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Home > Laptop Buyer's Guide > Processor & Memory

What Is The Best Processor For Your Laptop?

This is where you'll determine the power and speed of your computer. Remember that notebook CPUs are mostly not upgradeable, so buy Refurbished Laptops that are fast enough to meet your current and future processing requirements.

Processor Types & Speeds

Entry-level notebooks are often built around an Intel Celeron processor, which is adequate for word processing, Web surfing, and e-mail. On a higher-end notebook, look for a Pentium 4 processor.

For those who are looking for bargain-priced notebooks, don't go much lower than a Pentium III at 700 Mhz or higher. You can really save a lot buying a Pentium III right now, but those will soon be unable to handle many newer versions of software.

If you're looking at Macintosh notebooks, they'll be based on PowerPC G4 processors, which are the current standard for Mac notebooks at the moment.

RAM Memory For Your Notebook

Rather than sinking your money into a higher clock speed (MHz rating) for a given processor, make sure the notebook has sufficient memory. In general, increasing the amount of RAM in a system will improve real performance much more than boosting the processor speed.

Most lower-priced notebooks are sold with 512 MB of system memory (RAM). That's not enough for running applications efficiently under Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows or 7. If you use your notebook for occasional typing and web browsing you could get by with at least 2 GB of RAM but you would probably be much happier with 4 GB minimum, or more.

Power users should stick to Refurbished Laptops with at least 4 GB of laptop memory or more. It is very important that the memory is purchased when you buy the computer as many notebooks have only one or two memory expansion slots and you will wind up throwing away the old memory when you upgrade.

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