Laptop Buying Guide (2023): How to Choose the Right PC (Step-by-Step Guide)

It’s in the graphics performance that you’ll notice a difference. In my testing, both in benchmarks and real-world usage, AMD’s integrated graphics tend to perform better than Intel’s on graphics-intensive tasks—think editing videos or playing games. games. Intel’s most recent series of chips has narrowed that gap significantly, but AMD still has an advantage. You might benefit from buying an AMD machine if you’re a video editor or gamer, but what you probably want is a dedicated graphics card. (More information on this in the GPU section below.)

How much processing power do you need?

If you’re a typical user who uses a web browser, Microsoft’s Office suite, and maybe even photo editing software, we recommend a laptop with a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor or later. This would display something like “Intel Core i5-10350U”.

If you can afford it, an Intel i7 chip is a nice upgrade and will make your laptop snappier. However, the extra power often means shorter battery life, so you’ll need to balance that with your needs. A gaming laptop, for example, would use an i7 (or i9) chip, but an i5 is generally suitable for less demanding tasks. Likewise, for the average user, the AMD Ryzen 5000 series will suffice, but the Ryzen 7000 is a nice upgrade, again at the expense of battery life.

We generally recommend avoiding Intel Core i3 (and by extension AMD Ryzen 3) chips with Windows 11. The experience in my testing was frustratingly slow, with frequent and loud fan noise. While both Series 3 chips are suitable for Chromebooks and minimal Linux setups, Windows users are better off with an Intel i5 or Ryzen 5 chip.

Are you an experienced user?

If you compile software, edit videos, or work with very large databases, you’ll need 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 CPUs for Chrome OS Laptops

Chromebook Flex5

Lenovo Flex 5

Photo: Lenovo

Chrome OS is built around Google’s Chrome web browser and runs most software directly in the browser. This means it doesn’t need big, powerful Intel chips. At least that’s the theory. In my experience, Chrome OS works best with at least an Intel i3 chip or, what I think is the best value you can currently get with a Chromebook, an AMD Ryzen 4000 chip.

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