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Laptop RAM and Processors

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RAM (Random Access Memory)

laptop-ram1Random Access Memory (RAM) is a fairly straight forward concept.  Currently nearly all laptops will need something called DDR3 (speeds vary) or PC3 (speeds vary).  DDR3 stands for “double data rate type 3”.  It first appeared in the marketplace in 2005 so if you are buying a laptop with DDR2 it is probably used and slower than what you will want today so avoid it.

The more RAM you have, the more efficiently your computer will work.  It is fairly widely known that the quickest, cheapest upgrade you can give any computer generally, is to increase the RAM.  I say generally because we need to take into account the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit processors.  If your laptop has 32-bit architecture, you can only use 2.5 GB of RAM.  If you have 64-bit architecture, you can stuff as much RAM into your computer as it will hold.  All laptops will have a maximum amount of RAM it will recognize and use.  Look for laptops with a maximum of 8GB, 12GB or 16GB.

With every new Windows Operating Systems, you need more RAM.  It seems Microsoft products have a never ending hunger for RAM.  Touchscreens work better with more RAM.  You can take better advantage of your multiple core processors….you can run more tasks simultaneously with more RAM.

It seems most laptops come with a minimum of 4GB of RAM.  Be sure that even though you have 4 GB of RAM in your laptop you can install a maximum of 8 GB of RAM.  Manufacturers usually only include half the RAM that you can possibly put in.  I find 4 GBs is “ok” but I always feel more comfortable with 8 GBs. Better laptops are coming with 12 to 16 GBs of RAM these days.

The Important thing is RAM is Currently Cheap

I use this as a heading because I want it to stand out.  RAM is cheap!!!  RAM is simple to install.  BUY extra and have your seller install it for you.  Just make absolutely sure it matches the RAM already inside your laptop.


processors1-300x166I am going to say this right from the get-go:  I have changed my mind about the usefulness of Intel Celeron processors.  There may be instances where you may want to buy a Celeron chip.  First, Chromebooks often use Celeron chips.  Chromebooks (I will explain later) do not necessarily have a need for intense graphics.  Another reason may be because you need a laptop and you just don’t have the money for a Macbook and the Celeron laptop you want is only $299.  That’s the thing with Celeron computers….they are not expensive.  And they are fast!  It is not uncommon to see Celeron processors in the range of 2.5 to 3.8 GHz.  So if you are just going online, not doing much with complex graphics (both software on websites), just browsing, doing email, Microsoft Office then maybe Celeron is for you.

AMD and Intel

There are loads of people that only use Intel chips or AMD chips.  As it stands right now, there is not much of a difference between the two.  You may have 2 very similar laptops.  One AMD and the other Intel.  The AMD will be at least $100 less in price just because they are not as expensive.  You are not giving anything up going with AMD.  As a matter of fact I have had an AMD 6-core processor for the last 2 years.  I’m pretty sure I only paid around $289 for it.  Intel?  I don’t know if they are offering a 6-core yet.  If they are it must be in the top of the line Extreme Editions and be very rare indeed.

Current Intel processors are 4th generation Intel Core i3, i5, and i7.  So what’s the difference?  First off, the Core i3 is more of a budget laptop.  With each generation you will get better performance so buy a processor with the highest number you can afford.  Core i5 laptops tend to be (but not exclusively) dual core while many Core i7’s are quad-core (but again, not exclusively).  Core i7 will be better for multitasking, multimedia tasks, high-end gaming, and scientific work.  If you take a look at very similar laptops, one Core i5 and the other Core i7, you will find the Core i5 will be about $170 cheaper.

The new Intel Core M Processor

chips5Intel is just now releasing a new processor.  It is called the Intel Core-M processor.  Intel built the Core M to deliver high performance in ultra thin and fanless form factors, and they already have a number of partners ready to use it this Holiday Season.  These companies include Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba.  They all are planning to release 2-in-1 hybrids with the Core M. The big deal for these OEMs is that the 14nm Core M package is 50 percent smaller and uses 60 percent less power than the previous generation. Wondering about performance?  Intel says Core M delivers twice the compute performance and up to seven times better graphics compared to a 4-year-old PC.

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