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Deciding Which Processor is Best For You

Updated on September 23, 2011

In 2009, I wrote an article titled, How to Decide Which Computer Processor Is Best For You.  The article has been removed but unauthorized copies are everywhere and eHow never bothered to control this.  It is not worth the work going to hundreds of sites to cease and desist.  The article is outdated anyway so here is an update for 2011.

This article will help you as a consumer to make the best decision when buying a desktop or laptop/notebook computer.  There are so many microprocessor chips and describing the technical specifications can be difficult for the average home user.  The discussion here is merely an overview of major processors and their associated uses.

The cheapest processor has performance that is degraded than higher performance chips.  In simple terms, the cheap cost computer will come with a low-end processor, making your computer slow.  If you are just need a computer for general office work such as spreadsheets or word processing, the economy chips will do.  But if you want to view and edit photos, videos, and music or surf the net or play games with 3D animation, don’t buy cheap computers.

The low cost Intel chips are the Atom series.  These chips consume low power and are usually found in netbooks.  Low cost chips are Celerons from Intel and Sempron from AMD.  Celerons and Semprons have processor memory storage (called cache) that is much less than their higher performing cousins.  Features are also disabled.  The result is an inexpensive chip that is much slower.

For AMD netbooks and ultra-thin notebooks, you’ll find at the low end, Athlon 64 Neo chips.

Mid-level chips are higher performing.  They work well for playing video, viewing and editing images, heavy internet surfing, and playing older 3D games going 2 years back or older. These chips are much better than economy processors. 

Intel chips in the mid range include Core 2 Duo and Core i3.  Mid range chips that are faster and more current are Core 2 Quad and Core i5.  The AMD brands that compete with Core 3 Duo and Core i3 are the Athlon 64 X2 and Althon II.  The AMD brands that compete with Core 2 Quad and Core i5 are Phenom.  For mid range AMD notebooks only you’ll find Turion 64 X2 processors.

High-end processors offer the best performance and speeds. They will be much more expensive than mid-range processors previously described.  These high performing chips are suggested for applications requiring complex math calculations and analysis, the current software games, editing high resolution video, 3d graphics and animation. They are superior to the mid range chips.

The high end Intel processor is the Core i7.  An alternative is the AMD Phenom II.


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    • Romian1 profile image

      Romian1 5 years ago

      Hello Glen, About 5 years ago I made a 40 minute 3d computer animated film. I know what you are going through. After noticing how slow my old computer was rendering images - not just clips, I had to blow lots of money for a faster processor. That's another life. My kids are my projects now.

      Anyway, I don't think you can go wrong with either processor. They will perform similarly. I was doing a little bit of research and it seems that the Intel Core-i7 will be a bit better. The current software does not take advantage of AMD 8-Core's powerful features yet. Good luck with you 3D work. Later I will share more of my only animation work I have ever done.

    • profile image

      Glen 5 years ago

      i'm looking for best cpu for 3D animations i'm in the middle of this 2 processors AMD a8 and Intel Core-i7 which is which. . . what is the best of this 2 processors pretty please help me before spending a lot of money. or email me please help me. . . tnx and God Bless.