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How to Choose a Computer Processor

Intel and AMD are the two leading computer processor manufacturers. Both today’s Pentium series processors from Intel (Pentium 4, Pentium D, and Extreme Edition) and the Athlon 64 and 64 X2 series processors from AMD are excellent, so let price and chip speed be your guide.

Just make sure that you get the right CPU for your motherboard because every motherboard is specifically designed for one brand of CPU.

These three processor features all have their own distinct advantages:

  • Dual-core: Essentially embodies the inner guts of two processors, even though there’s only one physical chip.

    A dual-core processor is much better at multitasking and juggling more than one running program at a time, or both “virtual” processors can work on the same task. It’s very sexy — in a computer hardware sort of way, naturally.

  • 64-bit: A 64-bit processor can input and output much more data (and work with a whopping larger amount of RAM) than a 32-bit processor.

  • Hyper-Threading: Jeez, what a moniker — just think of a Hyper-Threading processor as much more efficient and significantly better at handling multiple programs at the same time than a processor of the same speed without Hyper–Threading. (Who thinks up these names — the marketing guys?)

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