Magazine article The CPA Journal

A Primer on Chips

Magazine article The CPA Journal

A Primer on Chips

Article excerpt

Cost conscious managers increasingly need to choose between a variety of chips before buying a PC. The price of one computer may be half or even a third of another simply because of the chip running the computer. In some instances, such as desktop publishing or large three dimensional spreadsheets, the raw power of a 486-driven machine could significantly reduce processing time. But for simpler text processing chores, a 386SX-driven machine at half the price may suffice.

FIRST, SOME TERMINOLOGY

Chip. "Chip" in this article refers to the engine chip--the "brain" that runs the computer, sometimes called its CPU or Central Processing Unit.

Bit. "Bits" refer to the pathways bringing data into and out of this key chip. Numbers and characters are coded in PCs using eight bits. Thus, an eight bit chip can only handle one number at a time; a 32 bit chip can handle four numbers at one time.

Floating Point. "Floating Point" is special circuitry that speeds up certain calculations, but has no effect unless your program uses it--for example, Lotus 1-2-3 does, WordPerfect does not.

Megahertz. "MHz," abbreviation for Megahertz or millions of cycles per second. …

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