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Buying a New PC... How Fast Should It Be?

Boot Camp feature for Monday, June 12, 2000

Pick up the latest newspaper or magazine ad for a new computer and what you see can be mighty confusing. Pentium III? Celeron? AMD K6? Athlon? What's the difference? The answers aren't easy folks and in many stores that sell computers, the sales people don't know much more than you do. Apple makes it a lot easier for Mac fans. On the Windows side, it is more difficult because there are so many different manufacturers and basically two different companies making processors... Intel and AMD. Intel makes Celeron processors for lower priced computers... and Pentium IIIs on the higher end. At AMD, which has just upped the power of its high end Athlon and lower end new Duron processors, VP David Somo says think about what you plan to use the computer for... .

"If you're someone who is just looking to access the Internet and work with emails primarily or maybe do some home financing, the AMD Duron processor and a PC that's priced around a thousand dollars or less would be the ideal choice for the customer. If you are running demanding applications like digital video and photo editing, then you want to opt for the AMD Athlon processor.

The problem is, beginners may not know what they'll wind up wanting to use the computer for. My suggestion is to buy the fastest processor you can afford. Not necessarily the newest... which is overpriced... but maybe the one that came out six months ago. You can find more advice at ThirdAge.com. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.