Windows Guides: Field Guide to Today’s Processors

field guide to today's processors

By Rich Robinson for Windows Guides

Field Guide to Today’s Processors

If you’re in the market to buy a PC and you’re looking for the best value for money, you’ve likely asked yourself: “what’s the difference between Dual and Quad Core and what about i3, i5, and i7?”

This guide offers a basic explanation of these five types of processors and will help you determine the best for your needs.

This guide will answer the following questions:

  • *What is a processor?
  • *What is a core?
  • *What is a multi-core processor?
  • *Why do I need multiple cores?
  • *How many cores do i3, i5, and i7′s have?
  • *How Do Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad Compare with Core i3, i5, and i7?
  • *What Does the “i” Stand for in i3, i5, and i7?
  • *Do I need a Dual/Quad core or an i3/i5/i7?
  • What is a Processor?
    The Processor or Central Processing Unit (CPU) component of your PC carries out instructions given to it by your Operating System (Windows.) Think of the processor as a brain that receives instructions and messages (i.e. “HOT HOT HOT Burning!!!”) and sends out instructions to other hardware (i.e. “Arm: lift hand” or “mouth: open; vocal chords: scream”.)

    What is a Core?
    A standard processor has one core (single-core.) Single core processors only process one instruction at a time (they do use pipelines internally, which allow several instructions to be processed together; however, they are still run one at a time.)

    What is a Multi-Core Processor?
    A multi-core processor is composed of two or more independent cores, each capable of processing individual instructions. A dual-core processor contains two cores, a quad-core processor contains four cores, and a hexa-core processor contains six cores.

    Guide continued here

    This excerpt is shared with permission from Windows Guides.

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