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CPU

The most important thing to remember about web client CPUs is that they’re not very important. Web surfing is an I/O-bound activity, not a CPU-bound activity. In any case, PC hardware is almost always overendowed with CPU relative to bus. That is, an extremely fast CPU will probably spend most of its time waiting for the bus to catch up with it. Nonetheless, the CPU frequency and model is what sells the machine, so manufacturers are forced to supply the latest and fastest CPU even if the previous generation of CPU would do just fine for most people. Web access speed is influenced much more by disk and network I/O than by CPU or even bus speed.

That said, there are some reasons to have a good CPU on your web browsing machine. For one thing, HTML and image rendering does take some CPU power. If you use a performance monitor and watch your CPU load while parsing a large HTML page, you’ll see that parsing creates a significant CPU load. To prove the load is from parsing and not network access or something else, you can see that the CPU is again heavily loaded when you hit the back button to go back to a large page in memory cache, not touching the network. On the other hand, most web pages are small, so you often don’t even notice the time it takes to parse them.


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