The processor is one of the most important parts of a computer. It behaves like the “brain” of the computer, sorting out information. Every key stoke, click or command is processed by the CPU (Computer Processing Unit) and sorted, sending resources to different components in order to fulfill your instruction. When selecting a desktop computer the better the processor, the better the performance
Here are the two main factors to consider when buying a new processor
- Number of cores
Since the mid 2000’s, Computer processors now contain multiple processing cores. The definition of a multicore CPU is a processor with two or more independent cores that read and execute program instructions. To use an example, a standard single core processor is like a single lane road and a multiple core processor is like a motorway, allowing information to be processed faster without any congestion (or information waiting to be processed). The more cores your processor has, the faster your computer. At the moment, there are many processor out there which have 2, 4 or 6 cores such as the Intel I-Core and the AMD Phenom ranges.
- Clock Speed
The clock speed (Measured in gigahertz) is the rate which a computer processor executes instructions. When selecting a new processor, the higher the speed, the faster the processor will perform. Most processor’s on the market today generally range between 2GHz to 3GHz. Apart from the number of cores in the processor, the clock speed is the most important thing to look out for when shopping for a new processor.
Other things to consider
- Hyper Threading
Hyper threading is an Intel technology which increases the performance of each processing core by allowing the Operating system (of the computer) to use two virtual processors per core. This technology, like Multicore processing, has been developed to improve the performance of the processor when doing multiple tasks at once. Buying a CPU with this technology may run between 15-30% faster (according to Intel). Hyper Threading is available on the latest range of Intel processors such as the I-core range.
- Cache Size
A computer processor cache is used to reduce the average time to access memory. Like RAM (Random Access Memory, another component in the computer) the cache stores copies of data most frequently used by the processor to speed up the time it takes to process instructions. The larger the CPU cache, the more information the processor can access quicker meaning a faster computer.
- Socket type
When buying a new processor for an upgrade or a new build, you will need to pay attention to the socket type to allow it to fit inside your motherboard. For each brand or range of CPU, it will use a specific socket type that will match the mother board to allow it to fit and work correctly. This information can be found on the product spec on the processor and motherboard. Buying a processor with a different socket style to the mother board (and visa versa) will leave you with something you wont be able to use.
Overclocking is the process of increasing the work load capability’s of a computer processor to improve performance. Popular with gamers, overclocking is achieved by altering the computer bios to tell the processor to faster than the manufactures deem recommended. One disadvantage of overclocking your computer can be the increased heat out put of your processor. To ensure you don’t damage your computer, you will need improved cooling and ventilation inside the case to ensure the CPU doesn’t exceed to recommended operating temperature (set out by the manufacture). You also might void the warranty with the CPU manufacture.
To conclude, when looking to buy a new computer processor, you will need to consider the points above. While all of the information above is relevant, the most important factors to consider are amount of number of cores and the clock speed of the processor. If you look for a processor with multiple cores and a high clock speed, you will be sure to buy a decent CPU