Chapter 2. Picking Your Processor

Exam Objectives

  • Understanding CPU characteristics

  • Identifying popular CPUs

  • Identifying sockets

  • Installing a processor

Although all components of the computer function together as a team, every team needs a leader — someone who gives instructions and keeps everyone working toward the same goal. If any PC component were considered the team leader, it would probably be the central processing unit (CPU), also known as the processor. The key word here is central, which implies "center" or "focus." The CPU can be considered the focus of the computer because it controls a large number of the computer system's capabilities, such as the type of software that can run, the amount of total memory that the computer can recognize, and the speed at which the system will run.

In this chapter, you get a look at some of the features of the CPU that are responsible for regulating the capabilities of the computer system. This chapter also discusses the importance of the CPU and its role as a PC component, and also identifies some of the main characteristics that make one CPU better than another.


When preparing for the A+ exams, it is important that you are comfortable with terms like MMX, throttling, and cache memory. You also want to be sure that you are comfortable with the differences between various processors. For example, what makes a Pentium 4 better than a Celeron? Which AMD processor competes with the Celeron? All these are questions you should know the ...

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