Intel Processors

Intel processors are at the heart of every modern Mac desktop and the majority of PC desktops. Most prevalent are Intel's Core™ series of multicore processors:

  • Core i7: Intel's top-of-the-line consumer processor. The choice of "power users" like hardcore gamers, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. It excels at high-demand multimedia creation and serious multitasking.
  • Core i5: Mid-grade Core processor and the most common Intel processor currently in use. Powerful enough for most computing tasks, and multitasks well (meaning it can efficiently perform operations in multiple applications at once).
  • Core i3: The entry-level Core processor, more than adequate for everyday e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks. It's also fine for common activities like listening to music.

In value-priced desktops, you may also see Intel's Pentium® and Celeron® processors. These are adequate for basic e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks, but their speed and multitasking capabilities are limited relative to those of the Core family. Meanwhile, very high-end "workstation" desktops occasionally boast Intel Xeon® processors. These 6-core superprocessors are designed for network servers and other specialized professional applications, and well exceed the processing requirements of even top-end consumer desktops.

AMD Processors

AMD processors typically offer a price advantage over similarly equipped Intel chips. Two series of AMD chips are currently common:

  • A-Series: Like Intel's Core chips, AMD's A-Series processors include a graphics processor built into the same chip. In order from entry level to top-of-the line, they include the A4, A6, A8 and A10.
  • E-Series: Similar to Intel's Celeron and Pentium processors, these are value-oriented chips with limited speed and multitasking capabilities. They're appropriate for basic computing tasks like e-mail, Web surfing and word processing.
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