My laptop is 8 years old and, as a spoiler, I am just going to keep it.
I wanted to get a new computer, I really did. Stuff is out of date, and, frankly I really like hardware.
Reading about all the new technology, looking at the new high scores on benchmarks, better gear than has ever existed at lower prices than I last purchased. It is intoxicating.
The things that matter for a writing laptop:
- Size - get a 13 or 14 inch. I run a 12 inch and it is fine too.
- Weight - keep it around or under 3 lbs
- Durability - especially of the keyboard
The first two are most important, to me. An optional bonus criteria is the feel fo the keyboard.
For the most part keyboards are okay, but the best ones are on the Thinkpad, Dell, and some Macs.
The rest are pretty similar.
Processing power is not that important, actually. And anything within the last two Intel generations is likely fine (anything processor released the last 2 years),
Ideall you have 16 GB, which is way overkill for anything now and things should be fine for years.
8 GB is probably actually fine for anyone.
There are, of course specific models, but these criteria you can use to gauge what to get in the future. Look at the minimum requirements for the Linux Ubuntu system and make sure you are above it.
You do not need much processing power.
You do benefit from a lot of mobility. That is where the laptop shines.
If you never like writing except at a desk, then the desktop is the winner, but I imagine that is wrong. Desktops are fantastic in pretty much everything, except for portability. For me, writing, portability is very important. For half the cost, you could have more performance than a laptop. Additionally, the components will run cooler, the stuff will last longer, and you can likely replace and more easily repair anything that comes along.
Despite all of that, a laptop is still the way to go for writing. The ability to write on the couch, pick it up and go to a coffee shop, or write in your backyard in the sun is nice for me.
For other people, they might want a machine they only write on, then put away.
The desktop has, though, much better ergonomics. By far. So you will likely have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse in order to write on.
The ideal set-up, for me, is a lower power laptop that is small and durable, and a desktop.