Thursday, September 29, 2022

How Powerful Of A Laptop Do I Need

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The Most Powerful Laptops On Sale Today

Buying a new computer: How much processing power do you need?
Reasons to avoid

The latest generation of MacBook Pro laptops are some of the most powerful devices on the market. They can be completely configured to your exact needs, allowing you to customize your specifications for video editing, photography or audio mixing. Equipped with a choice between either an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC , that combines the CPU and GPU together, there’s nothing you can throw at it that it won’t run, and run well at that.

It’s had a complete redesign since 2019 that has reintroduced built-in ports, now featuring three Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port to give you plenty of options for your peripherals, and you don’t need to carry around a cumbersome dongle.

That 14.3-inch 120 Hz mini-LED display is also one of the best we’ve ever seen on a laptop, giving you crisp, accurate color and delivering up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

If you need multiple displays for your work then you can connect up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV with M1 Max, or two Pro Display XDRs if you opt for the M1 Pro.

For more details, read our MacBook Pro 14-inch review.

Reasons to avoid

If you’re a sceptic of the Apple silicon M1, but you’re not prepared to make the mump over to using a Windows device then good news – the previous generation of MacBook Pro laptops are still some of the most powerful devices available to buy.

Reasons to avoid
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid

What Is A Usb Port

USB ports let you connect your laptop to a number of different accessories and devices including your external mouse, printer, camera and mobile phone.

USB-C is a new type of USB port. It is smaller and has no right way up, so cables and devices can be plugged in first time, every time. USB-C is backwards compatible with older USB ports too, although youll need an adapter to connect devices with USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports.

USB 3.1 is a variety of USB-C, which features the fastest data-transfer speeds ever from a USB port. Although currently not that common, USB 3.1 is worth looking for if you regularly transfer large files between your laptop and other devices, such as uncompressed images or external storage.

What’s The Best Laptop For Home Travel Or Both

The pandemic changed how and where a lot of people work. The small, ultraportable laptops valued by people who regularly traveled may have suddenly become woefully inadequate for working from home. Or maybe instead of needing long battery life, you’d rather have a bigger display with more graphics power for gaming.

If you’re going to be working on a laptop and don’t need more mobility than moving it from room to room, consider a 15.6-inch laptop or larger. In general, a bigger screen makes life easier for work and is more enjoyable for entertainment, and also is better if you’re using it as an extended display with an external monitor. It typically means you’re getting more ports, too, so connecting an external display or storage or a keyboard and mouse are easier without requiring a hub or dock.

For travel, stay with 13- or 14-inch laptops or two-in-ones. They’ll be the lightest and smallest while still delivering excellent battery life. What’s nice is that PC-makers are moving away from 16:9 widescreens toward 16:10- or 3:2-ratio displays, which gives you more vertical screen space for work without significantly increasing the footprint. These models usually don’t have discrete graphics or powerful processors, though that’s not always the case.

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Best Laptop 202: The 15 Laptops We Recommend

There are so many to choose from, so let CNET help you choose the right laptop.

There may be no decision more fraught than buying a new laptop computer. You use this device every day and chances are it’s integral to managing your day-to-day life — tasks like work, school, ordering necessities and paying bills.

To make the decision even more difficult, most laptops look pretty much the same and it takes a deep dive into the details and a thorough understanding of computer specs to understand the difference between models. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we can help.

At CNET our computer experts have spent a combined 60 years testing and reviewing laptops, covering everything from performance to price to battery life, all to help you find and buy the best laptop. We’re here to help you pinpoint the best laptop for your needs. This hand-curated list covers our top picks across various laptop sizes, styles and budgets and those running on Windows, MacOS and Chrome. Microsoft recently released the full version of its Windows 11 operating system and all of the laptops on this list should fully support the new OS.

This list is periodically updated with new models we’ve tested and reviewed. It’s a great place to start to get an idea of what’s available. But if you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to our laptop FAQ at the bottom of the list.

Gaming Laptop Vs Normal Laptop: Ram

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Random Access Memory is your computers short-term memory it is responsible for storing data for programs that are open on your computer so that it can be quickly retrieved by the CPU.

RAM is needed because it is usually much faster to read and write information from it than from other storage devices such as the hard drive.

Normal laptops come with between 4 GB and 8 GB of RAM, gaming laptops, on the other hand, have between 8 GB and 16 GB of RAM. It is quite rare to find a modern gaming laptop with less than 8 GB of RAM.

Some high-end gaming laptops will have up to 32 GB of RAM, but this is considered overkill since most people, at least for now, will not have use for 32 GB of RAM. Generally, the more RAM your laptop has, the more expensive it will be.

Normal laptops have less RAM than gaming laptops because they are built to run less demanding programs such as video players, web browsers, and light business applications that dont require lots of data to be held in memory.

On the other hand, games, graphic design software, and other demanding applications come with a lot of assets that need to be loaded into memory first for them to run smoothly. For example, AAA games titles such as Fallout 4 require a minimum of 8 GB RAM.

For Example, Windows 10 Operating System alone requires between 1GB and 2GB of RAM to operate.

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Screen More Space The Better

Programming involves spending large amounts of time in front of your laptop. The quality of the screen is important, as is as little strain on the eyes as possible. For that reason, we recommend getting a laptop with a 15-inch screen just for sheer convenience. If youre looking at something portable, then opt for a 13-inch or a 14-inch screen.

The screen resolution is also important. Game and software developers should opt for a full HD screen. A higher resolution also gives more workspace so you can have many windows open side by side, instead of having to alt-tab between them. A 4K display would be great, but the text can appear too tiny, and laptops with these displays can be quite expensive. Regardless of what kind of screen you choose, a matte screen reflects a lot less than reflective screens, so its less distracting.

Choose The Right Size

Before you look at specs or pricing, you need to figure out just how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are usually categorized by their display sizes:

  • 11 to 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
  • 13 to 14 inches: Provides the best balance of portability and usability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs under 4 pounds.
  • 15 to 16 inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops usually weigh 4 to 5.5 pounds. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often. Laptops with 16-inch displays are rare but Apple might get the trend started with its 16-inch MacBook Pro.
  • 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity.

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Should I Get A Gaming Laptop If Im Not Much Of A Gamer

You could opt for a gaming laptop even if youre not a gamer solely for performance reasons since most gaming laptops are heavily equipped with solid specs. These machines can easily handle anything from your curriculum but if youre keen on design, and looking for a lighter laptop then an outright gaming laptop might not suit you.

What Processor Do You Need

5 things you need in a Gaming Laptop!

The Central Processing Unit is the brain of your computer. The two main makers are Intel and AMD with Intel leading the pack by far. All of them have different classes and performance levels, just like your typical car maker, ranging from the lower-end one that gets you from A to B and the luxury-class super-car for the top 1%.

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Get Rid Of ‘bloatware’

It’s not just old computers that can suffer from latency. New computers can too and that’s often down to the bloatware manufacturers preinstall on their laptops. This sometimes takes the form of the manufacturers own software and services, but it can also include third-party applications which are preinstalled as part of commercial distribution deals between the manufacturer and software vendors. Whether you refer to it as bloatware, crapware or PUP , this unwelcome software can really slow down a computer.

Similarly to the old programmes and utilities mentioned above, these services can clog up processing power and memory and can eat into valuable storage space. You may find that some preinstalled programmes – such as the Microsoft Office suite or Dropbox desktop client – are useful additions, but theres a good chance that at least a couple of them will be surplus to requirements, so its worth taking the time to go through a new laptop and identify any preinstalled apps that can be given the boot.

How Much Ram Do You Need

In the early days of computing, more Random Access Memory meant more performance. Today this holds true still, although memory has lost its significance a bit. Today, the bare minimum should be 4 GB as itll be filled up by your Windows version and just a handful of apps.

Just a few browser tabs from Chrome and Edge were enough to eat up over 2 GB of RAM

In the example above, I fired up 15 tabs in Microsoft Edge and just 8 in Google Chrome and theyre taking up between 1.3 and 1.8 GB of RAM. Combined with all other programs and Windows itself that would fill up 4 GBs of memory instantly, which would cause immense slowdowns, crashes, or 100% disk usage issues. Thats why wed recommend at least 4 GB but if you have the budget go with the 8.

If youre a hardcore gamer or need to do some serious work like video editing, then go with 16 or 32 GBs of RAM.

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Understanding Graphics Performance: Power For Play And Content Creation

If the kind of speed you are after is for PC gaming, what you need is a laptop with a dedicated graphics chip, or GPU. Most of the leading-edge gaming laptops these days use various flavors of Nvidia’s GeForce mobile chips, with the RTX 30 series the current kings of the hill.

If your laptop has a 1080p display, a GeForce RTX 3050 or higher chip will generally suffice, if you play modern games at high settings. The RTX 3070 is usually a good match for a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels , while a GeForce RTX 3080 will be overkill for 1080p but a good starting point for gaming on a 4K screen. That said, most gamers stick to 1080p.

If you’ll use your gaming laptop with an external monitor or monitors that have a higher resolution than the laptop’s built-in screen, you might consider a GPU that’s several steps ahead of the laptop’s own screen. Otherwise, you’ll want to match the performance of the GPU with the upper limits of the laptop’s own panel.

On a related note, laptops with screens that support Nvidia’s G-Sync technology are worth looking out for. In these, the screen rewrites at the same rate that the GPU churns out frames, in essence adjusting the refresh rate dynamically. This reduces screen artifacts and “tearing” . With a high-refresh screen, a top-notch GPU will be better leveraged with G-Sync, a marginal one will be enhanced.

Do I Need A Laptop With A Long Battery Life

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If you regularly use your laptop on the go, a longer battery life is useful. A laptop with 10 hours or more of battery life gives you the freedom to work all day without charging – ideal for taking notes in meetings, checking emails on the commute, or watching a film during down time.

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When Searching For A Laptop Computer For Your Business You Need To Consider Your Budget Your Preferred Operating System The Design And Technical Components Like Cpus And Battery Life

There are plenty of top-10 lists out there for people who want a quick reference as to the best work laptops on the market, but this laptop buying guide will teach you how to buy computers the clever way, without relying on the opinions of someone else. Don’t be concerned if you have little to no tech support or limited experience once you know the nuts and bolts of what makes a good laptop, the shopping process will be much less overwhelming.

This buying guide is designed to be worked through step by step and considers general hardware best practices as well as the budgetary and deployment concerns of small business owners.

Where To Buy A Laptop

Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Laptops Direct are some of the most searched-for laptop retailers at the time of writing. Weve included links to these retailers because of their stock availability, best value price, or warranty options.

Argos

As well as stocking a variety of laptops costing between £200-£3,000, Argos offers free, same-day, in-store collection at selected Sainsbury’s stores, where you can bump up your Nectar points, too. Or, if you’d rather have your product delivered, prices start at £3.95.

Argos also offers free returns to any Argos store within 30 days of purchase. Most laptops come with a manufacturer guarantee of at least one year.

Currys

Currys stocks over 300 laptop brands including HP, Dell, Apple and Lenovo. Prices start at under £200.

The Currys Price Promise ensures that if you find a product cheaper elsewhere, Currys will match the price or beat it, as well as match discount codes.

Most laptops come with a manufacturer guarantee of at least one year.

John Lewis

If you buy from John Lewis, you will receive a free two-year warranty on a range of over 200 laptops from a huge selection of brands, including gaming, 2-in-1, and home office models. John Lewis also provides a technical support service to answer your queries seven days a week.

Plus, if you find a product cheaper at a different high street store, you can make a price match request online, in store, or over the phone.

Laptops Direct

There’s free delivery to most of the UK.

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The Key Engines Of Editing: Cpu And Memory

The two most important laptop components for video editors are the CPU and memory. Most applications are optimized to take advantage of modern multi-core CPUs, which usually means that the more cores you have, the better. Multithreading, which enables each core to handle two processing threads simultaneously, is also important. To find out more about the CPU in the laptop you’re eyeing, look it up in Intel’s product directory or an AMD’s Ryzen CPU product pages. Any chip that you are eyeing for serious video work should have at least four cores and support multithreading for eight concurrent threads of processing. High-end laptop chips can support up to eight cores and 16 threads.

For a bird’s-eye view of how a higher processor core count increases performance, you’ll want to check out how well the laptop you’re considering fares on our Cinebench benchmark, which is listed in the performance section of each review. This test uses software from video-effects titan Maxon to spit out a proprietary score based on how quickly the PC can render a 3D image. Although multiple factors can influence the score, in general, the more cores the CPU has and the more addressable threads it supports, the quicker the image renders.

The principle is the same for video-editing software such as Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, which are engineered to distribute compute tasks over multiple cores just like Cinebench.

What Is An Embedded Multi

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An embedded multi-media card is flash storage thats attached to a devices motherboard. eMMC storage is most common on tablets, but is featured on some laptops, 2 in 1s and Chromebooks. Its a great solution for smaller devices, although it doesnt offer the capacity and performance benefits that other storage devices do.

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