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Comparing Computer Processor Speeds

Comparing Computer Processor Speeds
Every new computer buyer must know how to compare processor speeds, if he wants to choose the best computer configuration, which can deliver high-speed performance. This is a short guide on the same subject.
Omkar Phatak
When you want the best computer configuration for your computing needs, you need to be extremely discerning when choosing the CPU or processor. This choice has a direct impact on the performance of the computer, as it's the central decision-making component. Just like the neuron firing in our brain, powers our thinking, the processor powers and executes every computing task.

Tips on Comparing the Functionality of Processors

There are many features that come into play, to make high-speed computer processors. In the following lines, I provide you with information about the four most important features that need to be compared to determine overall performance.

Clocking Frequency
The clocking frequency or the clocking rate of the processor is supposed to be the single most important parameter, which decides the operating speed. Like every electronic IC, a clocking frequency signal is supplied to computer chips. It has a direct relation with the number of tasks that can be executed by the processor, within a second.

Higher the clocking frequency, greater are the number of tasks that can be executed sequentially by the processor, within a second. Intel and AMD have their clocking frequencies quoted in Gigahertz (GHz) or Megahertz (MHz). Go for chips with high clocking frequency, if your work demands high-speed performance.

Number of Cores
Today's processors have more than one cores, unlike the old chips like Pentiun 4, which only had one. You will find chips with two, four, and even six cores now. A dual or quad core processor doesn't double or quadruple the computer's performance speed, but certainly enhances it substantially. A quad core processor can certainly execute more functions, compared to a dual core one. So going for more cores will provide you with better performance.

L2 and L3 Cache Size
The L2 and L3 caches of a computer chip constitute its temporary working memory. The cache is the place where data is temporarily stored during execution of instructions. Greater L2 and L3 cache size provides more working memory to the processor, to execute complex algorithms in lesser time. Higher the cache size, faster will the chip perform. For example, Intel core i7 980X, which is the best computer processor on the planet as of now, has a L3 cache size of 12 MB.

Check Out FSB Frequency
The Front Side Bus (FSB) is the network of channels through which the computer chip retrieves data from the memory. Higher the FSB operation frequency and greater the data bandwidth, the processor can deliver better performance.

Remember the four key features described above, which are the clocking frequency, number of cores, cache size, and FSB frequency, while comparing two or more processors. The best processor will have the best combination of overall features, which include a high clocking frequency, greater number of cores, higher cache size, and a phenomenally high FSB frequency.

Many computer magazine websites and hardware retailers provide benchmark test results, by actually running various programs on a range of computer chips. Checking out such results tells you whether the on-paper specifications of a processor are converted into real world performance.