Quick Analysis: Have Laptops Grown Slower Over The Years?

In a world increasingly dominated by tablets and smartphones, laptops have struggled to stay relevant. And while today’s laptops come packed with some highly powerful chips, are they still fast enough for us?

Windows 8 laptop

What is speed/performance?
Speed and performance are relative terms in the world of computing. They comprise of multiple factors which include the overall computing prowess of a computer chip, the time it takes to load a given software, the power it consumes and more.

So when we ask whether a given machine is fast enough, we have to ask all these questions. Try this: if your dual-core laptop loads Windows 7 in 20 seconds and your Core i7 takes the same amount of time to load Windows 8, which do you reckon is faster? In case you’re wondering, that really is a trick question. Even the countless benchmarks are not an adequate measure.

Shift from computing performance to display excellence:
Ever since Apple’s launched the high-res race on its mobile devices, the trend has seeped in the laptop industry too. Today, laptop vendors pack their machines with top-end chips but a significant portion of their computing prowess goes into juicing up the high-resolution displays, in the case of Apple’s Mac machines, Retina displays. This is probably what the consumers wants today but it also means that less processing power is dedicated to other, more important parts of a laptop’s performance.

Battery performance:
One thing that has steadily improved over the past few years is the battery life of laptops. Users don’t want anything lower than at least 10 – 15 hours on casual use and up to 7, 8 hours during intensive use. This day-long power is furnished successfully by the batteries included in most laptops today. But again, a sizable portion of this battery power goes into powering the high-res displays.

Ultimately, the laptop industry needs a shift away from higher resolutions and crispier displays. Afterall, these are of secondary performance for all purposes save watching movies on the machine or doing some image-intensive work (which few enough of us do.) Once the shift happens, we may see a radical improvement in the laptops as more of the presently available resources will be dedicated to true computing tasks.

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Salman Latif is a software engineer with a specific interest in social media, big data and real-world solutions using the two.Other than that, he is a bit of a gypsy. He also writes in his own blog. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter .

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