know. Their higher price tags might leave you wondering if carbon fiber laptops are worth the extra money.
Way back in 2012, Carbon Fiber Gear published a blog post featuring a brand-new 11.6-inch laptop from Gigabyte. The X11 was designed specifically to compete with the MacBook Air. It was created to be thin, lightweight, and as durable as a laptop could be. The key to its design was its carbon fiber case.
Carbon fiber was new to laptop design when Gigabyte launched the X11. Yet as awesome as the material is, it has been slow to catch on as a material for laptop cases. Why? Salt Lake City’s Rock West Composites says the problem is cost.
What You Get with Carbon Fiber
Rock West says that carbon fiber is unquestionably superior to aluminum in both strength and weight; depending on its formulation, carbon fiber can be up to six times stronger than aluminum. It is a very nice material if you want a laptop case that can withstand airport travel, abuse from the kids, and even being dropped from the table.
Carbon fiber’s high-strength-to-weight ratio enables laptop manufacturers to make their cases thinner as well. That leaves more room for internal components without increasing the size of the machine. X11 is a great example. Gigabyte was able to pack a ton of great hardware in its case while still keeping the size manageable.
The question is this: is carbon fiber overkill? The vast majority of cheap laptops feature plastic cases. Thin aluminum plates on the interior give plastic cases just enough rigidity to get by. Unless you are a laptop abuser, even a cheap machine can last for years.
What You Are Paying For
Before you spend in excess of $1,000 on a carbon fiber laptop you really should know what you are paying for. First and foremost, the higher prices are partly due to the carbon fiber itself. It is an expensive material to manufacture, acquire, and build with.
If you packed a cheap plastic laptop and a comparable carbon fiber laptop with the same internal components, the carbon fiber machine would still cost significantly more. In exchange for the higher price, you would be getting a lighter and more durable machine.
Also bear in mind that because carbon fiber laptops support a higher price point, manufacturers tend to build them with more expensive components as well. You get more memory, larger hard drives, more powerful CPUs, better graphics, and top-of-the-line screens.
Your Needs and Wants
Knowing what you are getting for the money lays the foundation for determining whether or not high-priced carbon fiber laptops are worth the money. You need to ask yourself about your needs and wants.
If your laptop never leaves home, it is unlikely you need something as strong as carbon fiber. If all you do is surf the web and check your email, you also do not need the more costly components included in a high-end machine. On the other hand, a power user whose laptop travels heavily and is working 20 hours per day has different needs. A carbon fiber machine might be worth a higher price.
If you don’t need a carbon fiber laptop but still want one, that’s okay too. You are free to spend your money as you see fit. There certainly is no shortage of great carbon fiber laptops to choose from.