Ford was famous for selling the Model T in any color you
wanted, so long as it was black. The original IBM PC came with any CPU you
wanted, so long as it was an Intel 8088. Today, just as you can get a car in
just about any color you want, it seems like theres an almost endless array of
CPU options. Intel and AMD are competing so hard and introducing new product sofast, that its next to impossible to keep up.
Consider some of your options
from Intelalone. Just on the desktop, from the Intel Celeron D to the Core
2 Extreme you can choose from 7 different CPU types. Within the Pentium D
processor family, there are 12 different speeds. Thats not counting the
additional 6 additional mobile processor, 6 server processor families and thenumber of flavors of each.
its not any less confusing. AMD has 4 different desktop processor families and
5 for mobile computers. At least there's only one choice when it comes to
servers, but when you look at one model line like the Athlon 64 X2 dual-core
CPU, there are 13 individual flavors of the CPU.
PC makers such as Dell and HP help somewhat by making most of
the choices for you. They don't offer every single CPU choice in their models.
Even when you have the option of customizing the CPU in a unit, you only have
limited selection of CPUs. This helps minimize the confusion somewhat, but you
still need to know the difference in CPU types when comparing models from
different makers. Like hard drive sizes, amount of RAM and video card
selections, CPUs are now included in the
pricing shell game. By shuffling components around a little, one
manufacturer can 'match' the price of another's machine, but the performance
may differ wildly.
This is where it comes in handy to standardize your purchases
for your organization. Pick an individual model that meets your needs and then
forget about it. Buy as many of those units as possible, and then start theprocess over again next year.
Personally, I find the constant change in CPUs to be a mixed
blessing. It's next to impossible to remember all of the different CPU types
like you could way back in the 20th Century. But at the same time,processors are increasing speed at an exponential rate. Who would want to remember some of them?