That Blue Square Thing

AQA Computer Science GCSE

May 2019: this area of the site is being built just now. I’m making progress but there are areas where there is no content yet. That will get added over the next 6 months or so.

thumbnail of COU and cache diagram

Computer Systems - CPU Performance

What makes a CPU perform better?

PDF iconCPU Performance Summary - slides from class

PDF iconCPU Performance - "textbook" notes on the factors

PDF iconComparing CPUs - screenshots to compare the machine I need to buy next...

The balance between the amount of main memory, caches and the clock speed and number of cores in a machine is one that needs to be carefully considered. And that's before other factors come into play - portability, operating system, software that will run on it, monitor size etc...

For example, increasing just the cache size won’t mean that the machine necessarily performs better - it depends on what the machine is being required to do and what other resources are available.

Small, ultra-portable laptop machines tend to have a lower technical specification because of the ways they are usually used. This might be absolutely fine - the tradeoff between portability and power is a sensible one to make at times.

Another obvious tradeoff is between cost and performance.