How to Choose the Best CPU? Your CPU handles most of the actual computing your computer does. So if you are looking for an upgrade in the market, choosing the best CPU is very important, whether you are upgrading your existing system or building a new PC. Higher clock speeds and core counts can make a big difference in performance, providing a more agile system, smoother gameplay, and faster completion of intensive tasks like video editing and transcoding.
Also, like most aspects of consumer technology, you’ll have to decide to buy the best processor available right now or wait to see what the next-gen chips bring. AMD’s Ryzen 5000 CPUs are impressive and finally generally outperforms competing Intel CPUs in single and multi-core performance. But due to a combination of high demand, limited capacity at TSMC’s chip factories, and the ongoing pandemic, AMD’s latest CPUs have been very difficult to find in stock at or near their MSRPs since launch.
How to Choose Best CPU Step By Step Guidelines?
Meanwhile, Intel is about to finally move away from a Skylake-based architecture, with Rocket Lake-S. Intel’s new chips promise solid single-core performance gains, as well as a shift to a platform that finally supports PCI 4.0, a feature that AMD rolled out to its Ryzen chips nearly two years ago. If you already know a lot about CPU specs and want recommendations. No matter what desktop processor you get, here are some things to keep in mind.
How to Choose a Processor for Desktop?
What to look for in a CPU? There are two main CPU manufacturers when it comes to desktop and laptop computers. AMD and Intel. Until 2017, unless you were on a blazing fast budget, Intel was the only real option, but today, whether you go for an AMD or Intel CPU, as long as you buy the right one. An Intel motherboard will not work with an AMD CPU and vice versa.
You can use an Intel SSD in an AMD motherboard or an AMD graphics card in an Intel PC, but when it comes to CPUs and motherboards, you need to buy whatever is compatible. AMD and Intel have different naming schemes for their processors, and being able to decode them is important. What is relevant and what is not.
Intel’s naming scheme is similar, using the first number to record the generation and the second number to record the place within that generation. Like AMD, Intel also classifies its processors in tiers (Core i7 and Core i9, for example). Knowing that we can choose the Intel 10900K as a 10th generation processor that is at the i9 level. Again, higher is better here.
However, nothing is simple when it comes to naming CPUs. Like AMD, Intel also breaks with its naming convention. The 10400 and 10600K, for example, are 10th generation i5 processors. However, the higher the better, generally the 10400 will perform worse than the 10600K.
What are the Key CPU Specs?
If you are looking at a spec sheet for a certain CPU, you will see a lot of numbers. This is what to look for.
1. Clock Speeds. Measured in gigahertz (GHz), this is the speed at which the chip operates, so the higher it is, the faster. Most modern CPUs adjust their clock speed up or down based on the task and its temperature, so you’ll see a base (minimum) clock speed and a (maximum) turbo speed listed.
2. Cores. These are the processors within the processor. Modern CPUs have between two and 64 cores, and most processors contain four to eight. Each one is capable of carrying out their tasks. In most cases these days, you’ll want at least four cores, or at least four threads (see below).
3. Threads. This is the number of independent processes that a chip can handle at a time, which in theory would be the same as the number of cores. However, many processors are multi-threaded, allowing a single core to create two threads. Intel calls it Hyper-Threading and AMD calls it SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading). More threads mean better multitasking and improved performance in highly threaded applications such as video editors and transcoders.
4. TDP. Thermal Design Power / Profile (TDP) is the maximum amount of heat a chip generates (or should generate) at stock speeds, measured in watts. Knowing that, for example, the Intel Core i7-8700K has a TDP of 95 watts, you can make sure you have a CPU cooler that can handle that amount of heat dissipation and also that your power supply can provide enough power.
But keep in mind that CPUs put out a lot more heat when overclocked. It’s good to know what your TDP is so you can get the right power and cooling gear to support your CPU. Additionally, a higher TDP usually coincides with faster performance, although things like the size of the process node and the efficiency of the overall architecture also come into play.
Cache-A processor’s built-in cache is used to speed up access to data and instructions between the CPU and RAM. There are three types of cache: L1 is the fastest, but narrow, L2 is more spacious but slower, and L3 is spacious but comparatively slow.
When the data a CPU needs are not available in any of these places, it looks for RAM, which is much slower, in part because it is physically further away than a CPU’s on-chip cache. You shouldn’t pay too much attention to cache size, because it’s hard to match real-world performance and there are more important factors to consider.
5. IPC. Even if you have two CPUs that have the same clock speed and number of threads, if they are from different companies or built on different architectures from the same company, they will deliver different levels of IPC (instructions per clock cycle).
IPC is highly dependent on CPU architecture, so newer generation chips (for example, a Ryzen 5 5600X with Zen 3 vs. a Ryzen 7 2700X with Zen +) will be better than older ones. IPC is not usually listed as a specification and is usually measured through benchmarks, so the best way to find out is to read our CPU reviews.
6. AMD or Intel. Until 2017, AMD was the underdog. But with its Ryzen / Threadripper series chips, the company has steadily moved towards performance parity with Intel. And with Ryzen 5000 and chips like the Ryzen 5 5600X in particular, AMD has in most respects outperformed Intel’s current offerings, often delivering better performance in light and heavy workloads that tax many cores.
The pairing may change substantially, however, once Intel’s latest Rocket Lake-S CPUs arrive later in 2021. All that said, both companies can have very capable CPUs. Some fans will have strong opinions, but if you don’t have your heart set on one brand or another, you should be open to any of them.
Deep Within Cores and Threads
If you want to know how to choose the best CPU? You have to consider cores and threads. The cores are like their own individual processors, all packed together on the same chip. Traditionally, they can perform one task at a time, which means that more cores make a processor better at multitasking. Modern software is much better at leveraging more cores at once to do the same job, so more cores can make some of the software run faster as well.
Threads are the number of tasks that a CPU can perform at the same time. Many modern processors have simultaneous multithreading (called hyperthreading in Intel CPUs), allowing processors to take advantage of additional core performance for additional tasks. This is why you will often see a CPU listed with either four cores and eight threads or six cores and 12 threads.
These additional threads are not as fast as the cores themselves, effectively taking advantage of parts of the CPU that are underutilized, but they generally improve performance by a noticeable margin. Some programs can take advantage of more cores and threads than others, making the number of cores and threads on your CPU has a great indicator of potential performance.
Having more cores than you need doesn’t speed things beyond the limits of what the software can handle, and it can make your individual cores not as fast as those on chips with smaller numbers.
What to Look for in a CPU?
After considering the different types of processors, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the specifications and features that the various processors offer. Not all processors are the same! It is important to understand what specifications and features are important and how they relate to using a computer. Below is a discussion of what to focus on when purchasing a CPU.
Less than a decade ago, all processors came with a single core. Today, single-core processors are the exception rather than the rule. Multi-core processors have become more popular as their availability has become more and more common and software has been designed to use multi-core technology. From dual-core processors to eight-core processors, there are several options to choose from.
When deciding how many cores you need, you first need to understand what “multiple cores” means. When processors ran on a single core, that single-core was responsible for handling all the data sent to the processor. As more cores are built into a processor, those cores can divide the processor’s tasks. This makes the processor faster and more efficient.
However, it is important to remember that a processor can only perform as well as the existing software that runs it. If the software can only use three of the eight cores, then five cores will not be used. To maximize cost and usage, it is best to match system requirements with primary availability.
The cache memory of a processor is similar to the memory of a computer. A processor cache is a small amount of very fast memory that is used for temporary storage. This allows a computer to retrieve files that are in the processor’s cache very quickly. The larger a processor’s cache, the more files it can store for quick retrieval.
2. Socket compatibility
Socket compatibility is a primary concern when it comes to purchasing a processor. Socket compatibility allows the interface between a motherboard and its CPU. If a motherboard has already been purchased, make sure the installed processor is compatible with the socket on the motherboard. Alternatively, when building a computer around the processor, make sure the motherboard is compatible with the existing processor.
3. Integrated Graphics Processing Units (GPU)
Many of today’s processors have built-in graphics processing units, which are designed to perform graphics-related calculations. If a processor does not have an integrated GPU, the computer can still display graphics if there is a separate graphics card or if the motherboard offers integrated video. If the computer will be used for graphics-intensive software and programs, a CPU with an integrated GPU may not perform as needed.
The frequency of a CPU, measured in hertz (Hz), is the speed at which it operates. In the past, simply faster frequency equaled better performance. This is no longer necessarily the case. In some cases, a CPU running at a lower frequency may perform better than a processor running at a higher frequency due to the CPU infrastructure. It is important to observe the “instructions per clock” of a CPU in addition to the CPU frequency. While frequency is still a good indication of how fast a processor can run, it is no longer the only factor that affects the actual speed of a processor.
5. Thermal design power
Processors generate heat. The thermal design power specification assigned to a CPU explains how much heat the processor will put out. This will directly affect the type of cooling device required for a CPU. If the CPU does not come with a cooling device or if the provided cooling device is not used, a device must be installed that can cool the system sufficiently. Overheating is the main danger to computer components.
What are the Types of CPU?
The main are classified into single-core, dual-core, quad-core, Hexa-core, eight-core, and Deca-core processors. Here are the types of CPU which are explained below.
1. Single-core CPU
It is the oldest type of CPU available and used in most official and personal computers. A single-core CPU can execute only one command at a time and is not efficient at multitasking. If an operation starts, the second process must wait until the first one completes. But if it is fed with multiple operations, the performance of the computer is drastically reduced. The performance of a single-core CPU is based on its clock speed measured by its power.
2. Dual-core CPU
It is a single CPU that consists of two strong cores and works as a dual CPU that acts as one. Unlike the single-core CPU, the processor must alternate between a variable array of data streams, and if or more threads are running, the dual-core CPU handles multitasking efficiently. To use dual-core CPU effectively, running programs and the operating system must have unique code called simultaneous multi-threaded technology embedded in it. A dual-core CPU is faster than a single-core CPU.
3. Quad-core CPU
Quad-core CPU is a refined model of multi-core CPU features and design with four cores in a single CPU. The quad-core ones allow for efficient multitasking. It does not mean a single operation that is four times faster than others. Unless the applications and programs run on it by SMT code speed up and become unnoticeable. These types of CPUs are used by people who need to run multiple different programs at the same time as gamers, a supreme commander series that is optimized on multi-core CPUs.
4. Hexa Core processors
It is another multi-core processor that is available with six cores and can perform task that runs faster than quad and dual-core processors. For personal computer users, Hexacore processors are simple and now Intel is launching with Inter core i7 in 2010 with Hexa core processor.
5. Eight-core processors
The dual-core is built with two cores, four cores are built-in quad-core, Hexa comes with six cores where the octa processors are developed with eight independent cores to execute an effective task that is efficient and even acts faster than quad-core processors. The trending octa-core processors are made up of a dual set of quad-core processors that divides the different activities between the different types. If there is any emergency or requirement, all four quick sets of cores will be activated. Specifically, the octa-core is perfectly defined with a dual-code core and is tuned accordingly to provide effective performance.
6. Deca-core processor
The dual-core processor comprises two cores, 4 cores are available with four cores, six cores are available in hexacore processors. Deca-core is available with ten independent systems that are implemented to execute and manage the task that is successful than other processors that have been developed so far. Having a PC or any device made with a deca-core processor is the best option. It is faster than other processors and is very successful in multitasking.
Deca-core processors are trending with their advanced features. Most smartphones are now available with low-cost Deca core processors and never go out of date. Surely, most gadgets on the market are updated with new processors to give more useful purposes to people.
What is a Good CPU for Gaming?
How to choose the best CPU for gaming? Inexpensive six-core CPUs are also worth considering, especially if they are concurrently multi-threaded, like AMD’s low-end hexacore designs. If you are a gamer, you want at least a quad-core CPU which is the best CPU for gaming and preferably one with support for eight threads. There are benefits to going with a six-core CPU, and some games can be made moderately faster with eight cores. Beyond that, you will see very diminishing returns.
The eight-core Ryzen 7 5800X performs just as well as the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X in most games (and costs about half the price). If you are a video or audio editor, transcode video, or work with large databases, then the sky is almost the limit with the number of cores you can take advantage of, although as you move past eight cores, you won’t see big jumps. in performance.
Still, AMD’s 12- and 16-core Ryzen 5900X and 5950X CPUs are two of the best multi-threaded CPUs in the world, proving that the cores can help if you’re looking to get a lot of work done. There are even CPUs with up to 64 cores, but they are excessively expensive and only worth considering for professionals.