When you’re in the market for a new computer, whether you build it yourself or purchase it pre-built, you must select the finest CPU for your budget. All of the complicated and confusing CPU specs and terminologies complicate the challenge of selecting a processor.
However, if you have a basic understanding of the most popular CPU specifications, you will be able to select the finest processor for your system.
In this post, I’ll go through seven key CPU specs and terminology. When selecting a processor, it is critical to comprehend and be familiar with each word.These aren’t all of the processor-related terms, but they’ll help you make the best selection possible.
Multi-core technology is maybe the most significant breakthrough in processor history.Because the rule of thumb with technology is that it gets packed into smaller and smaller containers as time passes, it was fair to anticipate that multi-core technology will exist at some point. However, this does not diminish the possibilities it brings to the table.
What exactly is multi-core technology? To comprehend it, you must first recognize that a single microprocessor can only perform one job or computation at a time.
The ability to place several microprocessors (referred to as cores) on a single processing chip is referred to as multi-core technology.
As a result, a multi-core CPU can accomplish two things at once rather than only one thing at a time. This greatly improves the performance of a CPU.
As processing technology improves, the two major CPU manufacturers (Intel and AMD) release new CPU series on a regular basis.With each series, we see a newer and better architecture capable of delivering more performance.
Intel and AMD are frequently working on numerous CPU series at the same time.
Along with different CPU series, there are also several sockets. The CPU socket is the location on the motherboard where the processor will be placed.
Some CPU series can share the same socket. Intel’s Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs, for example, both use the LGA 1151 socket.
Some CPU series, on the other hand, employ new sockets when they are updated to newer architecture. For example, Intel’s Core processors have used a variety of sockets, including LGA 775, LGA 1156, LGA 1155, LGA 1150, and, most recently, LGA 1151.
It is critical to match your CPU with a motherboard that has the right socket. If you receive a motherboard with a socket that is incompatible with your CPU, you will have to return one or both since they will not operate together. So, the key thing to grasp about CPU series and socket types is that you should look for a processor/motherboard combo that not only has suitable sockets but also includes the most up-to-date series and architecture that is cheap.
You should be aware of the numerous motherboard chipsets that are available for the socket of your CPU, just as you should be aware of what socket the CPU you are contemplating is compatible with.
AMD’s latest Ryzen CPUs, for example, use the AM4 socket. There are, however, a few distinct types of AM4 motherboards.
The X370 and X470 chipset AM4 motherboards are available, as are the B350 chipset AM4 motherboards. The “X” chipset AM4 motherboards are more “heavy-duty,” offer more features/ports, and are aimed for those who wish to undertake severe CPU overclocking.
The B350 AM4 motherboards, on the other hand, have fewer features but cost far less.
So, choosing the proper chipset for your CPU is heavily influenced by what you want from your system. If you wish to overclock, for example, you need to buy a CPU that can be overclocked as well as a motherboard chipset that supports overclocking.
It makes no sense to match an overclockable CPU with a motherboard chipset that does not support overclocking. On the other hand, if you don’t want to overclock, you can purchase a locked CPU (which implies it can’t be overclocked) and combine it with a less expensive motherboard that isn’t designed for overclocking.
Frequency (Clock Rate)
CPU operating frequency, or clock rate (measured in hertz), is a bit of a misnomer among first-time builders. Many first-time builders believe that the operating frequency is the be-all and end-all of assessing the worth of a CPU. This, however, could not be further from the truth.
A processor’s operating frequency is how quickly it can perform a single cycle of work. The greater the frequency, the faster a single cycle of work may be completed.
A greater operating frequency, on the other hand, does not imply improved performance. This is due to the fact that CPUs can only handle a certain amount of instructions each clock cycle (Instructions Per Clock, or IPC).
However, if you can get that identical CPU to run at 5.0 GHz or greater, the performance gap between it and the 3.7 GHz will narrow significantly. This is why overclocking is so popular among aficionados of high performance.
We’ve already discussed the significance of cores and how they help the CPU multitask. Another Intel-exclusive technology that helps processors to be more efficient in certain CPU-intensive workloads is hyperthreading.
Hyperthreading essentially allows the CPU to work on two distinct threads (sequences of instructions for the CPU to execute) at the same time. Unlike core technology, hyperthreading does not allow the microprocessor to do several tasks at the same time. Instead, it enables the processor to operate on two separate tasks at the same time.
Consider working on an assembly line at a toy manufacturer to better comprehend this. You must attach the headpiece to the body of an action figure on your production line. Every three minutes, the conveyor belt spits out a new headless action figure, and installing the head takes roughly ten seconds.
That leaves you with roughly 2 minutes and 50 seconds to do nothing but wait for the next headless action figure to come down the belt. If the toy company was wise, they would have you work on another assembly line (which would be added behind you and you would stand in between the two assembly lines).
The conveyor belt on this manufacturing line would create a toy doll every three minutes, and your job would be to affix the doll’s arms. If the second assembly line was staggered such that it produced a toy doll one minute and 30 seconds after each headless action figure, you would be able to efficiently work both assembly lines without interruption.
In some ways, this is how hyperthreading works. It does not allow your CPU to do several jobs at the same time, but it does delegate duties more effectively, to the point where it can provide a minor speed boost in some circumstances.
There are three distinct forms of computer storage. Your hard disc or solid-state drive is the first type of storage. Both of these alternatives provide huge permanent storage areas, but they are not as easily accessible as the next two storage kinds.
Memory, or RAM, is the second type of storage. Random Access Memory (RAM) does not provide as much storage space as a hard drive or solid-state drive, and the information stored in RAM is only temporary, but the data and information stored in RAM is not only highly relevant to what you are doing on your computer at the time of use, but it can also, be retrieved much more quickly than data stored on a hard drive or solid state drive.
Finally, a cache is present. A cache is the processor’s onboard memory. It’s similar to RAM, but because it’s right on your CPU, it provides much faster access. While it only has a little amount of storage capacity compared to RAM and hard drives, it is incredibly quick and is used for the most critical data related to the tasks you are performing on your computer.
Thermal Design Power
TDP, or Thermal Design Power, is a watt-based measurement of the average maximum power a CPU can waste while executing software. Essentially, it is a measure of the quality of cooling the system required to maintain your CPU at an acceptable temperature.
The lower a processor’s TDP, the less cooling it will require to function at tolerable temperatures. The greater the TDP of a CPU, the more cooling is required.