How to choose a processor for your computer

When choosing a processor for your computer, you should first determine the planned use of it in the future.

How to choose a processor for a computer: basic selection parameters

How to choose a processor for your computer

When choosing a processor, you need to pay attention to the following technical characteristics:

  1. Socket (especially important if the processor is changing, but the motherboard is not);

  2. Generation of processor;

  3. Power (energy consumption);

  4. Clock frequency;

  5. The number of cores and computational threads;

  6. Technical process;

  7. Thermal Power Dissipation (TDP);

  8. Built-in graphics accelerator.

Thus, when choosing a processor for a home computer during the upgrade, it is necessary to build on the characteristics of the motherboard, power supply and peripheral hardware.



A socket is a socket where a processor is installed. It is he who determines whether it is possible to mount the desired chip in the existing motherboard, or whether you will have to buy a new one.

Since this is the most important parameter, then the search for a new processor should be started by determining which socket is installed on the motherboard. This can be done by disassembling the system unit or using a program like AIDA64.

If you plan to replace the motherboard as well, you can select the desired socket in advance. Today, the most common are:

  1. Intel LG A1150 is a simple configuration for office and home PCs. Supports low-performance processors with integrated graphics;

  2. Intel LG A1151 – a more recent configuration for all the same PCs, only with slightly higher performance. Almost all modern Core series processors are released on this socket;

  3. Intel LG A2011-v3 is the most powerful configuration. Suitable for a gaming computer or just a 'top' system. Differs in high cost – both motherboards and processors;

  4. AMD AM1 is a very low-power, but energy-efficient platform. For office PCs, laptops, etc .;

  5. AMD FM2 / FM2 + is another low-power and inexpensive platform. Designed for use with AMD processors that do not have an integrated graphics accelerator;

  6. AMD FM3 + – almost all AMD processors are manufactured for this socket.

Processor generation

Processor generation

Everything is very simple here: the higher, the newer the processor generation, the better. It determines not only the performance of the chip, but also its power consumption, the degree of heating and a number of other parameters.

Current processor generations Intel:

  1. Haswell (fourth);

  2. Broadwell (fifth);

  3. Skylake (sixth);

  4. Kabu Lake (seventh).

Current generations of AMD processors:

  1. Richland;

  2. Vishera;

  3. Kaveri.

Power (power consumption) processor

The performance of the processor directly depends on its power. But, at the same time, the higher the power consumption of the chip, the more it heats up. So, for the most powerful gaming processors, the performance of a classic cooling system is usually not enough, a liquid one is used.

If you do not plan to change the computer's power supply, you need to select a processor whose power consumption in W either corresponds to the power of the old one, or simply fits into the performance of the power supply.

It is worth remembering that the most powerful processors can consume up to 200 watts of electricity.

Clock frequency

This parameter determines the peak performance of the processor. However, these numbers are often very approximate and indirect. So, old processors with a clock frequency of 3.5 GHz have significantly lower performance than new ones with the same.

In addition, the 'Clock Speed' parameter most often indicates the overall performance of the processor. However, chips of the Intel Core series can operate in Hyper-Threading mode, in which the computation speed increases by about 1.5 times. And when overheating, throttling is observed – a drop in the clock frequency.

However, buying processors with a clock speed of less than 2.0 GHz is not justified. And for desktop systems, especially gaming, this parameter should be more than 2.7 GHz.

Number of Cores

Number of processor cores

The number of cores is also very important for processor performance. However, it determines how many tasks the chip can simultaneously perform, rather than how quickly it will cope with them.

However, in this case, the more cores, the better. The restrictions on their number, if any, are insignificant. But the standard for a home or gaming PC is 4 cores. Thanks to modern technology, they can be extrapolated – up to 8 computational threads – to further increase the computer's performance.

10-core processors like the top-end Intel Core i9 in home or gaming computers are not particularly needed, as they provide only a slight increase in comparison with modern 4-core Intel Core i7.

Technical process

The technical process determines the degree of heating of the processor. And the smaller it is, the better. For example, modern Intel Core Kabu Lake processors are manufactured using a 14nm process technology and therefore heat up less than 22nm Haswells.

Thus, the 'fresher' the processor, the smaller its technical process and the weaker it heats up.

Thermal Power Dissipation (TDP)

This parameter determines how well the processor is adapted to dissipate heat. The smaller this parameter, the better. However, you can ignore this parameter.

Unless processors with a high TDP (over 65 W) are recommended to be equipped with a more powerful cooling system than the stock one.

Built-in graphics accelerator

Built-in graphics accelerator

The built-in graphics accelerator determines whether the computer can run without a discrete graphics card. If you plan to use a PC for web surfing or as a 'typewriter', then a separate 'video' is simply not needed, it will be sufficiently integrated into the processor.

A discrete graphics card is required for gaming, 3D rendering, working with video files, image editing and similar purposes. In this case, a processor with an integrated graphics accelerator is not needed. But a video card built into the chip will not hurt – the operating system will itself determine what to 'draw' through.

Thus, the presence or absence of a graphics accelerator in the processor is nothing more than a matter of personal preference.


In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose the right computer mouse, the secrets of choosing a monitor for your computer, a complete guide to choosing a surge protector for your computer and the main criteria for choosing a computer power supply.

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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