What is a cen­tral pro­cess­ing unit (CPU)? This is an inte­grat­ed cir­cuit, one of the main com­po­nents of com­put­er hard­ware. If you need to build a PC for home, work or play, you can’t do with­out a CPU. But how to choose the right proces­sor? We col­lect­ed all the rec­om­men­da­tions in one arti­cle.

A small proces­sor is an impor­tant part of a per­son­al com­put­er. Pho­to: pixabay.com

How to choose a proces­sor
Proces­sor man­u­fac­tur­ers
Hybrid proces­sors
Heat dis­si­pa­tion
What is a sock­et
Proces­sor cores
CPU fre­quen­cy
Selec­tion of proces­sors by pur­pose
For office and home use
For a bud­get gam­ing PC
For mid-range gam­ing PC
For top gam­ing PC
For pow­er­ful pro­fes­sion­al PC
FAQ — answers to pop­u­lar ques­tions

How to choose a processor

Best buy for your needs. It is not enough just to choose the most expen­sive or the cheap­est. In the first case, the pur­chase may be an unjus­ti­fied waste of the bud­get. And in the sec­ond, the pow­er may not be enough to com­plete tasks — for exam­ple, to launch an edi­tor for video edit­ing.

What does the proces­sor do? This is the main com­put­ing ele­ment, the “brain” of the com­put­er — there­fore, it affects every­thing (per­for­mance, speed, launch­ing pro­grams and games).

What is the pur­pose of the proces­sor? He is respon­si­ble for per­form­ing oper­a­tions with data, con­trols periph­er­al devices.

The proces­sor is respon­si­ble for the oper­a­tion of the entire com­put­er. Pho­to: pixabay.com

Before buy­ing you need:

  • decide what a com­put­er is for. For exam­ple: just work­ing with files and watch­ing movies, work­ing with graph­ics, run­ning games. This depends on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the device. This will affect the para­me­ters of the mod­el and the price;
  • decide on a price range. The range of prices for mod­els is from 2,000 to 500,000 rubles;
  • choose a man­u­fac­tur­er (Intel or AMD);
  • select a line. For exam­ple: Core i3/i5/i7, Ryzen 5/7;
  • deter­mine the num­ber of cores, clock speed.

Processor manufacturers

There are two major man­u­fac­tur­ers. These are Intel and AMD. Both com­pa­nies offer mod­els for dif­fer­ent builds: bud­get, mid-range, flag­ship.

Intel processors

There are two lines of low-bud­get options: Celeron and Pen­tium. They are used for weak assem­blies. On such a PC, you can open doc­u­ments, view pho­tos, work in a brows­er. Pho­to and video edi­tors, pro­grams for test­ing appli­ca­tions (Pho­to­shop, Android Stu­dio) can­not be launched.

Core proces­sors are more pow­er­ful coun­ter­parts. They work in mul­ti­task­ing mode. They are installed not only on home, but also office, gam­ing com­put­ers. The Core CPU has its own gra­da­tion:

  • Core i3 — afford­able mod­els that are suit­able for entry-lev­el mul­ti­me­dia com­put­ers. Com­put­ers with these CPUs are great for sim­ple day-to-day tasks. For exam­ple: launch­ing a brows­er, open­ing a text doc­u­ment, work­ing with sim­ple graph­ic edi­tors (Paint). On such a proces­sor, mod­ern games (for exam­ple, Cyber­punk) will not run.
  • Core i5 is an option for build­ing a sim­ple gam­ing PC. Pro­duc­tive, suit­able for assem­bling a good com­put­er in the mid­dle price cat­e­go­ry.
  • Core i7 and Core i9 are CPUs for more demand­ing gamers, for those involved in video edit­ing, pho­to retouch­ing, and design. A com­put­er with such a proces­sor will cope with pro­fes­sion­al graph­ics and video edi­tors.
An exam­ple of an Intel proces­sor. Pho­to: checheninfo.ru

New Year’s gift 2021 for the most demand­ing users — the 12th gen­er­a­tion Core i9. It is a plat­form that you can cus­tomize at any time to suit your needs. What is this about? You can direct the work­load to the desired core at any time.

It is already known that the 12th gen­er­a­tion Intel Core fam­i­ly will include 60 proces­sor mod­els. These CPUs are designed for:

  • launch­ing the most mod­ern and com­plex games;
  • work with heavy pro­fes­sion­al pro­grams (for devel­op­ers, pro­gram­mers, testers, design­ers);
  • over­clock­ing com­put­er pow­er.

AMD Processors

  • A‑series and Athlon are entry-lev­el PC mod­els. They pro­vide sta­ble and fast oper­a­tion of home and office com­put­ers that are not over­loaded with com­plex tasks.
  • Ryzen 3 is an option for those who active­ly use mul­ti­me­dia appli­ca­tions and build a bud­get gam­ing com­put­er.
  • Ryzen 5 is for the PC that the more demand­ing gamer or dig­i­tal con­tent devel­op­er will use.
  • Ryzen 7 is for pro­fes­sion­al and pow­er­ful gam­ing PCs that mul­ti­task reg­u­lar­ly.
  • Ryzen Thread­rip­per is AMD’s most advanced offer­ing yet. These are high-pow­ered proces­sors for pro­fes­sion­al gam­ing PCs. A solu­tion for those who want to enjoy rich 3D graph­ics.
An exam­ple of an AMD proces­sor. Pho­to: pixabay.com

Hybrid processors

This is a sep­a­rate cat­e­go­ry of devices. This mod­el com­bines a CPU with a GPU.

What does this give the user?

  • Since there is no sep­a­rate video card, the cost of the sys­tem is low­er than ana­logues.
  • Pow­er con­sump­tion is less due to the fact that there is no sep­a­rate graph­ics proces­sor.
  • There is no sep­a­rate cool­er for the video card — a lit­tle less noise when the PC is run­ning.
  • Few­er com­po­nents means few­er pos­si­ble caus­es of sys­tem fail­ure.
  • The size of the PC is small­er due to the fact that there is no sep­a­rate video card and cool­er for it.

On the basis of hybrid mod­els, com­put­er assem­blies are usu­al­ly made for home use, study, and sim­ple office tasks. Hybrid PCs are not pow­er­ful enough to run the lat­est graph­ics-inten­sive games.

Hybrid proces­sors are also not used for video edit­ing. There is sim­ply not enough pow­er for seri­ous pro­cess­ing. In this case, you will have to buy a dis­crete video card (it is on a sep­a­rate board, it is attached addi­tion­al­ly).

AMD Ryzen PRO 4000G hybrid proces­sor. Pho­to: i2hard.ru


It’s called scratch mem­o­ry. Need­ed for fast cal­cu­la­tions.

What is the effect of the proces­sor cache?

For per­for­mance. But not as much as the num­ber of cores and fre­quen­cy. This influ­ence when start­ing dif­fer­ent pro­grams ranges from 5% to 15%.

In mod­ern proces­sors, super-rapid mem­o­ry is mul­ti-lev­el. The high­er its lev­el, the greater its vol­ume. The cache lev­el is denot­ed by the let­ter L. There are 4 lev­els in total. Most mod­ern devices have a max­i­mum mark­ing of L3. This is enough for pow­er­ful gam­ing PCs.

A device with a large amount of cache mem­o­ry can cost sig­nif­i­cant­ly more.

Heat dissipation

The high­er the pow­er of the com­put­er, the more it heats up dur­ing oper­a­tion. It affects heat dis­si­pa­tion and load increase. Heat­ing is nat­ur­al, but over­heat­ing is dan­ger­ous. This reduces per­for­mance and leads to break­downs. There­fore, any proces­sor needs to be cooled. That’s what fan cool­ers are for.

Many cool­ing sys­tems are pro­duced. How to choose the opti­mal one?

  • The first step is to define the sock­et. This is the con­nec­tor for con­nect­ing the proces­sor on the moth­er­board. There are many vari­eties for Intel for AMD. Each has unique mechan­i­cal and geo­met­ric para­me­ters. Each sock­et has its own way of attach­ing the CPU cool­er to the board.
  • The sec­ond step is to choose a make and mod­el. Noc­tua are silent and pro­duc­tive, Scythe are durable, Ther­mal­take and Cool­er Mas­ter are more bud­getary.
  • Deter­mine the required per­for­mance. Heat dis­si­pa­tion is usu­al­ly equal to the max­i­mum pow­er con­sump­tion. This val­ue is indi­cat­ed in watts — watts.
  • Make sure the cool­er is com­pat­i­ble with the moth­er­board and case. Even if the mod­el you like per­fect­ly match­es the sock­et, this does not guar­an­tee its com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with the entire assem­bly. The rea­son is some­times banal — every­thing togeth­er does not fit into the sys­tem unit.

What is a socket

It’s a con­nec­tor on the moth­er­board. It is need­ed to mount the proces­sor. Cer­tain CPUs are only com­pat­i­ble with cer­tain sock­et types. There are no adapters to con­nect these parts. If the parts were not matched cor­rect­ly, you will have to buy a new moth­er­board or CPU.

Intel sockets

LGA 1151

The most pop­u­lar, as it fits most proces­sors. Com­pat­i­ble: Celeron, Pen­tium Gold, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7. Suit­able for build­ing both sim­ple home PCs and more com­plex gam­ing sys­tems.

LGA 2066

Installed on gam­ing com­put­ers, office. Com­pat­i­ble with high per­for­mance Core i5, Core i7 CPUs. Core i9.

Sock­et 1151. Pho­to: busell.ru

AMD sockets

SocketAM3+ and SocketAM4

Used in sim­ple assem­blies of office and home com­put­ers. Need­ed for low-pow­ered and medi­um gam­ing PCs.

TR4 and sTRX4

Sock­ets for high-per­for­mance flag­ship CPU mod­els with a large num­ber of cores. Installed on top gam­ing PCs.

Impor­tant: Cof­fee Lake CPUs are not com­pat­i­ble with the LGA 1151 sock­et that was man­u­fac­tured before 2017. They need a new ver­sion of this sock­et, which has been in pro­duc­tion since mid-2017. Among them­selves, peo­ple call it LGA 1151v2. But Intel kept the old name. Because of this, it may be dif­fi­cult to pur­chase a suit­able sock­et. If in doubt, write to us or call 8 (800) 333–18-55. We will help you choose the right com­po­nents for PC assem­bly.

Processor cores

The core is the com­put­ing unit. It has a great impact on the per­for­mance of the entire com­put­er. The more cores, the faster the device launch­es pro­grams, opens files, etc. Now proces­sors with mul­ti­ple cores are being released. Their num­ber can vary from 2 to 32.

The more cores, the more per­for­mance the com­put­er has. Pho­to: www.acobserver.com

The PC shares the load among all the cores. As a result, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty increas­es. The more cores, the more tasks the com­put­er quick­ly solves at once.

Impor­tant: in prac­tice, every­thing is a lit­tle more com­pli­cat­ed. It’s not enough to just buy a device with mul­ti­ple cores but low clock speeds. All togeth­er affect per­for­mance. There­fore, between two dual-core proces­sors with a fre­quen­cy of 1.2 GHz and 3.0 GHz, it is bet­ter to choose the sec­ond one. And what is the clock fre­quen­cy and why it is impor­tant to con­sid­er it, we will now tell.

CPU frequency

This is one of the main per­for­mance indi­ca­tors. This is the num­ber of oper­a­tions that are solved per sec­ond. The high­er it is, the more pro­duc­tive the PC. CPU fre­quen­cy is divid­ed into three cat­e­gories:

  • up to 3 GHz — bud­get mod­els. Suit­able for sim­ple office and home assem­blies. Eas­i­ly cope with basic tasks, launch sim­ple games and appli­ca­tions;
  • from 3 to 4 GHz — uni­ver­sal options. A proces­sor with such a fre­quen­cy is suit­able for office, home, and gam­ing PCs;
  • more than 4 GHz — are installed only on com­put­ers designed to solve com­plex prob­lems, run resource-inten­sive pro­grams.

When buy­ing, you need to look not only at the fre­quen­cy, but also at the num­ber of cores. 6 cores at 2.6 GHz is a bet­ter deal than 2 cores at 3.0 GHz.

The pow­er of the com­put­er can be slight­ly increased by increas­ing the clock fre­quen­cy. This requires a proces­sor with an open or unlocked mul­ti­pli­er. The pro­ce­dure for increas­ing pow­er is called “over­clock­ing”. You can over­clock your com­put­er through Bios or through a pro­gram that allows you to adjust your com­put­er set­tings. For exam­ple: SetFSB, CPUCOOL, AMD Over­Drive. The end result depends on the proces­sor and its capa­bil­i­ties.

Impor­tant: after over­clock­ing, the PC con­sumes more pow­er and gets very hot.

Selection of processors by purpose

Pur­pose is the first thing to decide before assem­bly. Saved you time and picked up options for dif­fer­ent needs.

All prices are at the time of pub­li­ca­tion of the arti­cle.

For office and home use

Intel Pentium G4400 S1151

A ver­sa­tile, pow­er­ful proces­sor that can ful­ly meet the basic needs of the user. It is suit­able for work­ing with text files, tables, sim­ple pho­to edi­tors. This is a ver­sa­tile option for home and office use.

Hybrid proces­sor Intel Pen­tium G4400 S1151. Pho­to: fastbox.su

This is a hybrid device. It does not require an addi­tion­al video card. There is an inte­grat­ed video proces­sor Intel HD Graph­ics 510 with a clock speed of 1050 MHz (process­es graph­ics before dis­play­ing on a PC mon­i­tor).

The proces­sor has 2 cores of 3.3 MHz. This CPU fea­tures Enhanced Speed­Step tech­nol­o­gy, which reduces pow­er con­sump­tion. The kit does not include a cool­er, you need to buy it sep­a­rate­ly.

The price is 7230 rubles.

For a budget gaming PC

Processor Intel Original Core i3 10105 S1200

The Intel Core i3-10105 is a great solu­tion if the goal is to assem­ble a bud­get com­put­er that can han­dle max­i­mum games with min­i­mum require­ments. The Intel Core i3-10105 is pow­ered by 4 cores and 8 threads that can oper­ate over a wide fre­quen­cy range.

This is not a top proces­sor. There­fore, do not expect the impos­si­ble from him. The best games of 2021 will not “fly” on it. But less demand­ing games from yes­ter­year (like Dota) will run smooth­ly.

The price is 10,670 rubles.

For mid-range gaming PC

Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

A proces­sor with which you can enjoy most mod­ern games at medi­um and high set­tings. CPU hybrid, with inte­grat­ed graph­ics card. Com­pat­i­ble with 500 series moth­er­boards and some 400 series moth­er­boards. It will not be dif­fi­cult to pick up the rest of the com­po­nents.

There is a cool­er includ­ed. But if nec­es­sary, you can replace it with a more pow­er­ful one. This is the opti­mal proces­sor that guar­an­tees good per­for­mance in games.

The price is 26,040 rubles.

Processor Intel Original Core i5 10400 S1200

This mod­el has an LGA 1200 sock­et, which guar­an­tees wide com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with most moth­er­boards. There is no built-in cool­er, but a high-capac­i­ty cool­ing sys­tem is not required. Since the high­est heat dis­si­pa­tion of such a CPU is at the lev­el of only 65 watts. The base clock fre­quen­cy is 2.9 GHz, over­clock­ing with Tur­bo Boost 2.0 tech­nol­o­gy is pos­si­ble up to 4.3 GHz. The CPU is suit­able for build­ing a good home, office and mid-range gam­ing PC.

The price is 14,520 rubles.

For top gaming PC

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G AM4 Processor

It is an 8‑core proces­sor clocked at 4.6 MHz each. The mod­el is suit­able for assem­bling both a pow­er­ful gam­ing com­put­er and a PC for pro­fes­sion­al work with pho­to and video edi­tors.

The price is 33,860 rubles.

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G AM4 proces­sor with 8 cores for max­i­mum per­for­mance. Pho­to: madboxpc.com

Processor Intel Original Core i7 12700K

For those who want to build a top-end com­put­er. Respon­si­ble for the per­for­mance of 12 cores with a fre­quen­cy of 4.6 GHz. High­ly effi­cient and mod­ern CPU per­forms tasks with ease.

The price is 38,740 rubles.

For powerful professional PC

AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3955WX Processor

16 cores pro­vide amaz­ing com­put­er pow­er. On the basis of such a device, a uni­ver­sal machine is assem­bled to work with com­plex pro­grams that require the pro­cess­ing of a large amount of data. If the ini­tial capac­i­ty is not enough, you can “over­clock”. This is pos­si­ble thanks to the PCIe 4.0 inter­face.

AMD Ryzen Thread­rip­per PRO 3955WX proces­sor for a pow­er­ful and ver­sa­tile com­put­er. Pho­to: pcgamesn.com

The price is 100,920 rubles.

Processor Intel Original Core i9 12900K

Uni­ver­sal mod­el. Suit­able for cre­at­ing both a top-end gam­ing PC and a cool work­sta­tion. Based on the Alder Lake‑S archi­tec­ture, it is char­ac­ter­ized by high per­for­mance and effi­cien­cy. The CPU has a total of 16 cores with a fre­quen­cy of 3.2 GHz each. A nice bonus is sup­port for up to 256 GB of RAM.

The price is 53,880 rubles.

FAQ — answers to popular questions

What is a proces­sor in a com­put­er for, how does it work and what is it respon­si­ble for?

The word “proces­sor” itself comes from the Eng­lish word “to process” — “process”. So the proces­sor is a device that process­es some­thing. The com­put­er CPU han­dles all process­es and data. It is the con­trol ele­ment of any com­put­er. In addi­tion to pro­cess­ing data and exe­cut­ing work com­mands, the proces­sor responds to unex­pect­ed events. For exam­ple, a sharp jump in tem­per­a­ture when the com­put­er is over­loaded and gets warm from it, but the cool­er can not cope. Then CPU throt­tling starts.

What is CPU throt­tling?

In sim­ple words, this is a tech­nol­o­gy for pro­tect­ing the proces­sor from ther­mal dam­age dur­ing over­heat­ing.

A com­put­er is a com­plex mech­a­nism that heats up dur­ing oper­a­tion. If the cool­er can­not cope with cool­ing, and the tem­per­a­ture ris­es to a crit­i­cal lev­el, the com­put­er begins to “pro­tect” itself. The proces­sor is respon­si­ble for the over­heat­ing pro­tec­tion mech­a­nism.

When the crit­i­cal tem­per­a­ture is reached, the oper­at­ing fre­quen­cy decreas­es. This saves from over­heat­ing, but reduces per­for­mance.

What does a proces­sor look like?

This is a small mod­ule (dimen­sions about 5x5x0.3 cm) of a square shape. A lot of short, round­ed con­nec­tors extend from the case. On the one hand, it is usu­al­ly smooth. Basic infor­ma­tion is applied on this side: man­u­fac­tur­er, num­ber of cores, fre­quen­cy, etc.

What does the proces­sor con­sist of, what does it have inside?

The CPU con­sists of three parts:

  • core — the main part;
  • stor­age device is the inter­nal mem­o­ry of the CPU. It includes cache mem­o­ry and reg­is­ters. The first stores com­mands that are reg­u­lar­ly used, data from RAM. Sec­ond­ly, inter­me­di­ate results of oper­a­tions, cur­rent com­mands;
  • bus­es are chan­nels through which data is trans­mit­ted.

What is a proces­sor core?

This is the main com­put­ing unit in the archi­tec­ture of the entire CPU. That is what allows you to process infor­ma­tion. One core exe­cutes one task at a time.

What are the proces­sor cores?

On the speed of the com­put­er. The more cores, the more tasks the com­put­er can per­form at the same time.

How is a thread dif­fer­ent from a ker­nel?

A thread is a pro­gram­mat­i­cal­ly allo­cat­ed area in the phys­i­cal proces­sor core for pro­cess­ing data. Ded­i­cat­ing a thread to solve a task is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to ratio­nal­ly use CPU resources and improve per­for­mance. But effi­cien­cy increas­es by no more than 30%, accord­ing to Intel experts.

How is the proces­sor over­clocked?

If there is no mon­ey to buy a new one, but you want to improve per­for­mance, you can over­clock. So you can not always improve the proces­sor. You need an unlocked mul­ti­pli­er. How to under­stand that it is in the CPU? Its pres­ence is indi­cat­ed by the let­ter “K” in the mark­ing. For exam­ple: Core i5-9600K. When assem­bling such a com­put­er, it is impor­tant to make sure that the moth­er­board also has the func­tion of chang­ing the proces­sor mul­ti­pli­er.

What is the bit depth of the proces­sor and how to find it?

Bit depth is the amount of infor­ma­tion trans­mit­ted by the proces­sor per clock cycle. There are now 32 and 64 bit proces­sors. You can find out the fre­quen­cy through the CPU‑Z pro­gram.


  • down­load it and turn it on;
  • select the “Spec­i­fi­ca­tions” tab.

At the very bot­tom is the bit depth. This is how it is des­ig­nat­ed:

  • “x64” — 64 bit archi­tec­ture;
  • “x86” (rarely “x32”) — 32 bit.

Why do proces­sors have a built-in video card?

This great­ly reduces the cost of assem­bly. The cost of graph­ics cards has increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly in recent years. There­fore, the price of a com­put­er with a pow­er­ful proces­sor and a good video card has also increased. Inte­grat­ed video cards allow you to save a lit­tle.

What is tur­bo boost in a proces­sor?

This is an Intel devel­op­ment. Usu­al­ly they write on the proces­sor that it has one text fre­quen­cy, and the tur­bo boost is high­er — 2.6 GHz (4.4 GHz, in Tur­bo mode). This sug­gests that it is pos­si­ble to auto­mat­i­cal­ly increase the clock fre­quen­cy above the nom­i­nal one. At the same time, such over­clock­ing is not crit­i­cal and does not threat­en the secu­ri­ty of the proces­sor. Such self-accel­er­a­tion leads to an increase in the per­for­mance of sin­gle-thread­ed and mul­ti-thread­ed appli­ca­tions.


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