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How does your computer use affect what processor is better for you?

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Quick Answer

Users who perform many tasks simultaneously or who use media-editing software benefit from high-end computer processors with multiple computational cores as opposed to users who perform routine Web-browsing or text-editing tasks. Some programs take better advantage of multi-core processors than others.

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Full Answer

Multi-core processors, such as Intel's Core series of processors or the AMD FX processor line, have several individual computational units within each processor that allow it to work on multiple tasks simultaneously. This is useful for running several programs at once or programs written specifically to take advantage of multiple processing cores via multi-threading. Some computationally intensive software, such as media-editing programs, is written to take advantage of multi-threading to achieve significant speed-ups on processors with more available cores.

Though new computer games often require expensive hardware to run at their maximum potential, the central processing unit of a computer usually has much less impact on performance than the computer's video card. Most of the processing required for modern video games takes place on this card, so it is often possible to run games on a relatively modest processor and still achieve good performance if the video card is powerful. Some non-gaming applications have begun to use video cards for non-gaming tasks, such as solving complex mathematical equations via General-Purpose Graphics Processing Unit computing.

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