If you're a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owner who’s just starting out, or if you need to upgrade your aging computers, choosing the correct central processing unit (CPU) for your machines can significantly enhance their overall performance. It will allow you and your employees to complete tasks faster, increasing your organization's productivity.
However, choosing a CPU is not as easy as it sounds. There are many things to consider, such as what motherboards your computers are using, what the available processors on the market are, and, of course, your budget. This article will provide you with helpful tips on how to choose the right CPU for your needs.
What do you use your computers for?
The tasks that you and your employees do on your computers will determine what type of CPU you will need.
Basic office tasks – If your employees do mostly office work, such as spreadsheets and word documents, then an entry-level CPU like an i5 processor will do fine. But if most of your employees multitask, then you might want to consider getting an AMD Ryzen 3 1300X, AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, or AMD Athlon 200GE. These CPUs normally go for around $50–$100.
Multimedia tasks – If your business is focused on graphic design and video editing, then you'll need something more powerful. Core i7, Core i9, and Ryzen 7 CPUs are perfect for handling tasks such as these. The average cost of these CPUs is around $250–$350.
3D Animation and other time-consuming tasks – For computers that render 3D animations and 4K videos, you'll need a powerhouse like the Intel Core X or AMD Threadripper. These CPUs are designed with up to 32 cores and are ideal for working with huge databases, complex programming, and extreme multitasking. These CPUs are the cream of the current crop and can cost you as much as $400 and up.
What generation should you pick?
Leading CPU manufacturers Intel and AMD roll out a new generation of processors at least every 12 to 18 months. These new generation processors are built better, faster, and more efficient than the previous ones. However, if you plan on getting the latest generation CPUs, your motherboard should be able to support them. If not, then you'll be stuck with choosing the older generation CPUs.
What CPU specs to look out for
Once you know what your computers will be used for and what CPU generation they can use, it's time to look at some key CPU specs they need.
Clock speed – Every CPU comes with its own clock speed, a base minimum, and a turbo maximum clock speed. When the clock speed is higher, the CPU can perform significantly faster. The latest CPUs can even adjust clock speed depending on their temperature and current task.
Core – A core is the heart of a processor. It allows the processor to handle multiple tasks at once. The CPUs of today come with two to 32 cores, with the majority having four to eight. For business computers, you need a CPU with at least four cores.
Threads – This refers to the number of processes a CPU can perform at once, which should be parallel to the number of cores. However, there are some CPUs that are capable of multi-threading. This is the ability of one core to create two threads. More threads allow your computers to perform better.
Thermal design profile/power (TDP) – TDP refers to the maximum amount of heat a CPU can generate at stock speeds. A CPU can produce more heat when overclocked. Knowing the TDP can help determine the type of cooler you need and if your power supply unit (PSU) can provide the CPU with enough power.
Intel or AMD?
AMD had always been considered an underdog in the CPU market. That was until they released their Ryzen/Threadripper 2000 series in 2017, which put them head to head with Intel. In the end, which brand you choose boils down to the specific needs and budget of your organization.
If you find it hard to choose what type of CPU is ideal for your business, you can request the help of a reputable managed IT services provider (MSP) such as Complete Document Solutions. Our IT specialist will provide you with the information you need to choose the CPU that's ideal for your business. Download our free eBook today to see if the time is right to partner with an MSP.