Is Pentium processor for games in 2019

CPU purchase advice 2021: AMD vs. Intel in comparison

The CPU is the heart of the PC and a bad buy has a significant impact on the fun when playing and the speed when working. Choosing the right CPU is not easy, as it is teeming with cryptic terms such as cores, clock rate and cache. Before we come to concrete recommendations, therefore, first an introduction to the basics.

AMD or Intel?

In the PC market, AMD and Intel are the most important CPU manufacturers. For years, Intel was clearly ahead of the competition in terms of performance. That has changed fundamentally since 2017. At that time, AMD caught up with the Zen Core architecture and the Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs based on it almost overnight. In many cases, the CPUs today even offer a better price / performance ratio. So it no longer always has to be Intel.

It is only important that the CPU and mainboard match. An AMD CPU requires a mainboard with AMD chips, an Intel CPU a mainboard with Intel chips. In contrast, Intel SSDs work just as easily in computers with AMD CPUs as AMD graphics cards in Intel-based PCs.

AMD: Athlon, Ryzen and Threadripper explained

AMD's current CPU offering consists of two families. The large group of Ryzen CPUs joins the small family of Athlon CPUs (intended for low budget PCs). Within Ryzen, AMD further subdivides it into Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and 9 and Ryzen Threadripper. Within the model name of a CPU there are suffixes and capital letters for special properties:

  • A "Pro" designates AMD's chips with additional services for business customers that are of little relevance for private users and small businesses (for example a guaranteed availability period)
  • "G" stands for CPUs with an integrated graphics chip (see below)
  • "E" stands for CPUs that are aimed at PC manufacturers and, for example, enable certain designs by operating with a fixed wattage. Models without the "E" suffix offer more flexibility. International OEMs can also have "GE" CPUs in their portfolio.
  • With a few exceptions, "X" and "XT" (up to Ryzen 3000) indicate variants of an original model with increased performance. For example, the Ryzen 5 3600X is a slightly more powerful variant of the Ryzen 5 3600, which in turn is surpassed by the Ryzen 5 3600XT. Occasionally, AMD reissues CPUs without such a mark. If you encounter the same CPU several times in a shop, it could be because of this.

CPUs are being developed from generation to generation, which is reflected in the model names. AMD numbers its Ryzen generations in steps of 1000. This is why models of the first generation had names like "Ryzen 3 1200" and "Ryzen 7 1700", while CPUs of the third generation were called, for example, "Ryzen 3 3200" and "Ryzen 7 3700". AMD skipped 4000 on the desktop market and introduced Ryzen 5000 in October 2020.

In practice you will also come across the following terms:

  • Ryzen 1000: "Summer Ridge"
  • Ryzen Threadripper 1000: "Whitehaven"
  • Ryzen 2000 APUs: "Raven Ridge"
  • Ryzen 2000: "Pinnacle Ridge"
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2000: "Colfax"
  • Ryzen 3000 APUs: "Picasso"
  • Ryzen 3000: "Matisse"
  • Ryzen Threadripper 3000: "Castle Peak"
  • Ryzen 4000 APUs: "Renoir"
  • Ryzen 5000: "Vermeer"

Intel: Core i, Celeron and Pentium Gold explained

At Intel, the CPU families are called Celeron and Pentium Gold as well as Core i. The Core i CPUs are made up of the sub-categories Core i3, i5, i7 and i9. Within the model name of a CPU, capital letters stand for special properties:

  • "F" indicates Intel's CPUs without an integrated graphics unit (see below).
  • "K" indicates CPUs whose performance can be increased particularly well by overclocking.

Intel simply numbered CPU generations and last arrived at generation 11. This results in a current CPU name such as Core i5-11600, in which the "11" after the hyphen indicates the generation. Intel recently gave its desktop CPU generations the following names:

  • Generation 9: Coffee Lake-S Refresh
  • Generation 10: Comet Lake-S
  • Generation 11: Rocket Lake-S

Rough classification of the CPU performance

With this knowledge, you can now roughly estimate the performance of CPUs:

  • Within a generation, the performance increases as stated above, i.e. a Ryzen Threadripper is faster than a Ryzen 9, which in turn is faster than a Ryzen 5 and a Core i9 leads a Core i7.
  • New generation CPUs are typically faster, but also more expensive than their predecessors.
  • AMD Athlon and Ryzen 3 as well as Celeron, Pentium Gold and Core i3 all play in the entry-level category.
  • The middle class are Ryzen 5 and Core i5.
  • The upper class consists of Ryzen 7 and Core i7.
  • Ryzen Threadripper and Core i9 are high-end processors.

On the next page we answer typical questions. What do cores and threads mean, do you need an integrated graphics chip and what does boxed or tray mean? Then you will find our CPU recommendations for gaming, professional work or the sophisticated everyday multimedia office routine.