A processor is the most crucial component of a laptop and choosing the best laptop processor is often confusing. The processor is the brain of your machine, and without it, you’ll be stuck with a slow and frustrating device. You need to avoid processors that are too powerful for your budget as this will only end up consuming more energy. There are several types of processors, but you need to be careful about their terminology so that you can find one that fits your needs perfectly. Comparing processors of different models can also help you decide which one will work best for your needs based on factors such as price and power.
What is a Best Laptop Processor?
The processor is the central chip of a computer that controls all other components. It interprets and executes instructions, tells other components what to do with data, and manages input and output (I/O) between the processor and the computer’s peripherals. When you choose to purchase a new laptop for your budget, you must know that there are several factors that will determine how fast it is, such as the number of cores available to execute tasks simultaneously (also called threads), clock speed (how many cycles per second it can process an instruction) and cache size.
Major Terminologies for Best Laptop Processor
There are many scientific terminologies to define processor architecture, but you don’t need to learn all of them if you just need a laptop. However, you must understand some basics for your clarity. In my opinion, choosing the right laptop would be much easier if you know the following processor terms.
Processor (CPU) Clock Speed
The clock speed of a CPU represents how many cycles per second it can execute. Clocking speed is also referred to as clock rate, PC frequency, and CPU frequency. This is measured in gigahertz which refers to billions of pulses per second and is abbreviated as GHz. Clock speed is one of the most significant measures of processor performance and can have a major impact on how well programs load and run.
Modern laptops are equipped with a CPU clock speed of 1.9GHz to even as high as 8.5 GHz. More clock speed means more expensive laptops. Thanks to turbo-boost technology in modern CPUs that adds benefits in reducing the cost of processors resulting in more budget laptops.
Processor (CPU) Cores
A processor core is a division that makes one processor act like multiple processors. Practically, we can’t increase the clock speed of a single-core processor. If we increase the clock speed, the processor cost would be higher and the heat dissipation will not be efficient resulting in poor performance of your laptop. To overcome this problem, processors are divided into multiple cores. The more the number of cores, the better your processing capabilities. Cores play a vital role in making processors power-efficient as well as an amazing computing experience.
Another important thing you need to know is that the higher the number of cores, the fast CPU it will be. In most cases, a dual-core processor is enough for a budget laptop user, but if you need a faster laptop, you’ll want to go with a quad-core processor instead.
Processor (CPU) Threads
In very simple terms, CPU threads are virtual versions of CPU cores. The process of breaking up physical cores into virtual cores (threads) to increase performance is called hyper-threading or simultaneous multi-threading (SMT). Hyper-threading is a terminology used by Intel and SMT is a terminology used by AMD, but both are similar in nature overall.
Imagine, if we want to increase the number of cores for faster performance, we have to use many cores, which will result in a more expensive processor. Designing a laptop with such a processor will be more expensive. That’s where CPU threads are useful. CPU threads are virtual cores and they can act as a physical core without increasing the overall cost of a CPU.
Processor (CPU) Cache
Memory cache is a type of memory that’s designed to help the processor with faster speeds. It can be used with traditional RAM or even other types of memory. During the 1980s, processor speeds began to increase—rapidly. The system memory at the time (RAM) couldn’t cope with or match the increasing CPU speeds, and so a new type of ultra-fast memory was born: CPU cache memory.
There are three categories of CPU cache—L1, L2, and L3. More the cache, better your processor. Modern laptop processors have 12MB of cache memory in the budget categories, which in my opinion is sufficient. However, if you are a gaming person or a video editor, you may need more cache for faster processing capabilities.
Processor generation plays a vital role in your laptop’s performance. Different generation means fast or slow computing experience. Sometimes, choosing the latest generation may not be the right choice.
For example, if you compare Intel’s 9th Gen processors with Intel’s 10th Gen processors, the performance has very few improvements. Whereas, if you compare Intel’s 10th Gen processors with Intel’s 11th Gen processors, the performance is significantly improved in the latest generation. Hence consider choosing the one that offers more value for your money.
Which is Best Laptop Processor—Intel vs AMD?
This is a common question among many laptop buyers. If you are one of them, consider choosing a brand that provides more value. I agree, there was a time when AMD was not a good choice due to excessive heat dissipation, but the scenario is quite different now.
Intel, however, lags in performance in the budget range laptops whereas AMD rocks in the budget category laptops. AMD’s latest generation processors are better than Intel’s latest generation processors in brief.
Intel has just announced the latest generation of processors that are available in laptops. They are called 11th-generation Intel® Core™ processors. These processors are amazingly powerful, faster than previous generations, and have 30% more battery life.
AMD processors are also amazing as of today and cost-effective too. AMD has launched 5th Generation Ryzen processors that run on 7nm architecture, making them more power-efficient and with more processing capabilities. These processors are fast and powerful, but the best thing about them is that they cost less than Intel processors. So choose wisely.
To choose the best processor for your budget, you will need to go through a few things. For example, what type of battery life do you want? How much space do you have in your bag? What about power? If you have a big budget and heavy-duty needs, then choose one that has more cores and is capable of handling multiple tasks at once.
I also encourage you to compare processors on versus.com for a detailed comparison. It provides an amazing comparison considering all the above points I have mentioned here. I generally prefer to compare over here and find it very valuable.