Buying a laptop - how important is Processor Type?

  Emilee 13:50 16 Aug 2006


I am a totally clueless when it comes to computers or anything technical i'm afraid and i i and trying to buy a laptop for starting uni in September. I have a budget of around £450 give or take and have a selection to choose from. Just wondering what the difference is between the different processor types - does it make any difference? The ones i am looking at have the following processor types: Celeron M, Intel Celeron, or Intel Pentium M??? How do i know which is best?

Any help would be much appreciated!

  johndrew 14:10 16 Aug 2006

What are you going to use the laptop for?

If you want to play games you need a bit of power (and will pay for it), if you only want to use it for `work` and some online gathering of data plus e-mails then a celeron processor will do.

Make certain you don`t change your mind and want more power later - it can be expensive. In general terms, for project work I would suggest a larger hard drive is more important.

  Emilee 14:14 16 Aug 2006

Hi John,

Thanks for your reply. I will just be using it for work so word, excel powerpoint that kind of thing plus internet/email use. Won't be playing games. Will want to store digital pics though. I was going to go for 60GB hard drive.

  GaT7 14:20 16 Aug 2006

Some info abour laptop processors click here, & a table showing the differences with respect to type, performance, battery life & price click here. G

  €dstowe 14:43 16 Aug 2006

There is an awful lot of fuss, hype and snobbery made about whether Intel or AMD processors are better. I've had, and still have, machines with one or other brand and, for similar specifications about performance, there is little if anything to choose between them.

Yes, OK, on a laboratory test bench there will be differences but for practical purposes, the speed of modern CPUs is so high that the small advantage in performance of one over the other is not going to be noticable in normal use.

There are plenty of other things to concern yourself about in buying a computer than whether it's an Intel or AMD and a guide such as Crossbow7 suggests will be much more use to you.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 14:55 16 Aug 2006

Go for the cheapest processor as you will not notice any difference. As €dstowe wrote, there is a awful lot of hype, nonsense, snobbery and general rubbish written about processors....used to be the same about camera lenses.


  FelixTCat 16:43 16 Aug 2006


Although your question was specifically about processors, laptops are like all machines - a compromise.

Since you are price limited, getting the best compromise is very important and does depend on what you expect to use the laptop for. The 4 main factors are processor speed, memory, hard disk size and connectivity.

For word processing, internet etc and no games you do not need a fast processor, nor a vast amount of memory, but you do need at least 256 MB, better 512 MB, particularly if you intend to do any serious photo editing.

For connectivity at Uni you might like to look for a laptop that has built-in wireless networking - the Intel Centrino brand guarantees this but I am sure that there are equivalents.

60 GB sounds about right, but if you are a serious photographer using RAW files, you might want something larger.

Ultimately the choice is yours, but it is not just a matter of the fastest processor.

Best of luck at Uni.



  Emilee 16:49 16 Aug 2006

Thank you all ever so much for all your help, you've been really kind. I think i may plump for a Toshiba A100 i think it is called, from John Lewis - seems to have all i need plus 2 year warranty which i thought was reasonable for the price. Once again thanks to you all for your advice.

  johndrew 16:55 16 Aug 2006

The advice here is obviously all good. If you want to save a bit of cash as well as get the laptop that suits you, these two links offer a fair selection at reasonable prices within your range. Make certain you check the specifications carefully especially hard disk size; because they are `out of fashion` or older models the hard drives may be smaller on some of them.

click here

click here

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