Laptop Buying Guide (2022): How to Choose the Right PC (Step-by-Step Guide)

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The letter at the finish of the chip title (“U” in our instance) is Intel’s designation for the chip’s objective. For laptops, the letters you will see at the finish are Y, U, and H . The just one you want to fear about are the Y collection chips, that are optimized for battery life. That’s good if you happen to’re ceaselessly away from a plug for lengthy durations of time, however that added battery life comes at the expense of some efficiency. H chips are optimized for efficiency, and U chips are “energy environment friendly” but not “extremely” efficient like the Y line.

AMD Processors

AMD’s chip naming is just as difficult to decipher as Intel’s. 

In the name AMD Ryzen 5 7600X, the “7” is the generation (how old it is; higher is better), and the “6” is how powerful it is. A “6” would make this example a medium-powered chip, whereas a 3 or 4 would be weaker (slower). The next two numbers don’t have much impact on anything. The “X” at the end indicates high performance. Other letter designations include U for ultra-low power.

Is there a huge difference between Intel and AMD chips? My experience, testing dozens of both every year, is that it depends. Generally speaking, an Intel i5 is indistinguishable from a Ryzen 5, outside of very specific benchmarks. They’re similar when you’re doing things like browsing the web or editing documents. The same goes for the Intel i7 and Ryzen 7, and the Intel i3 and the Ryzen 3.

Graphics performance is the area you’ll notice a difference. In my testing, in both benchmarks and real work use, AMD’s integrated graphics tend to perform better than Intel on graphics-intensive tasks—think editing video or playing games. Intel’s most recent series of chips have closed that gap significantly, but AMD still has an edge. You may benefit from buying an AMD machine if you’re a video editor or gamer, but what you most likely want is a dedicated graphics card. (More on that in the GPU section below.)

How Much Processing Power Do You Need?

If you’re a typical user who runs a web browser, Microsoft’s Office Suite, and perhaps even some photo editing software, we recommend a laptop with an Intel Core i5 ninth-generation or later processor. That would be displayed something like “Intel Core i5-9350U.”

If you can afford it, an Intel i7 chip makes a nice upgrade and will make your laptop feel snappier. The extra power often means shorter battery life, though, so you’ll need to balance that with your needs. A gaming laptop, for instance, would use an i7 (or i9) chip, but an i3 or i5 is usually fine for less demanding tasks.

Likewise, for the average user the AMD Ryzen 5000 series will suffice, but the Ryzen 7000 makes a nice upgrade—again at the cost of battery life.

Are You a Power User?

If you compile software, edit video, or work with very large databases you’re going to want more processing power than the rest of us. I suggest an Intel i7 or Ryzen 7. You’ll also want to load up on RAM, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Best Processors for Chrome OS laptops

Lenovo Flex 5

Photograph: Lenovo

Chrome OS is constructed round Google’s Chrome net browser and runs most software program straight in the browser. That means it would not want large, highly effective Intel chips. That’s the concept, at the very least. In my expertise, Chrome OS does greatest with at the very least an Intel i3 chip or, what I believe is the greatest worth you’ll be able to at the moment get with a Chromebook, an AMD Ryzen 4000 chip.

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