Which processor do I need?
A computer processor, or central processing unit (CPU), is the brain inside your computer. And the right processor for you will depend on your needs. If you’re a light computer user who just needs something for emails, websites, and YouTube, then a simple dual core processor is an excellent choice. If you’re a gamer, or starting to get into some basic photo and video editing, then look into a quad core processor. Finally, if you’re an industry professional looking for the best, look towards processors with 6 or more cores for the best performance.
Your processor also determines the chipset you will be using, so be sure to look at all the features different chipsets offer. Some processors offer dedicated virtualization architectures while others may be better suited for extreme overclocking.
How many cores do I need?
The more complex your task, the more cores you will need. For most general users, two cores will be plenty. But for more intensive tasks such as gaming or photo editing, you will need a quad core processor to keep up and maintain smooth performance. Certain Intel processors come with Hyper Threading, which simulate virtual cores to allow for better multitasking.
Do I need to buy a separate CPU cooler?
Most processors will come with a stock CPU cooler that is more than adequate to cool the processor. The main reasons to upgrade from a stock CPU cooler include lower temperatures, lower noise levels, and even just something that looks better. The best bang for your buck is a new tower style CPU cooler with heatpipes, while the absolute best cooling performance usually comes from liquid cooled solutions. Aftermarket CPU coolers often come with larger fans which have higher airflow, higher static pressure, and lower noise levels. Finally, some high end processors do not have a CPU cooler included as power users tend to upgrade these anyways.