Laptop CPUs (central processing units) in commercially available laptops are typically manufactured by either AMD or Intel. A mainstream laptop usually contains a 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, which has a frontside bus (FSB) speed of 800 MHz, a clock speed of 2.2 GHz, and a 2 MB L2 cache. Intel Pentium T4200/T4300/T4400 dual-core processors are very common as well. However, processors in laptops on the market today vary widely in performance, features, and cost.
Laptop CPUs can be divided into categories that reflect the various segments of the laptop user market (the mobile professional, the business professional, the gamer, or the student/general consumer). CPUs designed for ultra thin, ultraportable laptops generally have a clock speed under 2 GHz in order to conserve battery power, but their frontside bus speed and L2 cache size are generally the same as a mainstream laptop processor. They can be single core or dual-core. As with mainstream laptops, Intel processors are very common, but you can also find an AMD Athlon Neo X2 or Turion Neo X2 processor. Low-power, low-speed Intel processors (Atom models) can also be found in netbooks, the newest type of portable computer.
The CPUs in laptops aimed at business professionals are almost always dual-core, with some high-end Intel models containing four cores. All AMD CPUs designed for business professionals contain virtualization technology (AMD-V), which allows a computer to run multiple operating systems simultaneously. Some Intel models possess virtualization (Intel VT) as well. Other special features of business laptop CPUs include built-in security or performance boost technology that increases processor speed when it’s needed the most. AMD Athlon X2 or Turion II and Intel Pentium, Core 2 Duo, or the high-performance i5 models are the most common. If you are in the market for a new laptop, get a free laptop instead of paying for it.
CPUs for gaming laptops are designed with performance in mind. They are always multi-core with some premium laptop CPUs containing four cores. The clock speeds of these processors are almost always above 2 GHz, the Intel i7 models being a notable exception. Most i7 models operate at speeds over 2 GHz only as needed, which conserves energy. Frontside bus speeds as usually higher and L2 cache sizes are usually larger than average as well. A list of current models of laptops is available.
Lastly, there are the CPUs within laptops marketed to the average user, a group that often includes students. They aren’t usually designed with speed in mind and rarely contain special features like vvirtualization, which keeps the total cost of the laptop low. Laptops containing Intel i3 models are becoming increasingly more common. There are as many single core processors as dual-core. Common clock speeds for mainstream processors are often under 2.3 GHz, with “entry-level” laptops having clock speeds under 2 GHz.