When looking to make the ideal PC build, picking the right CPU is a great starting point. From here you then know which motherboard to look out for, and in turn the right memory, CPU coolers, etc. We're looking to make the perfect PC build based on the wealth of knowledge from everyone here at GD, so we're looking to you to help decide what processor is going into the PC Build 2017.

The data is in, and it turns out the $1000 mark is comfortably the most popular price point for a complete PC build, followed by $1500. For our PC Build Guide 2017 then we’re going to be aiming to spend around $1000, all in. That’s a rough estimate - it may be a little bit more or a little bit less, depending on where your decisions take us.

I’ve crunched the numbers, and based on your average choices, this is proportionally how much the average GD member wants to spend on each individual component.

Component Proportionate Spend Budget Allocation Actual Spend
Graphics Card 26% $260 TBA
CPU 18% $180 TBA
Monitor 18% $180 TBA
Motherboard 9% $90 TBA
RAM  8% $80 TBA
PSU 8% $80 TBA
Storage 8% $80 TBA
Case 5% $50 TBA


Which CPU is the Best Value for Money 2017

So this week we’re going to take a look at the CPU first. Among the experts in the GD community, it was deemed the second most important component when building a PC. Out of the 8 parts, when placed in order of importance, you put the CPU at 1.93, making is just a shade less important than the graphics card (1.62).

On average, you said you’d be willing to spend 18% of your total PC build cash on the CPU. With a $1000 PC that nice and easily equates to $180. To make things a little easier we’ll put in a little wiggle room, so between $160 - $200.

Here's the total responses for how much individual GD members are willing to spend on a CPU, and as you can see the $200 price point is the sweet spot. This is at the high-end of our $1000 budget but it's still totally achievable.

Once you narrow down the price point, in this case $160-$200, this also drastically narrows down your choices. There’s obviously a few more you can buy at this price point, particularly if you take a look at older generations, but here’s three each from Intel and AMD. At this price point value for money is absolutely crucial, while it’s also important to take into account

All you need to do is vote in the poll at the bottom of the page and let us know which CPU you would put in a $1000 build!

What is a CPU?

The CPU, or the Central Processing Unit, is responsible for all the moment to moment grunt work of a PC. Outside of gaming, it’s basically what keeps everything going. It has four primary functions - fetch, decode, execute and writeback. In essence this allows it to execute and run programs. Each core can perform a single task at a time, meaning that the more cores a CPU has, the more simultaneous tasks can be performed. There’s also HyperThreading and Simultaneous MultiThreading, wherein a single core is split into two logical cores. It’s still a single CPU core, but your PC treats it as two. Well optimised games these days try to take full advantage of multiple cores, spreading the load, although few (if any) games take decent advantage of 6+core machines.

Each core has a clock speed, indicating how fast it can execute commands. A high clock speed indicates a program can run on that core very quickly. From a gaming point of view, the higher the clock speed, the better. To that end, having 8 cores and a 2GHz clock speed would be a downgrade in gaming performance from a 4-core CPU clocked at 4GHz.

How To Install A New Processor

Upgrading your CPU isn’t an overly common process compared to graphics card or memory. When upgrading be sure to check thoroughly that the CPU you’re buying is compatible with the socket formats on your motherboard. GD's compatibility tool can help you in this area, checking the compatibility of boards with processors. You will find a link on all GD CPU pages.

For more details on how to install a new processor, check out our hardware guide.

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 1 - How Much Should You Spend on A Gaming PC

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 2 - Which CPU is the Best Value for Money

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 3 - How Much RAM do you Need for Gaming

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 4 - Is It Better To Buy an SSD or Hard Drive for PC Storage

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 5 - Picking the Right Motherboard

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 6 - Getting the Correctly Sized Case

Poll closed: 17:19 Mar-31-2017