|386 and 486 Processors
Prior to the Pentium line of processors, Intel produced its 386 and, later on, 486 processors. Introduced in 1985, the 386 processor was a step up in sophistication from Intel's previous generation of processors. Two versions of the 386 processor were offered: the 386 SX and the 386 DX . Although software- compatible with each other, the 386 SX is slightly cheaper and less powerful than the DX model.
Intel Corporation has a line of computer processors that are classified under the family names of Celeron, Pentium, and Itanium, in ascending order of processing speed and power. Celeron processors, while the least powerful, are still versatile enough to access the Internet, use multimedia software, and accomplish word processing and other common business tasks.
|Megahertz and Your Processor
'Megahertz' indicates millions of cycles per second. For computer processors, megahertz refers to the clock speed of the processor. Clock speed is the measure of the number of cycles, or electronic pulses, that a computer can perform in one second. This is not equal to the number of instructions the processor can perform per second, however. To execute an instruction, a computer requires a certain number of electronic pulses, which varies depending on the model of the processor.
Intel Corporation produces several different types of Pentium processors for IBM- compatible computers: Pentium, Pentium MMX, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, and Pentium III . Each successive Pentium processor is faster and more powerful than the previous one. Since the processor is the main source of your computer's ability to manipulate data rapidly, a faster processor means that programs run swifter and smoother and require less time to load.
|What is RAM?
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the memory that your computer uses to store information temporarily about the programs that are currently running. RAM is usually measured in kilobytes or megabytes. 'Kilo' means 1,000, and 'mega' means one million, yet a kilobyte is actually equal to 1,024 bytes.