Computer CPU Selector
Buying a computer; be it a desktop or a laptop, can be challenging. Apart from the obvious factors such as Look & Feel, Size, Weight, Price, Freebies, there’s the confusion about what is the performance of the CPU we are buying and how does it stack up against the computer that we know we cannot afford.
Fortunately, CPUs from Intel, AMD and VIA are regularly bench-marked by a common industry software called ‘PassMark’. PassMark CPU scores are now commonly accepted and published by technology sites.
While PassMark scores (Available here) are organized beautifully into categories, I wish it was available in a spreadsheet format which I could download, manipulate and print as per my requirement.
So here it is, a Google Spreadsheet that lists all the CPUs listed on CPU Benchmark, with the respective PassMark scores. Please note that this document is current as on 31-Aug-2012. The document may/may not be updated by me.
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Click here if you want to open the spreadsheet in a new browser window. You can download the spreadsheet in different formats to your computer. The options are available in the ‘File’ menu.
A final word of advice: Apart from the raw computational power of the CPU, other factors that make a significant difference in the day-to-day performance of your computer are:
- RAM: Minimum 4GB RAM is recommended for Windows 7/Vista (64-bit OS). Maximum 3GB RAM is recommended for computers using 32-bit OS.
- HDD: Faster Solid State Drives (SSD) are recommended for Windows 7/Vista. If not SSD, HDDs with 7200 RPM spindle speed deliver better performance than HDDs with 5400 RPM spindle speed.
Other factors to consider are:
- Screen size & quality: Go for a screen size that makes for comfortable display and reduces the need to squint. Also check for glare (reflection of lights on the screen) which is a common issue with glossy screens. Check the horizontal and vertical viewing angles. Most budget laptops feature screens that drastically change colors/brightness if you view the screen at an angle.
- Keyboard & Touchpad quality: Ensure that the keyboard is comfortable to type on and the keys you use frequently are of appropriate size. Check if the touchpad tracks your finger movement smoothly and if it can handle accidental brushing of the touchpad with your palm (Palm Check).
- If you are likely use the laptop for audio-video conferencing, check the quality of video from the webcam in dim lighting conditions. Also check if the laptop accepts the pins of a headset.