Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CPU reviews for the average Linux Desktop user

I had a look around the net trying to find some useful reviews comparing CPUs for the average Linux office-progam desktop user.

There are a great deal of articles on the web reviewing CPUs, but they tend to have several problems.

The worst problem by far is that most articles tend to compare the CPU being reviewed with either the last ones reviewed, or the last few previous releases of any given CPU (and it's competitor).

Now in the 90's, that would have been ok, but nowadays there are new CPUs being released practically every month (if not more often), and there's also an incredible number of CPU families that are not usually compared to each other in a review.

So, for example reviews that take the two very latest Intel and AMD DualCores and compre them to each other are pretty much worthless for a lot people - it's like comparing apples from different sides of the same tree (or off the same branch). How does the latest CoreDuo compare to last year's 64 bit Opteron? Best wishes on the hunt to find articles like that.

Like many office users, I don't care how fast a CPU runs 3D programs, games and video/audio encoding.

What runs KDE the fastest when you have all the standard office applications running (FireFox, OpenOffice, Kontact) and SpamAssassin starts sucking the life out of your box while Kontact checks for new mail?

Yes, there are plenty of CPU reviews out there, but most of them do not tell me if the latest Dual-Core 64-bit Whoopie runs Kcalc, emacs or apache faster than my P4 2.8 Ghz. Most of them focus on gaming, 3D, floating point intensive Windows applications. I'm not interested in that.

To my relief I found that Tom's Hardware does in fact have a database with the last few years worth of processors compared at

Best of all, they let you pick what benchmark you want to use to compare the CPU, including some more "normal" comparisons such as printing a 200 or 950 page MS office file to PDF, and even some multi-tasking benchmarks such as running PDF making while AVG Antivirus is scanning, or decompressing a file while photoshop is running.

If anyone else knows of some good basic CPU reviews (not 3D, game and video oriented), please leave a comment - I'd love to hear about it.

- JW

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