Contact Us Today! 1-844-237-4300

Central Technology Solutions Blog

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part I: Choosing the Right CPU

Desktop Buyer’s Guide 2019, Part I: Choosing the Right CPU

Are you looking to purchase a new desktop for your business (or for home)? We’ve put together this handy guide to help demystify the computer-buying process. This is the first part of five in our series, selecting the right CPU.

First, Determine the Computer’s Role

You can narrow down your search a whole lot just by deciding exactly what you want the desktop for. There are many major differences between a computer suitable for someone in your billing department and for someone who needs to edit video.

For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus a little more on the lower-to-medium end, because as you get into audio/video production or gaming, the roof can be raised to almost no limit.

Remember, You Can Usually Upgrade Down the Road, But...

A desktop computer that is designed for basic office work can usually be upgraded, but don’t expect to take a low-end desktop and upgrade it to a high-end gaming system. Laptops are a whole different story. Some can be upgraded a little, others can’t, but as a rule of thumb, assume you won’t be turning a low-end laptop into a high-performance rig.

Making Sense of the Specifications

When shopping around, you’ll typically see a few components listed on the desktop’s spec sheet. Let’s talk about one of the big specifications to pay attention to, the CPU.


The CPU determines, in essence, how much your computer can do at once and how quickly it does it. There are two brands you’ll run into; Intel and AMD.

Intel has tried to simplify this otherwise complicated specification by tiering out their CPUs, the Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9. The higher the number, the more powerful the CPU is. AMD is starting to follow a similar path to simplify their naming convention, but both brands make both low-end and high-end CPUs. Let’s look at some of the most common you see today:

Intel Core i3 - This tier is okay for real low-end work. We’re talking editing documents, checking email, and surfing the web. The latest generation of Core i3 processors are strong enough to handle streaming video services like YouTube and Netflix without too much trouble.

Intel Core i5 - The i5 will do what the i3 can do a little faster, and you’ll have no problem streaming a little video, doing some light photo editing, and maybe playing a game or two if it isn’t too taxing on your system. This is a pretty solid choice for the typical office workstation.

Intel Core i7 - This is where the price starts to climb. Core i7 CPUs are geared towards high-end systems for video editing and gaming.

Intel Core i9 - The i9 tier is fairly new, and at this point is pretty overkill for what most people need out of their desktop. If you are building out a computer for 3D animation, rendering, gaming while streaming, scientific calculations, etc., then this might be the way to go, but the price tag for this CPU alone can be several thousands of dollars.

AMD Ryzen 3 - AMD’s low end model is, to simplify things, on par with the Intel Core i3. You’ll be able to edit documents and surf the web, but not a whole lot else without straining the system.

AMD Ryzen 5 - Conveniently enough, the Ryzen 5 is in about the same tier as the Intel Core i5. You’ll pay a little more than the Ryzen 3, and get some more performance out of your desktop. Expect to handle typical office work, stream video, and light photo editing and gaming.

AMD Ryzen 7 - Seeing a pattern? The Ryzen 7 is AMD’s answer to the Intel Core i7. Just like the i7, the cost of the CPU starts to climb pretty significantly compared to the lower-end models.

AMD Threadripper - Here’s where we get into overkill territory for most use. The Threadripper is designed for heavy loads like 3D animation, gaming while broadcasting your stream, and other intense computing that a typical workstation doesn’t tend to experience.

When Does the GHz Matter?
The nice thing about Intel and AMD arranging their CPUs into tiers is that you can almost always ignore the clock speed. When helping non-technical friends and family pick out a computer, I always tell them that the CPU speed, which is measured in gigahertz, is for nerds to care about. The higher the number, the faster the CPU, and the more it costs. Until you get to the point where you are building a server or high-end gaming PC, you can definitely just worry about the tiers instead of the GHz.

Does the Number of Cores Matter?
Cores are the number of processors built within the main processor. Typically, shoot for at least four cores unless you are on a serious budget. For gaming and video editing and higher-end tasks, more cores can start to matter, but even then, most of the time it caps off at eight. There are processors out there with dozens of cores, but typically these are designed for servers or specific situations.

One more tip: Usually, getting last generation’s CPU doesn’t save you much money, and as long as you get something recent you should be good. You don’t need to get bleeding edge or wait for the next line of CPUs to come out either, unless you are really trying to hit the very peak of high-end performance and are willing to spend top dollar to make it happen.

Next time, we’ll demystify other pain points of the desktop buying process! Keep in mind, if you need help purchasing computers for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to Central Technology Solutions. You can call and talk to one of our experienced IT professionals at 1-844-237-4300.

Using the Private Cloud Adds Security to Your Data...
You Can Benefit from Productivity Consultations


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Wednesday, June 03 2020

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

Join our mailing list!

  • Company Name *
  • First Name *
  • Last Name *

      Mobile? Grab this Article!

      QR-Code dieser Seite

      Tag Cloud

      Security Tip of the Week Technology Best Practices Business Computing Productivity Cloud Privacy Hosted Solutions Data IT Services Network Security Data Backup Email Malware Internet Hackers Software IT Support Efficiency Outsourced IT Innovation Microsoft Business Data Recovery Productivity Computer Mobile Devices Managed IT Services Hardware Google Upgrade Business Continuity IT Support Small Business Cloud Computing Backup Cybersecurity Ransomware Tech Term User Tips Collaboration Communication Phishing Managed IT Services Workplace Tips Windows 10 Managed Service Provider Business Management Disaster Recovery Smartphones Internet of Things VoIP Android Smartphone Paperless Office Social Media Remote Monitoring Data Management communications Facebook Managed IT Encryption Mobile Device Managed Service Office 365 Network Browser Quick Tips Save Money Artificial Intelligence Server Windows 10 Windows Virtualization Saving Money BDR Miscellaneous Holiday Help Desk Risk Management Wi-Fi BYOD Passwords Windows 7 App Vendor Management Password Automation Government Mobile Device Management Document Management Healthcare Apps Compliance Business Technology Health Microsoft Office Big Data Recovery Applications Laptops Analytics Users Chrome Unified Threat Management Avoiding Downtime Employer-Employee Relationship Firewall Bandwidth Remote Work Robot Training Bring Your Own Device Gmail Going Green Office File Sharing Processor Computers Wireless Storage IT Management Redundancy Tip of the week Scam Antivirus Project Management Two-factor Authentication Apple Hosted Solution Infrastructure Website Data Security Data loss Vulnerability Money Information SaaS Data storage Content Filtering Telephone Systems Blockchain Computing Mobility Budget IT Service OneDrive Information Technology Tablet Operating System Company Culture Meetings Gadgets Printing Files RMM Unified Communications Remote Computing Settings Proactive Software as a Service Politics Flexibility Downtime Work/Life Balance VPN Router Maintenance Customer Service Social Customer Relationship Management Virtual Reality Virtual Private Network IoT Access Control Regulations Machine Learning Sports Electronic Health Records Uninterrupted Power Supply Co-Managed IT Covid-19 Consultation Mobile Security Monitoring Monitors Bitcoin Employees Electronic Medical Records Professional Services Managed Services Alert Mouse Recycling Word Search Outlook Utility Computing Consulting Mobile Office Augmented Reality Google Drive How To Samsung Dark Web Private Cloud Spam Tech Support Business Growth WiFi Managed Services Provider Chromebook YouTube The Internet of Things Employee-Employer Relationship Digital Payment Time Management Networking Management Patch Management Smart Technology Mobile Computing Remote Monitoring and Management Websites Identity Theft Hacker Administration Licensing Social Network Net Neutrality Solid State Drive LiFi Upgrades Education Remote Workers File Management Network Management Wireless Technology Legal Twitter Current Events IT solutions Hard Drive Assessment Internet Exlporer Display Payment Cards Server Management HIPAA How To End of Support Cooperation Typing Cache Specifications Hacks Test GPS Office Tips Windows Server Lenovo Marketing Star Wars Update Telephone Statistics Legislation IT Technicians High-Speed Internet Unsupported Software Virus Video Conferencing Address Permissions Nanotechnology Best Practice Disaster Resistance SharePoint Staff Buisness Crowdsourcing Conferencing Wireless Internet Digital Business Telephone Obstacle Break Fix Social Networking Asset Tracking Supercomputer Unified Threat Management Hotspot Cyberattacks G Suite History Social Engineering USB Manufacturing Optimization Black Friday Roanoke — Central Technology Solutions MSP Tracking Security Cameras User Management Superfish Google Maps Transportation Mobile VoIP Bluetooth Mirgation Windows 8 Save Time Development Zero-Day Threat Taxes Mobile Data Biometric Fraud Screen Reader Virtual Assistant Vendor Proactive IT Downloads Identities Managing Stress Instant Messaging Employer/Employee Relationships Spyware IT Assessment Course Motherboard OneNote IT Budget User Error Language eWaste Read Only Cabling Safety Hard Disk Drives Virtual Machines Shortcut Cyber Monday technology services provider Tech Terms Dark Data Personal Information Remote Worker Batteries Google Wallet Cyber security Migration Outsource IT Cables Backup and Disaster Recovery Projects Firefox Gamification Smart Tech Wasting Time Smart Devices Heating/Cooling IT Consulting Operations Hard Drives Google Docs Enterprise Content Management Finance Point of Sale Notifications Proactive Maintenance Digitize Data Warehousing Computing Infrastructure Cybercrime Black Market Solid State Drives WannaCry Credit Cards Technology Assurance Group ’s 18 Humor Theft ROI Drones Cost Management E-Commerce Sync Writing Emoji Teamwork Hacking Technology Tips Chatbots Laptop Backups Wires Telephony Human Error Return on Investment Network Congestion Database Sensors Servers Data Breach Multi-Factor Security Wearable Technology Vulnerabilities Law Enforcement Authentication Database Management Shadow IT Microsoft Excel Modem Deep Learning Connectivity Public Cloud Notes Printer Alerts Enterprise Resource Planning Bookmarks Travel Options Holidays Distributed Denial of Service Annual Convention Virtual Desktop WPA3 Botnet Financial Computer Repair Alt Codes Features Mobile Device Managment Software Tips Retail Cortana Shared resources Disaster Windows Server 2008 Trending Comparison Identity Remote Working Permission Physical Security Active Directory Automobile Computer Care Voice over Internet Protocol Technology Laws Google Calendar Cryptocurrency Geography Gadget Authorization 3D Printing GDPR Outsourcing Mail Merge Cookies PowerPoint Value of Managed Services Touchscreen Techology Mobile Favorites Processors 5G VoIP IT Sponsor Managed IT Service San Diego Fleet Tracking Procurement Regulation Administrator CCTV Relocation Webcam Hard Disk Drive Students IT Consultant Error Printers Emergency Web Server CrashOverride Cameras Motion Sickness