The last decade has seen processors make great strides. It can sometimes be difficult to compare one CPU with another. This is what you need to know in order to properly compare them.
The Central Processing Unit (CPU), also called a processor, acts as the brain of the computer. It is its most important component. It can be difficult to compare two processors side by side, which can lead to problems with any purchase you make.
There are many websites that allow you to compare CPUs. This article will tell you what is most important and what isn’t when comparing processors. It also explains how to properly compare processors.
Clock Speed isn’t everything
The most prominent aspects of processors are clock speed and cores. The hertz value of clock speed (e.g. 3.14GHz, while the number of cores are usually listed as quad-core or hexa core.
Do you want to know what makes a CPU more powerful than the other? How can you compare CPUs effectively?
It was simple for a long time: The faster the processor’s clock speed, the better. More cores equaled higher speeds. Today’s processor technology is not as dependent on core speed and clock speeds. Instead, CPUs have many other components that control how fast they can run.
It boils down to the amount of computing that can be done when all components of a CPU work together in one clock cycle. Task X can be performed on two clock cycles by CPU A, and one clock cycle by CPU V. CPU B may be faster than CPU A even though it has a slower clock speed.
You can’t rely solely on clock speed and cores. These are the most prominent aspects of processors.
When deciding between two CPUs belonging to the same family with the same number of cores, you should only compare their clock speeds. This means that if you have two quad-core Intel Core i5 Skylake CPUs, the faster one will be the fastest.
In any other situation, the clock speed and cores do not always indicate performance. Comparing Intel Core i3 vs. Core i5 vs. Core i7 processors vs. Intel Core i5 Core i7 processors or Intel Core i5 vs. Core i7 processors vs. Core i9 processors. Then clock speed and number of cores don’t matter. Clock speed alone will not tell you much if you are comparing Intel vs. AMD, or AMD A10 vs. AMD 8 vs. AMD FX.
Check single-threaded performance
The truth is, even though you are buying a processor with four cores it might not be used for running your applications.
Today’s software is single-threaded. This means that the program runs as one process and can only be run on one core. Even if you have four cores you will not get the full performance from each core for your application.
Before you buy any processor, make sure to verify its single-threaded or single-core performance. You’ll need to trust third-party data such as Passmark, since not all companies will release this information.
You can easily compare different types of CPUs using Passmark’s CPU benchmarks.
We also have a guide for non-geeks on how to benchmark your computer using different processor comparison tools.
Cache Performance is King
The cache is one of the most overlooked parts of a CPU. A cache with low specs can slow down your computer. Before you buy a processor, make sure you check its cache specs.
The cache is basically RAM for your processor. This means that the cache stores all functions the processor has performed in the past. The processor can pull data from the cache to perform those functions again whenever they are needed, making it more efficient.
Integrated graphics are important too
Intel and AMD have combined the GPU and CPU to create an APU. You may be familiar with the differences between APU, CPU and GPU if you have ever built or purchased a gaming-oriented computer.
Recent technological advances have allowed processors to handle most graphics requirements without the need for separate graphics cards.
The processor can also affect the performance of these graphics chipsets. It is impossible to compare an AMD with an Intel here. And even comparing within the same family may be confusing. Intel HD, Intel Iris Pro, and Intel HD are examples of Intel graphics. However, not all Iris graphics are better than HD.
AMD’s Athlon series and FX series are available without graphics chips, but they cost more than the APU-centric A-Series. If you get an Athlon processor or FX processor, you will need to purchase a graphics card.
Graphics processing on CPUs can still be confusing. But you need to pay attention! It is a good idea to look at benchmarks from third parties and make recommendations.
Futuremark created the 3DMark graphics testing tool, which is one of the most useful Windows benchmark tools . The 3DMark Physics Score for any processor can be checked and compared to other processors in Futuremark’s processor listing. This should give you an idea of which processor has the best graphics.
How to Compare CPUs
The best and easiest way to find out is to visit CPUBoss. CPUBoss offers a quick and efficient way to compare CPUs. This site compares two processors, gives ratings, and explains the differences in plain English.
CPUBoss does not perform benchmarks, but rather collects them from various sources such as PassMark, CompuBench and GeekBench. SkyDiver is another example. This basically saves you the hassle of visiting many sites.
The CPUBoss score can be used to help you make a purchase decision. It simply states that the processor with the highest score is the best. CPUBoss also provides integrated graphics comparisons, which will tell you which APU offers the best graphics performance.
If you need more information than what CPUBoss offers, we recommend the AnandTech CPU benchmark tool. You can view detailed benchmarks from one of the most respected independent hardware review sites, and compare two processors side by side.
Other factors that affect performance
It is important to keep in mind that the processor can only perform as well as your rest of your hardware. The processor’s performance will suffer if you only have 2GB RAM.
Other than the RAM and processor, other factors that can affect your PC’s performance are the number of applications running in the background, throttling problems, clock speed and clock speed.