Monthly Archives: March 2016

Know the best of computer processors

jkWhat makes a processor look so great? Somebody saythat it’s how expensive it is, while others suggest it’s the number of cores or its overclockability that determines the quality of a CPU. In reality, it’s a matter of personal preference backed by some hard numbers.

You would likely be disappointed if you shelled out a small fortune just to build a machine that only ends up being used for typing up documents. Likewise, thinking you could save some money by skimping out on the CPU in your gaming rig would be an equally misguided decision.

Here are our picks for the top 10 best processors you can find right now for your desktop PC.

1. AMD A8-7670K

If you are an AMD enthusiast (or like rooting for the underdog), these are interesting times. AMD is about to launch a series of processors based on a new architecture (Zen) which will obliterate the current generation of CPUs. So prices are falling accordingly. The A8-7670K remains one of the rare bright spots in AMD’s lineup despite being more than two years old.

It is built on a newer 28nm manufacturing process which kind-of explains why it has a 95W TDP – thermal design power, or a part’s share of your power supply’s available Watts – despite a relatively high base and turbo clock speed (3.6GHz and 3.9GHz). Its graphics performance is where it shines thanks to an onboard GPU that is slightly more powerful than the Radeon R7 240 GPU (six compute units, 384 shader cores, 757MHz GPU clock speed).

2. Intel Xeon E5-2670

One of the best kept secrets in the world of computer hardware is that, every now and then, data centers around the world, operated by some of the biggest tech companies in the world, dump hundreds, if not thousands of processors as they migrate to newer, faster and more power efficient models.

When that happens, they usually end up on eBay or on Amazon, where you can buy them for a fraction of their price (usually one tenth). The Sandy-Bridge E5-2670 v1 is one of them; it’s second-hand price is one-tenth of its retail price. Grab a pair of them to construct a workstation rig that would put Intel’s current finest CPU to shame with a total of 16 cores, 32 threads and 40MB cache.

3. Intel Core i3-6100

If you want to do some heavy lifting but don’t want to blow your savings on a piece of silicon, then check out this chip. The Intel Core i3-6100 is the cheapest Core processor based on the new Skylake architecture, and you don’t have to fork out a fortune for it.

True, you’ll want to pair it with a motherboard with a decent chipset (Z710) in order to run faster memory (2.66GHz), but that isn’t necessary. It is not a K-model, and there are two SKUs, the 6100 (higher TDP and higher clock speed) and the 6100T (lower TDP, lower clock speeds) so make sure you choose the right one.

Using a 14nm node, it reaches 3.7GHz with a 65W TDP; its dual-core/4-thread configuration should make for a decent gaming rig, and the 4K-capable Intel HD 530 GPU is clocked at 350MHz. Oh and it should make a fairly good overclocker as well.

4. AMD Sempron 3850

At the other end of the spectrum is the Sempron 3850, one of AMD’s cheapest quad-core processors. It sports a Kabini core and is built on a 28nm process, which explains why its TDP only reaches 25W, almost one seventh of the FX-9590.

Obviously, the fact that it runs at only 1.3GHz also helps a lot. Add in the fact that it comes with an integrated AMD Radeon HD 8280 GPU (basic, but decent) and you get something that’s better than most Baytrail-based systems at least. The best part though has to be the price; it is cheap especially, as it includes the heat sink and the fan; that means that you can envisage getting a motherboard bundle for less than Intel’s cheapest CPU. A shame that it has only one memory channel though.

5. Intel Core i7-6700K

This is Skylake, Intel’s sixth Core generation. The i7-6700K, which cost just under $345 (£290, about AU$463), is the company’s most powerful Skylake model set to replace the Broadwell-based desktop processors in the short term.

Here we’ve got a pretty powerful processor boasting four cores, eight threads, 8MB cache, a base clock speed of 4GHz, a turbo-boost of 4.2GHz and an Intel HD Graphics 530 subsystem inside. Overclocking is what may get some of us excited, however, as it’s the distinguishing feature of the “K” models such as itself.

Pair that with a decent 100-series chipset, an oversized HSF and a couple of overclocker-friendly DDR4 memory modules, and watch it fly. And, although you’ll want to pay close attention to that 91W TDP, 5.0GHz isn’t a lofty goal with the 6700K.

6. Intel Core i5-4690K

There is a good reason why the Intel Core i5-4690K is among the best-selling processors on Amazon.

This Devil’s Canyon part is one of the most, if not the most affordable K-series processor from Intel’s Core range at $239 (£182, about AU$321) and as such can overclock fairly easily with modest efforts. It has a base frequency of 3.5GHz with many users reporting being able to hit 25% increase in speed using a decent aftermarket HSF.

The 4690K doesn’t come with hyper-threading, but for the price it wasn’t expected. The processor, bilt on the 22nm fabrication process, packs 6MB of L2 cache, an 88W TDP and even an Intel HD Graphics 4600 onboard GPU.

8. AMD FX-8320E

Meet the AMD FX-8320E; this is one of the cheapest eight-core processors on the market and costs a smidgen under $110 (£108, about AU$148) on Amazon.

Built on a mature 32nm node, it’s clear why the FX-8320E has such a high TDP (95W). Then again, maybe it’s not an unusual spec given the 3.2GHz clock speed. Plus, when needed, it can even boost all the way to 4GHz.

But don’t get your hopes too high, though. On most tasks, the FX-8320E will be outperformed even by a modest Haswell Core i3. Where it truly shines is when you throw multi-threaded jobs (encryption, encoding etc) at it, where it can beat even the more expensive Core i5 parts. What’s more, many users have been able to overclock the chip easily using a non-stock heatsink fan, some all the way up to 4.8GHz.

Workout App on the Apple Watch

It’s time to exercise, and the Apple Watch can help you track your workout sessions. In this except from Apple Watch. Jason Rich shows you how you can set a Caloric, Distance, or Time goal, and then have the watch display real-time data it collects as you pursue that goal during your workout

The Workout app is somewhat similar to the Activity app, but instead of being designed for use at all times while you’re wearing the watch, this app allows you to collect and analyze data related to actual workouts.From the book

To use this app, launch it from the Home screen of the Apple Watch (see Figure 5.23), and from the main menu, select the fitness-related activity you’re about to participate it. Options include Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, Indoor Run, Indoor Walk, Indoor Cycle, Elliptical, Rower, Stair Stepper, or Other.

Based on which option you select, for each workout, typically you can set a Caloric, Distance, or Time goal, and then have the watch display real-time data it collects as you pursue that goal during your workout.

When you’re ready to begin a workout, follow these steps to activate the Workout app on your watch:

    1. From any watch face you’ve selected to be displayed on the watch’s screen, press the Digital Crown to access the watch’s Home screen.
    2. Tap on the Workout app icon to launch the Workout app.
    3. When the main menu appears, tap on the type of workout you plan to engage in.
    4. Depending on the activity you select, a submenu screen enables you to Set Calories, Set Time, or Set Miles, or select Open (if you have no goal in mind, but simply want to track your workout-related data). If you select the Set Time screen, a timer appears, showing 0:00, with a negative sign (–) icon on the left and a plus sign (+) icon on the right. Tap the + icon to set the desired duration for your workout. Press the Start button, shown in Figure 5.24, to begin your workout.

How To Add Pictures and Graphics in Publisher

In this chapter, you learn techniques for working with pictures and other graphics. Topics include the following:

  • Inserting Pictures
  • Moving and Resizing Pictures
  • Working with the Picture Tools
  • Creating and Formatting WordArt
  • Inserting Borders & Accents

In Chapter 2, “Working with Page Elements,” you learned how to make adjustments to the page elements such as margins, orientation, paper size, color schemes, and backgrounds. In this chapter, you learn how to add and work with visual elements such as photos, WordArt, borders, and accents. Then, Chapter 4, “Adding Text Boxes,” shows you how to create and work with text boxes, so you can sneak in some information with your visuals.

Without question, adding photographs to your publication is the most popular way to incorporate colorful visuals. Realistic, razor-sharp-focused images immediately elevate a publication’s status and the credibility of the information within it. Publisher 2016 has a powerful collection of picture tools.

Inserting Pictures

Pictures are a powerful way to communicate. They guide readers through a publication by catching their eye, creating interest, illustrating key ideas, and controlling the flow. Key concepts can be reinforced and clarified by using informative picture captions and relevant images.

Think about the last marketing piece you got in the mail. What initially drew enough of your interest to glance at it, rather than just tossing it into the recycle bin? Unless it’s an “everything is free” flyer, it was probably the illustrations. Bright, colorful, briefly informative—they communicate as much as the text. Even more so to a reader in a hurry.

Inserting Pictures Stored Locally

When the image you want to use is stored either on your computer, or a computer on your network, you simply browse for the file to bring it in to the publication. In the next section, you learn how to locate an image online.

  1. Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon. The Pictures command button is in the Illustrations group, along with the Online Pictures, Shapes, and Picture Placeholder command buttons.
  2. Click the Pictures command button. The Insert Picture dialog box opens.
  3. Use the Navigation pane on the left to browse to the folder that contains the picture you want to insert. If you are unsure how to browse through folders on your network, ask someone for help.
  4. When you find the correct image, select it, and then click Insert (or double-click the image). Publisher inserts the image into the publication.

Inserting Pictures Stored Online

  1. Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon. The Online Pictures command button is next to the Pictures button in the Illustrations group.
  2. Click the Online Pictures command button. The Insert Pictures dialog box opens. This dialog box has Bing search built-in and a link to your OneDrive account. There are also links to help you insert photos from your Facebook and Flickr accounts.
  3. Type a search phrase in the Search Bing box, and then click Search (magnifying glass) to get things started.
  4. Initially, the search results contain images that are licensed under Creative Commons. There is an advisory to read the specific license for an image that you want to use to make sure you can comply.
  5. Scroll down to see more search results.
  6. Select one or more images; then click Insert to add them to your publication.
  7. Alternatively, you can select an image from one of your OneDrive folders.
  8. Click a folder to view the pictures within.
  9. Select the photo that you want to use.
  10. Click Insert to place it in the publication.

Inserting Pictures from the Scratch Area

When you insert pictures, either those stored locally or those found online, you always have the option to insert multiple pictures. Just as you select more than one file at a time, you select multiple pictures by clicking the first one and then holding down the Ctrl key to click the others. The selected files are placed in a “scratch area” of the workspace.

Using the scratch area, you can get all your pictures open and then drag and drop them as you need them. You can also drag and drop pictures from the publication back to the scratch area. It is like having a white-board on the side with your photographs tacked up waiting to be used.

  1. Click the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Pictures or the Online Pictures command button, depending on where your pictures are stored. Browse to where the pictures are stored.
  3. Click to select the first picture, and then hold down the Ctrl key to select the rest.
  4. Click Insert to place the selected pictures in the scratch area of the Publisher workspace.
  5. You can now drag and drop pictures from the scratch area to the publication.

Moving and Resizing a Picture

Invariably, you will need to resize an inserted picture and also reposition it. And although that may sound intimidating, it’s actually super easy. You simply click and drag a picture to move it; and you click and drag the sizing handles to resize it.

  1. Move the mouse pointer over the inserted image until you see the four-headed arrow. This is the universal move pointer.
  2. Click and drag the picture to the preferred location; then release the mouse button to drop it there. You’ll see a “ghost” image of the picture to show you where the image will be positioned when you drop it.
  3. To resize a picture, you must first select it. When you do, the sizing handles appear. There are circles at each corner, and squares on the sides.
  4. Position the mouse pointer over a sizing handle and wait for the two-sided arrow to appear. This is the universal resizing pointer.
  5. When you see the resizing pointer, click and drag the sizing handle to increase or decrease the size of the picture.
  6. If you want to make absolutely sure that the picture maintains its original proportions, click and drag one of the corner handles.

INTEL OR AMD CPUS DUAL CORE, TRIPLE CORE AND QUAD CORE PROCESSORS

imagesIntel and AMD are the two companies who dominate the PC Processor market. Both of them are around for decades become the main Chip suppliers for the home and business markets.

Both companies have fierce rivalry and they file and counter file court cases against each other all we care about is that they have near identical chip products on the market at the same time as they compete for the fastest chip and share of the market.
The competing products are very close to each other and really only the techies compare the benchmarks before choosing.


Intel Pentium Dual Core Processors

The Intel Pentium processors with Intel dual-core technology deliver great desktop performance, low power enhancements, and multitasking for everyday computing.


Intel i3 Processors
(Ivy Bridge)
Intel Core i3 dual core processors provide 4-way multitasking capability, runs at fixed speed ideal for typical tasks and media playback but not games.


Intel i5 Processors

Intel i5 usually quad core but some dual processors deliver the next level of productivity. Mostly the same as i3 but with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, delivers extra speed when you need it. Like the i3 integrated graphics is included but is only ideal for normal use not for gaming.


Intel i7 Processors

Intel i7 processors dual or quad core for the most demanding applications with cache and faster clock speeds. Quad-core processors feature 8-way threading, four cores will run faster, and more L3 cache, but will consume more power. High-end use, video and gaming with dedicated video card.

AMD A4
– These A4 processors have 2 processor cores and include a Radeon graphics chip. Aimed for use with lower end systems.

AMD A6 – A6 processors dual core, includes turbo function similar to Intels allows for the processor to adapt to the task needed. Integrated graphics, on par with Core i3 range.

AMD A8 – 4 processor cores is comparable to the i3 and low i5, its graphic part is faster than Intels version, can handle light gaming with ease.

AMD A10 – 4 processors these quad cores are comparable with the Intel i5, and some i7s should benefit from better battery life.

2013 AMD Piledrivers are the latest versionPiledriver then FX-4, FX-6, FX-8 for either 4-8 cores, they use the AM3+ socket so can only be used in Motherboards with AM3+

 

 

Each series of processor usually has a couple of generations per series where enhancements and tweaks are made, the main thing to check and consider is that the type of processor is compatible with your motherboard and fits your need and budget.

My personal view is there is little difference between using both makes and have run many stable and fast systems using both makes. The AMD processors do tend to run hotter than the Intel versions, but with a suitable fan this is easily kept under control.

I would decide depending on your budget, don’t be afraid of using AMD, the AMD range will mirror closely to Intels in speed and performance and for general use you can use either to run general programs and movie playback with ease. Gaming or video needs you will have a dedicated video card to spread the load and likely a larger budget.

Intel products have in my experience always been consistently more expensive, typically £20 than the AMD equivalent. Throughout my use and builds I find the AMD nearly always more affordable, partly as Intel’s products higher price is sometimes because they are available more in retail packaging rather than cheaper OEM offerings, this depends on the supplier.

Don’t get to hung-up on reviews, you can view a number of benchmarks comparing the Intel and AMD equivalents head to head, sometimes AMD will be ahead sometimes Intel will be out in front. But unless you are crunching specific tasks you will not notice the odd fraction of a second or couple of seconds here and there.

If you are looking to upgrade just the CPU of your system, then you need to check what type of socket your Motherboard uses and then check what the current speed cpu is against the fastest speed version which can be use in your existing Motherboard.

My advice would be to always look at the whole range of CPUs available as sometimes a small bit extra can get you a significant jump in the speed and performance. Last time I checked a processor with slightly lower clock speed but with two extra cores for just £10 more!

Of course if you are buying a new or barebones systems then you should check both Intel and AMD unless you have a major preference, don’t forget the compatible motherboard and maybe a memory upgrade.

If you can research the type of processor you are buying you may be able to gauge if it is soon to be replaced for a newer series, which could mean the price of your upgrade would be lower as suppliers look to make room for newer stock.

If you are buying an older Processor series you may struggle to find compatible cpus, most suppliers will have a couple of the older type, otherwise you may need to resort to a used, b-grade or auction supplier.