Of all the pieces of computer hardware that are assembled to build a computer terminal, the smallest and the most important one is the computer processor chip. When shopping for a new laptop or desktop computer, the first thing that you should research about is the processor you plan to get installed in it. A computer processor is created through the etching of billions of transistors on a silicon chip and it forms the brain of your computer. If you are planning to run intensive computer applications like video editing, 3D games and scientific simulations, you need a processor which can run these applications fast.

Selecting a Computer Processor That Delivers High Performance

Just like you don't need to be an automobile engineer to choose the right car, you don't need to be a computer engineer to choose the right computer processor. All you need is knowledge of what specifications to look out for, that determine the performance potential of the processor, just like you need to know the engine specs and overall design details to choose a car. Here is a brief discussion of the parameters, which you should check out, while choosing a computer processor.

Higher Clocking Frequency Equates Higher Performance
The most important parameter which determines the operating speed of the chip is the processor's clocking frequency. The frequency determines the number of tasks that the processor can accomplish in a single clock cycle which drives it. Always specified in Gigahertz (GHz), you will find a range of processors launched by AMD and Intel with varying frequency values.

The fastest processors launched by Intel can attain a clocking frequency of 3.6 GHz and beyond if overclocked. Any processor with a clocking frequency, which is greater than 2.5 GHz to 2.6 GHz is fast enough to accomplish most basic computing tasks. When comparing two processors, choose the one with higher clocking frequency.

More Cores Translates into Better Multitasking Ability
Second important specification which needs to be checked out while selecting desktop or laptop processors is the number of cores. The earliest processor were only single core, with only one physical central processing unit (CPU) but today's processors have multiple cores which help speed up performance by sharing the workload. With more cores, a computer can process a software program faster and handle multiple programming threads at a time.

You may choose computer chips with 2, 3, 4 and even 6 cores now. Quad core processor are ideal and opting for processor with more than 6 cores is overkill, unless you are into extreme 3D gaming or running heavy duty applications like video editing.

Large Cache Memory Speeds Up Performance
The third important specification that one must check out is the processor cache memory. Specified in Kb or Mb, processor cache stores the data which is frequently used by the processor, speeding up its operation. Multiple core processor share their cache and a large size helps speed up the operation. In case, when comparing two processors, you find them tied with the core number and clocking frequency specifications, choose the processor with the larger L2 or L3 cache memory.

Let Benchmark Tests Decide
There are several computer magazines and websites which conduct benchmark tests to determine which processors offer superior performance. They install computer processors and actually run heavy duty applications on the computers to determine how the chip performs under these conditions. They subject all processors to the same tests and publish benchmark test results which you can refer to, when choosing the best processor for your computer.

Both Intel and AMD have a complete listing of specifications for each one of their processors, which you can easily check out online. When you are shopping for a laptop or desktop computer, note the processor specification and Google it. Check out all the parameters that I discussed in the above lines. Make a specs comparison and choose the best processor which adequately suits your requirements. Most desktop, as well as laptop manufacturers let you get customized specifications. Check out the best laptop processors from AMD and Intel, before choosing the configuration for your laptop. Hope this article has eliminated most of your doubts regarding how to choose a processor for your laptop or desktop computer.