How to Get a Faster Processor

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The processor (or CPU) is the virtual "brain" of a computer. Though the processor is not the only component that contributes to the speed of a computer, a powerful processor is one of the most important factors. Every command and keystroke has to travel through the processor before it will show up on your screen or carry out the command inside your computer. The faster the processor, the quicker any task can be performed. If you're thinking of getting a new, faster processor, here's how.

  • Start by visiting Intel.com (see the Resources section) to research and figure out which processor you want. Read the page and click on the links to the different processor families. Once inside the processor families you can look at the specifications and speeds of the processors. There are three main ways of determining the speed of a processor. First is the speed, measured in GHz. The higher the speed (example: 2.4 GHz) the faster the processor. Second is the L2 cache, measured in MB (example: 2 MB L2 Cache). The L2 cache is kind of like the CPU's own RAM; the larger the cache, the faster your computer operation will be. Finally, there is the Front Side Bus (FSB) speed. The FSB speed is the speed that bits of data are fed through the processor. FSB is measured in MHz (example: 1066 MHz FSB). Once you have an idea of the processor you want, continue to step two.

  • Ensure that your processor of choice will be compatible with your current system. You can do this by checking the documentation for your motherboard. Look through the manual to find out what its CPU socket type is (example: LGA775). There can and will be different socket types on CPUs so ensure your processor choices match up with your motherboard before continuing. The socket (or package) type will be listed in the specifications of any processor you look at. Worth noting is that some motherboards also impose a limit for how high the FSB of a processor can be. While a higher FSB processor will still work with a lower FSB motherboard, processors have to go by the speed limit imposed by the motherboard. Keeping this in mind, as long as the socket type is the same on both parts, they will be compatible.

  • Visit Newegg.com (see the Resources section) or a similar computer or electronics store of your choice and nose around the processor section of the site. You should be able to find the processor model you are after.

  • Decide on a processor. If you've already done the research suggested in steps one and two, you should have a decent idea of the kind you want. Choose among the models you selected and add it to your cart, ensuring that the socket type of your new processor will match your motherboard. Once purchased, you should receive it within a few days.

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