How to choose a PC processor

Only a few PC components can be compared with the central processor (CPU) in terms of importance. From the execution of routine tasks before launching demanding applications - it is the processor that performs the greatest part of the PC. Therefore, we will tell you how to choose the main processor for PC.

Quite often the process of choice enters into confusion due to the abundance of various terms. Kernels, streams, frequency and cache - all these indicators directly affect performance of the processor, but you need to have certain knowledge to deal with them. We hope that our guide will help to figure out which processor to choose for a game computer.

AMD Anti Intel

If we talk about desktop PCs and laptops, there are two main processor manufacturers in the market: AMD and Intel. It is worth noting that the Intel has not been competition many years ago, but now the situation has changed, and both companies are real industrial giants. Now it is not so important, the device of which brand you buy, provided that the processor is fully suitable for your needs.

Yes, there are cases under which we recommend products of one company compared to the other, but the difference is not so significant as before, and there are other, more important factors.

First of all, it is important to note that if you plan to collect the computer yourself, then you need to buy only components compatible with each other. For example, The Intel motherboard will not work with the AMD processor, and vice versa.

Yes, you can supply the intel solid-state drive in a PC with a motherboard from AMD, or a video card AMD in the PC from Intel, but if we talk about processors and maternal Boards, you need to buy only compatible devices.

Marking and generation of processors

You can say a lot about the processor if you know Which family and generation it belongs. AMD and Intel have different naming schemes (marking) of their processors, and it is very important to be able to decipher them. New processors are usually better, and then we will tell you how the ability to distinguish the CPU will make it possible to understand what is relevant, and what is not.

At the moment, all the latest AMD processors belong to the Ryzen 5000 line. As for marking, the first number indicates the generation (1 - the first generation, 2 - the second generation, etc., all generations four) and the second is at the processor level (3 is entry-level, 5 is mid-level, etc.) For example, the 5600X and 5800X are Ryzen 5000 series, but the 5800X is a faster and powerful processor in this generation.

Unfortunately, the numbers themselves mean little. Here, however, you can easily get confused, and you will probably think that the Ryzen 5000 belongs to the fifth generation, but no: AMD has only four generations, which is why the Ryzen 5000 belongs to the fourth.

The numbers themselves are not important. It is only important to know how they compare with each other. The Ryzen 5900X is a newer generation than the 3900X, and the 5800X and 5600X are the same generation, but the 5800X is faster and more powerful.

Intel's labeling scheme is similar, with the first number used for the generation and the second number for the processor level. Like AMD, Intel divides its processors into families (for example, Core i7 and Core i9). Knowing this, we can determine that the Intel 10900K is a 10th generation processor. The same rule applies here: the higher the generation and the family, the better.


However, if we talk about marking processors, everything is not so simple here. As in the case of AMD, Intel also sometimes deviates from the usual labeling scheme. For example, the 10400 and 10600K are 10th generation i5 series processors, however the 10400 is not as powerful as the 10600K.

Intel also adds a suffix to most of its processors that marks a certain functionality (or lack thereof):

  • E : Embedded option available
  • F: Processor without integrated video chip
  • G: Processor with discrete Intel Iris graphics
  • H: high performance integrated GPU
  • HK: mobile processor with high performance graphics and multiplier unlocked
  • HQ : mobile processor with high performance graphics
  • K : no protection against boost clock
  • S : energy efficient processor
  • T : high energy efficiency processor, low power consumption and lower frequencies
  • U : Ultra-low power processors consumption for ultrabooks
  • Y : ultra low power processors for ultrabooks

Fortunately, you do not need to know absolutely all the suffixes when buying a processor. It is only important to remember that F and K denote processors for PCs, HK and U for laptops.

Number of cores and threads

The labeling scheme is an important element, but you also need to be able to understand the cores and threads of processors. Kernels are like separate processors assembled together on a single chip. One core is capable of doing one task at a time, which means that more cores increase the multitasking of the processor.

Modern software is much better at taking advantage of using more cores to perform the same tasks at the same time, so more cores can speed up some programs.

Threads is the number of tasks that the processor is capable of executing at the same time. Many modern CPUs support simultaneous multithreading (called hyperthreading in Intel's case), which allows processors to use free cores to perform additional tasks.

This is why you will often see CPUs with four cores and eight threads or six cores and 12 threads. These additional threads do not affect the PC in the same way as the kernel, but they increase performance.

Some programs may use more cores and threads than others, making these items a good indicator of a device's potential performance. However, the presence of more cores than you need does not speed up the work of the software in excess of the specified limits.

  • If you are planning to simply work on the Internet, watch movies, TV shows and work with text, then you will be enough dual-core processor.
  • If you are a gamer, then be sure to consider the purchase of at least 97) of the quad-core processor(preferably with support for eight streams). There are advantages and in the use of a six-core processor, and some games are able to work on a complete coil only in combination with eight nuclei.

In addition, it is quite difficult to notice a real difference. For example, eight-year Ryzen 7,5800x works as well as the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950x in most games, but it is about twice as cheaper!

  • If you are a video or audio editor, or work with large amounts of data, then the number of nuclei is not limited (however, you will not notice Great jump in performance at 8 and more nuclei).

However, 12- and 16-nuclear AMD Ryzen 5900x and 5950x processors are the best multi-threaded processors on the market, and they are a vivid example of the fact that the amount The nuclei is important if you perform many tasks at the same time.

Frequency and IPC

clock frequency - One of the most important performance indicators of the processor. It is measured in megahertz (MHz) and Gigahertz (GHz), and determines the number of cycles performed by the processor in one second.

is usually the higher the clock frequency, the better. Take, for example, two processors of one generation with the same number of nuclei. If one of them has a higher clock frequency, it will work faster.

Given that a higher clock frequency means that the individual processor kernels work faster, it can increase the performance of the computer in certain applications. For example, 10-nuclear processor Intel i9-10900K in many tests comparable to 16-nuclear AMD Ryzen 9 5950x. Yes, 5950x is equipped with a large number of cores, but the kernel 10900k is faster, which is why the second manifests itself better in some programs.

Processors also have different indicators of tact instructions (IPC). This is the number of tasks that the CPU can perform for each clock cycle, and it directly depends on the basic architecture. We again take 5950x and 10900K as examples: 5950x uses AMD Zen 3 architecture, which has a higher IPC rating than the Intel of the 10th generation. Thus, when the 10th generation Intel kernels and AMD Zen 3 work at the same speed, AMD Zen 3 will be faster.

Yes, all this is quite difficult and confusing, but once again emphasizes the importance of testing specific processors. It is very important to see how two processors manifest themselves in comparison with each other!

We recommend using one universal rule: a processor with a higher clock frequency and a new architecture faster in almost everything, however, a modern processor with a large number of nuclei is better suited to perform high-performance tasks.

Integrated graphics

Many processors are also equipped with integrated graphic chips, thanks to What they can work independently of discrete video cards.

Most Intel processors are equipped with built-in graphics in one form or another (in addition to models with marking F, for example 9900KF). Usually, the video cards of this type are not powerful, but the integrated graphics of the initial level, such as the UHD 620, can give from 30 to 60 fps in old competition games (for example, CS: GO). When using such a processor, you should set low settings to avoid sidelines frame frequency.

Intel's Graphic chips of the 11th generation (present in the 10th generation ICE Lake processors) are included in the IRIS Plus configuration and really provide acceptable gaming performance.

In some tests, the graphics processor with 64 actuating devices built into the Core i7-1065G7 on the Dell XPS 13 laptop issued more than 43 frames per second in Game DOTA 2 at high detail settings in 1080p. In addition, the chip is also able to show good results in Fortnite in the resolution of 720p and 1080p. This is a huge step forward compared to what was with integrated Intel graphics processors in recent years.

However, in the case of the 12th generation Intel IRIS XE (first-generation Tiger Lake chips, we saw even more global improvement. When testing I7-1185G7, the graphic chip issued an average of 45 frames per second in Civilization VI and 51 frames per second in Battlefield V with a resolution of 1080p and medium settings. The device, however, could not cope with Fortnite, because only 34 frames per second with a resolution of 1080p and middle settings.

However, the Intel IRIS XE schedule remains the most attractive integrated graphical solution available today. Of course, built-in video cards are still very far from discrete, but it is a huge step forward compared to previous generations of graphic chips.

As for AMD, the company usually does not equip processors for desktop PC graphic chips. However, there are several APUs (processor with a video source), which are comparable to the Intel Graphics of the 11th generation and offer reasonable performance in the elementary level games and some cybersport Tistle.

All AMD mobile processors are equipped with built-in VEGA graphics, and in some configurations they are well suited for gemina. For example, RX VEGA 10 on a laptop with Ryzen 7 3700U issues a good frame rate in Diablo 3 and Half-Life 2.

How you could guess, it is important to read reviews and reviews for individual processors to understand how they show themselves in practice. There are many factors that affect gaming performance, but know that more graphic cores usually leads to higher performance.

Power and cooling

Performance - most important factor When buying not only the processor, but also any other component. In the end, there is no point in the update if you cannot perform the usual tasks with a new chip faster than the old one.

If you want to have a quiet, energy-efficient or compact PC, then important factors are power and temperature.

Unfortunately, neither AMD nor Intel provides clear information about the power consumed and temperature of their processors, and instead combines them in the form of a rating heat sink requirements (TDP - THERMAL DESIGN POWER).

This indicator is expressed in the form of power and gives an approximate view of how much energy processor will require the power supply and is capable of Cooler support the device in safe temperatures.

low-power processors on laptops consume from several W up to 45 W on the most powerful gaming machines, while desktop processors in some cases can consume up to 125 W (although the indicator varies from 65 to 95 W).

In some cases, TDP is an approximate guideline for determining the quality of the processor chip. More powerful processors receive a higher category due to the ability to produce additional power. However, it directly depends on the specific model and is not a guarantee of the best quality CPU. It is really important for overclocking.

Once again, first of all, you need to read the reviews of individual processors to see how much power and cooling they actually require.