CPU Purchase Guide

AMD vs Intel

By the end of 2016, AMD was losing the competition on all fronts. But with the debut of the Ryzen / Threadripper lineup of processors, the company has made a significant move toward victory against its traditional rival Intel. With Ryzen 5000 series and CPUs like the Ryzen 5 5600X specifically, AMD has in most aspects surpassed Intel’s contemporary variants, often featuring better performance in both moderate and enormous workloads that stresses multiple cores.

In simple words, both chip manufacturers are capable of building state-of-the-art CPU architectures. Some individuals will have biased opinions, but if you critically analyze the offering of both brands, you would end up praising both in different aspects.

In today’s time, AMD processors offer more value for less money. For instance, a decent in-box cooler (not in high-end Ryzen 7 and 9 Ryzen 5000 CPUs) and more cores/threads. The gaming domain is also dominated by AMD for several aspects, with the Ryzen 5 5600X CPU is superseding upper-end Intel chips at 1080p resolution gameplay with stock settings. Apart from gaming, AMD has long handled high-quality content production tasks like HD video editing in a highly effective way. 

Things to Remember – Important CPU specifications

If read the specs card for any CPU, you’ll notice different numerical figures in tabular form. Below are some factors that you must check before finalizing your purchase.

Clock Frequency (Cycles per Second) – Measured in GHz, clock frequency denotes the speed at which the processor performs. Modern-gen processors are capable of adjusting their clock speeds up or down depending upon the nature of the task and their temperature, so you’ll notice a base (minimum) clock speed and a turbo (maximum) speed in the specs table.

Core Count – Cores are simply defined as the processors within the processor. The latest chips possess multiple cores that range from 2 and 64, with most chips incorporating only 4 to 8. Each sub-processor or core is capable of handling its own tasks. For average use, it is recommended to have at least four cores.

Thread Count – Thread count is defined as the number of independent processes a chip can handle simultaneously, which is theoretically the same as the core counts. However, many processors have multithreading options, which allow a single core to handle two threads (or independent processes). Intel labels its Hyper-Threading and AMD label it SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading). More threads simply ensure multitasking and elevated performance on heavily threaded applications such as HD video editing tools or high-end games etc.

TDP – The Thermal Design Power (TDP) is the maximum amount of heat that a CPU generates at stock settings, (measured in watts). For instance, if you have Intel Core i7-8700K with a TDP of 95 watts, you have to ensure that you are using a fan or cooler that can expel the said amount of heat, and your power supply unit (PSU) should be capable enough of providing enough to sustain the performance of your CPU along with other components like GPU, RAM and Storage module, etc. Keep in mind, your processor can dissipate more heat on overclocking. Knowing your TDP is crucial so you can employ the right cooling mechanism and power supply to complement your CPU. 

Cache Memory – A CPU’s integrated cache is used to accelerate data transition cycles between the CPU and RAM. There are 3 levels of cache memory: 

  • L1 is the fastest
  • L2 is roomier but moderately fast
  • L3 is much spacious but relatively compromised speed

IPC – IPC stands for “Instructions per Clock”. To grasp the concept of IPC, consider two CPUs with the same clock speed and threads count, but from different manufacturers or based on different architectures from the same manufacturer, they will showcase different levels of IPC. IPC primarily relies on the chip’s architecture, so CPU variants from the latest generation show better performance compared to the older-gen models.

IPC is not something to be found by reading specifications as it is usually measured using benchmark tests.

Clock Frequency, Core Counts, or Threads – What’s More Important?

To address this question actually depends on the nature of your respective workload. Higher clock speeds ensure instant responses and reduced program load times (though RAM and storage performance are equally important performance determinators). High clock frequency also ensures better single-threaded workloads such as. Many renowned games depend on single-threaded performance.

When it comes to modern software programs or games, they involve lots of cores and threads. If you perform lots of multitasking, high-resolution video editing tasks, or complex and time-consuming tasks, it is recommended to opt for higher core counts. For most gamers and general-purpose tasks, a clock frequency ranging from 3GHz to 4GHz including four to eight cores can well serve the purpose.

In simple words, higher clock speeds ensure rich performance in simple and moderate-intensity workloads. Whereas, higher core count will help you perform complex workloads in a more efficient manner.


From a 1.4Ghz 64 Bit Processor (that of 2nd or 3rd Gens) to a state-of-the-art multi-core processor (that of Ryzen and rocket lake series), AMD and Intel have changed the entire landscape of the chipset domain. In previous days 1.4Ghz 64 Bit Processor from the 2nd or 3rd Gens of Intel’s lineups were capable of handling workloads back then. But with the advent of high-end games and complex computational tasks, it became mandatory to acquire a strong CPU. 

To complement your CPU performance, it is crucial to opt for the best SSDs, faster RAM, and top-notch GPUs. As there’s no sense in pairing a high-end CPU with a weak GPU, ineffective RAM, and slower conventional HDDs.