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Processors: How many cores and GigaHertz do you need?

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Every year we witness companies battling each other for faster processors with more cores and higher clock speeds. But what do these numbers actually mean? And how many cores and what speed do you actually need?

Smartphone and computer processor manufactures continue the race for ‘better’ processors by throwing numbers at the consumer. The question is, what makes a ‘better’ processor?

Well, the answer is quite subjective here. A processor which is good for someone might be a complete nightmare for someone else. The entire dilemma revolves around how you use your device.

Let’s talk about computers first. Your processor choice would be determined by what are you planning to do with your computer. If it’s a simple everyday task like web browsing, making/editing documents, multimedia usage and so on, a dual-core i3 might be sufficient for you.

However, if you plan to play the latest games at the highest graphics settings, you will need all the CPU cores you can get. Plus if you’re looking to stream games at the same time, more cores and a higher base clock speed.

Basically, if you’re planning to multitask a lot on your computer, you’d need more cores. If you’re not going to be taxing your computer that much, you can get away with lesser cores. A higher base clock speed would still be beneficial.

Pretty much the same goes for smartphones. If you’re a power user and will be running multiple apps and games in the background, you’re going to need a faster CPU with more cores.

Also read: Does force shutting down your PC hurt the CPU?

How to choose the right processor?

Processors: How many cores and GigaHertz do you need for gaming

As mentioned above, this is a highly subjective answer. Still, we can give you some pointers to follow along.

For basic everyday use

If you’re not going to do a lot on your computer and will just be using it for everyday tasks, a dual-core i3 or i5 will suffice your needs. The base clock speed will be somewhere around 2-3 GHz.

It is suggested that you get at least the 7th generation version of these processors. These processors will not only crush everyday tasks but will also be able to handle some light gaming and content creation.

For content creation/professional use

If you’re planning on doing something like a photo or video editing, or coding, a minimum of four cores is suggested. Look for a base clock speed of around 3 GHz minimum.

In such situations, only be limited by your budget. The more cores in your CPU, the better it’ll handle these tasks. CPU cores matter more here as such tasks tend to be more CPU intensive.

For Gaming/Streaming

Again, the more cores the better. Aim for a range of 4-6 CPU cores with a base clock speed of 3-4 GHz. You’re looking at processors like the 8th gen i7.

Streaming is an extremely CPU intensive task. If you don’t have a good CPU, your games will lag while streaming. Overall, it’ll be a nightmare. So we’d recommend shelling out more on a better CPU.

Also read: What is L1, L2, and L3 CPU cache? How does it work?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: