'

The Hardware 2.0 - "CPU of 2010"

After my bit of fun the other day posting my "Game of 2010" I've had several people email me asking me for my thoughts on the "Best of 2010" across a number of categories.

After my bit of fun the other day posting my "Game of 2010" I've had several people email me asking me for my thoughts on the "Best of 2010" across a number of categories.

Well, you asked for it! So here's the second installment - "CPU of 2010."

The most obvious CPU to pick is the undisputed king of CPUs - Intel's Core i7 980X Extreme Edition. Featuring 6-cores, 12-threads, a whopping 3.33GHz clock speed and retailing for a gasp-inducing $1,000, it's obviously the CPU of 2010 ...

... well, maybe not. As cool and impressive the i7 980X is, it's just the latest in a never-ending line of "fastest CPUs for crazy money." It's also getting pretty long in the tooth, given that it was first released in March of this year. Not a long time in human terms, or even dog years, but eons in processor years.

So, what else?

Well, another processor that's made a big splash in 2010 is the A4 processor that Apple first used in the iPad, and then later in the iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV.

The A4 isn't a regular CPU, but instead it's a Package on Package (PoP) System on a Chip (SoC) that combines an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU with a PowerVR GPU. The CPU runs at 1GHz.

The A4 is an awesome bit of engineering, and its power and versatility has certainly helped Apple maintain its comfortable advantage over the competition ...

... but it's not the "CPU of 2010."

No, the "CPU of 2010" isn't as powerful as the i7 980X, or as sexy as the A4. If anything, it's one of those CPUs that people overlook. But it's certainly a gem.

So what's my pick for "CPU of 2010"?

It's the AMD Phenom II X6 1100T "Black Edition".

Why pick this one? Here you have a six-core consumer CPU running at 3.3GHz (3.7GHz in Turbo mode), and it retails for under $270! This is, quite simply, an awesome processor available for a fantastic price.

While not as fast s the Core i7 980X, you have to remember that the 980X isn't three times faster than the X6 1100T, making the AMD offering a far better deal for gamers and home/business users looking for that CPU packing a lot of horsepower.