What CPU is 'good enough' for your needs?

Hi,

I'm often being asked for friends and family to build them a PC. I usually base their systems on configurations that big brands offer on their websites (Dell, Acer, etc), because I find it hard to estimate what CPU is going to be fast enough for their needs and I'd rather have them spend a little more than to go cheap and have them regret it.

In the system for my dad, for instance, which was one of the first I built, I put an AMD A8-5600, which proved to be waaaayy overkill.

Can anyone offer any tips or suggestions on choosing a CPU, and what to consider (# cores, clock speed, etc.)?

Thanks in advance

- Robin

There's not really anything to consider. You can't buy a processor too slow for Facebook. Even the 38 dollar Semprons can do that.

If a 90 dollar processor and GPU combo is way overkill for whatever someone is doing, that's just how it goes. Most people don't need much power.

That A8 is actually perfect for light gaming (that is, medium settings in most games) and office work, at a price even the cheapest computer-hating bastard would agree to. Great choice for almost anybody.

Personally, I think all you need for Facebook and e-mail is a Pentium Dual-Core, or some equivalent for AMD. Maybe 2.3-2.5 GHz per core, and they should be golden.

For gaming at low-level, get them an APU from AMD. My brother has a A8-3870, and it works wonders. (Though it's discontinued.)

For higher level gaming, get them an i5. i7's are a waste of money imho unless you're editing video or compiling/decompiling code constantly.

Thanks for the tips! I often hesitate to give people an i3 because it seems to be the 'underdog' of the Core family, but if I understand correctly, that's gonna be fine for most people?

A desktop i3 is WAY faster than the mobile i5's and i7's in laptops. An i3 is a tough chip that can do some serious analysis. I personally would go for FX-4350 or fx-6350 because the AMD motherboards are so much cheaper.

Tak the money you save and buy RAM. People will acutally use 6-8gb of RAM. The same goes for an SSD. Most folks would prefer an AMD FX-4350 with a $70 motherboard running 4gb of RAM with the OS on an SSD over a 4770k with 8gb of RAM on an ROG board because the former is "faster." This is not a joke. This actually happened.

Wow that's amazing, gotta remember that! Thanks!

I agree with the other guys here. If it's just a web browsing machine then an Intel Pentium/Celeron dual core is plenty.

I'd spend the extra buying them an ssd as the faster boot times would be far more noticeable for someone who just uses a pc for web browsing/email 99% of the time.