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Central processing unit

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The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the "brain" of your computing device, be it a desktop, laptop, E-Readers, celphone, or tablet. You need at least one physical CPU, and it can have multiple "cores" contained on it.

Desktop and Laptop CPUs

For desktop CPUs, you have your choice of two whole brands—Intel, or AMD.

Intel

Owned by the jews, any mention of Intel on /g/ really brings the anti-semites out of the woodwork. Intel CPUs are, broadly speaking, far faster than anything AMD is capable of producing, but also carry a hefty price tag. If you plan to do CPU-intensive activities like video editing and encoding, this is probably the way to go,

Intel consumer-grade CPU naming

Intel CPU consumer-grade model names are composed by a brand modifier, four numbers, and, occasionally, an additional letter or two. They are not as informative as their AMD counterparts.

The brand modifier can be i3, i5, i7, or m:

  • i3: 2 cores, with hyperthreading
  • i5: 4 cores, no hyperthreading
  • i7: 4~8 cores, with hyperthreading
  • m: mobile, generally comes with a lower core count

The first digit in the four-number sequence indicates the generation of processor, and the next three digits are stock keeping unit numbers, but it is safe to assume the higher the SKU number, the more recent the batch.

The sequence can either end here, or have additional letters:

  • Desktop:
    • K: unlocked
    • T: power-optimized
  • Mobile:
    • H: high-performance graphics
    • HK: high-performance graphics, unlocked
    • U: ultra-low power

AMD

MOAR CORES Broadly speaking, AMD is best know for their "bang-for-your-buck" ratio, delivering decent performance at a more moderate price. Their CPUs tend to fall into the "good enough" category for most.

AMD consumer-grade CPU naming

AMD consumer-grade CPU model names are composed by four numbers.

The first one indicates the number of cores the CPU has. The second number indicates the generation, but it is also indicative of the core type: if 1 or 2 it's generally Zambesi core, if 3 it's Piledriver core (aka Vishera). The third number is a reference of how fast the processor is. A 6350 is faster then a 6300. The fourth number is always a 0.