In January, I told you about some cheap ways to get into computing. The all-in-one computers work real well for email or browsing the web.
This time we'll talk about the more expensive kind. The two companies most involved in producing Central Processing Units (CPU) are Intel Inc. and AMD Inc.
CPU's are the heart of your computer. They reside on the printed circuit board on your machine. The two companies have provided the majority of CPU's for our computers and laptops for many years.
Intel has had the lead in computing power and speed for the last few years but this week it looks like AMD took over. Actually, the speed of the new AMD central processing unit is not much faster than a comparable Intel CPU.
The very interesting story here is the price of the AMD processors. They are half the price of their competitors! This represents some significant improvements in design and manufacturing of the processors. I am not sure how they did this and they sure won't tell me so we will have to wait for the experts to dissect the chips. There are seven new CPU's starting at about $329.00.
Why would you, the computing public, want a computer with one of these beauties in it? To answer that question you must realize that some computing done in the business world requires huge amounts of computing power.
Example: Computer-Aided Design, the method by which all sorts of engineering designs are produced. This includes new parts, assemblies, buildings and indeed computer chips themselves.
Another example: Gaming. Some of the new games are so realistic and so completely immerse the player into the game that the computing power required can only be produced by the most powerful computer processors.
So now the price of the new AMD chips makes the more powerful versions of the CPU available to more customers for those of us who need the power.
There is some middle ground here if you are not an engineer or know nothing about gaming. Some of the latest line of AMD processors will fit what you do without a higher cost of Intel processors.
If you are considering a new, more powerful computer the same rule applies: do your due diligence. Read about the processor you are considering, whether it is one of the new AMD processors or the older Intel processors. Obviously your budget is a consideration -- and the wait time if you are considering the new processors. They are just now hitting computer stores and the big box chains.
Check the prices of the online chains to see how they are matching motherboards and video cards to the processors. Send email to the chain stores and manufacturers about what you do with a computer and which processor or system you should consider.
If you are stepping up your level of computer equipment there is a lot to learn. It is a fun thing to do!
by Sabrina Hornung
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