Apple macbook pro with book and headphone on a desk.

So, at the time you decide to buy a brand-new laptop to make your job easier and for that, you either go for an Online store or a local store. In that, you will come across the different types of specs of the laptop's component that decide its ability to do the work.

Table of Contents

All that components' data consists of its name, version, capacity, manufacturer's name, and many more. But, there are some technical data that belongs to such components that you have to understand them.

First, let me give you a list of all the common components that design the laptop's ability to do a job.

  • CPU
  • GPU
  • RAM
  • Storage
  • Display
  • Ports


What is the CPU?

Laptops specs in easy-to-understand language: CPU

CPU is the acronym of the Central Processing Unit of a computer. You will find its name like

CPU: 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H (12MB Cache, 2.2 GHz up to 4.5 GHz, 6 cores)

Here, in the above line, the data of CPU consists of much information than just its name. So, let's dig into its data and find out what they are.

9th Generation - It's a generation of a CPU. At the time of launch, it was the 1st generation, and then as a result of a continuous update, its generation changes with improvements. So, Higher the Generation, More the improvements you will find on it in terms of features.

Intel - It's the name of the company or an entity who has manufactured it. In this case, it's Intel.

Core i7-9750H - It's a version of a processor like Core i3, Core i5, and here it is Core i7. Higher the number, the higher the functionality. Now, what is 9750H?. 9750H consists of many things. see below.

  • 9 in 9750H - Generation number.
  • 750H in 9750H - It's an SKU number. An SKU is the acronym of the Short keeping unit. Hence, it has to relate to the production line. Higher the SKU number, higher it is in features. But, the SKU number doesn't provide significant data that we can compare the CPU performance based on it.

12MB Cache - It's nothing but a CPU memory just like our RAM and storage. But, it's super faster than even RAM. It is placed inside the CPU and it stores the data that CPU may need to execute the instructions based on that. The CPU memory is an SRAM. The SRAM is the abbreviated form of the Static Random Access Memory. The Laptop's RAM is DRAM - Dynamic RAM. The SRAM consists of the data that don't need to refresh continuously. Currently, L1, L2, and L3 caches are available. L1 is superfast, L2 is okay, and L3 is less fast. But, L1 is very less in size, L2 is in the middle, and L3 is highest in size.

It works for the CPU like Magic. CPU memory increases the processing power by reducing the latency. If CPU finds data into its Cache memory, it executes it else it has to look up into the computer storage like SSD, HDD and that's, in turn, increases the latency and thereby reduces the processing power.

2.2 GHz, Up to 4.5 GHz - It's the CPU frequency or speed. Here, in my case CPU speed is 2.2 GHz. Now understand first, what does Hz mean? Hz means the frequency. And, in the laymen term, frequency means, how much time it changes in a second. So, 2.2 GHz means 2.2 X 10^9 times CPU refresh in a second.

Now, up to 4.5 GHz means you can overclock the CPU to maximize its performance. In this case, its limit is 4.5GHz, So, I can maximize the CPU speed up to 4.5 GHz from 2.2 GHz using the turbo boost technology. Intel's turbo boost technology allows you to run the computer's CPU at a higher speed than the marked speed (here it is 2.2 GHz).

6 Cores - 6 Cores means there are 6 processors of the same spec that are placed on a chip. Higher the core number, the higher the parallel execution of the processes takes place. Nowadays, laptops are coming with at least 2 cores.

So, that's all about the CPU that you will find across the different merchant's website or specs sheet while buying looking for a laptop or desktop computer. Also, the same data applies to AMD's CPUs. But, the version and generation changes.


Laptop specs explained: GPU

GPU is the knows and Graphical Processing Unit. It's an extra chip placed inside the computer - integrated or dedicated - to improve the graphical performance of your machine.

The integrated graphics cannot perform high-end tasks such as video editing or gaming or both. Because they are placed to give a small boost to the video performance of a laptop.

The dedicated graphics chip like Graphics card made by NVIDIA or Radeon is made only to enhance the graphical performance. They can handle high-end gaming stuff. For gaming purposes, A laptop must have at least 4GB GPU memory.

Consider the laptop's GPU specs are NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2GB GDDR5 SDRAM dedicated. Now, what does it tells?

NVIDIA - Manufacturer's name

GeForce MX250 - a version including production-line information.

2GB GDDR5 SDRAM dedicated - 2GB tells the amount of the graphical memory. It's over 2 Billion bytes. GDDR5 is the acronym of the Graphical Double Data Rate 5. SDRAM stands for the Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. GDDR5 is a type of memory used for graphics chips. Hence, instead of using Computer's RAM while doing any high-end graphics task, Your laptop will use GDDR5 memory.

Do you know why GPU is not called CPU? It's because GPU doesn't consist of the complex structures to execute the instructions like CPU. GPU has its chip and memory to process the graphical data.

Dedicated GPU means a graphics chip that is placed additionally with your computer's integrated graphics chip. Any laptop, in case of Intel or AMD CPUs, always comes with an integrated graphics chip such as Intel's Integrated UHD 620, Intel's Iris Plus graphics in case of Intel CPU powered laptop, and AMD Vega Graphics in case of AMD powered laptops. So, dedicate GPU means one more GPU chip to enhance the performance at a lightning speed.


Laptop specs' easy-to-understand explanation: RAM

It's an abbreviated form of Random Access Memory. As the name tells, it's random access means it's volatile. It will lose the data once go off, not like the computer's storage. It's a memory on which random data like Any current opened software, your laptop's operating system are stored for the temporary period. And, not like CPU cache memory, it continuously refreshes the data to stay updated.

Now, while looking for any laptop or RAM, you might come across terms like DDR3, DDR4, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, LPDDR4x, and LPDDR5. These are nothing but the versions of the RAM.

DDR means Double Data Rate and LPDDR means Low Power Double Data Rate. All of these versions are different in terms of power consumption and speed. The higher the version, the higher the speed and lower the power consumption.

DDR4 is the latest version of DDR RAM and LPDDR5 is the latest version of LPDDR RAM. You will get a clear picture in mind by seeing the following images.

DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM Data Rate comparison with bandwidth.
DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM Data Rate comparison with bandwidth. Image credit: GeeksforGeeks.

As per the GeeksforGeeks, DDR3 RAM performs two refreshes, one is auto-refresh, and another is self-refresh to refresh its content. Its speed varies from 0.8 GHz to 2.1 GHz. DDR4 RAM performs only self-refresh to refresh its content. its speed varies from 2.1 GHz to no-limit. And, due to self-refresh, it consumes less power than DDR3 type RAM. In addition to that, the latency of DDR3 one is less compared to the DDR4 type.

LPDDR, LPDDR2, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, and LPDDR5 RAMs - Speed and Power consumption comparison.
LPDDR, LPDDR2, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, and LPDDR5 RAMs - Speed and Power consumption comparison. Image credit: ThePhoneTalks.

Now, in the case of LPDDR type RAM, LPDDR5 is the clear winner. Although, You will mostly find LPDDR3, LPDDR4, and LPDDR4x RAM nowadays on laptops. Microsoft Surface Laptops are coming with this type of RAM.

The latest versions are always higher in performance with reduced power consumption.

So, that's all you need to know the basics of the laptop's RAM. Let's dig the computer's storage now.


Laptop specs: Storage (Hard disk, Solid state drive, and a Fusion drive)

It's nothing but a memory that can store and won't wipe once go off, not like RAM. It's coming with three types:

  • Hard disk
  • Solid-state drive
  • Fusion or hybrid drive

A hard drive is something that you can get at a cheaper price on a laptop. It is very slow. It contains the moving parts like a rotating disk instead of static parts like a Chip. You might have come across 5400 or 7200 RPM. It's nothing but a rotating speed in revolution per minute. A 5400 RPM hard drive rotates 5400 times in a minute or 90 times a second. Similarly, 7200 RPM hard drive does the job. Here, the higher the RPM, the higher the read/write speed. But, both of them sucks in front of the solid-state drive. In a hard disk, A processor has to look at the moving parts to get the information.

A solid-state drive is something that can get at a high price in a laptop. It's bigger than an SD card but it's like a memory card. It doesn't have any moving parts, hence it will consume less power, and provide higher Read/Write speed. You might have come across the merchant's offer like 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or sometimes 1TB SSD storage. So, that's nothing but a way faster responding storage. In SSD, a processor has to look at the disk's controller to get the information, and due to its static parts, the information can be fetched at lightning speed. The common speed of SSDs is 550 MB/s Read and 450 MB/s Write.

And, the last one, A fusion drive. It's nothing but hybridization of solid-state and hard drives. In this type of storage, almost the majority part of the storage is contributed by Hard drive, and a very low amount is contributed by an SSD. If you buy an Apple iMac, You will get Fusion drive at a cheaper price, that's because Apple's 1TB Fusion drive consists of 32GB SSD and rest of the hard disk.

So, overall, SSD is much faster than the HDD and a fusion drive.


Display of the Apple Macbook Pro

The computer's display is not just a simple display, it consists of many things. Consider the spec of the laptop display written below.

Display: 14 inches FHD LED-backlit touchscreen glossy 220 nits display with IPS panel

What does it say?

14 inches - It represents the diagonally measured length of your laptop's display.

FHD - It represents the screen resolution. The screen resolution varies from HD to 5K. The screen resolution gives you information on how much content will be fit on the visible screen that you can see without scrolling.

5K display shows the highest content followed by 4K, QHD+, QHD, FHD, and HD. Also, read below the resolution in figures to understand these terms easily.

  • HD: 1366 X 768
  • FHD: 1980 X 1080 (1080p)
  • QHD: 2560 X 1440 (2K)
  • QHD+: 3200 X 1800
  • UHD: 3840 X 2160 (4K)
Comparison of the screen resolution of 4K, FHD, HD, and DVD display.
Comparison of the screen resolution with content size. Image credit: Laptopmag.

LED-Backlit - It shows that the lights of the display are powered by small LEDs.

Touchscreen - It indicates that you can interact with it either using your fingers or a touch pen.

Glossy - It shows the type of screen. The glossy display reflects the ambient lights more compared to the anti-glare display. Although, laptop manufacturers most often don't mention the display type. And, most of the laptops are coming nowadays with a glossy display. See the difference between glossy and anti-glare display.

Comparison of the picture quality between anti-glare (left) and glossy (right) display.
Anti-glare (Left) and Glossy (Right) displays. Image credit: Laptoping

220 nits - It's a term that is directly related to the screen's brightness. In the laymen term, It will decide whether you will be able to see a clear picture in daylight or not. In the technical words, Nit is the amount of light spread on the square meter surface. The laptop's screen often comes within the range of 200 to 400 nits. Hence, the higher the nits, the better the viewing quality in daylight. "Nits" is the general-purpose unit of measurement of the brightness, the technical unit is Cd/m2 (Candela per square meter). Here, the candela comes from the candle. A light spread by one candle on a square meter area known as a 1 nit.

IPS Panel - It's a panel fitted on the display to provide you the same picture quality at different viewing angles. A better understanding can be given by the following image that shows how the picture quality changes in Non-IPS display with changes in the viewing angles.

Comparison of the picture quality between IPS (left) and Non-IPS (Right) displays.
Picture quality comparison between IPS (Left) and Non-IPS (Right) display.


USB, HDMI, thunderbolt ports of the laptop.

Ports in the laptops are used to connect a projector, external storage, headphone/microphone, charger, and external display. You might have come across the line

Ports: 1 USB Type-C, 1 thunderbolt 3, 1 USB 3.1 Gen-1 Type-A, 2 USB 3.1 Gen-2 Type-A. 1 SD card reader, 1 headphone/microphone combo, 1 HDMI, 1 Ethernet.

Now, let's understand what does it tell?

1 USB Type-C - It means the laptop has one USB Type-C Port. Most often Type-C port allows you to transfer the data to or from thunderbolt-3 devices but you won't get the benefits of the dedicated thunderbolt port provides.

1 Thunderbolt 3 - It means the laptop has one thunderbolt-3 port that supports thunderbolt-3 devices and its benefits. Moreover, it can also use the USB Type-C port cables. Thunderbolt ports let you transfer the data at speed of 40Gbps. Generally, Type-C or thunderbolt ports are used to connect external 4K, QHD+, or QHD displays. It is also used to connect external thunderbolt drive or external GPU.

1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A - It means the laptop has 1 USB Type-A port of USB version 3.1 and the first generation. Now, Gen-1 allows you to transfer the data at the speed of 5Gbps.

2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A - It means the laptop has 2 USB Type-A ports of USB version 3.2 and second generation. Now, Gen-2 allows you to transfer the data at the speed of 10 Gbps.

The rest includes connectivity specs that involve Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

So, that's all about the specs that are confusing the beginners and that's why I have explained in the easy-to-understand language. Also, you can ask for the additional help on the Twitter.

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