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More information on specific processors can be found on the following link: ark.intel.com
However, based on your needs a Quad Core will be much better that a Dual Core. Take for example, a dual core is only a single core processor however this single core has 2 logical cores inside making it a dual core processor. A Core 2 Duo is a better one, since this one is a 2 cores processor, it actually has 2 physical core on the processor, thus providing better performance. In the same way the Core 2 Quad processors will be a processor which has 2 Physical Cores and each cores has two logical cores inside them making it a core 2 Quad processor.
As far as I know:
A simple way a dual core is a single road having two lanes, a core 2 duo a 2 roads traffic working independently, and a core 2 quad a 2 roads traffic with 2 lanes of traffic on each road.
The FSB is the speed on data transfer between the MCH and the processor. The higher the number the larger the lane is and more information can be transferred at a time. However the cache is a kind of memory which function almost the same as the memory controller on the motherboard that it to transfer information between the cpu and the IO devices through the ICH. But this on is actually on the cpu, it functions much faster and it stores some information on the cpu itself which make the cpu remembers if an application has recently request a particular processing and if so, then data is available in the cache and thus there is no need to fetch the data from the memory from MCH, hence saving time and power and improves perfromance. So this one as well, the more cache you have the better it is as the cpu can 'remember' more info.
The FSB/QPI and the Cache and of course the clock frequency of the processor (speed). The best processor will have a high clock speed 3.00 or above, 12MB cache or above and 1333Mhz FSB or above. The greater are these numbers, the better it will perform and the more expensive it will be.
But all these factors, in most situation cannot always work at their tops due to limitations on the hardware you may be using. Hard drives are normally considered the bottleneck, but nowadays with the developments, we could see an improvement in performance as better hard drive technology are being developed. When you put all the speeds into consideration and start a series of calculation you will eventually find out that most of the time you will not be able to achieve the highest performance all the time.
But that does not mean it not worth. Most of the system will perform to their expectation.
As recommendation for you, a core 2 quad with an 6-8MB cache will be better for you.
Hope this will be useful to you.
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Sorry, forgot to mention:
More information on Core 2 Quad on this link: http://www.intel.com/products/processor/core2quad/index.htm?iid=tech_multi-core+body_core2quad
What kind of things should I avoid that might hinder the performance of my processor? Are there some minimum specs for the motherboard/harddrive/ram to make sure I'm getting the most out of my processor?
Depends on what you want to use it for..
Gaming, Large Cache 12MB is great...
As far as CORE, HT, etc.. depends on the program you are using...
A Quad Core is 2 Dual Cores, Not 4 core cpu...
an i7 is a Quad Core/HT Multi thread CPU. that
The more cores the more programs you can use simultaneously,
or the better a program will run if the workload is split multi cores..
Ofcourse the bigger the number the better....
RAM will also play a hugh part..
Low performance RAM, will result in a poor performing CPU...
a Q6600 running on an 800MHZ DDR2 board will be blown away by
a Q6600 running on a 1333MHZ DDR3 board...
These are called Bottlenecks..
One piece of hardware being low performance will hold back the entire system...
If I were you, Core i7 / X58 is the prime setup for video editing, & multi tasking..