Just what is the best laptop processor ? The processor or CPU is basically the brain of the computer. There are lots to choose from, but once you understand a few basics, I’m sure you’ll then understand which one is right for you.
Just what is the best processor for laptops is really an open question that due to the amount of processor models now on the market gives us a huge and sometimes confusing range to choose from.
Processors can be divided into several categories
Firstly we have Intel or AMD
Dual Core Processors
Each manufacturer has there own dual core type processor – Core Duo & Duo 2 for Intel and Athlon 64 x 2 and Turion x 2 for AMD
Single Core processors
Intel = Centrino or Pentium 4
AMD = Athlon & Turion
We also have older type such as Pentium 4’s but this technology is very quickly becoming obsolete in the laptop market, due to inability to compete with the newer generations of processors, in terms of performance and battery life.
So what is the best laptop processor for your needs?
If you still wish to run Windows XP on a budget, and you really only use it for general use then a single core processor is fine for this, for single cores I’d be more inclined to go with Intel having found them to perform very well.
But if you’re looking for something with a bit more CPU power, and you don’t mind the extra cost then go for dual core, in terms of manufacturers Intel and AMD are similar here, both make very good processors, so either a Core Duo 2 or a Turion x 2
Note .. if you upgrade to a dual core make sure any applications support multi threading or there will be no noticeable performance increase over a single core with equivalent speed. Read more below.
If I was asked my personal preference, in the end I’d have to go with the Turion, which is what we have done, pound for pound it is on par with the Core Duo, but due to the higher clock speed, slightly better memory management, plus on the whole a cheaper package it certainly does make sense.
Running Windows Vista a dual core is a must, Microsoft minimum specs advise that you can run Vista on a single core processor, but having done this, I can only describe it as painful.
What does dual core actually mean?
Imagine having laptop with two processors, in essence this is what a dual core processor is, dual core refers to a single processor package that has multiple processor cores.
One major point to note with any dual core processors is only able to apply the extra core processing power if the applications being run support multi-threading, otherwise it will only be run as fast as a single core equivalent processor.
One example of this is excel 2003, we have had many questions from people disappointed by slow excel performance when running reports. Excel 2007 has full support for multi cored processors.
Advantages / Disadvantages of Dual Core Processors
Dual core processors are much faster than single core equivalents
They do cost more, but prices are dropping all the time
They do have slightly less battery life than single core.
They produce more heat due to the design
Software has to be written to take advantage of multiple cores, this used to be more of a problem, but all new versions of any software should support multiple threading, as this is now the norm. (multi threading enables the newer generation of multi core processors to apply more than one core to a task within an application, this effectively halving the time)
Notes The processor is not the only part of a laptop that makes it fast or slow, this can also be attributed to speed of hard drives, amount of ram, plus making sure your computer has regular maintenance run on it such as defragmenting and ensuring it is free from spyware or virus’s.
Computer Adviser What is the best laptop processor article
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