Building a Computer Step by Step – CPU Buying Guide

Hello again friends! Thank you for reading through our guide on building a computer and hopefully you have learned something! On the previous post, we went over choosing a graphics card and you definitely will want to read into that article in case you missed it because today we will be adding its partner – the CPU(Central Processing Unit). This CPU buying guide will hopefully TEACH you how to shop for a CPU and UNDERSTAND what the specs mean.

The Central Processing Unit

The CPU is probably as equally as important as the GPU. I would tell you what GPU means, but that is in the last posts lesson, ha. Basically, these two are partners and they have to be of equal strength. Imagine having a super buff arm and then a super skinny one. When you go to lift something, one side is going to give out or Bottleneck the other.

The CPU is the brains of a computer and is responsible for handling programs. When you run something, there is AI or some other process going on that needs the “brains” to process it. This is what the CPU does.

When buying a CPU, you will want to consider the performance, price, and compatibility.

What CPU Do I Need?

Firstly, you will want to assess the reason you are building this computer. Gaming? Work? You have to find the reason for the price. There are two types of CPU’s:

  1. single-threaded
    • Computers that browse the web, use Microsoft Office, and stream
  2. multi-threaded.
    • Used for photo editing, video games, and high demanding software.

CPU Explained

So, you may wonder what is a CPU and all these crazy numbers?? Good question because this is really confusing to everyone and hopefully this CPU buying guide will help when you go to purchase yours.

Firstly, there are the good old product range names. I3, I5, and I7. I5-4690k, the I5 is the product type, so an I7 would be the most recent which means it will be better most of the time.

Secondly, just like the graphics cards, these indicate the generation of the make. I5-4690k is my CPU for example. The 4 is the generation of the CPU.

Thirdly, the 690 stands for the SKU numeric digits. This is essentially the model number of the product. the higher the number, the better. Just keep in mind this isn’t always the case. I ran a benchmark test here and we see the results are the lower number wins but look at the product number and you will see why.


Ah yes, the nitro of CPU’s. Overclocking is a beautiful feature and is generally recommended for the multi-threaded CPU’s that will be used for gaming and video editing. Overclocking is the process of raising a CPUs clock speed past the original maximum and typically adds a good 10% to 20%. Intel has a chart here for these numbers as well.

The best part about overclocking and CPU’s is they make it super easy! They just throw a K at the end of it. I5-4690K for example. These do come at a higher price, however.

CPU Cooler

CPU Buying Guide

This part is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. You must have a cooling system in place for your CPU or it will melt. Then, you can say bye to your motherboard and CPU. I suggest grabbing a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO as it is an amazing coolant fan. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART. I would honestly recommend this piece for any computer, work or gaming wise.

CPU’s do come with default fans but, $30 for a fan is no big deal and installation is easy. There are tons of videos out there to help you.

CPU Buying Guide Conclusion

I would personally grab an Intel I7-8700K and slap it on the motherboard. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO would be my coolant system placed on the CPU. I hope this CPU buying guide helps and explains some of the numbers involved in CPU’s and what they do.

Our next installment will look at different types of memory and we will add some more parts to our computer!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below!! Have a great day 🙂




About Pat 26 Articles
I love to play the drums, build websites, learn tech, and explore! My passion is music and technology. I want to be in the fast lane of life, not the slow lane or the sidewalk.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.