"Upgrading a CPU is always a what-if proposition. Sometimes you
can do it, sometimes you can't. First question to answer is does
your motherboard support a newer CPU? If the answer is Yes, chances
are you will then get sucked into a whirlwind of Yes-Buts. Yes, but
maybe I'll need a bigger CPU cooler, and maybe there isn't room.
Yes, but it doesn't support faster RAM, and shouldn't I have faster
RAM to get the most out of my CPU? Yes, but it might require a BIOS
upgrade, and do I really want to hassle with that?
"Then there is the question of how many cores. Two, three, four?
The more-is-better mentality can suck you into spending a lot of
money. Dual-core is easy: yes, two are better than one in nearly
all circumstances. Some factors to keep in mind:
"Applications need to be written to take advantage of multiple
cores to get any performance increase
"CPU-intensive tasks like audio encoding do better with higher
clock speeds. If your choice is two or three cores at higher clock
speeds, or quad at lower clock speeds, go with the higher clock
speeds and fewer cores
"Multi-threaded tasks go faster on more cores
"Running several applications at one time go faster with
"Single-tasking users might as well save their money and stick
with single-core CPUs. These are the folks who open one application
at a time, do one task at a time, then close it and go to their
next task. There is nothing wrong with working like this, and the
money saved can go for something fun."