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Which Processor...? Top 10 Questions Answered!

A significant part of any laptop or PC, the processor is a complex beast. We took a look at the most asked questions on Google about CPUs.

 

Which Processor...? Top 10 Questions Answered!

 

Article Updated 30th September 2022

When it comes to processors, there are thousands of questions that consumers have before they buy, or even after they have purchased. Whether it's laptop or PC processors, we took a quick look at the top 10 questions asked on Google and hoped to shed some light (all in one place!).

Google - Top 10 Questions - Which Processor?

 

Which Processor Is Best For PC?

Right now there is just one generation of processor that reviewers and PC enthusiasts recommend for new PC builds, and that is Alder Lake. Alder Lake is Intel's codename for their 12th generation Intel Core processors, which are unique in that they are built with high-performance cores and power-efficient cores. Their performance and price mean they are currently the pinnacle of CPU technology, striking the perfect balance for any type of build. To use an Alder Lake processor, you will need a Socket 1700 motherboard, which have begun to relax on pricing after an initial high cost period.

The most popular processors in the Alder Lake releases are the Core i9-12900K, the Core i7-12700K and the Core i5-12600K, which have been shown to outclass AMD and Intel's own processors in both gaming and workstation benchmarks.

CCL Recommends: Intel Core i5-12600K

The Core i5-12600K is the perfect processor for a gaming build or even multi-tasking workloads creating videos, photo editing or animating in 3D. Being priced under £300, this CPU is extremely good value, and can be paired with any Socket 1700 motherboard, which start at under £100.

 

Intel Core i5-12600K

 

Which Processor Is Best For Laptop?

Again, it is very hard to find a better processor than the 12th-generation releases from Intel, and their mobile equivalents are just as powerful, relatively speaking. The Core i9-12900HK went down a storm at CES and now performs admirably in benchmarks, with the Alder Lake performance and efficiency cores smoking the competition - AMD's Ryzen 9 and even Apple's M1 Max.

In the meantime, if you are buying a laptop from an earlier generation, the best option for performance vs. price is the Intel Core i7 11800H processor, though a notable mention goes to AMD with their Ryzen 7 5800H mobile processor. Laptops with these CPUs on board cost around £1300 - £1400, and have serious punch per pound. Depending on the graphics card installed, you can expect to pay a few hundred less, but generally speaking these processors are reserved for gaming laptops.

The 12th-Gen mobile Alder Lake chips are the real winners here though, with a selection available across major brands.

CCL Recommends: Intel Alder Lake 12th-Gen Processors

 

Which Processor Is Best?

In a street race akin to Fast & Furious, the Alder Lake processors are going to be taking pink slips all day long, but that's only in a commercial setting. At the top end of the spectrum, AMD Threadripper processors, which are high-end workstation CPUs, are the fastest around and can process insane amounts of data concurrently. The price for AMD Threadrippers start at just under £1000, but can be as high as £5000.

The best performing processor right now is the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3995WX Zen 2, though is meant for heavy processing workloads (think 3D animation, CAD, video rendering etc.) and would in no way provide you with the best gaming performance.

If we were asking what the best all round processor is right now, then that would be the Intel Core i9 12900K, which is quite comfortable crunching data as much as it is streaming on Twitch while you play games. The unbridled power of the Alder Lake processor nips ahead of AMD's nearest rival - the Ryzen 9 5950X - in most benchmarks at 1080p, 1440p and 4K, though there are always exceptions. That said, overall, there is no better all-rounder than the Intel Core i9 12900K.

CCL Recommends: Intel Core i9 12900K Alder Lake-S CPU

 

Intel Core i9 12900K Alder Lake-S CPU

 

Which Processor Is Best For Gaming?

There's a pattern forming. You might have noticed.

Intel's i9-12900K is currently the best processor for gaming right now, quickly followed by the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X.

Which Processor Is Best Ryzen or Intel?

When it comes down to an Intel vs Ryzen question, there are multiple ways to answer. It used to be that AMD took the crown for gaming processors, but now Intel has jinked ahead with the Alder Lake chips. It also used to be that Intel could be beaten on price by AMD, but that is no longer the case.

The best processor (manufacturer) right now is Intel.... but that could change in 2022 with AMD's new CPU line-up just around the corner. So watch this space.

Which Processor Do I Need?

This question is extremely loaded, but the answer is: what do you need it for?

For gaming, consider the type of game you play, and select a graphics card as the primary performance aspect. A CPU that has excellent single thread performance, and a graphics card that is capable of delivering the performance you need for your type of game-playing.

For mid-level creative work and media editing, Intel's Alder Lake chips are ideal, but are closely matched in some respects by AMD Ryzen 9, just as they are in gaming benchmarks. You need a CPU that is good at handling heavy workload while remaining calm under pressure. right now, the scale tips in Intel's favour.

3D animation or 4K video work demands something powerful, and for this you are better served with a multi-threading beast like the AMD Threadripper.

Which Processor Do I Have?

To find this out, you just need to click the Start menu button on your PC and type in "System Information". Your processor will be shown here under "Processor".

Which Processor Supports Windows 11?

Visit the Windows 11 page on Microsoft.com, and you will find a System Health Checker at the bottom of the page. Download this small app and run it. This will tell you if your processor is compatible.

Alternatively, check this list.

Which Processor Is Best i5 Or i7?

Core i5 Processors are dual-core or quad-core and Core i7 processors are dual-core, quad-core and hex-core processor architectures. Core i7 processors also offer Hyper-Threading, which makes them capable of running more parallel tasks.

Core i7 also has a higher cache size (where instructions for processing are stored temporarily), with i5 having between 3MB-6MB and i7 4MB-8MB. The CPU control unit checks the cache for instructions before requesting any data from RAM. These instructions and data would otherwise be repeatedly requested from the RAM, which is an extremely inefficient process, and would result in CPU slowing down in performance.

There are other factors at play, but the above are the main ones for comparing i5 and i7 performance. Generally speaking, i7 is best, but i5 will suffice if you are budget conscious and do not need the extra functionality of an i7. For example, general workload of browsing, playing less demanding games, watching videos, spreadsheets or writing that novel will be fine on an Intel Core i5 CPU.

Which Processor Is Best For Laptop For Students

For general study workload, the AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor is a very affordable and capable piece of kit. You will find it in many student laptops, along with Radeon Graphics. When balancing the cost against workload performance, one brand manages to tick all of the boxes - Lenovo.

CCL Recommends: Lenovo Laptops for Students and Gaming Laptops for Students