by January 2, 2000 0 comments

The most often-mentioned spec of your PC–the CPU–is normally identified by its clock speed, and the brand and manufacturer name, for example, Intel PIII 500 MHz, or AMD K7 700 MHz, and so on.

Most CPUs available today can handle almost any job. Only, some do some things better. For example, you can play games with reasonable satisfaction on a Celeron-based machine, but if you want the full punch, you may want an AMD K7 or a

That brings us to the first rule of the game. If you mainly need to run plain vanilla productivity applications with occasional gaming and the like, then a Celeron or an AMD K6-II or K6-III could well meet your needs, and also save you a lot of money when compared to a PIII. If you’re into processor-intensive applications such as frequent code compilation, multimedia development, or adrenaline-pumping gaming, then your choice is between the PIII and the AMD K7.

We come to clock speed next. Vendors and their distributors will no doubt want you to buy the fastest. The logic behind this is not just performance. Let us for example, consider the case of the PIII. A 550 MHz PIII comes at Rs 21,000, while the 500 MHz one comes for Rs 14,800–about two-thirds the price of the 550 MHz one. Is the extra 50 MHz worth Rs 7,000 which, incidentally is more than what a Celeron 466 MHz costs? 

In our opinion, no. The extra 50 MHz will give you only a few percentage points improvement in performance, which is definitely not worth the extra money you have to shell out. And that brings up the second rule of selecting a CPU. Stay one step behind the fastest CPU in the market, and you can save quite a bit of money without sacrificing all that much on performance.


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