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A Computer Procurement Guide, Part I

A Computer Procurement Guide, Part I

When you are in the market for some new computers for your business, ensuring that you are targeting the right hardware is important. To educate people on what they should be looking for in a new computer, we have decided to put together a multi-part series detailing the different parts of a computer. In part one, we will take a look at the CPU.

Determine the Computer’s Role

Before you get too far into the specifications, you should know why you are purchasing new hardware. Are you looking to upgrade the systems in your office? Do you need new systems for a startup enterprise?  Are you just looking for one computer to do some very specific task? Understanding why you are buying a system can dictate your priorities in regard to specific hardware. 

The CPU

The CPU is how your computer processes all the actions and data that you ask it to. Since most people know what a CPU is, we’re not going to go into detail about it. The processor--actually microprocessor--is the core component of a computer’s CPU. Most CPUs feature microprocessors manufactured by one of two companies, either Intel or AMD. Let’s take a look at the processors you may find in a new PC:

Intel 

Intel is the largest processor manufacturer in the world. It has recently begun to tier the processors they build, providing consumers with an easier-to-understand menu of processors to choose from. Here are the newest products:

  • Intel Core i3: Ideal for low-end work, like editing documents, checking email, and surfing the Internet. The latest generation of Core i3 should also suffice to stream video on YouTube and Netflix.
  • Intel Core i5: The i5 processor is a little more powerful than your average i3, as it can handle some light photo editing and gaming. It’s a decent choice for your average office workstation.
  • Intel Core i7: i7 processors are more high-end for video editing and gaming.
  • Intel Core i9: i9 is a tier that has only just recently surfaced. For the average business’ needs, it’s overkill, but it’s perfect for 3D animation, rendering, gaming while streaming, scientific calculations, and so on. The price tag is just as high as you would think.

AMD

California-based AMD may be dwarfed in market share but has taken advantage of Intel’s inability to keep up with demand and has expanded its market share with its Ryzen line of processors. AMD has also begun to tier their options, providing consumers a general idea of what processors will fit their computing requirements. Options include:

  • AMD Ryzen 3: To put it simply, this is AMD’s version of the Intel Core i3 processor, capable of editing documents, surfing the web, and… not much else.
  • AMD Ryzen 5: The Ryzen 5 is about on par with the Intel Core i5, and while you might pay a little bit more for it, the performance of your desktop will improve substantially.
  • AMD Ryzen 7: The Ryzen 7 is similar to Intel’s Core i7; this is where you’ll start to see costs increasing quite a bit.
  • AMD Threadripper: This is where the overkill starts. The Threadripper is capable of handling heavy loads like 3D animation, gaming while streaming, and other intense computing that your average desktop doesn’t need to do.

How Much Does the GHz Matter?

The speed of a CPU is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). Until the manufacturers started tiering their products, consumers had to keep an eye on the speed of the device. While you still find some higher-end commercial processors clocked lower than you’d expect, you still can be confident that if you are shopping by tier, you are getting the right product for your needs. 

Do the Number of Cores Matter?

The cores of a CPU represent how many separate processing tasks can be done with that card. If you have a dual-core processor, there are generally two microprocessors that share all system resources allowing for users to do twice as many tasks as a single processor. Nowadays, you often see quad-core or octa-core CPUs. The more cores you have, the more separate things your processor is going to be able to process at once. 

If you would like more information about the CPU, or tips on purchasing hardware and software for your business, don’t hesitate to call us at 603-889-0800 today.

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