Having the right equipment makes any task more accessible. Working on an old computer with a slow processor -- especially if you're dealing with large files and upload protocols -- may cause your activity to experience stuttering or give you a laggy screen. While system status, Internet speed and the rest of the hardware in your computer affect its performance while browsing, CPU speed is still something to consider upgrading when purchasing a new computer. Purchase something with at least 1Ghz of CPU speed; computers with processors at 1Ghz or higher can be found for less than $500 at the time of publication.
CPU speed is measured by more than one factor. Bit width, clock cycles, and execution cores all factor into the total speed. The bit width is a measurement of how many pieces of data can be processed by the CPU in a single cycle. The number of cycles the CPU completes each second is the number of clock cycles. The execution cores are the number of different parts working on different tasks. One core might be handling Internet browsing while another is handling your music program.
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Basic Internet browsing isn't taxing on a processor. Computers that were manufacturer prior to 2000 could browse the Internet -- no modern CPU will experience problems browsing normal websites. Sites with lots of graphics, audio or videos may put more stress on the CPU, but will still not overload modern processors. In the past, processor speeds were an important consideration when purchasing a computer. Now, however, small tablets and smartphones have enough processing power for users to smoothly browse the Internet. Laptop- and desktop computers can easily browse the Intenet, as they are more powerful than tablets and smartphones.
While the CPU speed should be sufficient to browse the Internet, a processor with more speed will display better performance at times when extra power is needed. For example, streaming and uploading large advertisements or videos may take a toll on a very slow CPU; Intel i3 processors that run around 1.3 GHz will be able to handle uploading and streaming video. If you'd rather have a more powerful machine, purchase an Intel i7 which can run up to 3.9 GHz. AMD's A10 claims to have up to 4.4 GHz of processing speed. If you use complex websites to do your work, buy CPU models with extra power or power boost capabilities.
If you're browsing average sites like streaming video pages, social media sites or text and picture sites, any computer manufactured after 2005 will have more than enough power. On the other hand, if you plan to use the computer to build models or edit videos online, a faster CPU will be worth the extra cost. One thing to really pay attention to is the number of cores, since more cores will provide smoother performance when you're multitasking.