Five myths about processors that should be forgotten once and for all

The general purpose consumer processor market for PCs is currently enjoying a golden age thanks to strong competition between Intel and AMD and the quality and good price of products offered by both companies. This makes buying a good processor cheaper and easier today than it was a couple of years ago, but at the same time makes it harder to make a decision, since we have so many to choose from.

On the other hand, we must also keep in mind that the myths that still exist around processors can not only complicate our choice even more, but also lead to making the wrong decision, which, in the end, will lead to collapse. a bad decision, an investment, and it can give us a lot of problems and even cause us to prematurely update the said component.

I am aware of all the problems that these myths cause, which is why today I want to share with you five CPU myths that didn’t make sense for a long time, or never made sense at all, and that we need to overcome. once and forever. We will explain each of these myths in detail, understand why they are not true, and if necessary, we will make additional clarifications so that you are not left in doubt.

1. The most expensive processors are always better because they give more

This is not true, at least not strictly speaking, since a much more expensive processor than another may be more powerful, but this does not mean that it will be better in all cases, as it will ultimately depend on the real needs of the user. , applications, programs and games that you use, as well as other components of your computer.

Let’s look at this with an example. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is better than the Ryzen 7 5800X in games but falls short in other applications and costs 509 euros, while the Ryzen 7 5800X can be bought for around 350 euros. The price difference between the two is big and the performance difference is small, so the Ryzen 7 5800X is clearly the better option.

We also have to consider, when we touch on this myth, the question of the use we are going to give the processor. Let’s now move on to the Intel processor example. The Core i9-12900K is a very powerful chip that delivers very high performance in single-threaded and multi-threaded modes, and greatly outperforms the Core i5-12600K with more cores and threads. However, in games and everyday applications, the performance of both is very similar, which makes the Core i5 -12600K is the best option for the average user.

Buying a more expensive processor does not necessarily translate into better performance, in fact, we may not see any improvement if we typically use applications that are not ready to take advantage of the more cores and threads offered by more expensive processors.

Returning to the previous example, the Core i5-12600K has 10 cores (6 P cores and 4 E cores) and 16 threads, while the Core i9-12900K has 16 cores (8 P cores and 8 E cores) and 24 threads. Both of them work almost equally in games and in many applications for this very reason, since most of them are not able to take advantage of configurations with more than six cores.

2. AMD processors get hotter than Intel processors and perform worse.

This is a myth that has been very relevant for decades and remains another classic, focusing on brand reputation and prejudice, as well as the trend towards simplification that consumers themselves have. It’s true that Intel has had generations of processors far superior to AMD’s, but AMD has also managed to outperform Intel on numerous occasions, and today the two companies are head-to-head in this sector.

By that I mean yes, there were generations of AMD processors that ran hotter and performed worse than Intel of their generations such as the FX Bulldozer , but Intel found itself in that situation too, really we just remember Cypress Cove based Core Gen11. which ran hotter and performed worse than the Zen 3 based Ryzen 5000.

However, the problem here is generalization, assuming that AMD processors always run hotter and run less than Intel processors, because this is simply not true, and it directly depends on the generation we are talking about. Right now, both the Ryzen 5000 and Core Gen12 offer great performance and fantastic value.

To be fair, the Intel Core Gen12 wins in single-threaded performance and AMD in multi-threaded performance thanks to the Ryzen 9 5950X, which adds 16 cores and 32 threads. The Zen 3 architecture is also more power-optimized and more efficient, though Intel has greatly improved it with Alder Lake-S over Rocket Lake-S.

3. AMD processors use legacy technology.

This is a myth that has always been present, although it became more relevant when it was announced that the first generation of Ryzen would use a modular design (MCM). Immediately there were voices that AMD was sticking chips to try to keep up with Intel, when in fact Intel itself has already done this with previous generations of processors, such as the Pentium D or the excellent Core 2 Quad.

Just how good the Core 2 Quads were was a clear indication that “gluing the chips” was a good idea, and although the first-gen Ryzen got off to a somewhat bumpy start, they ended up just confirming that AMD is back up and running. correct track. The modular design has allowed AMD to democratize 6- and 8-core processors in the mainstream consumer market so much that we’ve gone from having to pay over $1,000 for an 8-core, 16-thread processor to options available for less than $400.

True, in its first generation, Ryzen’s modular design was in a clear position of inferiority to Intel’s monolithic design, especially in terms of IPC and memory support at high frequencies, but with Zen 2, that has completely changed. and Zen 3 was the epitome of AMD’s modular design. He surpassed Intel in every way and, of course, kept many mouths shut.

We return to the generalization problem again. Both Intel and AMD had generations that were inferior to the generations of their rival, but from here to talk about outdated technologies and generalize by brand is a whole world, and this is complete absurdity. Today, both giants use cutting-edge architectures, state-of-the-art nodes with huge transistor densities, and offer a wide range of top-notch technologies.

4. It’s always better to buy a processor that far exceeds our actual needs.

This is a myth that at first glance seems logical, as it is justified in terms of investment and processor life. We think that buying a much better processor than what we really need will result in a higher investment as well as a longer lifespan, allowing us to better amortize the money spent. Seems like a success, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, and I’ll tell you why.

To better understand this, let’s take a concrete example. At that time, many users got into the core race and bought the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor. The mentioned chip still delivers good performance today and is very efficient even in professional applications thanks to its 8 cores and 16 threads configuration. However, it still cannot reach its full potential in games and in most modern applications, meaning that after five years its multi-threaded capabilities are still underused.

At the single-threaded performance level, it has been vastly outperformed by the various generations that have hit the market, meaning that the Core i3-12100F, which only has 4 cores and 8 threads and costs €118.99, performs better in most cases than the Ryzen 7 1700. which at that time cost about 369 euros.

Buying a processor far beyond your needs will force you to spend more money on something that you will not only not use in the medium to long term, but may never really use it and will be vastly outclassed in a couple of generations. . You will make a bad investment because you will spend money on something that you never used. For this reason, ideally one should buy a processor that matches what we really need, or at best, only a little higher.

Again, let’s look at another example. If we’re only going to use our PC for office automation, multimedia and light gaming, we’ll be more than satisfied with a dual core and quad wire processor like the Pentium Gold 6000 series which costs just over 60 euros, although the smartest thing would be to install a Core i3-10100F , which has 4 cores and 8 threads and costs only 78 euros. Buying a more powerful processor would not be worth it.

If we are going to use a PC to play a game, it makes no sense to buy a processor with less than 4 cores and 8 threads, and it is not necessary to buy a processor with more than 6 cores and 12 threads, because in the end, games will not scale on higher configurations , and therefore these will depend more on the frequency of operation and IPC. So in this case, a Ryzen 5 5600X or even a modestly priced Core i5-10400F would be very good options. The Core i5-12600K would also be a great option due to the very high IPC.

5. The most important thing is the cores and threads of the processor.

This is another very serious myth that can lead to completely wrong purchases. The most important thing when choosing a processor is what you are going to use it for, since this will determine the aspects that you should prioritize when buying. So, for example, a person who wants to use their computer for gaming should prioritize IPC and CPU cores, but give more importance to the former, because:

This explains why the Core i3-12100F, which only has 4 cores and 8 threads, can outperform the Ryzen 7 1700, which has 8 cores and 16 threads. The key is in these three points and the huge advantage of the first over the second both in IPC and in operating frequencies.

On the other hand, a person who is going to use his computer to work with professional applications that require a high degree of parallelism should give priority to the number of cores and threads. In these cases it makes sense to sacrifice IPC to get more cores and it would be better to buy Ryzen 9 3900X before Ryzen 7 5800X to give a simple example.

However, we must be very careful in this matter, especially if we use our equipment for work and play, because in these cases it is easy to make a mistake, even if we clearly understand everything that has just been said. Ideally, you need to look for some balance, but if you clearly understand that one is more important to you than the other, you should give it priority when choosing a processor.

A processor with a large number of cores and threads can provide high performance in multi-threaded environments, but at the same time, its performance in games can be very slow, just like a processor with a small number of cores and threads can be very slow. bad, good in games, but very bad in multi-threaded environments. Forget about this myth and understand that the most important thing about a processor will depend on the actual use you are going to give it, without further ado.

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