> I'm a home/small office user. No games. Some multimedia. Music is
> I haven't bought a PC in years and first of all I'm trying to
> sort out which processor family I should go for. The chipset is
> important and I want one that is modern and provides a good range
> of features like multiple PATA/SATA drives, lots of USB, good
> onboard sound (or I'll have to buy a sound card). Has onboard
> video come of age enough to handle movies easily?
> Power consumption and noise are quite important.
> Value is important because I don't want to spend a lot. I'll pay
> more up front if it's cheaper in the long run. But I don't want
> obscure or little known hardware because getting help afterwards
> can get lonely!
> I saw a good page about processors but it's a bit too complicated
> to help me. <http://www.directron.com/howtochoosecpu.html>
> Can anyone advise on my points above and help with the steps I've
> listed below.
> STEP 1) I'm tending to go for Intel because AMD doesn't seem
> significantly cheaper. (I still have glitches with my elderly AMD
> cpu and XP's ntdll.dl and I don't want anything like that again.)
> STEP 2) Will I need 64 bit? Last time I looked the lack of 64 bit
> apps was said to be a problem. Should i go for 64 bit?
> STEP 3) What about mutliple cores/cpus? How do I narrow down the
> selection in that web page. I read about extra cores/cpus not
> helping unless there were certain types of workload. Without a
> ton of detail about multiprocessing and threads and all that,
> what's the bottom line?
1) The Intel processors using the LGA 1156 socket are probably "mainstream"
at the moment. These come in i5 and i7 varieties both of which are
quad-core with the former being limited to 4 threads and the latter using
Intel's Hyperthreading technology to allow 8 threads. Both of these work
with the P55 chipset. There are also the LGA 1366 processors which are
slightly less mainstream (and are correspondingly more expensive) having
just a bit of a lead in speed of memory access but few home users would
have need of them.
2) You would be hard pressed to find a current-generation desktop processor
that _isn't_ 64-bit. That doesn't mean that you have to run 64-bit
applications or operating systems, just that you can if you wish to. I have
plain old 32-bit Windows XP installed on several 64-bit systems and running
ancient 32-bit software and everything works fine since the new processors
where designed to be backward compatible. Using a 64-bit processor with a
64-bit operating system opens up the possibility of using more than 4gB of
memory and that can be quite useful for many tasks.
3) Again, virtually every new desktop processor you could lay your hands on
today will have at least 2 cores. Even the low-end laptop will have at
least that. 4 cores are quite common and are always useful. Whether you are
aware of it or not you are always running 20 or more processes. Having them
divided up among multiple processors can't do anything except help and when
the day comes that you are running three or four "real" programs at the
same time you won't regret having them. (Think listening to music and
simultaneously browsing the web to kill time while burning a DVD)
[Knoxville, TN, USA] http://johnmcgaw.com