Byte Me #26 A computer’s speed largely depends on its CPU’s power

11 September, 2010

We have talked before about some of the numbers surrounding computer specifications and what they mean but it is time to look in one of those parameters in more detail – the CPU. The central processing unit of a computer is essentially its brain.  A CPU can’t store your information permanently and has very little short term (working) memory but it is the main electronic chip that ‘processes’ information.  This information is needed to make your computer run – from displaying the icons on your screen to processing the information needed to open Internet explorer or even to play a game.  Along with most other computer components CPU’s have been getting both smaller as well as more powerful – at a great rate of knots.  Only a few years ago a CPU had only one ‘core’ which meant that basically it could only process one stream of information (one thought) at a time.  Now they are getting more feminine like in ability (multi taskers) and have dual, quad or even hex cores – all able to process information simultaneously!  This has a pronounced effect on the speed of a computer and is one of the specifications that you can compare when making the next PC purchase decision.  Each CPU has a model number which can be looked up to see its specs.  One of the best tools that I have found for this is a web site which displays all of the relative models and an associated bench mark speed.  is the address of this site and it clearly and without bias indicates how powerful each CPU is.  As an example a popular desktop CPU from around 4 years ago was the Intel Pentium 4 at 3.0GHz – it receives a score of 405 whereas a popular one now such as the Intel Core i5 660 receives a score of 3,109 – about 8 times more powerful!  What effect will this have on performance?  Well everything else has also sped up in the last 4 years also, so if it takes a modern PC around 8 seconds to complete a task – like opening a large photo editing suite you can count on your 4 year old PC taking around a full minute!  This may not sound so bad to some – it normally takes around 3 minutes for a kettle to boil however we are usually doing something else in the kitchen while we wait.  Unfortunately with a PC we are its captive audience and hence forth we have the frustration felt with a slow PC!  Kerr Solutions is at 128 Musgrave Street & is contactable on 49 222 400.

2010-09-11 Byte Me Article 26 - CPU

  • February 17, 2014