Five mistakes to avoid when mounting an Intel processor

 Five mistakes to avoid when mounting an 

Intel processor


Five mistakes to avoid when mounting an Intel processor


If you've decided to build a PC, or upgrade your equipment, with an Intel processor, don't rush. Before launching it is important that you take into account some basic considerations that will help you avoid mistakes that, due to their relevance, will make you spend an unnecessary amount of money and that can also end up being a problem in the medium or long term.


I know you may have thought about it a lot, and that you probably have a great setup in your head, but stop for a moment and give it one last lap to confirm that you have not made any of the five mistakes that we are going to review below... It will only take a few minutes, and it can save you from more than one major upset.


On the other hand, with this guide, we also want to help you overcome some of the most important myths that still persist and that continue to do a lot of damage to users with less experience since they are the most likely to get carried away by them.


In case you plan to build a computer with an AMD Ryzen 3000 processor, I invite you to review this guide that we published a few weeks ago, where you will also find five important errors that you should avoid. As always, if you have any questions you can leave them in the comments and we will be happy to help you solve them. Without further ado, we begin.



1.-Intel processor and cooling system


Intel processor and cooling system


Many of the processors sold by Intel do not include a cooling system, and the model that comes standard with some chips offers limited dissipation capacity, which means that it is not able to maintain really good operating temperatures when used with mid-high-end processors, much less with high-end processors.


However, this does not mean that the dissipation system that Intel provides is useless, in fact, the opposite is true,  but it is true that we must be aware of its limitations and the reality of the workloads that we are going to face each day. If we are only going to play and use applications that will never load the processor 100%, the dissipation system will have less heat to dissipate, and vice versa.


Do not be obsessed with buying a better dissipation system than the one that the chip giant includes in some of its processors, since in most cases it compiles without problems. For example, the Core i5 10400F reaches maximum temperatures of 77 degrees in a situation of total stress with the stock fan, which means that in normal environments where the workload is not that high it easily positions below 70 degrees.


As you can see, it is not bad at all, especially considering that it is a 6-core and 12-thread processor. However, if we plan to mount a more powerful Intel processor, we should consider buying a higher quality air-cooled heatsink, or a 120mm AIO liquid cooling system.


It goes without saying that if we want to mount an Intel K series processor and we are going to overclock we will have to be very careful with the choice of the cooling system. For reference, I can confirm that the Core i5 10600K and Core i7 10700K work perfectly with a quality 240 mm AIO liquid cooling system, but to "tame" the Core i9 10900K with overclocking and maintain acceptable temperatures we will need a 360mm AIO liquid cooling kit, as with a 240mm kit we move in the 85-90 degree range when the workload is heavy.


In summary, it is not essential to change the stock heatsink in many cases, in fact, we can handle it perfectly until reaching the level of a Core i5 10400F, but if you are going to mount a more powerful Intel processor, do not skimp on the cooling system.



2.-RAM speed matters


RAM speed matters


True, any Intel processor has less dependency on RAM speed than equivalent Ryzen processors. This has a logical explanation that we will tell you in this article, and that is that the former uses a monolithic core architecture in which all the cores are found within the same silicon tablet, while the latter starts from a multi-module architecture. chip, in which the cores are divided into two silicon chips interconnected by an Infinity Fabric system.


However, this is not to say that the performance of an Intel processor does not depend on the operating frequency of the RAM. Take as an example the Core i5 10400F, a chip that I have had the opportunity to test for quite some time and that has left a good taste in my mouth for its good value for money. This chip is limited to DDR4 memory at 2,666 MHz unless we mount it on a Z490 motherboard.


By using this chip with 2,666 MHz memory, its performance in some games is lower than that obtained when configuring it with 3,200 MHz DDR4 memory, but it manages to surpass, in many cases, a Ryzen 5 3600 with 3,200 MHz DDR4 memory. says something very important, and that is that the fact that it prevails over the Ryzen even when using slower memory is a clear indication of that less dependence on the speed of the RAM to which we have referred. If we use both processors with DDR4 memory at 2,666 MHz, the Core i5 10400F clearly prevails.


We must make clear from all this that the speed of the RAM matters even if we are going to mount an Intel processor, and that we must look for optimal values ​​in relation to price-performance. It does not make sense to mount a Core i5 10600K with DDR4 RAM at 4,333 MHz because the performance improvement will be negligible compared to a configuration at 3,200 MHz, and we should not mount a Core i5 10400F with DDR4 memory at 2,133 MHz, because we will be losing performance at the change of almost zero savings.


That said, and for you to have a reference, we can say that an Intel K-series processor mounted on a Z490 motherboard must be accompanied by DDR4 RAM at 3,200 MHz, that is the optimal level in price-performance ratio. On lower platforms, we should never go below 2,666 MHz.



3.-Obsess over the series «K»


Obsess over the series «K»


I know that the idea of ​​taking a processor up to 5 GHz is attractive, but it really is not essential. The performance offered today by inexpensive processors like the Core i5 10400F is more than enough for any user, even if you plan to play demanding titles. Thanks to its high IPC, its 6 cores and 12 threads and its turbo mode of up to 4 GHz with all active cores you can move anything without a problem.


The "K" series processors with carrying a significant price increase, in fact, we only have to see what the Core i5 10600KF costs and what the Core i5 10400F is worth. The first is available for about 277 $, and the second costs about 182 $. They both have 6 cores and 12 threads and have the same IPC, but the first run at a higher frequency and supports overclocking, which means that we can take it up to 4.9 GHz or 5 GHz with a little luck.


The price difference is about 100 $, and to that figure we must add the cost of the cooling system since the first one comes without a series heatsink. If we get a 240 mm AIO liquid cooling, things already go off, there is no doubt about that. Is the Core i5 10600KF worth buying then? For a user who wants to obtain the best possible performance and has a budget to spare, yes, it can be a good option, but for most users, the Core i5 10400F is a much more balanced and interesting alternative.


Do not forget that Intel has integrated a fairly balanced turbo mode in its processors and that thanks to it the working frequencies are dynamically adjusted to achieve the best possible performance. If you buy an Intel Core i5 10400F processor it will not work at 2.9 GHz, which is its base frequency, but it will be adjusted between 4.3 GHz and 4 GHz depending on the workload you are carrying out.


With what you save for that price difference you could buy, for example, a more powerful graphics card or a higher capacity SSD, so keep that in mind.



4.-Base plate: in the right measure


Base plate: in the right measure


There are still many myths around the motherboard. Many users believe that if we are going to mount an Intel Core i9 10900K processor we have to buy, a 400 $ motherboard. Nothing is further from reality, in fact, that idea is real nonsense since we could perfectly manage with a motherboard of just over 200 $ like the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK, which has a 12 + 2 phase VRM well cooled, which means that it is capable of moving even a Core i9 10900K turned upside down.


The choice of the motherboard will largely depend on the Intel processor that we are going to buy, but we can set a series of general rules that will serve as a starting point to get it right. If we are going to buy a "K" series processor, such as a Core i5 10600K or higher, we should not spend more than 200-250 dollars on the motherboard.


In the case of non-K series processors, we do not need a Z490 series motherboard. In the case of budget models, such as the Core i5 10400F and below, the ideal is not to spend more than 80-120 $ on the motherboard. That price range takes us straight to the models equipped with B460 and H470 chipsets.


As I said in the guide dedicated to the Ryzen 3000, the ideal is to look for motherboards that are priced between a third and (at most) half of what the processor has cost us.



5.-Intel processor and cores: a realistic look


Intel processor and cores: a realistic look


We have already seen that we should not obsess over overclocking, and neither should we obsess over core s. The minimum recommended today, if we plan to play and use demanding applications, is a six-core, twelve-thread processor. Thus, an Intel processor like the Core i5 10400F has everything we are going to need in the short and medium-term, and its price is very good.


If we have a high budget we could be tempted and go for the Core i9 10900, but the truth is that we are not going to take advantage of it unless we work with applications that require a high degree of parallelization. Gaming has only just begun to take advantage of six-core processors, and most general consumer applications work great in quad-core configurations, so mounting a 10-core, 20-thread processor is, for most users. domestic, unnecessary.


I know what you're thinking, so I shouldn't go past six cores and twelve threads? If you have a very tight budget, no, you should not go beyond that range. In case your budget is higher and you want to mount a more powerful Intel processor with long-term views, the best option today is the Core i7 10700, which has 8 cores and 16 threads and costs about 374 $. Its turbo mode is quite generous, as it reaches 4.8 GHz with an active core.


In conclusion, it is not worth mounting a processor with more than 8 cores and 16 threads today. Keep in mind that with the arrival of PS5 and Xbox Series X it is likely that these types of processors will begin to have a greater degree of use in games, but this will not happen overnight.


If you want to play, forget about chips with 10 or more cores, and invest what you save in a more powerful graphics card.


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