For those who are in the process of customizing a new gaming computer from the ground up, one of the single most important components to consider is the CPU, or processor. Vital for numerous central tasks the machine will carry out, the processor serves as the foundation for much of your operations — and ensuring you’ve selected the right one is an important element.
At Xidax, gaming computers are our specialty — and we’ve helped numerous clients build the ideal gaming desktop, laptop or workstation. We assist with numerous components you may require, including the vital CPU. What are some of the most important factors to be thinking about when choosing your CPU? Here are a few to keep in mind.
Primary Computer Uses
The first and most important consideration for choosing your CPU is exactly what you’ll be using the machine for — and whether these primary uses involve only gaming, or perhaps other activities as well.
It’s important to note that not every processor out there is equally capable of handling your primary uses — and thus, it becomes important to choose one that can handle these tasks with ease. For instance, many gamers are interested in the newest processors on the market — however, if you’re planning on using this for high-end photo editing or constantly using other software, perhaps a more powerful unit would be in order.
In short, what will you use your CPU for? Understanding the primary uses is critical to choosing the right model for your needs.
And naturally, your available budget will be another major determinant in selecting your CPU — and, naturally, you’ll probably want to be looking at the highest quality possible without having to compromise too much on your budget. After all, you should always get what you pay for — or so goes the saying.
And while we can’t give a specific advice on how much each model will cost (that’s based on your location and other factors), the more you spend, the better capabilities you’ll be getting with each step up.
Now, it’s important to realize that you don’t necessarily have to max out your budget for a processor. While it’s always ideal to get the highest quality possible, you don’t necessarily have to be looking at the most expensive model on the market. This is especially true if most of your primary games have limited requirements.
Do You Desire Overclocking?
Overclocking is a practice that allows users to boost the speed of their processor, helping it improve performance while also increasing its capability. While it’s definitely important to consider whether you want overclocking capabilities, it’s equally as vital to look at the level of overlocking on offer.
For instance, some models allow for higher clock speeds with increased cooling, while others may only let you boost a little bit without requiring too much extensive cooling. And this is another major consideration — because if you don’t have the cooling to handle overclocking, you’ll end up damaging your CPU and rendering it useless.
If overclocking is something of interest, make sure the model you go with allows for this — and even more importantly, ensure that it’s equipped with enough thermal insulation and other components to keep itself within a safe range. And don’t forget overclocking will require a high-end motherboard as well, so be sure to check compatibility of components before making your purchase!
Another important element of your CPU choice will be ensuring compatibility with related parts. For instance, the CPU socket is a socket on the motherboard where the CPU is plugged in. If you want to upgrade your processor, make sure the motherboard you select can handle it — or if your case is large enough for other components, these may matter as well.
To find out what CPU socket and form factor your motherboard takes (not all are compatible with each other), we recommend checking out the manufacturer’s website. In most cases, though, compatibility comes down to whether the manufacturer is AMD or Intel — these two brands are typically compatible within their own realm, but usually not with each other.
Another area of compatibility, one that’s so important we’re mentioning it in its own section, is ensuring your CPU is paired with a motherboard with a proper chipset. Chipsets refer to the hardware component of the motherboard, and varies between different brands.
For instance, AMD CPUs are generally integrated with a 970 chipset whereas higher end Intel units tend to pair up with Z- or X- series chipsets. Chipsets determine compatibility with RAM as well as other components you may need for gaming, so always check out what chipset is compatible with your CPU before making your purchase.
Cooling is another vital area for any processor selection, especially if you’re going with a processor that can be overclocked — this process involves high levels of heat and can quickly damage and destroy your CPU if you don’t have adequate cooling. The stock heat sink and fan which comes with your CPU is usually sufficient for standard operation, but heavier overclocking may require the use of a more high-end cooling system to ensure safety.
Luckily, there are a variety of options available to you within the realm of third-party coolers. These come in a few different types, such as water- or air-based, and can be bought in a variety of prices.
For more on how to choose the ideal CPU for your gaming needs, or to learn about any of our gaming computers or other products, speak to the team at Xidax today.SHOP XIDAX