35% of the American population plays video games on their computer. 78% of American households have at least one video streaming subscription, like Netflix or Hulu.
On top of all the fun people are having on their computers, many of them are now working remotely on their laptops as well. Millions of people work from their homes, a coffee shop, or while they travel.
And it’s the modern laptop that empowers all of these activities. In order to work, game, and stream, you need a fast laptop that can keep up with heavy-duty software, and multitask with multiple applications open.
A slow computer ruins productivity and sours any fun experience one might be trying to have. If you’re in the market for a new, high quality laptop, one of the most important things you look for should be speed.
Keep reading below to learn how to choose the fastest, high-performance laptop today.
1. Focus on CPU for a Fast Laptop
If you’re a gamer, you’ll want to choose a computer with the best GPU possible. GPU is what helps to render high-resolution images and videos quickly.
If you don’t play the latest and greatest games then your focus should be on the CPU or your computer’s processing unit.
Your processor is like the engine of a car. The better the engine, the more power your car has, and the faster it can go.
Most computers use Intel Core processors. Intel is the processor powerhouse of the globe, though a few other companies also make them, such as AMD and now Apple.
Intel processors come in different generations. In 2021 and 2022, the earliest generation you should buy is a 10th generation Intel processor. But many of the latest computer models are already running 11th generation processors, so that’s your best bet.
In general, you want to choose an Intel processor with as many cores as possible, and with the highest clock speed. Four cores should be a minimum, but six or eight will be much faster.
And the higher the clock speed, which is denoted in hertz (GHz), the faster your computer will run.
2. The More RAM, the Better
RAM is extremely important when determining the speed of a laptop. The more RAM you have, the better. When choosing a laptop, you can often purchase the same computer at different prices. The only difference is the amount of RAM you want.
Consider 8GB RAM to be your baseline. If you want a fast computer, don’t get anything with less than eight. Even better would be to get a computer with 16GB, though some people like to splurge and get even more.
Random-access memory (RAM) is your computer’s short-term memory. The applications you are using at any given moment will have much of their data stored in the RAM.
This is the memory that is easily retrievable, ensuring programs can run fast and smooth, without having to dig deep through archives of files to find the information it needs.
RAM is crucial for those who multitask. If you like to have a web browser open while also editing spreadsheets, or running other software, you’ll need lots of RAM. Likewise, gamers and streamers will benefit from the most RAM possible.
3. Dedicated Graphics Card
Regular laptops have an integrated graphics processor to handle the fast-changing images and videos on your computer. But integrated graphics aren’t nearly as fast or powerful as a separate, dedicated graphics card, like those from NVIDIA or AMD.
A dedicated graphics card comes with its own VRAM. Basically, it has its own RAM storage, so that video and gaming don’t have to borrow storage space from your computer’s RAM. When that happens, the whole computer runs slowly.
So streaming video and playing games rely so heavily on fast-changing graphics, a dedicated graphics card is the only way to enjoy a smooth-flowing video that doesn’t lag or skip.
NVIDIA Geforce and AMD Radeon are the two most popular graphics options for laptops.
4. Choose SSD Over HDD
For many years, HDD has been the standard hard drive type for computers of all kinds, laptops included. But HDDs have moving parts and aren’t the most efficient storage system. Plus, they are much louder.
SSD is the newer, better type of hard drive. SSD drive uses flash memory for data storage. Files are much faster to retrieve on SSD laptops vs HDD. SSD drives also use less power, so they won’t suck up your precious battery life as fast as HDD drives.
5. Make Sacrifices
If your priority is a fast laptop then you’re going to have to make sacrifices somewhere. Fast, powerful hardware is generally bigger and heavier than normal, or slow hardware. More power takes up more space.
So the fastest computer will rarely be the lightest or smallest. You will need to sacrifice portability in order to get a fast laptop. Your computer will still be portable, as all laptops are.
But your laptop might weigh six lbs instead of three lbs. It might be an inch thick, instead of a millimeter thick. But you can still feel cool, knowing that your laptop is faster than anyone else’s at the coffee shop.
However, you can bypass the sacrifices by choosing a computer equipped with an Intel Evo processor.
Intel Evo laptops are designed to be razor thin and super light, yet equipped with the hardware required to run at lightning speeds, which is near impossible to do. They use 11th gen Intel processors, dedicated Intel graphics, and an entire environment of internal components that run cohesively to create a super-responsive laptop.
So if you hate the thought of making a tradeoff, you just found your solution to portability and power.
6. Cooling System
If you want a fast laptop, then you are probably using it for heavy-duty tasks like video streaming, gaming, creating, or just intense web browsing. Either way, your computer is going to heat up inside.
Choose a laptop with an advanced cooling system. Keeping your hardware cool, with ample airflow and quality, quiet fans will go a long way to keeping your laptop running smoothly for years.
7. High Security
Every computer, and every operating system, will have different security features available. With so many malicious websites and hackers out there on the interwebs, it’s hard to avoid attacks.
When your computer falls victim to malware, it can drastically affect the speed and performance of your computer. Files that take up space and limit your computer’s ability to function can be secretly installed.
When looking for a reliable laptop, understand the security features you are getting. Apple laptops, for example, are known to rarely fall victim to viruses and malware. That’s one of the big reasons people stick with Apple.
Because Macs are far less common than Windows laptops, hackers generally target Windows users since they can affect far more computers.
Regardless of which you choose, your laptop should come equipped with security functions to prevent malware in the first place. But it should also have scanners you can use to find malware that may have made its way onto your computer without you knowing.
8. Keep Your Laptop Fast
Buying a fast laptop is easy. Almost any brand-new, quality laptop will run fast right out of the box. The problem is that with daily use, computers start to slow down.
If you want your computer to run fast, and handle your daily tasks for years to come, you need to know how to take care of your computer. For starters, don’t download too many applications and pieces of software. These are resource-intensive.
Anything you don’t use on a regular basis should be deleted to free up memory. If your computer came pre-installed with unnecessary applications from the manufacturer, you can delete those as well.
Speaking of memory, if you deal with a lot of files, choose external storage. You can use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, or buy an external hard drive to keep your files off your computer, but easily accessible.
Disable apps that open on startup and run in the background. Learn how to run a cleanup program on your computer to delete secret, unnecessary files that result from regular computer use. These files add up over time and waste space.
If your web browser seems slow, clear the cache. This deletes store versions of web pages that are designed to speed up the process. But too much-stored data can slow it down.
Lastly, keep it cool. Your hardware can get hot inside. There should be internal fans blowing to keep it cool. Make sure your laptop is always well-ventilated. Don’t cover it with a blanket when using it, and don’t expose it to sunlight.
Buying the Right Laptop
Buying a fast laptop is easy to do if you have a lot of money to spend. If you don’t, you have to be very selective to ensure you get the right balance of speed versus portability versus battery life.
A fast, reliable computer can still be had for under $1,000, but you need to look carefully. Most people who live and die by laptop speed are willing to spend more than a grand, and sometimes more than two grand on their laptops.
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