How to choose a processor

Not only computer performance depends on the processor, but also the functionality of peripheral equipment (such as video cards).

How to choose a processor: what to look for

How to choose a processor

When choosing a processor for a computer (home, gaming, office, etc.) it is advisable to pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. Socket (type of socket in which the processor is installed);

  2. Processor generation;

  3. Clock frequency and number of cores;

  4. Type of equipment (BOX or OEM);

  5. Power Consumption (defined through TDP);

  6. Integrated graphics card.

However, when it comes to buying a processor not for games, but for home or office computer, you can take into account only the first option – and purchase the cheapest model.



This is the most important parameter that determines compatibility. processor and motherboard. A socket type is a type of connector in which chip is installed. No cross-compatibility (except some models from AMD), therefore, in some cases, if want to switch to a fresh “chip”, you have to change the motherboard fee.

For 2017, two sockets are most relevant:

  1. Intel LGA1151 – a socket that is used in Intel processors Skylake and Kabu Lake (sixth and seventh generations released in 2016 and 2017, respectively);

  2. AMD AM4 – current socket for AMD Ryzen series processors 7.

Deprecated but still relevant sockets:

  1. Intel LGA1150 – a socket that is used in Intel processors to the Skylake generation (from Ivy Bridge to Broadwell, i.e. from the first until the fifth). Now chips on it are no longer available, but some an old computer can be upgraded for compatibility with some modern games;

  2. AMD AM3 and AM3 + are cross-compatible sockets on which AMD Athlon II processors were released. Like Intel’s New Chips companies are for AM4, but an old computer can also upgrade.

Consider processors on even older sockets for a gaming computer is pointless.

Processor generation


A lot of parameters depend on the processor generation – how performance, and power, and the level of heating, and compatibility with current components, and implementation modern technology, and much more. Therefore, this parameter also need to consider when choosing a chip.

Leading processor manufacturers update their chip line annually. In 2017, the current generation from Intel – Kabu Lake (it’s seventh), AMD has Zen (it’s sixteenth).

Obviously, when buying a processor, it is better to purchase a chip the last generation – unless, of course, it is compatible with the socket available motherboard. So, Intel Core i5 Skylake series and Kabu Lake cost about the same, but the latter is 15-20% percent more productive – because more “fresh”.

Clock frequency and number of cores

number of processor cores

A parameter such as “clock frequency” in most modern processors and configurations has a very indirect value. High-performance chips may not have too much high rate (about 2.5 GHz), however, work very quickly. At the same time, budget processors for the same 2.5 GHz with a similar number of cores can simply be “weak.”

When choosing a processor for games, it’s worth remembering that most modern projects are designed to run on quad configurations. Given that you need to ensure compatibility with powerful graphics card, it is advisable to purchase Intel Core i7 the last (or penultimate) generation – or AMD Ryzen 7 from Zen series.

More important is a parameter called the number of computational threads. “It depends on the number of cores. So, Intel series processors Core i5 last and penultimate generations have 4 cores and 4 computational flow, which is clearly not enough for modern games. At the same time, i7 with all the same 4 cores have 8 computing streams, making them suitable for games.

However, all of the above is true when choosing a configuration for a gaming computer. For office “typewriter” suitable absolutely any chip, regardless of the number of cores, frequency and number of threads.

Package Contents (BOX or OEM)

Processors, especially Intel, come in two complete sets:

  1. BOX – in a beautiful package, with a bunch of documentation, complete cooler and three-year warranty;

  2. OEM – in a plastic envelope, without documentation and cooler, with one year warranty.

BOX equipment always costs more – understandably reasons. However, you do not need to overpay for it. Firstly, extended warranty is a myth, as the processor did not break in the first year of use, it will work all three or five. Secondly, a complete cooler does not always provide the same cooling as its often even cheaper competitors.

Power Consumption (via TDP)


The power consumption of modern processors is advisable defines through TDP. This parameter allows you to choose not only power supply, but also a cooling system for the chip.

Obviously, the power of the computer’s power supply must be enough to pull both the processor, and the video card, and other components. Therefore, if it is not planned to change it, it is worth choosing a chip whose power corresponds to the power existing. Given that the process technology of processors is constantly decreases, modern models with the same consumption provide great performance.

The more energy a chip consumes, the more productive it is. But heats up more. Therefore, it depends on energy consumption what kind of cooler does the processor need:

  1. Consumption up to 60 watts – any cooler is suitable, both boxed and one that was already on the computer;

  2. Consumption of about 95 watts – a new fan is required. High-quality, but not complete;

  3. Consumption 125 W or more – a powerful system is required cooling: radiator with several powerful heat pipes (thick copper tubes), a full-fledged tower cooler, perhaps even fluid system.

As a result, if you do not plan to install a powerful cooler, it’s better to do with a less efficient processor.

Integrated graphics card

An integrated graphics card allows the computer work without discrete. Therefore, such chips are an ideal solution for laptop, for example, because they provide an optimal “picture” and do not require additional food costs.

But the use of an integrated graphics card in desktop processors – the decision is quite controversial. She is practically useless for games – on such a graphics accelerator what are the oldest projects.

However, it cannot be called absolutely unnecessary either. An integrated graphics card will ensure the availability of the computer, even if discrete for one reason or another breaks.

AMD or Intel

AMD or Intel

Today, processors for computers are released by two companies – AMD and Intel. They differ in both positioning and capabilities. their chips.

So Intel processors are the perfect solution if required the most powerful (top) configuration right now. Nevertheless, they constantly change the socket, so upgrade it to the last a generation of chips in a few years will fail.

AMD processors are cheaper and less productive. But this the company supports sockets longer, thanks to which it opens upgrade options, and allows you to overclock your chips (increase their clock frequency yourself).


In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose a cooler for the processor and secrets of choosing an Intel processor.

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

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