A computer’s processor is its brain, the component where most of the “thinking” happens. A faster CPU (central processing unit) lets you crunch spreadsheets, surf web pages, play games or edit photos faster, but a higher-wattage processor may also give you worse battery life.
When you’re shopping for a laptop, you’ll usually see the name of the processor listed prominently in every product description. However, just seeing the CPU model name, without any context, can be confusing. Is a laptop with a Core i7-7Y75 CPU faster than one with a Core i5-7200U? How much speed do you really need, anyway?
Most laptops today are powered by an Intel CPU, with a just handful of lower-cost models using one of AMD’s processors. Even though most of the chips come from one company, there are more than two dozen different models you might see featured in a brand new notebook. Fortunately, learning the basics isn’t too difficult.
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