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Best Computer Buying Guide – Consumer Reports

Speed matters. Processors with multiple cores can process more data simultaneously, with four cores now increasingly common on laptops. Our ratings say how many cores a laptop’s processor has.

Clock speed, measured in gigahertz (GHz), along with the number of cores and other factors, determines how quickly a processor can process information. Many processors can up the speed a bit for a brief time to yield maximum performance. Generally, within a processor family, the higher the clock speed, the faster the processor. Clock speeds typically start at around 1 GHz for a mobile processor. Speeds can exceed 5 GHz for a desktop processor.

Power Consumption
Another important factor when choosing a processor, especially for laptops: Lower power consumption equals longer battery life.

If you’re looking for a very basic or budget computer to browse the web, email, and work on Office documents, basically every processor on the market should be

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