Processors are constantly being developed and this can be seen in the advancement of newer and faster CPUs.
Intel and AMD are the two main brands of CPUs with Intel being the first to release a processor to the computer world. The market is now being shared by both Intel and AMD with a small part for the Via/Cyrix processors.
Intel and AMD release hexacore computer chips
Intel: Intel's new 6-core chip Gulftown is the Core i9 and comes in 3 flavors - Core i9 2.4 Ghz and 2 versions of Core i9 3.067 Ghz. It uses triple channel DDR3 memory and is more energy-efficient
than the Core i7. Gulftown uses the LGA 1366 socket.
AMD: The Phenom II X6 (hexacore) uses AMD's K10 microarchitecture and is from the 45 nm multi-core processor family. This processor uses the Socket AM3+ to facilitate DDR3 memory support and is backward compatible with socket AM2+.
This processor comes in four flavors - Phenom II X6 1035T, 1055T, 1075T and 1090T.
The present Intel CPUs include Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. The Core 2 Duo is the Quad Core platform. This mid-range processor family is designed with about 40% increase in speed for powerful, energy-efficient performance which enables them to do more at once without slowing down.
The Intel Centrino Duo Mobile technology used primarily in laptops and notebooks has been upgraded with the new Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile CPU. It doubles multi-tasking with improved energy efficiency. This factor provides for longer battery life and makes it possible to have a powerful dual-core computer with mobility.
The Intel Core 2 Extreme dual-core (Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800), another mid-range processor, holds its own in the gaming sector. It provides energy-efficient gaming performance and great high-definition multimedia. This is due to its 4MB of L2 cache and up to 1066 MHz of front-side bus (FSB).
Upper mid-range chips such as the Intel Core i3, Core i5 and some of the Core i7, use socket 1156 and the high end chips such as the Core i7 use socket 1366.
The present AMD CPUs include the Athlon XP, Sempron, Opteron, Turion 64, Turion 64 X2, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Quad FX, Athlon II X2, Athlon II X4, Phenon X3, Phenom X4, Phenom II X3, Phenom II X4 and Phenom II X6.
The AMD Sempron is available in two applications - Desktop and Mobile. This processor is used in full-featured desktops and notebooks for performing regular everyday computing.
The AMD Turion 64 mobile technology is designed to deliver AMD64 performance. It is suitable for thin and light laptops and provides longer battery life and enhanced security. It is compatible with the present wireless and graphics technologies.
The AMD Turion 64 X2 dual-core mobile processor is the most advanced mobile dual-core processor. It delivers superb multi-tasking for today's thin and light notebooks.
The AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor increases performance by up to 80%. You can run multiple programs simultaneously without noticing any drop in performance. This dual-core technology performs like two processors working together. Two processors working together is more efficient than one working alone.
The AMD Athlon 64 FX processor uses AMD's most advanced processor technology. This processor comes in single and dual-core and are for PC enthusiasts who "live" in the digital world. It executes high gaming levels and controls digital media with great ease while enabling mega-tasking.
The AMD Quad FX technology features a Dual Socket Direct Connect Architecture that uses 4 processing cores with the ability to seamlessly upgrade to 8 cores. The Direct Connect Architecture is an AMD exclusive high-bandwidth interconnect design for coupling two multi-core CPUs. The AMD Quad FX also has an onboard memory controller that reduces memory access latency and enhances performance while mega-tasking.
Despite AMD's fall from dominance in the processor race, it has introduced its Quad-Core CPU - Quad-FX and has intentions of releasing an Eight-Core processor.
AMD introduced the Barcelona chip that was eventually called Phenom which was a quad core chip with 2MB of L3 cache. After a short period, Phenom was upgraded to Phenon II which had a 6MB of L3 cache and support for DDR3 memory.
This processor, although not able to out-perform Intel's flagship, Core i7, is quite popular because of its modest pricing of just over $200 compared to Intel's $1,000 pricing!
As added information, AMD's tricore series Phenom IIs are just quad core chips with one faulty core that is disabled.
These AMD processors use a variety of sockets namely:
Socket 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+ and AM3.
Following are the three categories of CPUs:
Low-End - This group includes CPUs such as the AMD Athlon 64 X2 and the Intel Core 2 Duo which are usually found in many homes and small businesses. They are inexpensive and ideal for performing tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, surfing the web and limited graphics.
The AMD Athlon 64 X2 uses Socket 939 and the Intel Core 2 Duo uses the Socket 775.
Mid-Range - Included in this group are the AMD Athlon II X2, Phenom X4 and the Intel Core 2 Quad. These cost a little more but can perform more demanding tasks such as data bases, medium graphics and playing regular games.
The AMD Athlon II X2 and the Phenom X4 CPUs use the Socket AM3 and the Intel Core 2 Quad processor uses the Socket 775.
High-End - Among this group are the AMD Opteron, AMD Phenom II X4 and Phenom II X6 (6 core) and, from the Intel side, the Core i7 and Core i9 (6 core). These are for multimedia systems and can perform heavy graphics-intensive tasks and multi-tasking. These processors cost a good amount.
The AMD Opteron uses the Socket 940 and the Phenom II X4 and Phenom II X6 use socket AM3 and from the Intel side, the Core i7 uses socket 1156 and 1366 and the Core i9 uses socket 1366.
The above briefly explains the differences between the AMD and the Intel chips.
The boxed version comes with a heat sink, fan assmebly and manufacturer's warranty.
OEM processors do not come with a heat sink fan assembly and enables you to purchase a CPU cooler of your choice.
I have given you a concise guide to cheap computer CPUs. The choice is now yours.
One final advice......Don't be fooled by sales 'pitches' recommending an 'upgradeable' CPU. This is an added cost which at most times is impractical.
Replacing the system would be more ideal but, if you are electronically inclined and like to 'tinker' and build cheap computers, you could upgrade the CPU. Otherwise, my recommendation to you is do not upgrade!