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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | The Processor | Processor Architecture and Operation | Processor Performance ]

Integer and Floating-Point Performance

Most performance measures look at the processor's ability to process integer data: whole numbers, text and the like. This is perfectly valid, because most processing is done on this sort of data. However, intensive floating point applications, such as spreadsheets and some graphics programs and games, make heavy use of the processor's floating point unit (FPU).

Processors that have similar performance on integer tasks can have very different performance on floating point operations. In particular, a number of competitors to Intel chips have come onto the market that have comparable integer performance, but far inferior floating point performance. For most users this is not an issue since heavy floating-point applications are unusual, but it is something to be aware of.

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