2015 Laptop Processors Buying Guide
advice, valuable tips
and recommendations for laptop processors.
- Editors Choice: Intel
- Runners Up: Intel Core
i5, AMD Phenom II
- Intel Core i3
Core 2 Duo
- AMD Turion
What is the current buzz on
Today's laptop processors are more powerful than ever thanks to
multi-processor designs, advancements in computer manufacturing
technologies, shifts in processor industry trends, software demands for
faster processing, and well the list goes on.
main highlight and performance enhancement in laptop processors today
is multiple processing cores. In simple terms, any multi-core processor
is basically one that has at least two or more processors in one. Today
a dual-core processor is most common, but 3-core, 4-core, and
with yet more cores do exist.
One of the
main benefits to having a multi-core processor is the increased overall
system responsiveness when you work with multiple applications
simultaneously. Generally more cores equal better performance. For
example you can be performing a virus scan while
working on your favorite application at the same time with a minimal
Energy Efficient Laptop Computers
multitasking, many individual applications can take advantage of each
core at the same time.
These specially coded
theoretically run twice as fast.
Currently most programs do not fully
take advantage of a multi-core processor even today, but expect more
and more applications to do so in the future.
being extremely powerful, laptop processors today are also very
efficient when it comes to energy usage.
This is especially
current Intel based processors, and the Intel Core i line of
processors are simply amazing in our opinion because the performance to
power consumption ratio is astonishing.
processors today have what's called a lower Thermal Design Power, or
TDP. We are not going to get too technical, but in layman's terms
having a lower TDP means laptops can be thinner and lighter thanks to
smaller cooling solution requirements. Older processors in comparison
required bulkier cooling solutions because they generated more heat.
So besides bringing
lighter laptops to the table, a lower TDP also contributes to longer
overall battery run times. In fact, it's not uncommon today to see
laptops rated up to 5 hours on a single charge, with some laptops even topping 10+ hours.
our opinion modern day laptop processors are simply amazing, and we've
honestly barely touched base on their overall feature set. But now that
you know a bit more regarding current laptop processors, let's move on
to the recommendations, shall we?
laptop processors are recommended?
Intel Laptop Processors:
For new laptops we
currently recommend an Intel Core i7, Core i5, or Core i3 processor.
The higher the i processor designation, the better the performance.
In our opinion the Intel Core i7 processor currently
offers the best performance and
features in a laptop processor hands down.
For the ultimate in
mobile computing performance, look no further than an Intel Core i7
fairly cheap laptops however come with Intel Core i5
processors which offer
performance very close to an i7.
the Intel Core i3 is Intel's budget line processor, perfect for those
looking for a low cost laptop. The i3 is no slouch though for
it still offers plenty of performance that should satisfy all
the most demanding computing users.
AMD Laptop Processors:
AMD also offers a
solid lineup of processors from high-end to budget. In
today's computing world AMD is Intel's only real competitor, so you
don't have to look much further than AMD or Intel when selecting a
The AMD Phenom
one of AMDs high-end processors. The Phenom II offers comparable
the i7 and i5, so if the price for an AMD Phenom II based laptop is
less than a similarly equipped Intel i7 or Intel i5, go for it. If a
similarly equipped Phenom II system is more expensive, we'd
personally stick with the Intel i7 or i5 platform.
One of AMDs budget-line
processors is the Turion II. We personally recommend
II based system if you need only a basic laptop or
you are on
a budget, and the laptop containing one is being sold at an
In our opinion, AMD
Phenom II processors are ideal for power users who run demanding
applications such as design and gaming, where Turion II processors are
a great for basic users who perform tasks such as word processing,
email, and web browsing.
Another thing you will encounter when
shopping for AMD laptop computer processors is various marketing terms
such as AMD APU, AMD Fusion or AMD Vision. Like most companies, AMD has
a lot of marketing terms, but don't let these confuse you.
Essentially, an AMD
APU is a central
processing unit (CPU) and a graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single
processor chip, referred to as a die in the technical world. AMD Fusion
is the marketing name for a series of these APUs, and AMD Vision simply
represents branding segments for the laptops that contain these
AMD or Intel Laptop Processors On
If you are on a
budget and looking to purchase a new laptop, one
containing an AMD Turion II or an Intel Core i3 is a solid
Despite being AMD and Intel's so called budget line, these processors
offer outstanding performance perfect basic computing chores.
you are on a tighter budget and in the
market for a
or slightly older laptop, we wouldn't go for anything less than a
laptop containing an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, unless
happen to be on a
tight budget. An
older Intel Core 2
Duo is admirable for they are still solid performing
and an older laptop containing one can be picked up for fairly cheap.
Because there are
plenty of older
Intel Core 2 Duo laptops out there for great prices, going
anything less in our opinion isn't worth it. An outdated
processor based laptop doesn't make much sense in our
benefits of a dual core processor such as the Core 2 Duo is definitely
worth it in the long
run, especially if you want to future proof your investment.
Else Should I Pay Attention To When Selecting a Processor?
things to consider in laptop processors include their internal clock
speed, external bus speed, and cache size among other things. As a
general rule of thumb, bigger is usually better when comparing modern
Clock speed is the
actual speed at which the processor runs inside and it is measured in
(MHz) megahertz or (GHz) gigahertz.
speed is the speed at which the processor communicates with the rest of
the computer system, and is is also measured in megahertz or gigahertz.
cache is basically a small chuck of memory located near the processing
core that stores instructions or data and then feeds the internal
processing unit these instructions to keep the laptop processors
computational unit running efficiently by having a constant stream of
Do keep in mind that
to Intel is like comparing apples to oranges. Because their internal
logic is constructed differently the aforementioned features aren't an
accurate gauge of performance in this situation.
the other hand if you are comparing laptop processors from the same
processor family like an Intel Core 2 to say another Intel Core 2,
remembering that bigger is better is honestly a good way to determine
the faster of the two.
speed isn't everything though, for balance is the key because while a
small bump in clock speed is in fact faster, the price premium for this
tiny performance increase may not be worth the extra cash.
the basic or even average user we feel paying attention to technical
details isn't as important as it was in the past when processors used
to be more focused on raw clock speed, but regardless it still doesn't
hurt to know a little bit about these features. And if you didn't know
before, you at least do now.
things a little further, we don't really stress the technical details
for the average user because we personally feel modern day Intel Core
i7, i5, i3,
or AMD Phenom II or Turion II laptop processors will likely handle
their demands and
For you power users on
hand our opinion is different. Because you guys will need ultimate
performance, we advise you to pay close attention to the technical
jargon. A 2MB cache increase and 200MHz bump in clock speed may just
shave a few minutes or more off your video encode. For your line of
work we like to go with the bigger is better approach to be honest.
Time is money after all.
Want to learn
more about each processor? Here is a direct link to both the Intel
and AMD processor comparison page.
We hope you've enjoyed
this brief laptop
processors buying guide. Now you should be armed with the
information to make a well informed laptop purchase.
But as a final thought
we wanted to
clarify a few things about Intel vs AMD. We realize we are a bit
partial to Intel based notebooks and feel it is only fair to AMD to
elaborate a bit since AMD does make fantastic processors.
We are slightly
partial to Intel only because Advance Micro Devices (AMD) is slightly
trailing in the CPU
performance department. So at the moment we don't necessarily
AMD over Intel unless you find
a bargain on an AMD based laptop compared to an equivalent Intel based
you do go with AMD over Intel and are looking for a rock solid
performer, we'd personally go
no less than an AMD Phenom II for a high-end configuration, and for a
low-end model we'd stick with at least an AMD Turion II.
Soo while maybe AMDs Phenom II is not the absolute top performing
laptop processor when compared to Intel's flagship i7,
we are still very impressed with Phenom II notebooks so don't think you
will be selling yourself short by
going with AMD. We just feel Intel right now is the better option,
that's if an AMD based system isn't the better bang for your buck of
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