It is near impossible to upgrade laptop CPUs. Therefore it is essential to get everything right before buying a laptop. We all know that CPUs determine what your system thinks as it is the ‘computer’s brain.’ It runs the applications on your laptop and executes written code or instructions when programming.
Noticeably, the more powerful it is, the higher the performance of a laptop in playing games, browsing, editing, and so on. So, if you’re here to know which processor is the best for you, then you’re in the right place.
There’s more you can learn about CPUs here: how to identify and read their model name. In this article, we will discuss two major laptop CPUs: Intel and AMD. Not to mention the most recent ARM-based processor called the Apple M1 chip.
Intel has been dominating the CPU industry for decades. However, its counterpart AMD has been trying to create some competition, realizing some success in recent years. And recently, a new player, the Apple Silicon M1 chip has entered the industry, with the potential to have the edge over the two. We’ll get to Intel vs. AMD later, but now let’s look at Apple’s recent M1 chip.
Apple Silicon M1 Chip
Apple handed Intel Corporation a decisive blow last year November, with the release of their new M1 chip processors. They are amazing, with astoundingly high performance and efficiency compared to Intel chips.
When you look at the micro-architectural design of the Apple Silicon chip, it is a collection of chips that are in-built inside one chip. This type of system is called a System on a Chip (SoC). It integrates all the computer components on this one chip (M1 chip): that is – the main CPU, GPU, the Unified Memory Architecture (i.e., the RAM), I/O controller, Neutral engine, and many more – all of which power the different features on a Mac.
This effort by Apple to combine all these chips makes M1 more power-efficient and faster than Intel chips, which have the RAM and other components located separately on the motherboard. For example, when you’re performing a task on a Mac, the Unified Memory Architecture on the M1 chip allows other processor components like the CPU to access the same data pool. As a result, there’s no need to keep interchanging data between multiple pools of memory like with the Intel chips.
To make it more straightforward, think of when you want to make an omelet in your kitchen and don’t have the necessary ingredients. Therefore, you need to go to the nearest grocery store to get them. This is how Intel chips function. You end up using a lot more energy fetching the ingredients, and still, you haven’t made your omelet. But, if you had all the ingredients stored in a freezer, then you wouldn’t need to go to the store to get all these ingredients to make an omelet. The freezer, in this instance, is the Apple M1 chip which has all the ingredients needed to prepare an omelet.
With the M1 chip, you get unparalleled high CPU performance with low power usage and the fastest CPU core. This is what makes it superior to Intel chips. The only downside to Apple Silicon’s M1 chip is that you won’t upgrade or change any components. Instead, you get what has been given.
Apple is now going to release more new M1-powered MacBook Pro and Air, which, as I’ve said are faster and efficient than the previous Intel chips. So there it goes for those who love MacBooks. However, if you still prefer Intel-powered MacBooks, go for the latest Intel Core i9 or Core i7 in the 11th gen series.
Intel vs. AMD: Which is better?
Many PC enthusiasts widely debate this Intel vs. AMD rivalry. But in our case, we will focus on laptop CPUs which is quite a different story as they come already installed.
For several years, Intel has been superior over AMD, annually producing a new generation of processors with redesigned cores aimed at giving more performance than their predecessors — until recently, in 2017, AMD stepped up to the challenge when they released the new Ryzen mobile processor, which caught many people’s eyes. This was where a real rivalry was born.
It is without dispute that AMD has produced high-performance processors compared to Intel in the past three years. Currently, both mobile processors have compelling options as they specialize in different consumer uses. Intel processors are frequently the best choice for gamers because of their high clocking speeds. On the other hand, AMD produces chips that excel in creative content applications due to its high core and threads. This is not to say that Intel and AMD are used exclusively in gaming and content creation, respectively. However, with the recent advancements and upgrades from both sides, it is unclear which side is better than the other.
Last year, Intel released their 11th Gen Intel Core mobile processor, Tiger Lake, which many have boasted will take on the AMD Ryzen 5000 series. The 11th Gen Intel Core is now described as “the world’s best processor for thin and light laptops,” It also represents Intel’s ambition for a SoC optimized CPU. As a result, this Intel Core is twice as faster in gaming performance and in creative content creation and editing.
Conversely, the latest Ryzen 5000 mobile processors have an alluring processing speed and game-integrated graphics. The latest AMD Ryzen 9 mobile processors are expected to provide “ultimate and elite gaming and content creation” performance. Even though they compete aggressively with Intel in the gaming space, they are still more valued where multi-threaded tasks are needed.
For instance, The Tiger Lake G series can run selected games without a discrete graphics card. The Core H-series offers high processing speed for improved performance. Right now, Intel Xeon W-11955M and Intel Core i9-11950H are the best laptop CPUs beating the latest Ryzen 9-5900HX.
Both of these laptop processors are phenomenal in their domains. But if you want to game with your laptop, then an Intel-powered machine is best for you. On the other hand, if yours involves creating creative content, an AMD-powered laptop suffices. However, knowing which mobile processor is better shouldn’t be the only factored in your buying decision.
Which Intel or AMD Processor to Buy
The current Intel processors are better than ever, especially following the release of Tiger Lake processors. However, since Intel holds a larger portfolio of laptops than AMD, it is better to peek at some of Intel’s and AMD’s fastest laptop processors.
It is almost always recommended to buy the latest versions of processors. Since we’re talking about laptops, make sure to check that the processor is recent. If you’re unfamiliar with the naming conventions of Intel and AMD processors, check our article on laptop CPU explained.
But if you’re in a hurry, let’s take a quick look into Intel Core i5-11600K, which is an excellent choice for high-end gaming. The 11 stands for the generation of the CPU, and the two zeroes are the model number. The K means the processor has the highest clock speeds hence the fastest.
Core i5, particularly the 11th Gen chipsets, is the best place to start when buying a new laptop. They are suitable for high-end gaming and image/video editing. Core i7 is more powerful and faster than Core i5, while Core i9, you guessed it, is way more powerful. However, Core i5 consumes less power than Core i7 and i9.
AMD Ryzen laptops are some of the best laptops with prices, performance, and battery life that is hard to beat. The best CPU right now is the latest Ryzen 5000-series. It is still recommended to buy the AMD Ryzen 4000-series as they are still impressive but go for those in the Ryzen 9 and 7 series such as Ryzen 9 4900HS and Ryzen 7 4800H.
Ryzen 9 5900HX is the best of the 5000 series. They are still not in the market but keep an eye out. The Ryzen 9 5900HS and 5980HS offer high performance with low power consumption. These processors are intended for gaming and creative design laptops like the Razer Blade 15. Going for the Ryzen 7 laptops is a good option. Just make sure it belongs in the 5000 series.
Although there is a rivalry between Intel and AMD, none of them can compete with the high-performance levels of Apple Silicon right now. So those who prefer MacBook, there you go. You’ll soon have Apple M1 for your laptops with improved performance never seen before. But for those who are still in between Intel and AMD, make sure the processor specs match your requirements and consider other important factors for buying a laptop. If you’ve enjoyed this article, share your comments down below.