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Need a new computer? Wait for new faster chips

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These days, with computer prices lower than ever, you can get a bare-bones Mac or PC for less than $500. But if you're thinking about buying a new computer, you might want to wait a few months.

There's a lot of progress being made in the world of central processing unit (CPU) chips, which power the computer. Intel and AMD, the two top manufacturers of CPU chips, recently introduced dual-core chips, meaning there are two CPUs in one package.

By some calculations, new machines with these CPUs will be up to twice as fast. With this speed, you'll be able to do a lot more multitasking, for example, creating a CD and editing digital video at the same time.

New computers with the dual-core chips will soon be brought out by all major manufacturers including such market leaders as Dell and Hewlett Packard. And for all the Mac folks, Apple announced it will begin manufacturing computers using Intel chips by this time next year.

But, the newest computers are also usually the most expensive. For example, current price estimates for the AMD dual-core chips range from $637 to $1,299. That's just for the processor chip. One money-saving strategy is to wait a while until the novelty of faster processors -- and high price -- wears off.

If you need a new machine right away, buy whatever was near the top of the line before the new-product announcements.


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