Like we have a brain to control all our body functions, computers also have a brain. The brain of a computer is called the “Processor”. With the name processor, you will always hear another word – The core. A core is the single processing unit inside a processor. At a single time, a core can only handle a single task. So, the more cores you have of course the more work you can do at a time.
Clock speed is another important fact which affects the power and the speed of a computer processor. The number of cycles a processor can execute per second is defined as the clock speed of a processor. A cycle is actually a pulse synchronized by an oscillator.
How to choose a processor considering the number of cores
Earlier processors just had a single core. But, nowadays most processors at least have two core units. General use laptops usually have 2 core processors like Intel core i7 10710U and AMD’s Ryzen 5 3500U with power-saving capabilities. These laptops are okay for general purposes but not good with multitasking. But, special laptops like gaming laptops or workstations laptops usually have processors with a minimum of four cores. Most new desktop computer processors have four or more cores. So, if you have the question laptop or desktop go for a desktop if you want to do many tasks at once. But, if you want mobility plus multitasking capabilities go for a workstation or gaming laptop with quad core processor.
For general multitasking processes like video encoding, graphic designing, 3d modeling a processor with four to eight cores can perform very well. But, more demanding tasks like server management, artificial intelligence, and deep learning advanced processors with a very high number of processors are recommended. The latest Intel’s Xenon series processors have up to 52 cores while the AMD’s epic processors have more than 128 cores in a single processor.
Some processors come with integrated graphics processing capabilities. If you are not willing to buy a graphic processing unit (GPU) always choose a processor with internal graphics. Some processors like AMD ryzen G series processors have very good and high-end graphic processing abilities. Tyzen 5 3400g processor has a vega 11 graphic processing unit. This unit has equal performance as Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 GPU.
How clock speed affect processing power
Simply the more is better. This means if you have a processor with a higher clock then it is faster. But, clock speed is NOT the only factor that affects the speed of a CPU. The clock speed of modern processors are measured in Gigahertz (GHz).
The ancestors of today’s processors like Intel 8080A (released in 1976) just had a base clock speed of 5 MHz. (Megahertz) One Gigahertz is equal to thousand megahertz. So, can you imagine how slow the old processors were? We are actually living in the future. The first Intel Pentium processors just had a clock speed of 100 MHz. The first processor to reach a Gigahertz range clock speed was AMD’s Athlon which was released in the 2000s.
The modern processors like Intel Core i7-8086K (5 GHz) and AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950x (4.6 GHz) have mind-blowing base clock speeds comparing to the processors we had 10 years ago.
Overclocking is using a processor in higher clock speed than what is recommended by the manufacturer. For heavy tasks like gaming, video encoding, 3d modeling, AI, deep learning and machine learning computers need to have a higher clock speed to acquire a good processing efficiency. So, the users can overclock the processor to acquire a high clock speed.
But, not all processors support overclocking. All modern AMD processors like the AMD FX series, AMD Ryzen Series, AMD Epyc Series, and AMD Threadripper series processors are unlocked and support overclocking. But, when it comes to the Intel series, only the K series processors are unlocked and capable of overclocking.
Overclocked processors consume a higher power than the recommended power. So, they generate more heat than a non overclocked processor. If you want to overclock your processor consider replacing the stock cooler with higher efficiency. Consider buying a liquid cooler or a mineral oil dipped build to effectively remove the excessive heat generated from the CPU.