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How to Buy the Right CPU

Whether you’re building or upgrading a new PC, the CPU matters a lot (and the chip you choose will also dictate your motherboard purchase). Here is a guide.


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  1. You totally leave out one important feature:
    The integrated graphics!
    That's a part that can be decisive for what CPU to buy...
  2. If your going for high end cpu the last thing I'd care about is onboard graphic
  3. The article's subject is "How to Buy the Right CPU" not "How to Buy a high end CPU"
  4. ervit said:
    The article's subject is "How to Buy the Right CPU" not "How to Buy a high end CPU"


    I stand correct. But I still stand with if I am buying the right cpu I still wouldnt be concerned about the onboard graphics.
  5. Olle P said:
    You totally leave out one important feature:
    The integrated graphics!
    That's a part that can be decisive for what CPU to buy...


    It's implied in the article for the low-end models:

    Quote:
    Basic tasks: $50-$100 range. If you’re only after a chip that will let you watch video, browse the Web, and do basic productivity tasks like word processing and light spreadsheet work, then an entry-level chip with two or four cores might be just what you need. But if you often find yourself doing more than one of those basic tasks at once, it would be better to step up a model or two. Consider a Ryzen 3 or Intel Pentium on the high end of this price range and an Intel Celeron or AMD Athlon on the low end.


    Except for possibly stating that the Ryzen option should be the Ryzen APU, it's pretty much spot-on, as all of the other suggested processors have iGPUs. And even then, since the R3 2200G is right in that price range (currently running $80 USD at my local Micro Center), you're good from that perspective.
  6. Note that low end CPU's have integrated graphics too...
  7. Olle P said:
    You totally leave out one important feature:
    The integrated graphics!
    That's a part that can be decisive for what CPU to buy...


    Anonymous said:
    If your going for high end cpu the last thing I'd care about is onboard graphic


    I build 3 to 5 systems every year for friends and family. In my experience, just having a CPU with integrated graphics can be a big help when the need arises to troubleshoot a system that is intended to use only discrete graphics.
  8. I thought the article is a good tool for those just getting into designing and building their own PC. People need to understand the target audience of the article.
  9. You know what would actually be useful data for determining "How to buy a CPU?"
    How trustworthy is your brand in 5 years after release? How far back has your vendor patched out spectre/meltdown in bios updates?

    If you're running a perfectly capable Ivybridge/Sandybridge CPU (even alot of the Xeons in this generation are still the most powerful around) but your mobo manufacturer didn't submit a bios update for Spectre/Meltdown, you can never trust the system.
  10. TDP stands for thermal design power
  11. pcpartpicker.com ... end of article.
  12. @fait that's horrible advice. They are as bad or worse than subreddits. "oh your doing video editing and playing league? You just need a celeron, a 1080ti and 8 gigs of ram. Oh and you'll need a big hdd, so get like a really cheap 5400 rpm, so you can get more storage for cheaper."
  13. BulkZerker said:
    @fait that's horrible advice. They are as bad or worse than subreddits. "oh your doing video editing and playing league? You just need a celeron, a 1080ti and 8 gigs of ram. Oh and you'll need a big hdd, so get like a really cheap 5400 rpm, so you can get more storage for cheaper."



    Agree about the subreddits...

    As of last week I had someone saying the AMD FX 6300 wouldn't hold back a GTX 1070 Ti. I refuted that claim, and the downvote patrol come strolling through.
  14. Buy Ryzen, problem solved.
  15. redgarl said:
    Buy Ryzen, problem solved.


    Or.... and this is just an idea, figure out your budget and compare the CPUs and platforms as a whole to make the proper decision. Buying just one all the time is the worst way to go. Then again there are those that are just die hard fanboys and regardless of performance will buy one brand.

    Whatever floats their boat.
  16. Did you mean to double enter Z370 in the chipset stack? I'm thinking Z390 on top. In any case, delete this after you check.
  17. LORD_ORION:

    "If you're running a perfectly capable Ivybridge/Sandybridge CPU (even alot of the Xeons in this generation are still the most powerful around) but your mobo manufacturer didn't submit a bios update for Spectre/Meltdown, you can never trust the system."

    Absolutely. I am surprised at how few comments I see around here reference this problem. Personally I am holding off on updating a previously planned computer upgrade until I see a new generation of CPUs that are not vulnerable to Meltdown/Spectre.
  18. Wrong question. What is the best platform? Which suitable cpu comes next.
  19. This completely ignores a huge question: Why would you buy ANY CPU right now, when they're still vulnerable to Spectre/Meltdown and must be crippled with software workarounds?

    That should have at least been addressed when talking about socket compatibility. It looks like AMD is the better bet for being able to replace current flawed CPUs with upcoming ones that have a hardware fix for these exploits. With Intel, on the other hand, you appear to be throwing money away.
  20. "TDP stands for thermal design power"

    No, it doesn't. It stands for total dissipated power.
  21. DGurney said:
    This completely ignores a huge question: Why would you buy ANY CPU right now, when they're still vulnerable to Spectre/Meltdown and must be crippled with software workarounds?

    That should have at least been addressed when talking about socket compatibility. It looks like AMD is the better bet for being able to replace current flawed CPUs with upcoming ones that have a hardware fix for these exploits. With Intel, on the other hand, you appear to be throwing money away.
  22. Which is why I am waiting.
  23. Intel HEDT CPUs have thousands that are generation number + 1.

    E.g. for mainstream, CPUs ranging from 7100 to 7700 were 7th generation, but for HEDT, 7800 and 7900 series were only 6th generation.

    This is due to the larger chips invariably coming well after the mainstream parts. Using the previous generation numbering (as would be logical) would make the high-price parts seem old - especially once the next mainstream generation comes along.
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_design_power

    @Dgurney...before you correct someone, actually check your facts.
  25. I totally agree with those above who correctly bring up the total void response so far from both AMD and Intel with new designed chips. As I understand it, the chip flaws were discovered and reported the chip makers almost a year before "we" got told, bringing us to almost 2 years (or more) in time. Why aren't we seeing new "fixed" chips already. Wouldn't a imbedded fix to the current chips fix these problems?
  26. Designing and bringing a new CPU to production is a long, multi-year, process and you can only make minor tweaks at the end - if you're not willing to push the release back significantly.
  27. How can you write this article without mentioning Meltdown & Spectre?!?
  28. ds_tomshrdwr said:
    How can you write this article without mentioning Meltdown & Spectre?!?


    Here you go..5/21/18..https://www.amd.com/en/corporate/security-updates

    Spectre Variant 4 Disclosed, Mitigations to Result in Another Performance Hit
    Another variant of Spectre was disclosed this week by Microsoft, Google, AMD, ARM, Intel, and Red Hat. Variant 4, labeled "Speculative Store Bypass," allows hackers to read older system values in a CPU stack or other memory locations. Intel’s microcode fixes will result in a performance hit of 2-8%, and the company’s hardware-based safeguard, "virtual fences," will not protect against Variant 4 at all.

    Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, said that Variant 4 would be much harder to "fix" architecturally than V1, V2, or V3a. "You either have to turn memory disambiguation on or off, which will be a BIOS setting," he told Threatpost in an email. "It’s important to note that browsers have already included mitigations and that from a severity standpoint, has been flagged as ‘medium’ severity, compared to V1, V2, and V3, which were flagged as ‘high.'"

    4/10/18 (Updated 5/8/18 to reflect Microsoft release of Windows Server 2016)

    Today, AMD is providing updates regarding our recommended mitigations for Google Project Zero (GPZ) Variant 2 (Spectre) for Microsoft Windows users. These mitigations require a combination of processor microcode updates from our OEM and motherboard partners, as well as running the current and fully up-to-date version of Windows. For Linux users, AMD recommended mitigations for GPZ Variant 2 were made available to our Linux partners and have been released to distribution earlier this year.

    As a reminder, GPZ Variant 1 (Spectre) mitigation is provided through operating system updates that were made available previously by AMD ecosystem partners. GPZ
  29. Not a great article. For example, for gaming, I'd say that once you decide on a budget, you should typically get the best GPU you can even if you skim on other stuff. That's not 100% true, but I think it's a much better advice than what's given here. For example, you'd do better getting a $200 GPU with a $60 CPU and $40 HDD than if you get a $100 GPU with a $100 CPU and $100 SSD.

    I'd say that the advice should go something like this:

    Basic work: Get the lowest cost Pentium Gold. It's good enough for most tasks. Getting an SSD will make the PC more enjoyable to use.

    Gaming: For basic gaming a Ryzen 3 2200G is the most cost effective. If you need more than what its integrated graphics can provide, get the GPU which is enough for your needs before considering the CPU. $100-$150 CPUs can be perfectly perfectly adequate for gaming.

    Content creation: More cores are typically more important than higher single core speed. The sky is the limit.

    Overclocking: If you want to overclock, what are you doing looking at an article for noobs?
  30. I plan to buy Ryzen 5 1600 will it pair well With a GTX 1060 (6GB)????
  31. darrenpatraotech10 said:
    I plan to buy Ryzen 5 1600 will it pair well With a GTX 1060 (6GB)????
    That's what I use, and it works well.
    If I were to buy today I'd rather go for the Ryzen 5 2600X instead though, and not bother to overclock it, but if the older CPU is considerably lower priced I see no reason for you to not buy it.
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