Brand

The two main brands of computer processors today are Intel and AMD. Both brands have a variety of processors with varying performance and price.

 

Intel

Intel processors range from the Atom processors (used mostly in smartphones and tablets) to the Core i3, Core i5, and finally it's highest performance processor, the Core i7 (used mostly in laptops, convertible tablets, and desktops). Some Atom processors may perform as well or a little better than Core i3 processors.

There are several generations of Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. The most common generations sold today are Haswell (4th generation), Broadwell (5th generation), and Skylake (6th generation).

Intel provides a website that allows customers to compare the processors they offer.

 

AMD

AMD processors go from the lower performance E series processors to the various higher performing A series processors.

AMD also provides some websites (laptops & tablets)  that allow customers to compare their processors.

 

Qualcomm

Qualcomm processors are mainly used in tablets and phones. These processors usually cannot run a full Windows operating system and so we do not recommend them for use at Kenan-Flagler. They usually run Android or Windows RT operating systems. The most commonly seen processor from Qualcomm is Snapdragon.

 

Cores

Processors can have multiple cores that allow them to handle multiple, simultaneous tasks better than if they just had one core. Barring any other differences, a processor with 4 cores would perform better than a processor with 2 cores.

 

Speed

Different processors, even if they are the same type (Intel Haswell Core i5 for example), can have different clock speeds. The higher the clock speed, the faster and better performing a processor should be.

Stores and websites will often advertise the regular clock speed, the maximum clock speed (i.e. "up to..."), or both. Because of this, make sure you are comparing a max speed to a max speed or regular speed to regular speed instead of the regular speed of one processor to the max speed of another.