By Johnny Serious
So, you’re looking to upgrade that POS that you are working on right now? You want a brand spanking new chipset that will make all the other people on your Counter Strike clan board jealous? Well sir, if a new CPU is what you are looking for, then pardner, you’ve come the right place! In my easy to use, and extremely tasty guide to central processing units, I will let you know exactly what to look for when plopping down some buckaroos on a new heart for your PC! Below are three main things to look for when purchasing a new CPU.
1. Processor Speed: Clock speeds, which are measured in MHz (megahertz, or millions of cycles per second) determine the speed of the internal clock. The effect that these have on a computer is very easy to understand, the higher the speed, the faster your computer will run. Today’s models feature speeds of anywhere up to 3 GHz, which is roughly 3,000 MHz although the effectiveness of these speeds differs per chipset maker (meaning that an Intel chip clocked at 2.0 GHz will perform much differently then an Apple or an AMD at the same speed). This is a very important factor to keep in mind, and should be one of the first things that you look at when purchasing a PC CPU.
2. Bus Speed: Busses, in computer terms, are gateways or paths that the data in your PC moves through. Having a larger bus will allow data to transfer quicker, increasing the overall speed of the computer.
3. Cache: The cache of the computer is a small amount of memory that allows that allows data to be stored for brief periods of time. It has a quicker access speed then a hard drive or even ram. In terms of the CPU, the larger the cache, the more available memory for the computer to store recently used data. This speeds up computing time, hence speeding up the processes of the computer in general.
OK, so now hopefully you understand the basics of what constitutes a CPU. Now you have to determine what kind of chipset you will be using. In this case, we will assume that you are not considering purchasing an Apple, as they use a different operating system and are not usually sold separately outside of new computers. That being said there are two different types of popular processors, Intel and AMD. Although they run the same operating system and applications, they are very unique in many ways. First of all, they are clocked differently, meaning that although Intel processors might seem faster, they are actually the same if not slower then an AMD with a much lower processor speed. When looking at the two, be sure to keep this in mind as it can make comparing the two confusing.
Second of all, the two different chip makers both claim specific strengths. As it stands now, AMDs are far more favored when it comes to gaming, and Intel chipsets lend themselves more to businesses and home users. That being said, the same programs can be run by both, and unless you are pushing them to the limit, you will most likely not notice any significant difference.
All inall, the differences for the common user between the two is very negligible. There are rabid fans of both who will tell you that one is better then the other, but in all reality, there you will most likely be happy either way you go.
So now that you know at least a little bit about processors, check out our individual reviews for pros and cons on popular processors. Newbie also features the best prices on the net, letting you shop, and learn, confidently.
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