What should I look for in a Router cpu specifications

I'm trying to find out how much the routers cpu and memory contributes to the performance of the router.

Most specs for routers talk about theoretical through put and most don't even list the specs for re cpu and installed memory.

Is the cpu specs and memory something I should consider when buying a router and what should it be
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c7c4c7Author Commented:
Not getting any response, does that mean CPU specs and memory are not to be worried about?

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What kind of router? With Cisco routers, for example the memory affects the features that can be used. I am unaware of memory affecting raw performance. In addition, some routers can do a lot of the functionality on hardware without relying on the CPU to make forwarding decisions. Finally, there is specialized memory called TCAM that is much faster than regular RAM and is used in some equipment to store routing information. The amount of RAM/TCAM you have would affect the size of the routing table you can have.

I would look for a router that says that it has the throughput and feature set that you are looking for. Make sure that it has the throughput while using the features you are looking for. Content inspection, access-lists, etc. can potentially slow down a router.
Depends on your budget. Do you have an Enterprise grade budget to spend? Or are you talking more home user/small business type? In most cases, you buy a device based on reviews and real life testing. Most manufacturers don't even publish the CPU or memory, purely because it's not that interesting a fact to have.
If it's a consumer grade product, it's not expected to server over 20 users anyway. Reviews will show if performance is as it's advertised compare to real world conditions.
The more expensive small business type of hardware, usually have grades like, this type is meant for 5 - 10 users, this more expensive model is for 25 - 50 users, and this very expensive model is meant for 100- 200 users. Again, most of the time, no CPU or memory information is published, purely because the manufacturer already tested it with 10 50 or 200 users. If they knew beforehand the device will start crawling to a stop with 200 users, they would NOT advertise it as the expensive 200 users model, as they have a brand name to uphold (think Cisco, Netgear, D-Link). Other small unknown brands might try this, but not the bigger names.
And then again, this goes for the most expensive enterprise solutions. The only difference is, sometimes if you pay more, you will get that little bit of extra performance, but almost never (if you keep to the known brands), will you get bad performance out of a device advertised as meant for xxx users.
CPU in routers is relevant in some situation, the same way is with RAM. Question is what will your router work most of it's time. More expensive routers have specialized hardware to take workload of processor. Even processors can have hardware support for some type of workload (some of new Intel processors have hardware support for AES encryption), in more expensive Cisco routers (or other manufacturers too) often you can have specialized hardware ( Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) - like VPN, VOIP cards).
On Cisco routers NAT, SSH, ARP input, ACLs etc is done by CPU, so if you expect that there will possible be a lot of NAT you should care about what processor is in router, but pretty good description in most cases is theoretical throughput and recommended number of users, and you should not worry much what CPU is in router (I did not check what is CPU of my router - until now :) ).
c7c4c7Author Commented:
Thanks for the responses.  I won't spend much time looking at the processor specs anymore and more time on how many clients the router can handle.  Network performance is a bit of a grey area for me so you responses cleared up some things for me.
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