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How To Pick The Best Processer For Your Computer

 
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One of the more common questions we get here at WorldStart is, “What’s the best processor for my computer?”  Sometimes the advice appears to conflict.

Ray from Kansas writes “In June 2013 you wrote an article what a person should look for in buying a computer and one was the processor. You recommended an Intel 13 or higher or AMD A6 or higher. In an October issue you said to avoid the AMD processor and go with Intel. We just purchased a HP Pavailion with a AMD 10 processor. Should we return the computer and get one with an Intel Processor? Or are we okay?”

Hi, Ray.  Thanks for reading and for the great question.  I’m sure that you’re not the only one puzzled by the processor question.

First off, let’s start with a little “processor 101″.  As of right now, there are two major players in the processor world, Intel and AMD. 

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Think of the processor as being the “brain” of your computer.  It’s the processor that makes a computer a computer and changes all of those bits and bytes of information into something that a meager human mind can understand.  It lives on your motherboard, attached to a fan sitting on top of it with some thermal adhesive.  The processor is also the reason that your computer needs cooling.  Up until recently, processors ran so hot processing information that they needed their own fan just to keep them from literally melting from their own heat.  Recent advances in processor technology have allowed them to run much cooler, enabling devices to become much smaller, and allowing us to have phones and tablets that are as powerful as only desktops and laptops were just a few years ago.  This little guy is the AMD Athlon FX 64-bit processor from front and back.

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The metal dots on the back of the processor are how the device interfaces with your computer’s motherboard.  When you’re installing a processor, be careful not to get any smudges or dust on these connectors. 

As to your question.  The best processor to buy all depends on what you are doing with your machine.  When our writer expressed a preference for the Intel processor over the AMD, he was expressing just that… a preference.  Yes, there are objective ways to measure the performance of a processor, called benchmarks, but for the casual computer user these benchmarks really don’t mean very much.  As an example, my computer is mostly used for writing these days.  Almost all of my other computing is done on my tablet.  I simply can’t use that for writing because any keyboard small enough to be as portable as the tablet is too small for my great ham hands to type comfortably on.  Because of that, I don’t need a lot of power in my processor.  Higher-end, more expensive processors are great for people who do things like CAD drafting, editing music and video and, most of all, gaming.  If you are a World of Warcraft player, there is little more annoying than to have your video or sound lag, distort or vanish completely at a vital point in the game.

One element of choosing a processor that’s important to me is how eco-friendly the company is.  I can honestly say that I don’t know where AMD falls in that category, because they don’t make a lot of noise about it.  Intel, on the other hand, makes it a point to manufacture each new generation of their processors to be more and more green.  They were also lauded for the fact that the water that they use (and a manufacturer like this uses a LOT of water) is actually returned to the environment cleaner than it was when they took it in. 

So I guess that the short answer to your question is depending on what you use your computer for, you’re probably fine.  If you’re gaming or doing other processor-intensive tasks, you might want to spend some more money and get one of the higher-end Intel processors.

I hope that this helps!

~ Randal Schaffer

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4 Responses to “How To Pick The Best Processer For Your Computer”

  1. Dave says:

    A lot of rambling in article with very little useful info on processor chips. Would have liked to have type of processor chip with price ranges and side by side list of each processor to which one is best for each system use. IE. word processing, web surfing and fast gaming.

    • Andrew says:

      I have to agree with you Dave. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
      Randall, can you please have another go at answering the question with a little more (a lot more) useful information.

  2. Bernie Galambos says:

    I think it should have been mentioned that all processors are not compatible with all motherboards.

  3. Randal says:

    Hi, guys. Thanks for the great comments.

    Dave and Andrew, the reason that I didn’t go into all of the tech-speak on processors is because I was trying to address more casual users. Yes, I found a lot of benchmarks on the net for various processors (readily available to anyone with access to Google), but the simple fact is that most of that information is useless or worse for a casual user. That also perpetuates the idea that the most powerful processor is always the best one, which is not necessarily the case. I am trying to discourage my readers from spending more money for more processor than they need. My message in this type of article is the same as it is in all of these types of article, and the message that i tried to deliver when i was selling computers. That message is “don’t spend money on things that you don’t need”.

    Also, that type of article would have basically been copying and pasting the benchmark results that i found on the internet and passing it off as my own work, which i really can’t do. There are so many different benchmarks, and so many different types of processor out there today that there’s really very little that i can add that would make the article my own.

    And Bernie, that’s a great bit of information, thanks. That’s the great thing about this type of interactive writing… my readers almost always catch something that I miss. :)

    Randal

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