Processor speed and the architecture of the microchips inside make all the difference when it comes to gaming performance. The right CPU can be a tremendous boon to your computer experience, allowing you to stream 4K movies, play graphically demanding games, and carry out other computing-intensive tasks without hesitation or lag.

However, if you don’t have proper knowledge of CPUs, they can also become an expensive case of buyer’s remorse. There are several essential factors that go into choosing a CPU; these include architecture (the design on which it runs), cache size (which determines how quickly it operates), number of cores (which work in tandem to execute processes), and clock speed (which is how fast the processor works).

To make things even more complicated, there are two major brands to choose from Intel and AMD. Don’t worry, though; we’re here to help!

What is a CPU?

“CPU” stands for “Central Processing Unit.” It’s your computer’s brain, performing all kinds of tasks to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Some common CPU-related terms include: core, processor, chip, or brain—all used interchangeably to describe the same thing: the most important part of a computer. It’s what makes your computer work by performing calculations in real-time (or as quickly as possible).

What you need to know about CPU speeds

CPU speed is measured in GHz. This doesn’t mean it has something to do with the amount of gravity on the Earth—it’s just a way of measuring how fast your computer runs.

So if you have a CPU running at 3.5GHz, that means it can process information faster than one that’s running at 2GHz by about 50 per cent (3.5/2 = 1.5).

You’ll also see MHz on your CPU specifications page. Still, GHz is more common these days because it makes more sense for people who aren’t used to reading scientific notation: 2 gigahertz or GHz means 2 billion cycles per second (1ghz = 1000MHz). In contrast, 1 megahertz or MHz means 1 million cycles per second (1mhz = 1000Khz).

That’s why you’ll often see speeds listed as “3GHz turbo.”

CPU architecture

When you’re buying a computer, you might have heard terms like “x86” or “ARM.” These are examples of CPU architectures, which describe the foundation of the central processing unit (CPU) and how it works.

CPUs can be designed to work in any number of ways. But all CPUs have one thing in common: they take input data and process it according to a set of instructions stored within their memory that tell them what to do with inputs and produce final outputs.

What is CPU cache?

In order to understand CPU cache, you first need to know a bit about how the CPU works.

The CPU has two kinds of memory: RAM and cache. RAM is used for running programs and storing data like documents and pictures.

The cache is a small amount of high-speed memory built into the CPU that helps it run faster. Cache stores data that the CPU is actively using, so if your computer has 4GB of RAM. Still, only 1GB of cache, then every time you open an application or program in your browser (which is stored in RAM), it will have to pull out some information from your hard drive because they aren’t currently being stored in any part of cache—and those areas may be occupied by other things that were previously running on your machine!

In short: RAM stores data for long-term use, whereas cache only keeps items for short-term usage (e.g., when you’re running an application).

What is the role of the CPU?

The CPU is the brain of your computer, and it’s what makes your machine run. Without it, there would be no way for you to use your computer or even turn it on—it’s that important.

The CPU (or central processing unit) is responsible for executing all instructions that are given to it by software running on your operating system.

These instructions could be anything from loading a webpage in your web browser or playing a video game; when one of these activities requires some heavy lifting from the CPU, you might notice some lag as the computer tries to keep up with everything happening at once.

What to look for in a CPU

  • CPU speed: This is one of the most important factors in a CPU, and you should look for processors that have high clock speeds such as 3.0 GHz or more.
  • CPU architecture: The “architecture” refers to how many cores your computer has, or how many microprocessors are contained within it. Your computer probably has either an Intel processor or an AMD processor. When choosing a new CPU, make sure that whatever number appears next to “i(X)” or “Ryzen (X)” is higher than your current one—for example, if you’re using an Intel Core i5-3600K and want something faster, go for the Intel Core i5-7600K instead!
  • CPU cache: Cache is basically another word for memory that’s used by CPUs while they’re running programs; having more cache means that your PC can run multiple tasks at once without slowing down too much—and if you don’t have enough cache available on any particular hardware component like this one then things will start getting bogged down quickly when trying doing anything serious like playing games on Steam (which tends not to work well unless there enough memory available).

AMD vs Intel CPUs

AMD vs Intel is a classic CPU battle. It’s been going on for years, and it’s not likely to end anytime soon. Both companies are constantly competing with each other to offer better performance at lower prices.

At first glance, the differences between AMD processors and Intel processors seem negligible; they run at the same clock speed (GHz), have similar RAM support, and can do most of the same things as their competitors.

But as you dive deeper into what makes each type of processor tick, you’ll realize that some crucial differences between them make one or another much better suited for your needs.

Check out the video below for a detailed explanation.

AMD vs Intel

What are the CPU types?

You’ll find CPU types in the single-core, dual-core, quad-core, Hexa-core, octa-core, and deca-core ranges.

The more cores a processor has, the more multi-tasking you can do. This means that if you have a lot of tabs open on your computer at once or are playing games while watching Netflix, having a higher core count will be beneficial for you.

As well as this, having more cores means that there will be more processing power available to perform tasks quickly and efficiently—especially when compared with lower core counts!

CPU generations

CPU generations are the annual upgrades of a microprocessor. They allow manufacturers to stay competitive in the market by increasing performance and lowering power consumption at a faster pace than other chipmakers.

If you’ve ever tried to explain the differences between generations of CPUs, then you know it can be a challenge. With all the different types of processors available today, it can be hard to keep track of what each one does and which one is better than another.

The truth is that all CPUs have their pros and cons, but if you’re looking for something specific then there’s a good chance there’s a processor out there for you.

The purpose of this section is to look at each generation so that readers can understand what each one offers and why they should care about it.

Intel CPU generations

1st Generation Intel Processors Nehalem

The 45 nm microarchitecture from Intel, introduced in November 2008, is known by the codename Nehalem. It replaced the earlier Core microarchitecture found in Core 2 CPUs and was utilized in the first generation of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. The term “Nehalem” comes from the Nehalem River.

  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Extensions: MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2; VT-x, VT-d
  • Cores: 2-6 (4-8 Xeon)
  • L1 cache: 64 KB per core
  • L3 cache: 2 MB to 24 MB shared
  • Max. CPU clock rate: 1.06 GHz to 3.33 GHz
  • Microarchitecture: Nehalem
2nd Generation Intel Processors – Sandy Bridge

The 32 nm microarchitecture utilized in Intel’s second generation of Core CPUs is known by the codename Sandy Bridge. The Nehalem and Westmere microarchitectures were replaced by the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.

  • Cores: 1–4 (4-6 Extreme, 2-8 Xeon)
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Microarchitecture: Sandy Bridge
  • Successor: Ivy Bridge (Tick); Haswell (Tock)
  • Model(s): Celeron Series; Pentium Series; Core i3/i5/i7/i7 Extreme Series; Xeon E3/E5 Series
  • Extensions: MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AVX; VT-x, VT-d; AES-NI, CLMUL, TXT
  • Predecessor: Nehalem (Tock); Westmere (Tick)
3rd Generation Intel Processors – Ivy Bridge

The 22 nm microarchitecture featured in Intel’s third generation of Core processors is denoted by the codename Ivy Bridge. The 32 nm Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, also known as the tick-tock model, was used in the previous generation’s Ivy Bridge, a die shrink to 22 nm process based on FinFET Tri-Gate transistors.

  • Cores: 2–4 (Mainstream); 2–15 (Xeon)
  • Instructions: x86, x86-64
  • Extensions: MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AVX, F16C; AES-NI, CLMUL, RDRAND, TXT; VT-x, VT-d
  • Model(s): Celeron G Series; Pentium G Series; Core i3 Series; Core i5 Series; Core i7 Series; Xeon E3/E5/E7 v2 Series
  • Discontinued: June 5, 2015; 7 years ago
  • Successor: Haswell (Tock/Architecture)
  • CPUID code: 0306A9h
4th Generation Intel Processors – Haswell

Haswell is the codename for a processor microarchitecture developed by Intel as the “fourth-generation core” successor to the Ivy Bridge.

  • Cores: 2–4 (mainstream); 6–8 (enthusiast); 2–18 (Xeon)
  • Socket(s): LGA 1150; rPGA 947; BGA 1364; BGA 1168; LGA 2011-v3
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Microarchitecture: Haswell
  • Launched: June 4, 2013; 9 years ago
  • Model(s): Haswell; Haswell Refresh; Haswell-E; Haswell-EP; Haswell-EX
  • CPUID code: 0306C3h
5th Generation Intel Processors – Broadwell

The fifth generation of Intel Core processors is Broadwell. It is the codename Intel has ascribed to the Haswell microarchitecture’s 14 nm die shrink. In terms of Intel’s tick-tock principle, is a “tick” in the process of fabricating semiconductors.

  • Cores: 2–4 (mainstream); 6–10 (enthusiast); 4–24 (Xeon)
  • Launched: October 27, 2014; 7 years ago
  • Extensions: MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AVX, AVX2, TSX, FMA3; AES-NI, CLMUL, RDRAND, TXT; VT-x, VT-d
  • Socket(s): LGA 1150; BGA 1364; LGA 2011-v3
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • CPUID code: 0306D4h
  • Discontinued: November 2018
6th Generation Intel Processors – Skylake

Skylake is the codename used by Intel for a processor microarchitecture that was launched in August 2015 succeeding the Broadwell microarchitecture.

  • Cores: 2–28
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Socket(s): LGA 1151; LGA 2066; LGA 3647; BGA 1168; BGA 1356; BGA 1515; BGA 1440;
  • Microarchitecture: Skylake
  • Launched: August 5, 2015; 6 years ago
  • Designed by: Intel
  • Successor: Kaby Lake (Optimization); Cascade Lake-SP (Skylake-SP); Palm Cove (Process)
7th Generation Intel Processors – Kaby Lake

Kaby Lake is Intel’s codename for its seventh generation Core microprocessor family announced on August 30, 2016. Like the preceding Skylake, Kaby Lake is produced using a 14-nanometer manufacturing process technology.

  • Cores: 2–4
  • Socket(s): LGA 1151; LGA 2066; BGA1356; BGA1440; BGA1515;
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Microarchitecture: Skylake
  • Launched: August 30, 2016; 5 years ago
  • Extensions: MMX, AES-NI, CLMUL, FMA3, RDRAND; SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2; AVX, AVX2, TXT, TSX, SGX; VT-x, VT-d
  • Discontinued: October 9, 2020 (desktop processors)
8th Generation Intel Processors – Coffee Lake

The eighth-generation Core microprocessor family from Intel, which was unveiled on September 25, 2017, is known as Coffee Lake. It is produced utilizing the second refinement of Intel’s 14 nm manufacturing node. Desktop Coffee Lake processors introduced Core i3 CPUs with four cores and no hyperthreading, as well as an i5 and i7 CPUs with six cores.

  • Technology node: 14 nm (Tri-Gate) transistors
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Microarchitecture: Skylake
  • Instructions: x86-64
  • Extensions: MMX, AES-NI, CLMUL, FMA3, RDRAND, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AVX, AVX2, TXT, TSX, SGX, VT-x, VT-d
  • Cores: 2–8
9th Generation Intel Processors – Coffee Lake

This generation were introduced in May 2017 for LGA 2066 chips, also known as Intel Core X-series processors. They are made for enthusiast use due to their large core count, high power consumption, high thermal output, and high performance. The standard BGA1440 socket-based mobile version with six hyperthreaded cores and 12 MB of cache was released in 2018. It has been demonstrated to be capable of reaching 5 GHz under optimal conditions.

Following the announcement of the Core i9-9900K processor, which runs on Intel’s mainstream consumer platform, the Core i9 brand was expanded to include mainstream processors in October 2018.

  • Overclocking: Unlocked multiplier on K, KF, and KS models
  • i9-9900 additionally supports Intel Thermal Velocity Boost
  • PCI Express lanes: 16
  • Memory type: DDR4-2666
  • Max memory channels: 2
  • Max Memory Bandwidth: 41.6 GB/s
10th Generation Intel Processors – Ice Lake

The 10th generation Intel Core mobile and 3rd generation Xeon Scalable server processors based on the Sunny Cove microarchitecture are known collectively as Ice Lake by Intel. In Intel’s Process-Architecture-Optimization model, Ice Lake represents an Architecture phase. Ice Lake is Intel’s second microarchitecture to be produced using the 10 nm process, following the limited launch of Cannon Lake in 2018. It is produced using Intel’s second 10 nm manufacturing generation, known as 10 nm+.

  • Technology node: Intel 10 nm Tri-Gate
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Microarchitecture: Sunny Cove
  • Cores: up to 40
  • Socket(s): LGA 4189
  • Brand name(s): Xeon Silver, Xeon Gold, Xeon Platinum, Xeon W
11th Generation Intel Processors – Tiger Lake

Tiger Lake is Intel’s codename for the 11th generation Intel Core mobile processors based on the new Willow Cove Core microarchitecture, manufactured using Intel’s third-generation 10 nm process node known as 10SF.

  • Cores: 2–8
  • GPU(s): Intel Xe-based integrated graphics
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Socket(s): BGA 1449, BGA 1787
  • Successor: Alder Lake
  • Predecessor: Mobile: Ice Lake; Mobile and desktop: Comet Lake
  • Microarchitecture: Willow Cove
12th Generation Intel Processors – Alder Lake

The 12th generation of Intel Core CPUs, codenamed Alder Lake, are built on a hybrid design that combines Gracemont power-efficient cores with Golden Cove high-performance cores. It is fabricated using Intel’s Intel 7 process, previously referred to as Intel 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin (10ESF). On October 27, 2021, Intel formally unveiled its 12th generation of Core CPUs. On January 4, 2022, Intel officially unveiled non-K series desktop CPUs and 12th Gen Intel Core mobile CPUs. On February 23, 2022, Intel officially announced the release of the Alder Lake-P and -U series, and on May 10, 2022, the Alder Lake-HX series.

  • Technology node: Intel 7 (previously known as 10ESF)
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Microarchitecture: Golden Cove; P-cores, Gracemont; E-cores
  • Extensions: AES-NI, CLMUL, RDRAND, SHA, TXT, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AVX, AVX2, FMA3, AVX-VNNI, VT-x, VT-d
  • Cores: Up to 8 P-cores, Up to 8 E-cores
  • Socket(s): LGA 1700; desktop, BGA 1774; mobile

Get the details of each generation here.

CPU vs GPU; what’s the difference?

The CPU is a general-purpose processor used for everything from word processing to 3D rendering.

It’s designed to handle a wide range of tasks, but it’s not great at any one thing. The GPU, on the other hand, is explicitly intended for calculations related to graphics and video.

A GPU will generally outperform a CPU when it comes to 3D rendering and other graphics processes.

A GPU has many similarities with a CPU: both have multiple cores (more than one brain), use RAM (working memory), and communicate with each other via interfaces called buses or interconnects.

But there are also some key differences between the two that you need to understand when comparing CPUs versus GPUs for your projects: “CPUs race through a series of tasks requiring lots of interactivity. For example, call up information from a hard drive in response to a user’s keystrokes.

By contrast, GPUs break complex problems into thousands or millions of separate tasks and work them out simultaneously.

That makes them ideal for graphics, where textures, lighting, and the rendering of shapes all have to be done at once to keep images flying across the screen.”- check the full article here.

Can a computer run without a CPU?

Can a computer run without a CPU? The answer is no! Because the CPU is the brain of the computer, what does this mean? It means that everything you see on your screen, and everything that happens inside your computer, happens through processing information by your CPU.

In other words: without a CPU, there would be no way for it to process data!

What does the CPU do for gaming?

In order to understand the significance of CPU cores, you’ll need a basic understanding of how CPUs work.

The computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is responsible for processing instructions and transmitting data between different parts of your computer.

That means it’s in charge of running applications and games and the operating system itself—which is why it’s called a central processor!

What does this mean for gaming? Basically, if you have one core and two games running at once (one on each core), they’re going to run at half speed because they’ll only be able to take advantage of half of your CPU’s power.

But when you get up over four cores and beyond, those same two games will be able to run at full capacity since there are so many more resources available.

Does CPU affect gaming FPS?

The short answer is yes, the CPU does affect your gaming FPS, but not as much as the graphics card.

As a general rule of thumb, most CPUs will have no impact on the framerate in very GPU-heavy games. If you’re playing a game like Fortnite where there’s lots of action and textures flying around all over the screen, your GPU will be doing most of the work (and thus affecting your FPS) while the CPU just sits there idly by.

However, if you’re playing something where there’s plenty of AI on screen at once—or even just one particularly complicated character model—then it’s possible that your processor may become overwhelmed by all those instructions and lag behind.

In short, your CPU only affects the framerate if it is a bottleneck (the least capable component in your system).

How many years does a CPU last?

How long a CPU lasts depends on how much you use it. If you only use your computer for basic tasks like word processing and email, your CPU will last longer than if you are heavy-duty gaming or editing video footage.

The more work your CPU has to do, the more heat it generates. This is called thermal throttling: when a piece of hardware gets too hot, it automatically slows down so that its performance doesn’t decrease as quickly as its temperature rises.

However, if this happens too often (either because there’s not enough cooling or because the workload is too great), its lifespan can eventually be shortened by overheating itself into oblivion—or at least until it needs replacing!

How do you know if your CPU is dying?

  • If your computer is slow, or if it freezes.
  • If you hear a loud clicking noise when the CPU is working.
  • If your computer starts to overheat, it can cause problems with the CPU and other components inside of it.
  • If your computer is making loud noises that are not normal for it—like whirring fans or grinding noises that sound like rocks being turned over in a metal box (this will help you figure out if something else besides the CPU is going on).
  • If your computer is running slower than normal, which could indicate that there’s dust buildup on its internal parts or other issues with its hardware

The power of the central processing unit has become vitally important in this age of high-performance gaming, 4K streaming, and other demanding computing tasks.

The central processing unit, or CPU, is the brain of your computer. The CPU is what makes it work and does what you want it to do. It’s like the heart of your computer: if something goes wrong with it, then everything else has to suffer as well.

CPU technology has come a long way since the days of the first desktop computers when processing power was measured in kilohertz instead of gigahertz.

Today’s microprocessors are blazingly fast, and future developments promise even more speed and efficiency. It’s clear that this tiny but critical part of your computer will continue to be a focus for innovation for many years to come.

If you like gaming and 3D, you should also read what is ray tracing?


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