Choosing a Computer Processor
Anytime you shop for a new computer, the processor is one of the key considerations you should make. The processor chip is the brains of your PC, controlling all the processes that run on the PC. Working with desktop PCs means that you can upgrade the processor chip as long as it is compatible with the motherboard.
What important features will I look for in a processor?
- Cores - A CPU that runs on multiple cores determines how your computer performs when multitasking. The Intel Dual Core processors have two units.
- Clock speed - The clock speed measures the number of transactions that the processor can run in a second. To check the clock speed, you will look at a number that is followed by the GHz initials on the unit. A high GHz measure translates to a higher clock speed.
- Cache memory - The cache keeps a copy of the data from the RAM so that the CPU can move easily to the next-in-line functions. It cuts down the amount of time that the CPU takes to fetch new data. The performance rises when you have a good amount of storage on the cache. In the Core i3 series, the i3-7100 has 3 MB of cache memory while all the others in the series have 4 MB. The higher models have 6 MB and 8 MB memory.
- Graphics processor - Intel processors have a built-in GPU, which helps in running all the graphical features on the PC. You might need a dedicated graphics card if you plan to use the PC for graphics intensive functions.
- Turbo boost - It is a technology used on the Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Just as the name suggests, the technology improves processor performance at the necessary times. When the computer runs a highly demanding task, the Turbo Boost draws more power to help the CPU run its role. It reverts to low power on completion of the transaction. A 3.5 GHz Core i5 processor outperforms a Core i3 of the same clock speed by boosting its performance by up to 0.6 GHz.
- Hyper-threading - A single core can only allow one transaction at a time. Hyper-threading helps the core handle multiple transactions such that one core appears as two to the computer. It makes the two cores in an Intel Core i3 processor appear as four. The i5 processor does not have hyper-threading.
Which is the right one for my needs?
Anyone who uses their PC for basic functions like mail, word processing, and light browsing might as well work with an Intel Celeron processor. It costs less, runs on low clock speeds, and it can handle nearly all the basic computing functions.
The Intel Core i3 is a great option for an average user who wants a fast machine for regular work and basic entertainment purposes. Processors in the series include the i3-2120, Core i3-3220, Core i3-550, Core i3-7100U, Core i3-7350K, Core i3-8100, and i3-8350.
Advanced computing functions like gaming, image editing, and video production will do better on a PC that runs Intel Core i5 or Core i7.
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