is the heart of the system. The common misconception is that their
speed in megahertz (or gigahertz) is the whole story behind the over all
performance. You also must consider the bus speeds, cache size, and
internal/external bus widths.
BUS: A data pathway connecting two or more
components. The "wider" a bus (called bandwidth) the more traffic
that can move at one time. Just like a four land highway moves more
traffic at once than a two lane highway.
The bus is measured by
width in bits and it's speed in megahertz. In other words, all other
things being equal, a 900 MHz CPU with a 200 MHz bus is much faster than a
900 MHz CPU with a 133 MHz bus.
CACHE: The L2 Cache (Usually
housed in the CPU die) is where the CPU stores frequently used
commands. This speeds up common tasks. The larger the cache,
the more commands that can be stored there.
When upgrading the CPU
on an system make sure the motherboard will support it. The
motherboard will support minimum and maximum bus sizes and CPU
speeds. The socket or slot type must also match (Socket A, Socket
478, etc). A wide variety of CPU's can be used in Socket 370
motherboards. This may be a good "beginners"
Today's CPU's need to be cooled! Get a good
fan/heat sink for your CPU! The more air flow the better to keep
things cool inside your PC.
It's a good idea to do a little research
before you decide which CPU is the best for you. DO NOT take the
manufacturers word for it. PC magazines do a lot of testing, and
would be a good place to start looking for