If you’re into your tech, you might love the process of buying a new piece of kit. You know your RAMs from your HDDs, your SSDs from your CPUs and can hook it all into your WiFi DIY-style with no need for a G&T at 10 o’clock in the morning.
But if you’re slightly less well-versed in the intricacies of IT and all the confusing acronyms that abound, you might struggle to know what’s best for you. Firstly, that’s why you should always employ the services of a company you trust to give you the right advice. You don’t want to be sold a machine capable of powering a rocket into orbit if all you want to do is send a few emails, shop online and play solitaire with it.
That’s why you should get to grips (at least a little bit) with what powers a computer so you know what you need and what you get. This is known as the Central Processing Unit, or CPU.
The CPU is responsible for the speed of the computer’s function when it executes the demands you place on it. For example, it determines how quickly a system will make a change you make within it. It will ensure you watch the video you click ‘play’ on. It will tell the graphics card to show the explosion that you just caused in the game you are playing.
Larger, more complex systems/games/programs require much more power because there is more going on behind the scenes so your computer needs to do more things to execute the commands in full. This is where the type of processor you have becomes important.
There are two factors which govern just how capable your CPU is – how many cores it has and its clock speed. The higher the number of cores, the more your computer can do at once without compromising its speed. The clock speed is to do with how many operations a processor can complete per second, measured in gigahertz (GHz) – the higher the number, the quicker the processor will be.
So as with all computer components, there is a huge number of different CPUs available, made my different manufacturers. Perhaps the most well-known are those made by Intel with lesser well-known manufacturers being companies such as AMD.
About AMD processors
AMD have typically always produced affordable CPUs which were lagging behind Intel ones until the release of their Ryzen CPU in 2017. The AMD Ryzen processors have different versatility across a range of price points to make them accessible to more people. They go from the Ryzen 3 which would be a more entry level, affordable CPU, right up to the Threadripper which have a huge number of cores and is completely top-of-the-line and is probably only required for a high-end workstation that needs a lot of power. All the AMD Ryzen processors in the range feature what is known as multithreading – which basically means each core can handle two tasks at a time to improve their multitasking abilities.
A Ryzen 5 is mid-range and is perfect for most computers that will be doing some level of gaming consistently. Here’s our favourite machine with AMD Ryzen 5 processor.
About Intel Processors
Intel have been famous for different versions of their processors with Celeron and Pentium being household names. However, the Core range has taken over and it is these which grace most machines today. The variants range from the Core i3 right up to Core i9 but the intricacies don’t end there. Within each bracket, there is a whole load of other numbers and letters which have meanings too!
Intel’s Core processors don’t have their equivalent to AMD’s multithreading, hyperthreading, until you get all the way up to the Core i9 level. However, when the Core i10 generation is released, all of them will include hyperthreading. That’s not to say Intel processors aren’t sufficiently powerful though – quite the opposite. A Core i7 will deliver a huge amount of capability, usually beyond what most average users would require. This is one of our favourite machines with a Core i7 processor.
Intel benefits from being compatible with more motherboards on the market and they also tend to use less power meaning they are great in laptops where battery life is a concern.
What’s the verdict?
There is certainly no firm right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing either the manufacturer or the capability of your CPU. All you need to do is ensure you get the right one for your needs and budget. So if you still want to ask a few questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch and one of the experts at HST will be happy to help.