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Need help buying a new computer

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I use my computer for a Home Office and have a lot of programs running at the same time -- Excel, Word, pdf documents, fax program Paperport editing program, Outlook email etc. Trying to figure out which is more important, the speed of the processor, dual core vs quad core, higher cache, and higher memory; and are the Intel Pentium processors and the AMD about the same? Looking at these two for now ~
1) AMD Fusion quad core processor, 2.10 GHz - 4MB Cache, 16 GB max memory
2) Intel Pentium dual core processor, 3.20 GHz - 2 MB Cache, 8 BG max memory
Both have a 1T harddrive at 5400 RPM

Can someone help me figure out which is best for my needs? Or should I be looking for a computer that has more 'something' than these two do?
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    Tech Staff

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Hi DIANE O,Posted Image

We will be happy to help. Thanks for letting us know what the PC will be used for.

A build is more than just the CPU.

If these are "shop bought" please supply links so we can have a look at the whole system.
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    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

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1) AMD Fusion quad core processor, 2.10 GHz - 4MB Cache, 16 GB max memory
2) Intel Pentium dual core processor, 3.20 GHz - 2 MB Cache, 8 BG max memory

Those 2 processors are not in the same category. Comparing a dual core to a quad core is like comparing a car to a truck - regardless the maker they are not really comparable. For me, I would get the truck, in this case, the quad - even though I personally like Intels. But for you, with enough RAM, a nice dual-core may do fine.

But note you said you run a bunch of programs at the same time. That is not really true. You may have them all open at the same time, and while true they are all consuming resources at the same time, but generally, only the one you are actively using at the moment is really consuming your CPU resources, the rest are sitting idle. So I agree with mykyl and there is much more to consider. The amount of RAM is critical and I generally recommend 8Gb for dual-channel motherboards and that requires a 64-bit Windows. Since you did not mention serious gaming, you would do fine with a motherboard that uses integrated graphics.

In any case, there are two steadfast prerequisites to selecting or recommending hardware and you only met one. You said what you will be using this computer for but you failed to mention your budget. And note with the budget there is the need to know what else comes to the table. That is, are a monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers included in that budget, or are you bringing those over from another computer?
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