"I have to replace my 8-year-old Dell desktop soon, currently using
Windows XP SP3."
First good news. lol (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.)
"In my research I found, among other things,
one thing that determines the price of a replacement machine is the
PC processor. It is the apparent difference in cost between the AMD
and the INTEL i3, i4,or i5. The price difference seems to be about
$100 or more if I look at Intel i4 or i5. (I hope I didn't goof on the Intel
Nice to see someone actually do some research. Excellent.
You didn't goof, you merely omitted one. i7. i3 is dual core, i5 is dual and quad, depending on the model, i7 is quad. 5's and 7's also have Turbo Boost technology. The processor decides whether or not you need more power and if it does, it boosts itself to it's fully capable speed. Some models reach 3.0 Ghz and then some! That's a LOT of power. And believe me, you'd be surprised how many times you'll find you need it. Even on some relatively simple tasks.
Actually, the price difference tends to be 100's more, over AMD.
"For my general household use with no gaming,
only light photo work, e-mail, Web surfing, and use of Microsoft
Office, will it matter much which I processor I buy? A computer with
the AMD processer is a lot cheaper."
The AMD is perfect for you. The Intel processors do tend to be more powerful, overall. They're capable of handling processes and tasks differently from AMD. I can explain it in the way it was explained to me... Intel is like having 8 lanes of traffic running constantly with no jams. AMD is more like a 4 lane highway, with much less traffic and depending on the situation, there might be a traffic jam or two. Intel's power is definitely for power users and the cost reflects that.
AMD's power is for the everyday user, and to some extent...power users (depending on the model of processor.) However, AMD's offerings are more than capable of delivering an excellent PC experience. People like to make you think otherwise, but it's just not true. AMD processors are workhorses. They might not be the fastest or strongest around, but they last and last and they perform as well on their last day, as they did on their first day. I've had both brands and I stick with AMD. The cost difference doesn't make it worth it to me to make the jump back over to Intel. Sure, super power would be awesome, but the money I saved? Well worth losing the excess power.
"Will it be similar or would I
see a great difference between using AMD versus Intel. When
do processor brands and speed make a difference? Your
explanation and thoughts are appreciated."
For the tasks you're looking for, they'll be comparable with no real difference. Brands and speed make a difference when you want to start editing multimedia, play tasking video games, photoshop, things of that nature.
Here's a perfectly good example...
Wal-Mart currently has an Acer desktop with a nice Intel i5 and a nice graphics card, and it's currently priced at $800.00
They also have a HP desktop with an AMD processor, also a quad (like the Acer's), and a nice graphics option. (It's capable of playing video games, right out of the box, but you don't have to have it do that. They give you the extra power, even if you never use it.) Price? $498.00
That's a big savings. AMD's perfect for you.
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