What To Look For In A Laptop Processor

Laptop computers are handy when you need a portable device for email, homework or other tasks. All computers are not created equally, however. You may be interested in a computer mainly for its portability, or you may need a supercharged, high-powered video editing workstation. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for in a laptop processor, these considerations might help.

Function

To put it simply, the processor, or “CPU,” is the computer’s brain. It allows the computer to execute programs; the faster the processor speed, the faster the computer is able to execute programs.

Processor speed is measured in Hz, or “Hertz.” Hertz is a measure of frequency, or cycles per second. Modern computer processor speeds are measured in GigaHertz (GHz), which is equal to approximately one billion cycles per second. Several years ago, computers were measured in MegaHertz (MHz), or millions of cycles per second.

Speed

When considering computer processors, speed is what most people consider first. Newer operating systems generally require a lot of speed. When programs are included, speed demands increase. The best general rule of thumb is to check the recommended processor requirements of the program you use or will be using most. Most programs include a minimum required speed, and then recommend a higher speed for full functionality. In order to get the best performance out of your computer, follow the recommended speed as a guideline.

Heat

With speed comes heat. A processor is essentially a number of circuits through which electricity is conducted at high speed. With billions of processes being performed every second, your processor will be creating a lot of heat.

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When considering a laptop processor, consider the amount of heat it will create. As the processor heats up, it will slow down; if your processor gets too hot, the computer will shut down, and there is a possibility of damage to the motherboard.

Make sure that the computer you are considering has a well-ventilated chassis. If a computer does not look like it will be venting much heat, don’t buy it. Not only will the processor get hot, but you will feel the heat, from the bottom of your computer and through the keyboard, as well.

Productivity

Consider what you will be doing with your computer; if it is only going to be an emailing and Internet browsing computer, you will not need a higher-speed processor. The same goes for homework computers. Generally speaking, a computer that will be used for creating documents, spreadsheets and slide shows will not need a high-speed processor.

If you edit video or images, or plan on using the computer for multiple tasks at once, tasks that include running several programs at the same time, you will need a processor with a higher speed. Video game players will also need a computer with a high-speed processor, if the laptop is going to be used for gaming purposes.

Considerations

Modern computers are usually designed for specific purposes. Netbooks are low-speed, browsing and email-specific computers that can fit in pockets. Desktop replacements usually include the high speeds and wide screens associated with desktop computers. Between those two general models, there are many choices that can be made. The biggest consideration for an unsure buyer should be finding a computer whose processor speed is adequate for his purposes.

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When choosing a computer, don’t forget to consider RAM, which works in conjunction with the computer’s processor to keep the machine running smoothly. A computer with a very fast processor may still run slowly if it does not have enough RAM for its needs.

Cautions

Laptop computers produce a great deal of heat; it is not advisable to put the computer on your lap, because the ventilation holes on the computer’s case can be blocked. Blocked vents lead to heat buildup in the computer, which can slow it down, or possibly damage the internal components. Consider purchasing a pad of some sort that will elevate the computer, and provide airflow and exhaust room.