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CPUs Processors

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brains of your computer. It handles almost all of the complex computations that must be processed in order for your system to work. As such, the CPU is a vital component that can be a limiting factor in how well your computer performs. It is important to know, however, that high performance comes with its own drawbacks. Currently, there are two major CPU manufacturers: Intel and AMD. CPUs generally fall in three categories.

Low Power CPUs

CPUs on the lower end of the power spectrum would generally not be considered for more than light tasks, such as browsing the Web or word processing. In general, system builders shouldn’t expect to use these CPUs for gaming, video editing, or running several applications at the same time. What low power CPUs do offer, however, is low power consumption and low heat output. This allows them to be placed in smaller devices, like tablets and netbooks, which typically need long battery life and don’t have room for a CPU heatsink. Intel’s Atom and AMD’s Sempron processors fall into this category.

Desktop CPUs

This is the largest category of CPUs, offering the widest selection of power and performance to suit your needs. These are the CPUs that are commonly found in mid to high-end laptops, desktop computers and some tablets. They typically have several processor cores, much faster speeds, and can have very high heat output. As such, most desktop CPUs require some kind of active cooling, like a heatsink and fan. Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs fall in this category. AMD’s Athlon and FX processors also fall in this category.

Server CPUs

These CPUs are designed to focus on reliability rather than performance. They undergo more rigorous stress testing to ensure that they will perform reliably under almost any condition. If they do fail, then they have the ability to failover to a secondary server CPU, assuming one is installed. Most desktop motherboards do not have a socket for a second CPU, unfortunately. Since server CPUs are designed to manage more data more frequently than a desktop CPU, server CPUs can correct memory errors that might affect system stability. Because of the higher volume of data being transferred, server CPUs can output a lot of heat. Cooling should be a main concern when working with these CPUs. Intel’s Xeon and AMD’s Opteron processors fall in this category.

Whether you’re building a small media streaming box, a high-end gaming rig, or a file server for the office, Newegg has the Intel or AMD CPU you’re looking for. Find the right CPU for you today!

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