Your CPU or processor is the heart of your new computer, it is the main chip which carries out all instructions and calculations needed to run your programs.

CPU Speed & Cores

Generally speaking the faster a processor runs the faster it can carry out instructions so all other things being equal a faster speed (GHz) means a faster computer.

Some processors have a Turbo speed which they can run at for short bursts of extra processing power when required, we list CPU's by base speed and include Turbo speeds if a chip is capable of it.

Cores are the number of instructions a CPU can process at the same time, a quad core CPU can carry out four different instructions simultaneously, often a quad core CPU running at a lower speed than a dual core processor can end up outperforming it in many tasks, this is highly software dependent though.

There is also a technology called HyperThreading which further optimises CPU Core performance and offers the operating system double the number processing threads to use over a none HyperThreaded chip, this can enhance multi-tasking performance further in some workloads. If a CPU has HyperThreading we display (HT) in the description.

Latest CPUs

Intel's latest mainstream CPUs are the 9th Generation Coffee Lake (Refresh) chips. You can work out which generation a processor is from as the first number in it's designation is the generation.

An i7 8700K is an 8th generation chip, the i5 9600K is a 9th generation chip.