The first thing I always told prospect when I first met them over the years was, “If you want to talk price out of the gate before deciding what your need is, I’m not the right choice for you. We have to determine what your needs are first, then look at pricing options to fit.” Not one single time did a prospect end the conversation and not one single time have I had a customer dissatisfied with the results of my work and recommendations.
First, the bare minimum is 4GB of RAM, but I recommend 6-8GB if you can get it. That’s the first spec and easiest to measure. The big and blurry decision is processor choice. There are a TON of choices and no manufacturer makes it easy, especially when we all go looking for price first.
The processor spec from Cricut is a “Pentium 4 2.33GHz or faster” and is NOT a “2.33GHz or faster”. the cycles (the Ghz measurement) has nothing to do with this because we are not comparing apples to apples. In otherwords, we aren’t looking for a Pentium 4 processor today because that one is like 15 years old and so much has changed. As a comparison a Pentium 4 2.4Ghz processor has a benchmark score of 233 and an i5 2.67GHz (released about five years ago) has an benchmark score of 2665. Step down to an i3 3.4GHz from a year ago and the benchmark is 4060. The i5 and i3 are what I have in my laptop and desktop respectively at the time of this writting, so my i3 is actually FASTER than my i5 because the i3 is newer. It’s like comparing a Ferrari from 1970 to a Ferrari in 2015–they are both Ferrari’s and great in their time, but one is going to be significantly faster than the other. A couple folks recently told me they had computers with AMD E2-1800 processors in them and they were pretty new (less than a year old) and they have a benchmark of 837–VERY SLOW.
The page at the link below is a listing of most every processor and you can filter by typing in the one you are considering. You may have to try filtering a couple ways to find it, or only type in part of the name. If it’s not on the list you might be able to match it to one that’s close. For example, if e2-1600 wasn’t on the list, I could find an e2-1800 and it would be pretty close to gauge by so you can get an idea. The column you want to look at is the “CPU Mark” and I would recommend a few things to start with:
1. Do not get one with a score of less than about 2500-3000. This doesn’t mean to buy one in this range, buy the most you can afford.
2. The other factor is stay away from certain ones like Sempron and Celerons. Some of them may rank up in that range but other factors can cause performance issues.
3. An APU (as opposed to CPU) can be problematic, as well. Based on my research they are used for efficiency and are found in lower end laptops and systems, so efficiency in power consumption usually comes at a price of lower performance.
Hope that helps. I know it’s a lot of information!