How Much CPU Do You Really Need? Pairing your CPU with the right Components. [Gaming]

There’s a couple of common misconceptions that many gaming PC buyers have when it comes to picking out the right PC and we thought it best to try and dispel some of the myths that might negatively effect your decision making when it comes to selecting the right components for your next custom gaming PC.

Now the following could be considered ‘overly generalized’ and yes there are always the odd exception to the general rule, but this article is just to point the less savvy shopper in the right direction and should be only the first stepping stone in your pre-purchase research.

 

Myth 1 : GHz Matter

A Bigger GHz number means better performance right? Not true. GHz is just a measure of the frequency at which the CPU cores are operating at, but the speed of CPU A at 3.0GHz and the speed of CPU B at 3.0GHz can have significant differences. In laymen’s terms it’s like comparing apples and oranges but for a real world example, the Intel Pentium G3258 over-clocked to 4.7GHz easily be significantly outperformed by the i5 4460 at 3.4GHz in almost every possible benchmark.

But why? Well that’s easy, not all cores are created equal. GHz in a CPU core can be thought about like RPMs in a car engine. Big engines simply produce more power at lower revs than their smaller counterparts.

 

Myth 2 : The better the CPU, the better the gaming performance!

Completely out of context you could argue that yes, the higher the model of CPU you have, the more gaming performance you will get however put in the context of a complete PC or laptop, this statement can be extremely misleading and disingenuous.

Multiple components effect gaming performance and while the CPU is one of them, others include memory [RAM], storage device [Hard Drive or SSD] and most importantly the video card [GPU]. Far too many retail so called ‘gaming’ PCs and Laptops try to sell themselves on the fact that they pack an i7 CPU while at the same time sporting a lacklustre GPU that completely kills real world gaming performance.

 

 

The Take Away, Buying the right CPU, not just the ‘best’est.

Here at Evatech we have built thousands of gaming PCs for customers with budgets ranging from the extremely humble to the jaw droppingly extravagant putting us in a relatively unique position of authority on the subject of maximising performance within a budget.

 

The one piece of advise we find ourselves repeating the most to customers looking for a custom gaming PC is  to allocate the lions share of the budget to the GPU, but making sure at the same time the other components don’t bottleneck it.

Every game is going to behave differently, relying more heavily on the CPU or Memory or GPU than others but as a general rule, the GPU is the king when it comes to a single component that directly effects gaming performance.

A rough idea of what we would consider the ‘sweet spot’ for price / performance ratios when it comes to pairing your CPU, memory & video card looks a little like this;

  • Top End –  i7 CPU  –  16GB RAM  –  GTX 980 / 980 TI, TITAN X or R9 390X
  • Mid Range –  i5 CPU  –  8GB RAM  –  GTX 960 / 970 or R9 380 / 380X
  • Budget –  i3 CPU  –  8GB RAM  –  GTX 750 TI / 950 or R9 370

In terms of storage devices (ie, hard drives vs SSD’s) this will effect load times but rarely actually effects in game performance unless there is underlying game engine issues. That being said, the load time differences can be significant and we always recommend an SSD is if it can be squeezed in to the budget.

 

To Summarize

If buying an off the shelf laptop or desktop for gaming don’t get fooled by big GHz numbers or shiny ‘Powered By Intel Core i7’ stickers. Take the time to actually delve in to the overall system specifications, especially the GPU. If your customising your own, do a bit a research and allocate that budget in a way that maximizes your performance per dollar.

Here at Evatech we do things a little differently, our sales staff are instructed to only ever make genuine recommendations and suggestions, are never instructed or incentivised to ‘up sell’ and actually know the products they are selling like the back of their hand. So if your considering a new custom gaming PC, no matter what level of knowledge you have in PC hardware, we would be more than happy to help. Shoot us an email, drop in to the store or give us a call!

 

What are you waiting for?

Let’s take what you’ve just learned and start customizing your next gaming PC, click here to get started.