Recommendations For An Intel

The processor is the most significant factor in terms of computer performance.

Intel has four major lines of processors, each of which consists of multiple models. While each of these product families has its own set of features, all rely on the same basic factors to determine their performance capabilities. These include speed, core count and cache memory size. Choosing a processor is a matter of understanding how much performance you specifically need.

Top of the Line

Intel’s most advanced processors belong to its Core i7 Extreme line. These units differ from other Intel processors in that they have up to six cores. The higher the core count, the more operations the processor can perform simultaneously, and the faster it can run complex software. This does not result in faster performance when running everyday applications such as Web browsers and word processing programs. However, the Core i7 Extremes are a good choice if you use video editing or 3D rendering applications, as developers create most of these programs to take advantage of multiple cores.

High Performance

Intel’s line of Core i7 and Core i5 processors have four cores. This allows them to take advantage of multi-threaded applications. They also include between 3 and 12 megabytes of cache memory. The larger the cache, the less frequently the processor has to sit idle while it waits for information from RAM. This helps compensate for computers with slower RAM. If you use visual design software such as Photoshop or Illustrator, but can’t afford a RAM upgrade, the Core i5s and i7s are a good choice.

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Home Use

If you only use your computer to surf the Web, create Word documents and listen to music, you won’t see any performance increase with a high-end processor. For these applications, a Core i3 processor will suit your needs. The i3s have two cores, 3MB of cache and speeds comparable to most i5s and i7s. They are also adequate to display standard-definition movies and view websites with flash animation. However, some media — like high-definition movies or 3D games — require more high-performance processors such as the Core i5 or i7 for optimal performance.

Budget

If you primarily use your computer for email, Web browsing and standard office applications, Intel’s line of Core 2 Duo processors will work well. While they can run content-rich sites, games and design applications, they will not do so optimally. The main reason for this is that unlike most Core i-series processors, these do not include Intel’s Hyper-Threading or TurboBoost technologies. These help the processor handle simultaneous operations and give it the ability to temporarily increase its speed when necessary.