CPU Purchase Guide

CPU Purchase Guide

AMD vs. Intel – Core War of CPUs

By the end of 2016, AMD failed continuously to compete against its rival chipmaker, Intel. But after the launch of its Ryzen/Threadripper line of CPUs, the red team has made a significant step to give tough competition to the blue team. With AMD’s Ryzen 5000 lineup and its remarkable CPUs, including the Ryzen 5 5600X specifically, AMD has surpassed Intel’s top CPUs by offering promising performance and efficiency in both moderate and stressed workloads by utilizing multiple cores at the same time.

In other words, both CPU makers are now capable of manufacturing some top-notch and high-end CPUs. Some PC users finalize their purchase decision based on irrational comparison and an honest approach to their favorite chip brand. Still, if you critically evaluate the overall offering of both brands, you will realize both CPU giants offer different perks and advantages.

Today, AMD chips offer more value for money compared to Intel. For instance, a practical in-box air-cooled system (except in top-of-the-line AMD Ryzen 7 and 9 Ryzen 5000 CPUs) and more core counts. The professionals specifically prefer AMD for multiple reasons, and the Ryzen 5 5600X processor surpasses most Intel chips when it comes to1080p graphics performance with stock configurations. AMD is also known for dealing with high-quality content production tasks like 4K video editing more efficiently. 

 

Important CPU aspects to consider before buying

 

If you read the specifications of any CPU, you’ll notice different numerical values in tabular form. Below are some significant features that you must check to make an informed decision.

 

Clock Frequency (Cycles per Second) – Calculated in GHz, clock frequency refers to the speed at which the processor performs multiple operations. All latest chips by AMD and Intel are capable of calibrating their clock frequency up or down depending upon the intensity of workload and their TDP, so you’ll find a base (minimum) clock speed and a turbo (maximum) speed in the specifications chart.

 

Core Count – Core count is simply counted as the number of processors within the processor. The latest CPUs offer multiple cores that range from 2 to 64, with most CPUs having only 4 to 8 cores. Each sub-processor or core is capable of dealing with a particular task. Buying a CPU with at least four cores is recommended to sustain average workloads.

 

Thread Count – Thread count is referred to the number of independent processes a CPU can handle at the time. In theory, it is the same approach as the multiple cores. However, each core can have multithreading features, which allow a single core to handle two threads or independent processes simultaneously. Intel advertises it as Hyper-Threading, and AMD calls it Simultaneous Multithreading. More threads simply mean the ability to offer multitasking which interns boost performance on applications having multiple independent processes such as 4K video editing applications.

 

TDP – The Thermal Design Power (TDP) is referred to the maximum amount of heat generated by a CPU at stock settings (normally measured as energy per unit time in watts). For example, if you have Intel Core i7-8700K with a TDP of 95 watts, you must ensure to use a fan or cooler that can sustain such temperatures. Your power supply must be able to provide enough output to feed your CPU along with other crucial hardware components, including high-end GPUs, RAM DIMMs, Storage drives, etc. Remember that your CPU can produce more heat on overclocked settings. Knowing your TDP makes it important to employ an efficient cooling system and a reliable PSU to complement your CPU performance.

 

Cache Memory – A CPU’s integrated memory is cache and boosts data transfer between the CPU and RAM. Below are three levels of cache memory in descending order of their speed and performance.

  • L1 Cache (Nearer to the CPU)
  • L2 Cache (Between L1 and L3 Cache)
  • L3 Cache (Nearer to the RAM)

IPC – IPC stands for “Instructions per Clock/Cycle.” To understand this idea, consider two processors with the same clock speed and threads count, but from different chipmakers or based on different hardware frameworks from the same chipmaker; they will reveal different levels of IPC. IPC primarily relies on the chipset’s architecture. It means CPU lineups from the latest generation show a significant performance improvement compared to their preceding generations.

IPC is most difficult to check as it is not written on the specs manual but manually measured using benchmark tests.

 

Clock Frequency vs. Core Counts vs. Thread Counts

The importance of clock frequency, core count, and thread count needed to be subjective as it entirely depends upon the nature of your use case. Higher clock speeds deliver quick responses and fewer application load times (though RAM and storage type or interface are equally important in complementing clock speed). It also ensures better single-threaded workloads. For instance, it can be fruitful in most graphics-intensive programs that need single-threaded support.

When it comes to modern software tools or some overwhelming workloads, you need a maximum number of cores and threads. If you perform many multitasking, high-resolution video editing tasks, or complex workloads, it is recommended not to settle for less than eight-core counts. For most overwhelming workloads and content production tasks, a clock speed ranging from 3.5GHz to 4GHz with four to eight cores can fulfill all the potential needs.

In other words, higher clock speeds prevent sluggish performance in moderate-level tasks. At the same time, the higher core count allows you to indulge in complex workloads efficiently.

 

Outro

By offering state-of-the-art chips like Core i7 8700k, Intel has changed the entire genetic makeup of the CPU domain. Intel Core i7 8700k (8th Generation of Intel’s CPU lineup) can handle overwhelming workloads with promising outcomes and performance. 

High-end CPUs fail to cast any magical spell. You need to choose the SATA or NVMe SSDs, the latest generations of RAM, and high-end GPUs. Since there’s no rationality in pairing a high-end CPU with a weak GPU, insufficient RAM, and mainstream storage drives like HDDs. 

If you want to acquire high-quality new or refurbished hardware products at market competitive and affordable prices, visit our comprehensive portfolio of IT hardware products at Hard Disk Direct.

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Rachel Morris