And then there’s the brains of the outfit: the processor. This is the fellow who actually does all… the processing. The one that makes your programs do something. It’s also known as the CPU.
Today we live in a multi-core world. Back in the old days if you wanted to be outrageous you bought yourself two processors and hoped you could find a motherboard to put them both in. Then you hoped you had an operating system that could actually use them. Linux did. BeOS definitely did. Windows, well, not so much. Windows NT kind of did, but it never got rockin’ until NT 4 showed up. And even then it wasn’t that great until XP showed up.
But now it’s hard to find a processor that doesn’t have at least two cores. Essentially it means you have two processors on one chip, if you’ll accept the simple answer.
I don’t worry too much about the amount of cores I have when I’m in Windows. Games don’t really use more than one. Some do, but I don’t think anyone has made it past using two yet.
Then there’s Linux, which I also use. Specifically, I use Gentoo and that means I get to compile (taking code from text files and turning into code that the processor runs) everything on my system. For that, more cores are better. So I went with the AMD FX-8150 Black Edition.
Sure, it doesn’t look like much but you’re never going to see it except when you put it in or take it out. It has eight cores in there. It’s pretty fast. Best of all, it works.
Everyone makes a big deal about being careful when you put in a processor. And you should because the bottom of the thing is a crap load of tiny legs that get bent very easily. I usually just drop it on the socket and it manages to get all the legs in the holes. You never want to force it, though; if it’s hard to get into the socket that means there are legs that aren’t positioned right and trying to shove it in will bend all those tiny little legs. If you do that, good luck trying to get them straight again. It was possible way back when there were fewer legs and they were bigger. But now… Yeah, you’re better off getting a new one.
Having all these cores makes me want to try out Haiku, which is an open source BeOS clone. I don’t know how it’ll run on all the modern hardware, but I’m willing to give it a shot.