The Complete Guide to Buying CPUs/Processors

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The Complete Guide to Buying CPUs/Processors

A central processing unit, or CPU, is the the brain of a computer. The processor is an electronic machine that works off a set of instructions, known as a computer program, and performs the tasks designated by these instructions one step at a time. The rate at which the CPU accomplishes the tasks is referred to as the CPU's speed, and the higher the number, the more tasks it can perform in a certain amount of time. There are different types of CPUs and levels of performance that should be taken into consideration by people who are looking to upgrade the performance of their computers.

When deciding on what type of processor to purchase, buyers should be aware of what their computing needs are and select a high level of processor within their budget. CPUs are gauged by their speed, their capacity to process information, and how many cores they are equipped with. Although one can purchase CPUs from stores that sell electronics, there is a vast selection of processors available on eBay. By utilising the search features on this website, one can be sure of finding the right CPU to meet the needs of a computer.

What the CPU Does

The main function of the CPU is to process the instructions given to it by the computer program's code, which is a series of numbers. The CPU processes these numbers very quickly and turns that information into an action that the computer carries out. The time it takes for the processor to move in between these calculations is very quick, and the higher the speed capabilities of the processor, the quicker it completes the code and sends the commands. Average CPUs can process more than one billion of these instructions per second, and high level processors can achieve even better results. Generally, the CPU is one of the main components of a computer that people consider when purchasing a new machine. Regardless of the amount of RAM or storage capacity a machine has, they are relatively useless, unless the computer has a CPU capable of handling the programs stored on the machine.

Types of Processors

There are two types of computer processors, namely, 32-bit and 64-bit. The main differences between the two processors lie in the variations in their structure and how they process information. The higher the level of bits, the more information a processor can handle. Although there are several manufacturers of CPUs, Intel Corporation and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) produce the CPUs that are used in the majority of computers sold to consumers. The healthy competition between these two technological giants has the benefit of producing faster and more capable processors for the general public to enjoy.

32-bit CPUs

A 32-bit processor is the older of the two processors and handles instructions less efficiently than the 64-bit CPU. The 32-bit unit also handles fewer instructions at a time and processes those instructions at a slower rate. The 32-bit CPU is only compatible with up to 4 GB of RAM, depending on the type of operating system the computer is running.

64-bit CPUs

The 64-bit processor is the newer version and can handle dramatically more information than its 32-bit cousin. The 64-bit unit is much more efficient and can support up to 192 GB of RAM, depending on the operating system. For computers that need to operate at a high level of performance, the 64-bit processor is much more capable than the 32-bit version.

Processor Speed

Processors are measured and marketed based on the processor speed. Basically, the higher the speed capability of the processor, the more instructions it can process per second and the larger the volume of information it can handle at a time. Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). One GHz equals one billion hertz, so a CPU operating at 2 GHz is capable of processing two billion instructions per second. Another contributing factor to the overall speed of a CPU is its architecture. Certain chips can be designed and structured more efficiently, so even though they might have a lower clock speed rating, they can perform operations quicker than a higher-rated chip because they operate more efficiently.

Heat Build-Up

The main drawback to higher CPU speeds is the heat that builds up from the processor while it performs tasks. The CPU chip is set into what is known as a heat sink, which helps to dissipate the heat given off by the chip. A fan is also part of the CPU mechanism and sits on top of the chip and blows ambient air onto the surface to keep it cool. Heat build-up is the primary obstacle designers face when formulating new CPU designs. Basically, CPUs are only limited in their speed by the ability of the design to counteract the amount of heat that is built up. The main cause of CPU and motherboard malfunction is heat build-up within the unit, and proper fan placement and airflow throughout the internal portion of the computer is vital to its longevity.

Multiple Cores

Technological advances in computer design have brought the ability to place more than one processor into a single CPU unit. This technology is referred to as multi-core processing and has reshaped how CPUs are constructed. This technology has also dramatically increased the computing capabilities of the CPU, which has led to its ability to handle much more complex programs and larger amounts of data.

Dual-Core to Octa-Core Processors

A dual-core processor features two distinct cores that are placed together into one unit. Each core is capable of handling the specific tasks required to operate the computer, but when the two are placed together and operate in unison, the result is a much more efficient processing of information in a quicker time period. Quad-core processors operate on the same principle and feature four distinct cores, while hexa-core units have six and octa-core units have eight. The larger the amount of cores a processor has, the more information it can process at a time.

The main drawback to multi-core processors is that they are only as fast as the design of the software they are operating. In order for multi-core processors to operate at peak efficiency, the program must be optimised to operate with multi-core processors in order for them to gain a significant speed advantage over single-core units. As software producers catch up to the technological advances of the computers that are designed to operate their products, more and more programs are impacted by the advantage of multi-core processors. For an individual considering a CPU upgrade, purchasing a multi-core processor can enable the computer to maintain the capability of operating advanced software that is yet to be developed.

How to Buy CPU/Processors on eBay

After you have decided to upgrade your computer with a new CPU, the next step is to take advantage of the powerful shopping tools available on eBay. The website features the ability to view and compare many products and their prices, all in one convenient location. Simply go to the eBay home page, and begin your search by entering a keyword such as "CPU" into the search box. A list of available items is displayed that relate to the keyword. You have the option of searching through the various listings until you find the CPU you want, or you can narrow the search results by selecting from various subcategories, which refines the list if items displayed to a more manageable number.

It is important to make sure that the person you are doing business with on eBay has positive ratings from other customers. Buyers rate each seller according to how each transaction is  conducted, and potential buyers can see the comments left by previous buyers as well as the overall rating score of the seller. Sellers who maintain a high rating and positive comments can be trusted to complete their transactions with honesty and professionalism.


The central processing unit has revolutionised the manner in which computers process information. As the technology involved in the design and construction of CPUs improves, faster and more capable units continue to be developed to stay ahead of the demands of larger, more intricate software programs. Multi-core processors press the boundaries of speed and efficiency, and as operating systems continue to grow, there really is no limit to how much information can be processed in the span of one second.

A prospective buyer who is searching for the optimum CPU to enhance the performance of a computer needs to take the time to understand the capabilities of the machine and the types of processors that can ideally suit the needs. Accessing information about a computer from the manufacturer's website enables consumers to discover what type of processors are compatible with their machines and how much speed a motherboard and system can handle. Once they have determined this information, they are well placed to find the right CPUs for their machines. With its many useful functionalities, eBay makes this task easier by enabling consumers to find and compare the various products and prices in one location.

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