Written by Kasper

Which processor do I need in my laptop?

The processor is often called the laptop's heart or brain, since it's the central component that largely determines how fast your notebook is and what you can do with it. On this advice page, we'll compare processors and help you find an answer to the question: what processor do I need for what usage situation?

In short

Usage situations Can be done with…
Internet, email, and word processing Any processor
On the go Any processor
Student use AMD A8, Intel Core i3, or higher
Photo editing AMD A12, Intel Core i5, or higher
Video editing AMD Ryzen 5, Intel Core i7 or more
Gaming AMD Ryzen 5, Intel Core i5, or higher

Which processor best suits my use?

Because processors come in many variations, the most important question in your search for the right processor is: what will I use my laptop for? If you recognize yourself in one of the situations below, see which processor we recommend for this specific situation.

Internet, email, text processing, and on the go

Working on HP laptop in coffee bar.

Using the Internet, sending email, and text processing

These are simple tasks that you can perform on any laptop. If you're in this category, then, you won't need to pay special attention to the processor. It is the case, though, that a better processor will allow you to do several things at the same time. That means using the Internet, and listening to music, and checking your mail, and downloading a video.

  • Suitable processor: Any processor
  • Recommended: AMD A6 / Intel Pentium
Woman works with laptop on lap on bus bench.

On the go

Laptops for on the go have a maximum size of 15.6 inches and weigh up to 1.5 kilograms. Any processor is suitable for on-the-go laptops. It's more important to look at the laptop's weight and size. An Intel Core m3, m5, or m7 is recommended, though, since these processors are more energy-efficient.

  • Suitable processor: Any processor
  • Recommended: AMD A6 / Intel Pentium

Student use and photo editing

Woman walks through corridors with another woman with an HP laptop under arm.

Laptop for student use

As a student, you'll want a laptop with sufficient processing power, that you can also carry around easily. That's why a decent processor, such as an Intel Core i3, is recommended. That way, you'll do research while having 20 tabs open simultaneously, or work with heavy graphical software.

  • Suitable processor: AMD A8 or higher, Intel Core m3, or higher
  • Recommended: AMD A10 / Intel Core i3
Man edits photos on laptop at wooden table.

Photo editing

If you're getting started with programs like Photoshop, you're asking a little more from your laptop's processing power, and with that, from your processor. If you plan to edit photos regularly, go for an Intel Core i5 or AMD A12 processor. In addition, choose at least 6GB of RAM.

  • Suitable processor: AMD A12 / Intel Core i5, or higher
  • Recommended: AMD Ryzen 5 / Intel Core i5

Video editing and playing games

Video editing on an Acer laptop.

Video editing

Video editing can put a heavy load on your laptop. Especially while rendering, or while editing high-resolution files. Software like Adobe Premiere Pro can use all of the processor cores, which means you'll definitely benefit from a quad-core processor. Other than that, 8GB of RAM and a mid-range video card are recommended.

  • Suitable processor: AMD Ryzen 5, Intel Core i5, or higher
  • Recommended: AMD Ryzen 7 / Intel Core i7
Soldier from game on Acer laptop screen.


Pretty much any laptop will allow you to play a game of Candy Crush or Angry Birds. If you want to play recent, more high-end games, though, you'll need a model with a more powerful processor. Do remember that a good video card is essential here for playing high-end games. Mid-range video cards start at the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050.

  • Suitable processor: AMD Ryzen 5, Intel Core i5, or higher
  • Recommended: AMD Ryzen 7 / Intel Core i7
Article by:
Kasper Laptop Expert.

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