How to Choose the Best Processor For Your Laptop or Notebook
Shopping for laptops or notebooks can be frustrating with the number of choices available for consumers. The best start is deciding on the best computer processor for your needs. Processors for laptops are different from desktop computers to accommodate the mobile devices' size restrictions and lower power consumption. When researching processor performance, not all types follow a pattern.
This article serves as a rough guide in selecting the processor that will work best for your application. The reason that the article is a rough guide is that each type of processor has different models or versions. For example, a high-end Intel processor like the i7 has models that performs in the mid-range level. A mid-range Intel processor such as i3 can have versions that are rated through the low end.
The most basic guide to determine high end, mid-level, and low-end processor is to find out what your requirements are. What do you want to do with your laptop or notebook computer? For playing games with extremely detailed graphics, multimedia editing, and anything to do with 3d modeling, you will need a high-end processor.
For basic, computing needs such as word processing, text e-mail, and surfing text websites or websites with few graphics, a low-end computer will do.
Anything between high and low end will meet the mid-level requirements. Below is more detail on how to choose the best processor for your laptop or notebook.
For any processor, choose between AMD and Intel. Both manufacturers make good chips but Intel's' high-end processors may have a slight edge in performance over AMD. For value, AMD chips have an advantage.
Determine how you will use your laptop. If you going to open, store, save, edit, or manipulate lots of multimedia files such as pictures, music, and video, purchase mid range to high end processors. Playing games purchased within the last two years, working with 3d modeling, 3d animation, computer aided design, and analysis of large data will fall in this category too.
In general, purchase mid range to high end processors if you are going to use a laptop or notebook for applications dealing with lots of graphics, sound, and data or databases.
For mid range to high-end performance, choose processors with dual cores. A core is the processing system of the computer processing unit or CPU. The shorthand of CPU is termed "processor". A processor with dual cores is analogous to having two hands working on the fetching of data and program instructions for processing versus one hand within the same chip. The same analogy can be made for processors with quad or four cores.
For mid level to high level computing power, choose processors with larger L2 or L3 cache. A cache is another type of memory used in computers to store frequently used by the processor. Cache is faster than using main memory or RAM. L2 and L3 are inside the CPU itself rather than the motherboard. Caches that are 1MB or more are considered large cache. Chips such as Celerons have reduced caches at 128KB or 512KB.
For mid level to high-level performance, choose processors with high clock speeds. The higher the speed, the more the processor and laptop will cost. Clock speeds of 2GHz or more are recommended. Choosing low clock speeds on high performing computers could make laptops perform like lower end machines.
For high end processing power, choose Intel processors: Core i7 Extreme, Core i7, and Core i5. For AMD, choose the A8-Series.
For mid-range performance, choose Intel processors: Core i3, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme, and Core 2 Quad. For AMD processors, select Phenom, Phenom II and Athlon.
For casual home and business use like word processing and other general office applications, e-mail, and surfing websites that don't use much video or graphics,
choose low-end processors.
If you do not view lots of images or do not multitask or open several software applications at the same time then select low-end processors.
For low-end processors, choose Intel Pentiums. For AMD processors, choose Althon, and Turion.
For low end laptops, the best use you can get out of these machines are writing documents, spreadsheets, and any application that does not use much pictures, video, or music. This includes Flash or Adobe PDF files which are common applications or items shared between networked computers. The cheap laptops can be used for e-mail but if there are large multi-media attachments, the mobile computer with cheap processor will have a hard time opening and viewing the files.
I do not recommend you pick processors that are at the absolute bottom of the barrel for low budget laptops or notebooks. These processors are the Intel Celerons and Atoms. For AMD, there are Semprons and Mobile Semprons. These chips fall in the low-end level but they are probably the worst processors that a consumer could possibly buy for a laptop or notebook because they will become obsolete much faster than the high end and mid level chips mentioned earlier. If you choose these bargain chips you may find yourself wanting to buy a better computer within a year.
CPU Websites for More Research
- Intel Processor Comparison
Intel® processor comparison details specifications for up to five processors at a time. Select the best for your needs.
- Mobile Processors - Benchmarklist - Notebookcheck.net Tech
This is a benchmark list of mobile processors like Turion, Pentium M, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, sorted by performance.
- PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts
PassMark Software - CPU Benchmarks - Over 200,000 CPUs and 1,000 models benchmarked and compared in graph form, updated daily!