Which Intel Core Processor Is Right for You?
Choosing the right processor is criticalâ€”features like speed and cache size can have a real impact on your computerâ€™s performance. In fact, if you donâ€™t invest in a processor with the right features, you may not be able to run some applications at all. That being said, you should also avoid paying for processing power that you donâ€™t need.
So, how can you decide which is the right Intel Core processor for you? Here are some things to keep in mind:
In simple terms, processor speed is an indication of how fast a processor can execute the instructions itâ€™s been givenâ€”one gigahertz equals roughly one billion sets of processor instructions per second. Processors with 2 or more GHz are fine for running basic computing tasks, but if you often run graphics-intensive software, you may want to opt for more.
The larger the cache size, generally the faster the processorâ€™s performance. Processor cache is used to store frequently-accessed data in order to avoid having to constantly read and write from the hard disk. A large cache is especially useful for video applications and gaming, so if you frequently do either of these activities, go for the most cache possible.
Number of Cores
Processor â€œcoresâ€ are, essentially, independent central processing units. In other words, dual-core processors (like the i3) give you two processors in one chip, and quad-core processors (like the i5 and i7) give you four processors in one. Having more than one core is useful because your computer can run multiple instructions at the same time, which increases the speed of many applications and makes for smoother multi-tasking.
The i5 and i7 processors are both equipped with Intelâ€™s Turbo Boost technology, which allows the processor to dynamically increase its speed whenever it is necessary. Because of this, i5 processors can outrun i3 processors, even when it appears that they have the same processor speed. If you often switch between multiple programs or run demanding applications, Turbo Boost can give you the performance you need.
Differences Between 2nd and 3rd Generation Core Processors
Intelâ€™s third generation Core processors are designed to be slightly faster, offer better graphics, and use less energy than the second generation Core processors. Because of these benefits, it is usually worth it to go for the 3rd generation chips if you are buying a new system.
So, which is the right processor for you? The answer lies in how you use your computer. Look for the processor that offers the features you need for the type of computing you want to do.
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Brian Jensen works with Dell. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with his family. He has a passion for learning and writing about all things technology.