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Why Is Fast CPU Important and How Fast Should It Be?

The processor needs to be fast enough to handle the usage, but it can be difficult to determine how fast it is. Your computer’s CPU speed can have a significant impact on the performance.

What Does It Do?

Prior to understanding the speed of a computer’s central processing unit (CPU), it is pretty significant for you to understand the capabilities and behaviors of the processor. You can think of the CPU as the heart of your personal computer. It takes a lot of components to make it work, but without them, the computer wouldn’t be alive.

The CPU receives information from applications and programs, decodes it, and converts it into action. This can be anything from launching a game to saving a Word document.

The CPU does much of the PC’s legwork, but also sends data to other components such as the GPU and memory. These components do their works by performing actions such as displaying visual effects on your monitor or make information instantly accessible from your web browser.

What Are CPU Cores? What Is Clock Speed?

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

When the central processing unit was first developed, it consisted of a single processor core. Currently, quad-core and octa-core processors are widely available, including processors with up to 64 cores.

If the CPU has multiple physical cores, the central processing unit can process and execute multiple data strings at the same time. Therefore, when you turn on your computer and load web browsers, music streaming apps, and games, multi-core processors can perform these tasks faster and more efficiently than single-core processors.

As the CPU core pushes higher numbers, the performance comparison between CPUs becomes slightly narrower. Take the Ryzen 9950X and Ryzen 9 5900X as an example. The 5950X has 16 cores and the 5900X has 12 cores.

Benchmarks show that the Ryzen 9950X slightly outperforms the Ryzen 9 5900X with scores of 46,214 and 39,473, respectively, despite being about the same except for the CPU core and clock speed. According to the benchmark conducted by CPU Benchmark, the single thread rating of 5950X is 3,501, while that of 5900X is 3,494.

On the other side, if you compare the 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 3600X with the 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X, you’ll see a big difference in performance. The central processing unit mark of the 5900X is 39,473 but the 3600X is 18,287, which is far behind.

Processor Usage Check

Before organizing how rapid your computer’s central processing unit has to be, it’s crucial to recognize your processor usage but you shouldn’t make investments loads of bucks into a brand new processing unit just to discover if you make the most of your current processor.

To easily see CPU usage on Windows 10 or 11, press Ctrl + Alt + Del, then select Task Manager. CPU utilization is displayed below the central processing unit column and will vary depending on the application, game, or browser you have open.

For macOS users, launch the Activity Monitor app on your Mac and choose the CPU tab at the top. It shows the total CPU percentage of each process over time.

Total system and user CPU utilization are displayed at the bottom of Activity Monitor along with a CPU utilization graph.

CPU utilization at idle (when not actively using the application) should be approximately 2% – 4%. It can reach 10%, but as long as it is less than 10%, CPU utilization can be considered to be about the average of CPU and OS.

Using an internet browser such as Google Chrome can increase central processing unit usage by up to 15%, which can exceed that depending on the number of open tabs. You can reduce processor usage by closing unnecessary tabs.

If you watch YouTube videos or use a video player, you can expect an average central processing unit usage of 515%.

However, when it comes to games, powerful and fast central processing units play an active role. For demanding games and AAA releases, central processing unit utilization is often between 30% -70%. If the CPU is not using all the cores or is not fast enough, the usage will spike and often exceed 70% without dropping again. When the CPU reaches its limit, the game may crash as a safety feature to prevent the CPU from overheating and damaging your computer.

If you’re willing to enjoy the latest games on your personal computer, it’s worth investing in a 3.5GHz or 4GHz CPU and a GPU with 8GB RAM and 6GB VRAM or higher to avoid bottlenecks and overheating problems.

Should You Get a Fast CPU?

Routine tasks on the computer such as web browsing, basic productivity, and watching videos are not considered to be hardware intensive and do not require a fast central processing unit. A processor above 1.3GHz is sufficient for this type of tasks.

However, if you are an avid gamer or video editor, or if you are using the applications required for 3D animation or engineering software, it is better for your computer to have a fast processor (about 3.5 GHz or higher).

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