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Laptop Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Computer (Step-by-Step Guide)

Laptop Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Computer (Step-by-Step Guide)


Knowing which operating system you want and running the software idea, you can know the minimum hardware specifications you need. The first thing we propose to look at is the processor, also called the chip or CPU.

There are basically two companies that do laptop processing processes: Intel and AMD.

Intel processors

Intel’s main processors are Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9. The Core i3 is the most powerful, the Core i9 is the most powerful. Usually we throw away the name “Nucleus” because it becomes repetitive.

Within each of these chip lines, Intel uses strings of crypto capabilities and letters and numbers that provide more information when it came out. Learning to decipher will help you make better purchasing decisions. (Here Intel’s guide to its model designation.)

Intel Core i5-10510U how websites of laptop manufacturers can list the type of processor.

Let’s break it down. The first numbers (“10”) refer to the generation; in this case it is a 10th generation chip. The I5-9510U would be a ninth-generation chip or probably one year or older.

The next two or three numbers (“510”) are related to performance. The higher these numbers, the stronger the chip. That’s only true on that chip line, though. Intel Core i5-10510U is slightly more powerful than Intel Core i5-10210U, but a lot less Powerful than the Intel Core i7-10350U. The I7 chip is always stronger than the i5a, and the difference is greater than the difference between two chips in the same line of chips.

The end letter of the chip name (“U” in our example) is Intel’s designation for chip purposes. On laptops, the letters you see at the end are Y, U, and H. All you need to worry about are the Y series chips, which are optimized for battery life. This is good if you are often away from an outlet for a long time, but this battery life comes at the expense of some performance. H chips are optimized for performance, and U chips are “energy efficient,” but not as “highly” efficient as the Y line.

AMD processors

AMD’s chip designation is as difficult to decipher as Intel’s.

On behalf of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, it’s the “3” generation (how old it is; the bigger the better), and how powerful the “6” is. A “6” would turn this example into a medium power chip, 3 or 4 would be weaker (slower). The next two numbers have little effect on anything. The “X” indicates high performance at the end. Among other letter designations, U is very low power.

Is there a big difference between Intel and AMD chips? My experience is that I test both tens every year … it all depends. Overall, an Intel i5 differs from the Ryzen 5 in that it goes beyond very specific references. They are similar when you are browsing the web or editing documents. The same goes for Intel i7 and Ryzen 7 and Intel i3 and Ryzen 3.

Graphic performance is another area where you will notice the difference. In my tests, both in terms of benchmarks and the use of real work, AMD’s integrated graphics work better than Intel in graphics-intensive tasks — think about editing videos or playing games. Intel’s latest chip series have closed that gap significantly, but AMD still has the advantage. If you’re a video editor or gamer buying an AMD machine can benefit, but probably what you want is a dedicated graphics card. (More on that section GPU below.)

How much processing power do you need?

If you’re a regular user using a web browser, Microsoft’s Office Suite, and perhaps photo editing software, we recommend a laptop with an eighth-generation or newer Intel Core i5 processor. It would display something like “Intel Core i5-8350U”.



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