Is there good sites that provide ranking of computer processors performance?
October 30, 2009 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Is there good sites that provide ranking of computer processors performance?

I am looking to buy a new PC, but am being patient for the right deal to come along. It would be nice to have a trustworthy source of which processors are "better." Any links to PC and/or laptop rankings is appreciated.
posted by idyllhands to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: typo: "Are there any good sites."
posted by idyllhands at 1:36 PM on October 30, 2009

Best answer: I don't know if it is appropriate on AskMeFi to add to a persons' question if it is related, so I won't until I know.

Help with your question: processor speed alone is not indicative of a computer's performance nowadays. Processors are more or less the most overpowered part in a modern computer. What is more important is the amount of RAM and the speed of your hard disk.

Then, depending on what you plan to do with the computer, your hard disk setup (RAID setup or external serial ATAs for video editing for example) or graphics card (for gaming, mostly).

Here's a recent hardware guide from Ars Technica (a respected website):

Another interesting sidenote to read would be this article by Jeff Attwood ( ). The intro says it all:

“I've seen a lot of people play The Computer Performance Shell Game poorly. They overinvest in a fancy CPU, while pairing it with limited memory, a plain jane hard drive, or a generic video card. For most users, that fire-breathing quad-core CPU is sitting around twiddling its virtual thumbs most of the time. Computer performance is typically limited by the slowest part in your system. You'd get better overall performance by building a balanced system and removing bottlenecks.”
posted by wolfr at 1:44 PM on October 30, 2009

Best answer: This seems to be pretty comprehensive:
posted by jcmilton at 1:46 PM on October 30, 2009

Best answer: I usually look at the processor charts & reviews at Tom's Hardware & Actually, scratch that. Usually I pick a price point I'm interested in paying for my system, use that to figure out how much I'm willing to pay for motherboard+cpu+ram, price a suitable motherboards for AMD & Intel CPUs, along with RAM, and then look for CPUs in my price range on NewEgg. Then, once I have a few candidates, I check the charts and reviews on Tom's and Anandtech to see if any one of the options is a particularly good or bad deal.

It sounds though like you are planning to buy a prebuilt system. In your case, I'd figure out your budget and your intended use. Then I'd figure out what components are most important to your intended use. For example, for first-person shooter gaming, you'll probably want to focus first on the video card. For a laptop, an important priority is power consumption. For a lot of common desktop uses, the CPU is probably the least important component in determining overall performance. You'd be better off worrying about having enough RAM, or an appropriate video card.
posted by Good Brain at 1:53 PM on October 30, 2009

There's the PassMark CPU benchmarks.
posted by jaimev at 1:54 PM on October 30, 2009

Yeah, jcmilton has it. Benchmarks record computer performance, and you choose the benchmark closest to your own activities - gaming people might choose a 3D benchmark for example. These benchmarks hopefully take a overall performance measurement of the system.

Benchmarks are created by running the same exact software on different computers and comparing the results, which are measured by the software itself.

However, the utility of benchmarks are compromised by the infinite number of computer configurations, both hardware and software.
posted by meowzilla at 1:54 PM on October 30, 2009

Ayah...apologies for not previewing.
posted by jaimev at 1:56 PM on October 30, 2009

If you want your computer to go REALLY fast, get an intel solid state disk.
posted by delmoi at 2:21 PM on October 30, 2009

>It would be nice to have a trustworthy source of which processors are "better."

Just be mindful that processor benchmarks are artificial and a 100 pts score better in some video game doesnt mean thats human noticable or will make any significant dent in anything you do. Most users are never CPU bound, they are disk bound, or video bound.

Generally, the CPU market has always been competitive and unless you have some strict requirements, you can pretty much ignore CPU benchmarks. If you are suddenly performance minded an extra $200-$300 for .1ghz higher clock rate is money pissed away when it can buy more RAM or as delmoi suggests a fast SSD. Or a nice 24" monitor.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:33 PM on October 30, 2009

The caveat with is perfect conditions for benchmarks do not always reflect real-world situations. If you have a price range, I strongly suggest going with the previously linked Ars, Tom's Hardware, and AnandTech links- they're suggested in most situations for a reason. Those are websites that live and breath not by brute numbers, but rather by consistent evaluation of how processors work for daily use where the users are more than happy to rip the articles apart if they're not accurate. Their system-builder guides reflect this.

If you want your computer to go REALLY fast, get an intel solid state disk.

If we're being serious, it depends on what you're doing. If the work is hard drive intensive, then yes, you may see improvements. If the new Intel firmware doesn't brick the hard drive. For the price premium of a ssd, you may be better off getting a faster processor, ram, or graphics card depending on what you're doing.
posted by jmd82 at 3:16 PM on October 30, 2009

I saw an analysis one time of where time was used in a computer when it was being used interactively, and it turned out that by far the most important specification in the entire computer was the average seek time of the HD. That was more important than the HD spin speed, the HD transfer rate, the speed of the CPU, or the rate at which the display chip could change the screen.

That's why a solid state drive makes a computer feel particularly snappy: it has an effective seek time of zero.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:16 PM on October 30, 2009

posted by limited slip at 4:11 PM on October 30, 2009

One widely-agreed-upon CPU benchmark is SPECint.

But everyone else is right that your CPU performance is probably not the limiting factor, unless you're encoding videos or running scientific simulations all day.
posted by miyabo at 7:12 PM on October 30, 2009

Best answer: Oops, should have linked to this newer list of SPEC results.
posted by miyabo at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2009

Tom's hardware 2009 CPU charts.

Good luck reading through trying to decipher what each benchmarks tests.

My normal choice is to figure out if I want a gaming PC or not, set a budget, then find the best/fastest CPU in that budget.

If you want a great deal, just scour fatwallet or slickdeals.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:14 PM on October 30, 2009

If we're being serious, it depends on what you're doing. If the work is hard drive intensive, then yes, you may see improvements.

Most of the times a user is waiting for something, they're waiting for the hard drive. Doing things like loading applications, loading large files and booting the machine. Fast SSDs speed those operations up quite a bit.
posted by delmoi at 2:48 AM on November 3, 2009

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