“A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy”

Friday, December 11

12. Picking the Right One: Not all CPU's are created equally

Intel: Intel's processors are the defacto standard of the computer industry. I could go on for pages dealing with the various current processors available, but considering the speed at which these change it would be out-of-date before I finished. Intel's processors are what most software is written on and for. This makes them ideal for most uses. Considering this, they do tend to be a bit more expensive, but not prohibitively so.

AMD: AMD's processors used to be better than Intel's! Sadly this is not the case anymore. Intel has more resources (read: money) and has really outpaced AMD in terms of design. This is not to say that AMD processors are bad or that there are problems with them. AMD makes a great product and it's rare to find software that disagrees with them. Gamer's used to favor AMD processors because they were so easy to over-clock (set the chip speed beyond the factory specifications) and were so cheap compared to Intel. Sadly, this is no longer quite the case. While still less expensive, there isnt' as big a difference as there used to be, and Intel's are just as easy to over-clock these days. Bottom line: If you see a computer with an AMD processor, don't flinch away. It's fine.

Everything else: There are a few other players out in the market, but the odds that you'll actually run into one is staggeringly low. Most are for specialized applications or products, so you really don't need to worry about this. The exception to this would be Atom processors. You'll find these mostly in Netbooks. They're fine, just not very good for gaming. Of course, if you want gaming, odds are you won't choose a Netbook anyway.