Coming at it from an entirely different and maybe somewhat quirky angle: recently I’ve grown to think that the most underrated characteristic is neither RAM nor CPU, but cooling (only slightly exaggerating here).
I learned that using my new Surface GO 2. It has 8 GB and an m3 CPU - mediocre specs in comparison to other systems, we all agree. It turns out, it is plenty fast to handle everything I throw at it, work related IF the little dude does not have to do it for to long and, thus, has to throttle massively.
Throttling really seems to be the mobile bottleneck of our times. It’s a passively cooled CPU that goes up to 3,4 GHz and if it does that (aka “has load”) for more than 20 seconds, it throttles down to 2,2 or 1,1 or even below 1 GHz. That’s when stuff gets painfully slow and baking hot.
So, to add a perspective into the mix, I’d say: it’s incredible how far you can get with 8 GB and a bottom-rung CPU, IF it can actually get its little muscles to work. If it immediately gets restained because it would melt down otherwise, that’s the problem.
In consequence: consider the effectiveness and noise level of the cooling system when shopping around. A well-cooled and -implemented m3 with 8 GB will be cheaper and may be real-world-as-fast-as any CPU with more horsepower and twice the RAM.
(Plus, on a more philosophical note: well-implemented efficiency is simply elegant. Says the guy with 32 GB RAM in his desktop and no idea why except for “sounded like a good idea and RAM was cheap”.)
Just looked around online a bit on rating of cooling solutions and came up with this: https://laptopmedia.com/highlights/top-10-gaming-notebooks-with-the-best-cooling-designs/ Next to many, many gaming laptops (which are really niche and you will likely not prefer), the DELL in the list seems quite impressive. Ah, sorry - just saw that that’s a gaming laptop, too. Never thought of DELL as a gaming brand. No HP, but maybe still an interesting angle. Certainly, there will be very-well cooled HPs, too.