Buying a laptop to use with Teams

Like many other business users I am now using Microsoft Teams everyday and unsurprising sometimes my laptop runs slowly.

When selecting devices for my clients my default specification has been i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. A typical user would only be using 50% of the devices resources with normal workloads and they would have a great experience and IT Services would get fewer support calls.

I decided to check the required hardware specification for Microsoft Teams (my bold).

Video calls and meetingsFor a better experience with 1:1 video calls, we recommend using a computer that has a dual-core processor and 4.0 GB RAM (or higher).

For a better experience with online meetings, we recommend using a computer that has a dual-core processor and 8.0 GB RAM (or higher).
Microsoft Hardware Specification for Teams

We can see that a machine that was originally over-powered for daily use is now much closer to the minimum specification (although i5 processors have 4 cores) but my clients should still be happy with the performance they are getting.

This does now raise the question of whether the default machine should be an i7 rather than an i5. An interesting post from Pancast shows that in their experiments the hyper-threading feature available on i7 processors did deliver higher performance in particular it increased the quality of video sent out from the device.. This makes sense because i7 processors are great at handling spiky workloads.

It would be great if someone could do some real-world testing comparing the experience of using i5 and i7 devices (perhaps from the Microsoft Surface range).

So does this mean we should now be buying i7 processors? It certainly means that i7 processors should be considered for heavy Microsoft Teams users or those for whom the quality of their transmitted video is very important.

Addendum

You may notice that Microsoft Teams grabs the memory on your laptop. This not a cause for concern because Microsoft Teams uses modern memory management – it will grab everything it can but then releases it if other other applications need it. You should only be concerned if memory use is over 90%. That said, I still advise users to regularly reboot their computers to promote optimum performance particularly if they are always having trouble with Teams.