How to Choose a Laptop Processor

How to choose the right laptop: for games and for work

When choosing a good laptop, it matters what games you play.

  • The Witcher-3 or Prey require significant power if you turn the graphics to the maximum.
  • For fans of MMO like World of Warcraft “serious” power is NOT required.

Let’s figure out how NOT to prog with performance and choose a laptop according to the parameters “for yourself”.

How to choose a laptop: 2 tips to NOT fall for the marketers’ bait

What are the criteria for choosing a laptop

Laptop weight and dimensions
According to the degree of portability, the device is divided into three categories.

  • Maximum portability for 13-14 monitor sizes “. They are light in weight. up to two kg, and the battery holds a charge for up to seven hours in autonomous mode. True, often such models are not equipped with powerful processors and video cards.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 910: Small, Big Screen

  • Average portability in laptops with a 15-16 display “. They work without recharging for 5-6 hours. A good option if you need a serious but not too heavy system.
  • NOT compact laptops with a screen from 17 “. The devices are heavy, Gluttonous and will NOT last long without recharging. But all these shortcomings are covered with one bold “plus”. they are the most powerful. Taking these on a trip is not the best option. They are more designed for work from home.

In addition to the screen diagonal, take into account three fundamental parameters.

  • Monitor resolution: The minimum (which is also the most common) that a gaming laptop should support. 1920×1080. With less, streams are NOT as colorful. Take a closer look at the models that support QHD (2560×1440) and 4K (3840×2160) resolutions. it’s still “did not take root “among gamers.
  • Touchscreens are an interesting but controversial innovation. Suitable for multimedia laptops, they are not used in game models. They are more expensive than conventional screens and consume a lot of electricity. For most gaming computers, this feature is not so important: not all games can be controlled from the screen. So weigh all the pros and cons before buying a laptop with a touchscreen.
  • G-Sync and FreeSync technologies synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor and the rendering speed of the image, which is given by the GPU. The frame rate in games is NOT constant, but in the monitor frequency is a fixed value. Therefore, the laptop sometimes “slows down”. G-Sync and FreeSync technologies minimize this problem.

Graphics card for gaming laptop
Most laptops are equipped with graphics cards with chips from Nvidia. Games are quite “nimble” on a GTX 1060 chip with 3Gb memory. Such cards provide a resolution of 1920×1080 and all kinds of effects. for example, reflections in water. For the GTX 1060, it is not a problem to “work” with a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift. For demanding gamers, GTX 1070 and 1080 cards are suitable.

How to choose a processor for a laptop

If you are serious about choosing a laptop, but you are sure to carefully select each component. We will tell you about some of them so that you can freely navigate in all the variety of choices. Today our story will be about processors.

The laptop processor is its heart. Let you have an indecent amount of RAM, a powerful video card, but if the processor is weak, everything will slow down. It was with this problem that many users of the first generations of netbooks faced. they added up to 2 GB of memory, but the processor remained single-core. As a result, they had to spend long minutes waiting for the processor to be cleared and run a program for it. A sad sight.

Which processor should you choose a laptop with? Intel! Why am I not saying anything about AMD now, because they are widely used in desktop computers? Because a laptop is not your desktop computer. And AMD processors are getting warm. Less space means less cooling. The worse the cooling, the more brakes and the likelihood of failure Not only of the processor, but also of other components of the laptop, which were not lucky enough to be near. Of course, I’ll have a bit of a say on AMD processors at the end of this article, but seriously guys. Don’t get fooled by the low cost. Then it will cost you more.

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Intel has processors of the Core line, and there are Celeron and Pentium.

Core processors

Intel processors are divided into generations, and I will tell you in those that are relevant today. In addition to Core, you can find Celeron and Pentium in them.

Sandy Bridge. 2nd Generation Core Processors

Ivy Bridge. 3rd Generation Core

Core i3 / i5 / i7-3xxx. The platform seemed to be better, but somehow it did not take root. Yes, processors have become more energy efficient, yes, the performance of the top models has increased, but no “wow effect” did not happen. This generation has decent low-voltage processors that provide long battery life.

Haswell. 4th Generation Core

Core i3 / i5 / i7-4xxx. This is where a real breakthrough happened. This architecture became very popular almost immediately. and is still popular today. There are a lot of Haswell laptops on the market and we highly recommend buying them. They are cheaper than the newer Skylakes, but their performance and energy efficiency are at a very high level.

Broadwell. 5th Generation Core

Core i3 / i5 / i7-5xxx. Here again, somehow, everything did not really grow together. Few manufacturers have decided to install these processors in their laptops, although it was in this generation that the Core M series processors appeared, intended for installation in extremely thin and light. but expensive. laptops or tablets. The fact that they will not be sent to the masses is explained solely by their niche, although these processors are really good. Of course, you shouldn’t expect miracles of performance from them, but they cope with basic tasks perfectly, especially since, as a rule, they are paired with a solid-state drive.

Skylake. Sixth Generation Core

Core i3 / i5 / i7-6xxx. Well, plus Core m3 / m5 / m7. The latter, like last year’s Core M, are highly energy efficient and fit into thin and light notebooks. Otherwise, this architecture turned out to be very good. Although it should be noted that Skylake-based laptops are still expensive, but if you want to buy a device for years to come, you will definitely prefer this platform. It is quite efficient, and if you are NOT chasing strong powers, then choose low-voltage processors. the laptop will work longer on battery power. This generation, by the way, first appeared mobile quad-core Core i5.

Well, now about the code designations of Intel processors. Immediately after the i3 / i5 / i7 comes the generation number. Core i5-3340M is the third generation processor, that is, Ivy Bridge. The next three numbers are generational performance. M stands for “mobile processor”. QM is a quad-core mobile processor. HQ is a quad-core processor for powerful gaming laptops and workstations. U. processors with increased energy efficiency, but not as powerful. Well, there is also Y. these are very few consuming processors, but at the same time their performance is even lower than in U.

And finally, a few words about AMD. If you really want to, then you can, but only under your responsibility. Go for A6, A8 and A10 processors (this is in order of performance gains) and stay away from A4 and heaven forbid E1 and E2.

Complicated? If you do not understand anything, we advise you to read the article again 🙂 if you still have questions, ask them in the comments. And, of course, check out our mobile processor performance comparison table.

How to choose a processor for a laptop?

Although the fact that the processor is not the only element responsible for the performance of a laptop is known, many still prefer to believe that it is. Such people rely on the characteristics of the processor when buying a laptop. The choice of a processor for a laptop begins with the fact that a person directs attention to the clock frequency, most believe that this is the characteristic that describes the performance of the system. But this is completely wrong. For example, Intel processors for laptops are sold without specifying the clock frequency in order not to mislead buyers.

That is why, before buying a laptop, you need to understand well the question of what a modern processor is, what it looks like and what determines its speed. If you read this article carefully, you will be savvy in this matter.

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The performance of any processor is determined by three characteristics: clock frequency, architecture, cache memory. A large value of frequency is necessary only during complex mathematical calculations, therefore Zaostrov does not need to pay attention to this characteristic. Also important parameters when choosing a processor for a laptop are the amount of energy consumed and how hot this processor is. These parameters are responsible for the silent operation of the device, and also affect the duration of the offline mode. How to choose a processor so that it will serve you well and for a long time? You should also pay attention to the cache memory that the laptop has. Currently, there are two types of caches that processors have: the first (L1) and second (L2) levels.

Recently, there has been a growing tendency to equip laptops with so-called mobile processors. The fact that this type of device works on such a processor is evidenced by the additional letter “M” in the product description. Due to the way the architecture of such devices is executed, they have less power consumption and heat dissipation. But despite their excellent properties, laptop manufacturers are NOT ditching desktop processors in their models. Of course, such an alternative will be more noisy and also use more energy, but it is more productive. So in the question of how to choose the right processor, you need to rely on the above factors. It cannot be argued that a mobile processor is much better than a desktop processor or vice versa, since both of these devices are designed for different purposes.

How to choose a processor in terms of the number of cores in it? Buyers have been asking this question since 2006, when several major laptop companies first released such mobile models on dual-core processors. The main advantage of this technology is the ability to perform several tasks at once. This significantly increases the speed of your computer. The only significant difference from single-core counterparts is the high price of such models.

Intel notebook processors are currently available in dual-core versions. But Intel is not the only manufacturer of such models; processors made by AMD create great competition for the company. Each of THESE manufacturers is trying to fulfill their models more perfectly, for their part Intel makes faster processors, at the same time AMD processors are considered the best in terms of energy-saving processors. But, even considering these factors, it is impossible to feel a big difference in the operation of THESE devices. Therefore the question “how to choose a processor”, and which one, intel or AMD, remains open.

For video editing

To work with video content, be it editing or rendering, you need rather powerful processors that are almost identical in parameters to the game options. 4 cores. minimum, provided that the laptop already has a productive discrete video card.

For graphics tasks, a quad-core, eight-thread i5-8250U (installed in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6) or Ryzen 5 2500U are suitable. The ThinkPad E485 is equipped with such a processor.

If there are strict budget constraints in your comments, you should take a closer look at the six-core i7 Coffee Lake with 12 threads and high frequencies (it stands in the MacBook Pro 15 “). Such a central bank can do almost any task.
Choosing the right CPU for your laptop is easy if you know what features will allow it to “take out” specific tasks. For web surfing, text work or study, the simplest percent will do. Gamers and designers need a bigger model. The criteria described in this manual and the examples provided will help you determine the device faster.

For games

A good discrete graphics card is not all that is needed for pleasant gameplay, as most modern gaming projects are processor-dependent. Which processor to choose for a gaming laptop depends on the system requirements of the games that the gamer prefers, as well as his wishes for graphics presets.

Related: Top 5 Intel Processors for NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 TI. Ranked


Figure 3. Computer multitasking.

As mentioned just above, the number of CPU cores affects its performance. Namely, multitasking. Let’s give a simple example:

  • Imagine yourself as a streamer. In addition to the fact that you will have to play any computer game with maximum graphic settings, you will also have to run in parallel a program that allows you to record and broadcast your gameplay over the Internet in real time. In addition, during this entire lesson you will have to use a browser with two or more open tabs. Indeed, in the course of the game, your viewers will leave you comments, which should be read and answered. Otherwise, you will lose your audience.
  • Not every dual-core processor is capable of providing stable operation of even one game alone. What does it say about all the above set? To comfortably broadcast live online, you need a computer with at least a quad-core processor, so that there is one core per program.
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operating system

Typically, laptops are sold with operating systems preinstalled in them. The most common operating systems are currently Windows family systems: XP, Vista, 7, which will be enough for the needs of most users. However, these systems require a license and later increase the cost of a laptop, so if you have the opportunity to purchase a laptop with similar technical parameters at a lower price, but an operating system that does not suit you, feel free to buy it, and you can install the required OS yourself.

choose, laptop, processor

Apple laptops come with a proprietary Mac OS operating system and a set of all the applications necessary for operation. In this case, you do not have to reinstall anything. Most often, users refuse Linux / Unix-based systems, which require more qualifications, are not suitable for running games, as well as a number of other applications.

How to find out how many cores are in my computer?

If you don’t know how many cores your PC has, there are several ways to find out. The first and the simplest one is to enter the name of your laptop into a search engine and subtract the necessary information on the Internet. If you DO NOT trust information from the Internet, then do the following:

Step 1.

  • Expand the “Start” menu and select “Computer”.
  • In the window that opens, click on an empty space in the folder with the right mouse button in the context menu, select “Properties”.

Figure 8. Viewing computer properties.

Step 2.

  • A window with information about the operating system and brief characteristics of the PC will appear on your screen.
  • On the left side of the window, click on the link “Device Manager”.

Figure 9. Go to “Device Manager”.

Step 3.

  • In the window that opens, expand the “Processors” tab and count how many “processors” you have displayed. This will be the number of cores.
  • If you right-click one of them and select the “Properties” item, then you can get more detailed information in your processor and the driver installed for it, which can be updated in the same window.

Figure 10. Viewing the number of processor cores.

Removable storage

Despite the widespread use of the Internet and flash technologies, some information is still more convenient to store on CDs and DVDs, the advantage of which is low cost and rewritability.

At the same time, many manufacturers refuse to use optical drives, as this allows to reduce the size and weight of the device. Therefore, ultraportable computers, as a rule, are not equipped with pretexts. However, if you plan to constantly install new games on your laptop and watch movies without using a DVD drive, you cannot do.

A good solution for those who want to keep the device compact and at the same time provide the ability to read and write CD and DVD discs is to use an external drive that connects to a laptop using USB.

For simple tasks

One of the main advantages of such CPUs, in addition to the low price, is energy efficiency and heat dissipation, rather than requiring powerful cooling.

With the selection of a processor for THESE purposes, everything is simple: any option from 2 cores with a frequency of 1.6 GHz or more will do. Any integrated graphics chip is enough. For example, the dual-core A6-9500 and G4900 are inexpensive, but have decent speed and a decent graphics chip.

Choosing a laptop processor for your tasks

As mentioned above, you can choose the right CPU for a laptop, only taking into account the responsibilities assigned to the device. All laptop processors can be conditionally divided into 3 types:

  • For uncomplicated tasks;
  • Gaming;
  • For work with graphics and video editing.