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Inside your Computer - Your Hardware Explained

The Processor (CPU)

  

The Processor

  

So what is the processor? Well in the simplest of terms, itís 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).

Now you can see why they abbreviate it, could you imagine going to a PC store and asking for a one thousand million cycle PC please. A bit of a mouth full isnít it?

So 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. They come in many guises, but basically the more cores they have and the higher the speed means better and faster.

Processors now come as dual core, triple core and quad core. These processors are the equivalent of running two cpu's (Dual core), three CPU's ( Triple core) or four (Quad core).

In the past Intel Pentium the best and most expensive of them all, and remains today one of the most popular on the market. In laymanís terms it is/was the designer processor, although AMD have some superb if not better releases and equally highly priced and advanced products. It would be hard to say which is best as they are direct competitors.

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. You will find many sub £400 computers fitted with this processor.

 

 

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