Are you tired of watching the spinning wheel of death while waiting for your laptop to catch up? Say goodbye to slow load times and hello to lightning-fast productivity with these top picks for the fastest laptops of the year.
Whether you're a power user, a designer, or a gamer, I've scoured the market to bring you the best high-performance laptops that will revolutionize your workflow.
From sleek ultrabooks to powerhouse gaming rigs, I've got you covered. Read on to discover the ultimate speed machines that will elevate your performance to the next level.
Ultimate Guide for Buying the Fastest Laptop
When it comes to laptop performance, speed can mean different things depending on the task at hand. In practical terms, speed can be measured by (1) CPU processing power and (2) graphics performance for tasks such as gaming, 3D rendering, and graphics-intensive content creation. These two factors are closely interconnected and require a balance of power, cost, and energy efficiency.
For example, a laptop with a top-end processor may have great performance on programs that take advantage of many CPU resources, but lack power for gaming or graphics-accelerated applications. On the other hand, a dedicated graphics processor is crucial for gaming but may not be as important for raw processing.
The solution to achieve maximum speed for both CPU and graphics is to pack in the most powerful processor or GPU possible. However, this also increases cost, power consumption and thermal management. High-end laptops tend to be heavy, thick and expensive, as they require more space and cooling to handle the powerful hardware.
Ultimately, laptop design is a trade-off between performance, cost, power consumption and thermal management. It's not possible to have a laptop that is both powerful, energy-efficient and lightweight. Instead, it's about finding the right balance for your specific needs.
Choosing the Best CPU Type for Your Laptop
When it comes to raw-CPU performance, the fastest laptops can be grouped into four categories. The first category includes business machines with top-end processors but integrated graphics, typically found under the business brands of top vendors such as Dell's Latitude, Lenovo's ThinkPad, and HP's EliteBook.
The second category consists of high-end gaming laptops that combine a powerful mobile GPU optimized for the latest games, with a CPU that is not a bottleneck for the graphics chip. These laptops are designed to provide an immersive gaming experience with smooth performance.
The third category includes mobile workstations, which are designed for professional content creation and data analysis and often come with ISV certification for specialized applications. These laptops carry a premium price tag due to their advanced capabilities and can be identified by brands such as HP's ZBook and Dell's Precision, or by the Nvidia RTX A series (formerly, Quadro) GPUs they carry.
Lastly, some notebooks such as the Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED and HP's ZBook Create G7 cater to creative professionals such as video editors and game designers. These laptops offer high-speed performance and stunning high-resolution screens, but may lack ISV certifications for specialized apps. They may feature Nvidia GeForce RTX rather than RTX A-series/Quadro GPUs.
The names of Intel CPUs often end in a capital letter or two, which provides insight into their capabilities. A Core chip ending with an "H" is a high-power mobile chip with the ability to support up to 24 processing threads using Hyper-Threading technology. Not all CPUs have Hyper-Threading, but if the software you use is multi-threaded, this feature will be beneficial.
In business laptops, H-series chips are typically found in heavier models designed for heavy calculation work or data analysis. However, these chips are found in almost all gaming laptops and many mobile workstations. High-end workstations may use Intel's Xeon processors, which are designed for specialized advanced-calculation and content-creation programs, and can handle prolonged heavy usage.
On the other hand, CPUs ending in "U" or "G3," "G5," or "G7," signify an ultramobile processor. These are lower-power chips designed for slim and lightweight laptops with limited thermal capacity. These CPUs are suitable for everyday business or office tasks and some content-creation tasks, but the H-series chips provide the most power for demanding tasks. Keep in mind that the H-series is where you'll find the most powerful options in laptop CPUs.
When it comes to Intel's rival, AMD, the company's Ryzen and Ryzen Pro mobile processors have traditionally been geared towards office applications and moderate gaming, with integrated graphics that often surpass Intel's. However, the Ryzen 4000 series mobile CPUs that were introduced in 2020 marked a significant change. The subsequent Ryzen 5000 and Ryzen 6000 mobile processors are capable of competing with (and even surpassing) Intel's best options and are used in several creative and professional laptops from 2022 and 2023.
Lastly, Apple's MacBooks use a different approach, with the company switching to its own processors instead of Intel's in 2020. The most recent MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro use the latest M2 processor, the second generation of Apple's self-designed CPUs. These processors have been found to be fast and impressive in users tests.
In a way, Apple's switch to its own processors simplifies the decision for you, as you have fewer options to choose from. The M1 / M2 chips do have some variations (such as the M1 / M2 Pro and M1 / M2 Max). The main decision to make is whether to stick with a Windows system and the processor options mentioned above, or switch to macOS.
Understanding Laptop Graphics Performance
If you're looking for speed for PC gaming, a laptop with a dedicated graphics chip, or GPU, is a must. Most of the top gaming laptops use various flavors of Nvidia's GeForce mobile chips, with the RTX 30 series (model numbers in the 3000s) currently being the most powerful.
For a 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display, a GeForce RTX 3050 or higher chip is generally sufficient for playing modern games at high settings. The RTX 3070 is a good match for a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (or 1080p, if you're planning for the future), while a GeForce RTX 3080 or 3080 Ti is overkill for 1080p but a good starting point for gaming on a 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) screen. However, most gamers stick to 1080p.
If you plan to use your gaming laptop with an external monitor or monitors that have a higher resolution than the laptop's built-in screen, you may want to consider a GPU that's several steps ahead of the laptop's own screen. Otherwise, you should match the performance of the GPU with the upper limits of the laptop's own panel.
An important aspect to consider when shopping for a gaming laptop is the presence of high-refresh-rate displays. A typical 60Hz laptop display, which refreshes the screen 60 times per second, will not show much improvement in frame rates above 60 frames per second (fps). However, the latest gaming laptops now come equipped with high-refresh panels capable of refreshing at 120Hz, 144Hz, or even 300Hz.
These screens can make use of the extra frames for smoother gameplay and can justify a powerful GPU paired with a 1080p screen.
Another feature to look for is support for Nvidia's G-Sync technology. In these laptops, the screen refreshes at the same rate as the GPU, dynamically adjusting the refresh rate. This reduces screen artifacts and "tearing" (misaligned parts of the screen during rendering). With a high-refresh screen, a top-notch GPU will be better utilized; with G-Sync, a marginal one will be enhanced.
Additionally, if you are planning to use your laptop for virtual reality, you should look for a model with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or higher GPU. It is best to choose the right GPU now if you might want to explore VR later as you cannot upgrade the GPU after purchase.
Another Nvidia technology to be aware of is Max-Q, which reduces the speed of a GeForce graphics chip slightly to lower its operating temperature and allows for a thinner laptop with quieter cooling fans. This allows you to get a powerful GPU such as an RTX 2070 or RTX 3070 in a thinner laptop than would be possible otherwise.
Storage and Memory: The Key Factors in Laptop Speed and Performance
Assessing storage speed in laptops is relatively simple compared to evaluating CPUs or GPUs. The storage solutions available in laptops today fall into three categories: hard drives, SATA solid-state drives (SSDs), and PCI Express SSDs. These categories can be ordered in terms of speed (slowest, faster, and fastest) and cost (least to most expensive, per gigabyte).
Currently, the fastest laptops all use PCI Express SSDs, which are becoming the standard. These drives are either implemented as M.2 drives or soldered to the motherboard and usually come in capacities of 1TB or 2TB. PCI Express refers to the bus pathway that your data takes when using these drives and is often associated with the term "NVMe", a protocol that maximizes the speed of PCI Express drives.
These are good terms to look for when shopping for a laptop. The alternative to a PCI Express SSD is a Serial ATA (SATA) SSD, which is still serviceable, but it's an older interface. Some laptop vendors may not differentiate between the two.
When looking to maximize speed and performance in a laptop, it's best to have an SSD as the boot drive, and ideally a PCI Express/NVMe one. If the laptop comes with a hard drive, it should be used as a secondary drive for bulk storage. This type of dual-drive setup is more commonly found in larger laptops.
When it comes to assessing the RAM in a laptop, the key is to ensure that you have enough for your typical tasks without overspending or underestimating. A minimum of 8GB is acceptable for a power laptop, but 16GB is a better starting point. If you use RAM-intensive apps such as Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro, even more RAM may be necessary. For a high-performance gaming laptop, 16GB should suffice.
Fastest Gaming Laptop
MSI Titan GT77
The latest laptop in the market is the fastest one yet, with its 12th Gen. Intel Core i7 processor, it delivers maximum efficiency in gameplay, multi-tasking and productivity. This laptop comes with the all-new Windows 11 Pro, which is perfect for at-home use or running a business.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, powered by the NVIDIA 2nd gen RTX architecture, offers the most realistic ray-traced graphics and cutting-edge AI features. This makes MSI Titan GT77 laptop perfect for gamers and professionals alike. The 17.3" 4K UHD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, provides more vivid colors and faster display for the ultimate gaming experience.
Additionally, this laptop comes with Thunderbolt 4 and DDR5-4800 memory, making it ideal for the fastest data transfer, system speed and responsiveness. This is a great option for professionals in creative fields such as video editing, 3D rendering, and graphic design. Overall, this laptop is a great choice for anyone looking for a powerful, high-performance machine that can handle the most demanding tasks with ease.
Fastest MacBook Laptop
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro
The 2023 MacBook Pro is a powerhouse of a laptop, with its new M2 Pro or M2 Max chip that provides exceptional performance for even the most demanding projects. With 12 CPU cores and up to 38 GPU cores, this laptop is built to handle it all.
One of the most impressive features of the 2023 MacBook Pro is its battery life, which can last up to 22 hours. This means you can go all day without needing to plug in, making it the perfect laptop for on-the-go professionals.
The laptop is also fully compatible with all pro apps, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Xcode, Affinity Designer, Microsoft 365, and many more. This makes it easy to work on a variety of projects without any compatibility issues.
The advanced camera and audio features of the 2023 MacBook Pro also make it a great choice for video conferencing and recording. The 1080p FaceTime HD camera and studio-quality three-mic array provide clear and crisp video and audio, while the six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio immerses you in your audio experience.
The MacBook Pro also offers plenty of connectivity options, including a MagSafe charging port, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card slot, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. With Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, wireless connectivity is also seamless.
The Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a great addition to the MacBook Pro, providing a fast, easy, and secure way to unlock your Mac and sign in to apps and sites.
Finally, the 2023 MacBook Pro works seamlessly with all your other Apple devices, allowing you to copy and paste between devices, answer FaceTime calls, send texts and more. If you're looking for a powerful laptop that can handle all your professional needs, the 2023 MacBook Pro is an excellent choice.
Fastest Business Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is a high-performance laptop that is perfect for professionals who need a powerful device for demanding tasks. The laptop is equipped with an Intel Core i9-12900H processor and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card with 16GB of GDDR6 memory, making it capable of handling demanding video and graphics tasks.
The laptop has a generous amount of memory and storage, with 2x 8GB SO-DIMM DDR5-4800 memory and 2TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0x4 Performance NVMe Opal2 storage. This provides plenty of space for all your files and programs, and the memory is fast and responsive.
The display on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is a 16" WQUXGA (3840x2400) IPS display with 600 nits of brightness and 100% Adobe RGB coverage. It also features anti-reflection and anti-smudge coating, low blue light, HDR 400, and Dolby Vision. The display is also touchscreen and supports 10-point multi-touch.
The keyboard is backlit and has a comfortable typing experience, and the laptop has a sleek black design with a paint finish. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 also has a built-in IR & FHD 1080p camera with a privacy shutter, stereo speakers with 2W x2 and Dolby Audio Premium, and a SD Express 7.0 card reader.
In conclusion, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is a powerful, high-performance laptop that is perfect for demanding tasks and for professionals who need a reliable device for their work. It has a fast processor, powerful graphics, plenty of memory and storage, and a stunning display. The design is sleek and professional and the battery life is good. It's a great choice for anyone looking for a high-performance laptop.
In conclusion, when looking for the fastest laptops, it's important to consider the CPU, GPU, storage, and memory to ensure that you get the best performance for your needs.
Whether you're looking for the best 17-inch laptops to unleash your creativity, the best laptops for video editing, or the best gaming laptops for ultimate performance, understanding the technical specifications and making informed decisions is key.
It's also worth noting that the best laptops tend to be expensive, but the investment will be worth it in the long run, as they are powerful, reliable and have longer lifespan. With the right laptop, you'll be able to take your productivity and gaming experience to the next level
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2023 Ionel Anton