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The Perfect CPU

Many aspects of a game—including artificial intelligence (AI), the number of opponents, most of the physics, and a lot of algorithms—still rely on a fast CPU. DirectX 10 games will take full advantage of the multi-core processors. In the first half of 2007, we’ll see games that run considerably faster on the Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad platform (and AMD’s equivalent). If you want the ultimate gaming computer, consider investing $500–$999 in the faster Core 2 Duo or the first quad CPUs.

Windows Vista itself makes use of multi-core environments: Not only the general experience (UI, bootup, etc.) but also some components (DVD Maker, Windows Media Player’s HD playback) will work 40–80% faster on the quad-core platform. In early 2007, we’ll just see the high-end quad-core processors that cost $800–$999. If you can wait, I suggest switching to quad-core in mid-2007. Intel will then be ready to make quad-core available to the mainstream at (much) lower pricing. And even AMD, currently beaten by the new Intel platform, might offer some competition that will drop market prices even more. Of course, those with deeper pockets or more compelling needs, such as hardcore gaming or multimedia content editing (video encoding, for example), I suggest switching to the professional Intel Core 2 Quad line right now. You’ll have four CPU cores that will speed up operations tremendously (even with current applications).

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