CPU Battles

Things are starting to heat up.

For quite a while now, whenever CPUs are discussed, Intel has been the go-to chip, while AMD has been considered an also-ran. But, as both chipmakers release their newest offerings, it looks like the CPU wars of yesteryear may be roaring back to life.

Mark Hachman of PCWorld compares Intel's Core i9 chip to AMD's Ryzen Threadripper chip in this article. (http://www.pcworld.com/article/3198476/computers/amd-threadripper-vs-intel-core-i9-the-best-cpu-for-enthusiasts.html) Intel's chips have been prized for their performance, while AMD's chips are often selected when cost is an issue. But, Hachman reports that AMD's newest chip compares quite favorably to Intel's product in performance tests, while still being more affordable. Hachman looks at the features and benefits of each chip and declares a winner, but he also has some caveats that may surprise you.

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 Discussion Questions/Activities
  1.  This is a good opportunity to show the class how to see what type of CPU their device uses and to provide some computer history information. If time allows you may also want to show some or all of the videos included in the main PCWorld article or ask the class to view it on their own time.
  2. Divide the class into two groups. One group should research AMD CPUs, the other should research Intel's chips. Each group should put together a presentation that outlines the features and benefits of the manufacturer and the chips they are researching. The students should list the newest chips and point out the differences between the last generation and the new generation of CPUs. 
  3. As an individual project, ask students to explore upgrading their own computer's CPU. Is their computer capable of being upgraded? Can it use the newest chips? If not, what is the best chip to upgrade to? Students should outline the steps and processes involved in this task and discuss whether they would want to upgrade. Students should write a brief report on their findings and explain their final decision regarding whether they would upgrade.

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