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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Processor - study notes

what is the processor? Well in the simplest of terms, it’s your computers brain. The processor tells your computer what to do and when to do it, it decides which tasks are more important and prioritizes them to your computers needs.

There is and has been many processors on the market, running at many different speeds. The speed is measured in Megahertz or MHz. A single MHz is a calculation of 1 million cycles per second (or computer instructions), so if you have a processor running at 2000 MHz, then your computer is running at 2000,000,000 cycles per second, which in more basic terms is the amount of instructions your computer can carry out. Another important abbreviation is Gigahertz or GHz. A single GHz or 1 GHz is the same as 1000 MHz . Sounds a bit confusing, so here is a simple conversion :
1000 MHz (Megahertz) = 1GHz (Gigahertz) = 1000,000,000 Cycles per second (or computer instructions).

when buying a new computer always look for fastest you can afford. The fastest on the market at the time of writing this article is 3.8 GHz (3800 MHz). Remember though that it is not necessary to purchase such a fast processor, balance your needs, do you really need top of the range? Especially when the difference say between a 3.5 GHz (3500 MHz) and a 3.8 GHz (3800 MHz) processor will be barely noticed (if noticed at all) by you, while the price difference is around £100. With the money you save you could get a nice printer and scanner package.
Now that we have covered the speeds, there is one more important subject to cover. Which processor? There are 3 competitors at present, the AMD Athlon, Intel Pentium and the Intel Celeron.

The Intel Pentium 4 is the most expensive of them all, and remains today the most popular on the market. In layman’s terms it’s the designer processor, although AMD have some superb if not better releases

The AMD Athlon 64 and 64 X2 processors are a direct competitor to the Pentium 4, the decision of which to pick should be left to your budget and present reviews, check out magazines and online hardware sites.
One thing to note though is that AMD lists its processor speeds at what it calls a comparable rating to the Intel Pentium 4. An example of this would be the 2200+ Athlon XP processor, which actually only runs at 1.8 GHz (1800 MHz).

Lastly there is the Intel Celeron; this processor is a budget version of the Intel Pentium 4, the processor you find in most budget computers. If the purse is tight, and you need a computer, then this is your port of call.