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General Processor Info


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#1 rockpiler

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 11:43 AM

New member here with years of computer use, but definitely a rookie when it comes to technical stuff.  I'm looking for basic info on processors, such as their role in how they affect the computer's operation, how and the difference between the AMD and Intel processors.  It also seems to me that any given computer model has their processors updated at least once during the course of their retail shelf life.

 

As an example, I'm looking at a Lenovo Ideapad 320 15" laptop, available with these processors:

 

AMD A9-9420 dual-core processor, 2.90GHz, Max Turbo Speed of 3.50 GHz   $279

 

Intel Pentium N4200 processor, 1.10GHz  2MB                                                  $299

 

7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 2.40GHz 3MB                             $449

 

My understanding is that a higher GHz output means better speed, right?  So at first glance, the AMD is quicker than the Intel N4200...but what is the significance of the N4200's 2MB vs none for the AMD?  And what makes the i3-7100U worth paying over $200 more than the other two models?

 

As someone who uses a laptop for pretty basic home use, I'm looking for answers focusing on the practical as opposed to technical.  So if you'd answer as if you were talking to a 7th grader - and I mean a 7th grader from the late 1980s! - I'd appreciate any and all input.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 12:06 PM

Processor speed used to the way that you could tell performance speed.  This changed when the CPU companies maxed out around 4Ghz as cooling became a major issue.

 

Normally AMD costs less and Intel gives better performance (with a sufficient cost to go with it).

 

Now we have multiple core machines, essentially multiple CPUs on a CPU.  The older AMD CPUs were a one core on the chip equaled one core in Windows.  Intel chips have hyperthreading which allows Windows to treat one core as two cores.  For most applications you're only using one core, so this isn't a major issue.  Even gaming hasn't gotten to using all of the available cores.  The only time I've maxed out all of my cores was with video rendering software.

 

CPU Benchmarks will give you a general idea of how various CPUs stack up.  Here's a chart for how the three chips you listed stack up.



#3 rockpiler

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 02:55 PM

Thanks for the info.  Can you explain the meaning of the Intel processors listing 2 and 3MB, and none for the AMD?



#4 Drillingmachine

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 03:16 PM

Pentium N4200 has 2MB L2 cache
Core i3-7100U has 3MB L3 cache
A9-9420 has 1MB L2 cache

So no real logic there.




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