Help Me Choose: Intel Processors

The processor or CPU processes the critical information and instructions that make your computer perform. Think of it as the system’s brains, enabling it to run the applications and other operations.

The speed at which your system runs programs, loads images and downloads files depends in part on the processor. Bandwidth, clock speed and the number of cores in the processor all help determine processor performance. As a general rule, a higher number indicates higher performance.

Upgrading a processor after you purchase your computer can be costly and difficult. Because of this, Dell recommends that you choose a processor with enough performance to meet your needs well into the future.

Intel® Core™ i3, i5, i7 processors are designed to deliver faster and smarter performance. Depending on the processor you choose, you can get more multitasking capacity, extra speed on demand, and breakthrough performance on digital media consumption and creation. For example, with the Intel Core i5 processor, you have the ability to download and edit high-definition (HD) videos, watch HD movies or run multiple applications simultaneously with virus protection in the background.

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Ultimate performance: Accelerates everything! Intel® Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost Technology unlock your full potential with the ultimate smart performance of a Dell™ PC powered by the Intel Core i7 processor.

Intel® Core™ i7 Processor

Intel Core i7 Processor Brand Asset - Unrated

Turbo-charged performance: Features smart multitasking support. Intel Turbo Boost Technology automatically speeds up your processor when your PC needs extra performance.

Intel® Core™ i5 Processor

 Intel Core i5 Processor Brand Asset - Unrated

Fast and smart performance: A Dell PC powered by the Intel Core i3 processor delivers a fast, responsive experience so you can do the things you love.

Intel® Core™ i3 Processor

 Intel Core i3 Processor Brand Asset - Unrated

An efficient 64-bit dual-core processor able to access and work with data at fast speeds.

Intel®Core™ 2 Duo Processor

 Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Brand Asset - Unrated
The low-cost option for efficient, high-performance Intel Core technology.

Intel®Core™ 2 Solo Processor

 Intel Core 2 Solo
Dual-core performance ideal for multitasking and everyday computing.Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core Processor  Intel Pentium Dual-core Unlocked Logo
The low cost option, great for basic business and personal productivity applications. 

Intel® Celeron® M Processor 

 Intel Celeron Processor

How to Read Processor Descriptions:
How to Read Processor Descriptions
A — This describes the type of processor you are purchasing.

B — This is known as the processor number. In general, the higher the processor number the higher the performance.

C — This is the clock speed or the speed at which the CPU processes information.

D — Turbo boost is a new feature which automatically speeds up your processor when your PC needs extra performance, giving you extra power when you need it and saving battery when you don’t. What you get is performance on demand during peak usage when the processor is operating below maximum capacity. In the example above, the processor with turbo boost feature can increase clock speed from 2.4GHz up to 2.93GHz. Turbo boost technology is available on Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors only.

E — 2C indicates there are two cores on a single processor, giving you more power to multitask.
4T indicates 4 threads, so you can multitask faster and experience less wait time.

F — This is the amount of L3 cache available to the processor.

Single-Core versus Dual-Core
Single-core processors provide adequate power for activities such as emailing and working with spreadsheets. Dual-core processors place two cores on a single processor, giving you more power to multitask. For example, you can run virus protection, download files from the internet and create complex graphics — all at high speeds.

How to Read Processor Descriptions:
How to Read Processor Descriptions

A — This describes the type of processor you are purchasing.

B — This is known as the processor number. In general, the higher the processor number the higher the performance.

C — This is the clock speed or the speed at which the CPU processes information.

D — This is the amount of L2 cache available to the processor.

E — This is the clock speed for the frontside bus (FSB) or the speed that the CPU communicates with memory and the graphics processor. Using memory that runs at the same clock speed as the FSB can improve overall system performance.

When choosing a multi-core processor, it helps to know what a core does. A processor core channels the data threads that carry out the commands required to run the applications on your computer. Older, single-core processors could only process one thread at a time. When processing more than one task, such as surfing the web while playing an MP3, single-core processors alternated between each thread, processing a small chunk of data each time. This often resulted in a noticeable system slowdown.

Dual-core processors gave birth to parallel processing — the ability to process multiple data threads simultaneously. Processors such as the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor use two cores within a single processor so that you can easily watch movies while running a virus scan, rip CDs while listening to MP3s or play games while downloading files.

Quad-core processors, such as the Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor, take the performance advantages of dual-core processors to the next level by delivering four complete execution cores within a single processor.

Finally, the Intel® Core™ i7 processor and Intel® Core™ i7 processor Extreme Edition offer incredible levels of multi-core performance. Through their use of Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology, these processors are capable of processing up to eight software threads simultaneously on four cores.