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Choosing Step 1

Processor

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Introduction

The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brain of your computer and is arguably the most critical component, as a slow processor will always result in a slow computer.

There are 2 manufacturers of mainstream processors, Intel and AMD. Intel dominates both the mid and high end of the market with its ‘core2‘ processor, while AMD‘s offerings currently only compete in the lower end of the market.

Although the speed of processor you need will vary depending on the way you use your computer (see table left), generally speaking spending 20-30% of your budget on the processor is a good starting point.

There are many factors that determine a processors speed, each of which are explained below, however the most reliable way to compare processor speeds is by looking at ‘benchmarks‘. Benchmarks measure different areas of a processors performance and it‘s unusual to find one processor fastest in all of them. Lots of sites benchmark processors as part of their reviews, searching Google for the processor name + ‘review‘ should yield lots of results.

Tom's Hardware has a very comprehensive set of charts listing most of the processors currently available and their respective benchmark scores.


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