how do I figure out if I need an upgrade on my laptop? AND, which one do I need if that is the case?
If your Mac is running 10.6 then there are newer version available. If you use the App Store you will find Mountain Lion which you can purchase and upgrade to if your Mac can support it.
how do I figure out if my Mac can support the upgrade?
This will tell you what computers will be able to use OS X 10.8:
Retrieving data ...