Getting the Most CPU Bang for the Buck
In choosing your mainboard, price and CPU type will probably be the key factors. Never purchase the fastest CPU because the prices rise rapidly with CPU speed. Backing off just a bit from the fastest processor in a CPU family will save you considerable money. And, in a few short months, youll probably be able to buy a much faster processor even more inexpensively!
To put the above into perspective, lets compare prices for Pentium 4 CPUs from the same source (www.insightcomponents.com). We see the following Pentium 4 options:
And for the very budget conscious:
For a modest 33% increase in CPU speed in going from a 2.4 GHz CPU to a 3.2 GHz CPU, you pay almost three and a half times more money! The average builder could select the slightly slower CPU and pay for all the other PC components from the cost difference of $537! And, for many purposes, selecting the lower-end Celeron for under $90 is even a better option.
If you really need a very powerful PC at a budget price, consider a two-processor mainboard. Two 2.4 GHz processors tag-teaming a 3.2 GHz processor will beat it. The mainboard and the operating system will both need to support two processors working together. For example, Windows XP Professional supports two processors, while Windows XP Home Edition doesnt. Linux will support dual processors. Most builders will only need one CPU on their mainboard.
In five years, the speeds and types of the CPUs will be completely different. But, the advice of not selecting the fastest CPU currently available is timeless.
If you know what kind of CPU you want, then you can examine mainboards that support that CPU. Usually, builders will select the type of CPU they desire and then find a mainboard to support it. Be sure that the mainboard also supports the CPU speed of your chip. For example, a board that supports a 2.4 GHz processor might not support a 3.2 GHz processor from the same family.
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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005
Adapted with permission from a work created by Charlie Palmer.
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