What You Need to Look at When Buying a CPU

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Type: article
Parent page: CPUs
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Technological advances in recent years have seen modern-day computer users enjoy the luxury of having some of the most powerful computers with the latest technologies at play. It’s an exciting time to be a PC user, especially if you are into PC gaming.

Whether you are wishing to purchase a new PC or improve an existing one, the specifications of the CPU matters a lot. Here are some vital factors to consider when looking at the spec sheet for a given CPU.

  • Clock Seed: The clock speed of any given CPU is measured in gigahertz (GHz). This defines the rate at which the CPU operates; higher GHz means faster operations. Modern CPUs have gone a notch higher, as they can clock their speeds up or down, depending on the nature of operations
  • Cores: The cores are essentially sub-processors within the processor. Most computers in the market have between two and 18 cores. Each core handles a single task, meaning that more cores improve your ability to multitask
  • Threads: This refers to the number of processes a chip can comfortably handle at any given time. Theoretically, this might sound like the number of cores, only that some cores exhibit multithreading abilities. Multithreading is also known as ‘hyper-threading’ or ‘simultaneous multithreading’ depending on the manufacturer. More threads mean enhanced performance or superior multi-tasking abilities
  • Cache: This an extra memory space, used to speed up data access processes between the CPU and the RAM. If the data needed by the CPU is not in the cache, it fetches it from the RAM, which is relatively slower
  • Thermal Design Profile: Also known as the TDP, this is the maximum amount of heat measured in watts emitted by a chip. It is worth noting that high TDP values often coincide with more speed, though not always

Which feature do you need more than the other? This is always a matter of personal preference, and it depends on your computing needs.