A CPU (also referred as the central processor unit or processor) is like the brains of the computer that carries every instruction no matter how simple it is. When we use a computer, we want the instructions to be carried out very fast as the instructions can be very complicated like creating 3D animation, editing video file or gameplay performance.
Let’s check out what to consider when choosing a CPU.
Intel or AMD?
CPU markets are dominated by two giant manufacturer or brand: Intel or AMD.
Intel has been the go-to premium option for well over a decade now. Their unique blend of advanced features and overall high performance make them an excellent choice for gamers, content creators, and other PC enthusiasts.
AMD managed to offer the same level of performance as Intel without the hefty price tag, which makes them a great option for budget-conscious buyers.
They both are solid brands to choose for your system. Understand the primary use of your pc and your budget will help you to filter the selection of CPU models in next step.
Both Intel and AMD have several series of CPUs which differ in terms of intended use.
|Intel||AMD||Intended use for|
|Pentium/Celeron||Athlon/A series||basic home and office|
|Core series||Ryzen||gaming and high performance|
|Xeon||Threadripper||workstations and servers|
The CPU model number and name indicate the quality and power. Models starting with three, like the Intel Core i3 or the AMD Ryzen 3 indicated the lower performance and follow by 5, 7 and 9 (nine is the best performance in both Core and Ryzen series).
Recommendations by your primary purpose for your PC
Gaming – Mid-range processors are great for up-and-coming gamers on a budget like the Intel Core i5 or the AMD Ryzen 5. These processors should be enough to game at 1920×1080 with medium settings. However, if you want to game at 1440p or 4K, it is best to go with an expensive CPU and GPU combo.
Creative work – If you are looking for a high-performing computer to do intensive tasks such as video editing or game design, you are recommended to go for higher-end CPU like an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7. These processors will help complete complex tasks much quicker than other CPUs. Plus, they can also be overclocked so if you need your computer to function at its best all the time, this option is perfect for you.
Intensive workload – The Intel Xeon and AMD Threadripper series are offer for the high-end of the market. They are designed to be used in business servers and workstations that require intensive processing power. Majority of home users do not require to use such powerful CPU as it could end up invest a massive money on other computer parts to make compatible with the CPU.
The more cores you have, the faster your computer will be. Consider how much multitasking your system might need to be doing to determine how many cores are necessary.
It’s very important to know what you’re after before looking at the number of cores available. There are different factors that influence how many cores you’ll need. For gaming, 4 to 8 cores (Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5) should be plenty, to render-intensive tasks like editing video or graphics design, 16 core or more will make a big difference, for content creation and mainstream use, 8 to 12 cores (Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7) may suffice; and for basic web browsing and emailing, 2 to 4 cores (Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3) should do just fine.
The CPU threads are a set of parallel processors that execute parts of a single task. In the past, CPUs were designed to handle only one instruction at a time.
The underlying idea behind hyper-threading is to turn a single physical CPU into two logical CPUs, running in parallel. The hyper-threading technology is used for tasks that have instantaneous data dependencies – an example would be video editing software where the processor needs to move data from the memory unit and then process it before it can continue with another frame.
Clock speed and cooling system
Clock speed is a spec that shows you how many instructions the CPU can process. Overclocking requires powerful cooling system as too much heat would damage your computer and lead to instability as well as excessive power consumption with no additional benefits to performance. Also, make sure the CPUs and motherboards support overclocking feature.
All AMD Ryzen processors are overclock-ready and support most of the motherboards. Whereas Intel CPU models ending with “K” are eligible for overclocking.
There are many different CPUs to choose from for any budget and need. You will want to identify the motherboard that you intend to use it with. Then, check for the chipset to see if it will be able to support the CPU’s feature set. Finally, make sure that there is enough power headroom for overclocking for your needs.
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