How to buy the right CPU: A guide for 2019

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Matt Safford wrote this guide for about choosing CPU for your PC. Whether you’re building or upgrading a PC, the processor matters a lot. We’ll help you choose the right one for your needs.

Higher clock speeds and core counts can make a major difference in overall performance, providing a snappier system, smoother gameplay and faster completion of intensive tasks such as video editing and transcoding.

Plus, the CPU you choose will also dictate your motherboard options, as each processor only works with a specific CPU socket and set of chipsets.

This article will guide you through:

  • AMD or Intel: Which Should You Get?
  • What do you want to do with your CPU?
  • What generation CPU do you need?
  • How do you read the model names and numbers?
  • Should you overclock?
  • What are the key CPU specs and which should I care about?
  • What do you need more: clock speed, cores or threads?
  • What socket does my motherboard need for this CPU?

You can’t lose with AMD or Intel: For mainstream users, so long as you’re considering current-generation parts (AMD Ryzen 3000 or Intel 9th Generation Core), this debate is basically a wash. Nice one!

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