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The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is a brain of your computer. Its one of the smallest pieces of hardware that goes inside your computer box, yet can cost good amount of money.
So what exactly is CPU? CPU, also called Processor, or Central Processing Unit, carries out orders of a computer program by doing operations of the computer system. If you do compare computer to a human body, I would call CPU a brain. There are number of different Processors out there. Nowadays, most CPUs you buy are actually multiple processors in one unit.
So what processor (CPU) do you need? Let's first look at all features current CPUs have.
Back in the days, all processors consisted of one core. Now, pretty much every CPU has multiple cores. Most common number of cores are from two to 8. You might be wondering how many cores you need. Well the way it works is more cores your processor has, easier work flow will go. Your CPU will be able to split up all computer assignments to the cores. If you are using your computer only for emails and word typing, double core should be more than enough. However, if you use your computer for hardcore gaming and/or multimedia watching and editing, definitely go for 8 cores.
Your processor stores some date for a temporary period of time. The more data CPU can store, the faster your computer will be able to perform. Therefore look for bigger cache size.
The higher number of hertz of the processor, the higher is the speed at which the CPU operates. Back in the days, when choosing CPU, you needed to find one with higher number, but it's not the case now. Don't make decision on your CPU by the frequency number.
Most CPUs use from 60W to 125W. It's up to you to decide what number to pick, but generally higher watt means more powerful processor. I would say once again to get CPU depending on what you need your computer for. If it's just for email and typing, go with lowest wattage as it will help you on your monthly electric bill. If you are getting computer for more, you can get a more powerful unit. Keep in mind though that if you don't want to spend more money on electric bill, you could still find a powerful CPU with low wattage, 95W for example. Only issue is you may have to pay more for that kind of processor.
If you are building yourself a computer, you'll still have to choose what processor to get. You have to consider whether you want Pentium or AMD and what socket type.
Instead of giving you all specs on CPU you need for your needs. I'd like to average it out by prices.
If you are looking for CPU for emailing and typing, you can get yourself a CPU for about $60. It will be more than enough to handle emails, typing, music, and even high definition video viewing.
Now if you are looking for same thing as mentioned above, but into some light multimedia software, light games. I'd say find yourself a CPU for $80.
If you play video games, doing some video editing, using video chat like skype, get yourself one for about $100.
If you want to play games at high details, edit videos and music. If you want to do all that with your computer. CPU for $120 will do just fine.
Now, if you want yourself something that will handle everything your throw at it and twice more, spend no more than $180. Honestly, I think the previous $120 option will be more than enough, but if you think you need or want more, spend more.
If you want to pay more, you just want to pay more. The only reason for higher price of CPU is some professional gaming development, making of software, or something I never heard before.