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Should You Upgrade Your Intel Core CPU? (Reasons Why)

Every year a new generation of Intel Core CPUs comes out, and many users wonder whether it is time to upgrade their own. However, each person might have different needs regarding their CPU usage, and you need to be clear on how well your current CPU is tackling your daily needs. In this article, we will examine the top reasons that show you could benefit greatly from upgrading your Intel Core CPU.

Your CPU No Longer Performs As Expected

All CPUs will become worn out when you use them for a long time. Sometimes, when you see that your CPU is not delivering the performance it should, you can clean the dust off and apply a new thermal paste, and it will be ready to run as new for a long time.

However, when doing all of that doesn’t show any results or only increases performance by a low percentage, this might be a sign it is time to put your old CPU to rest. Perhaps this is because you failed to clean the dust and apply thermal paste soon enough.

When that happens, your CPU starts to become damaged from high temperatures. If you can see that this is the case, you will benefit from upgrading to a new CPU, but remember to take care of your new Intel Core not to let it get dusty and dry.

Another way to make sure your CPU is slowing down your PC’s overall performance is to check if cables are well connected, whether the problem isn’t on your cooler rather than the CPU’s capacity to keep itself at low temperatures, or even on your BIOS configurations.

The last thing we recommend to do so you check if your CPU is dragging your system down is to run some benchmarks through Cinebench. In this article, you can learn how to do that.

If you can compare your current CPU’s performance with its model’s expected performance and see that your own is below the average, then that’s it: your CPU is no longer performing as it should.

You Like To Overclock

As this article is being written, the most recent Intel Core generation released is the 12th (codename Alder Lake). In this generation, Intel developed a novel hybrid architecture utilizing Golden Cove high-performance cores and Gracemont power-efficient cores that promises to deliver the best overclocking capabilities ever seen in any family generation of Intel processors.

Everyone knows that overclocking can be dangerous if done wrong or without proper knowledge, but many people try it anyway, so why not do it with the best Intel Core CPU?

Are you wondering how much power an overclocked 12th generation Intel Core CPU can deliver? An overclocked i3-12100F has been reported to beat i9-10900K at many games. Surely enough, Intel doesn’t recommend users to overclock non-K processors. Still, that impressive feat shows the processing capacity of Intel Core’s latest additions to the market.

Updating To Windows 11

Perhaps you still didn’t update your Windows to Windows 11 but are eager to see what’s new in it. Unfortunately, if you have an Intel Core CPU from the 7th generation or lower, that won’t be a good deal. According to Microsoft, Windows 11 is only supported by more recent CPUs. In the case of Intel CPUs, the models supported include Core 8th generation and forward, Apollo Lake, and very recent iterations of Celeron and Pentium.

For some, it might seem crazy that anyone is still using a 7th generation Intel Core CPU, but believe us, many people are still using it! If you are one of them and are considering changing your OS to the new Windows 11, you might want to upgrade your CPU first.

In that case, you have the option to buy any generation from the 8th to the 12th, and then you will have to check compatibility with your motherboard.

Energy costs

With each new generation of Intel Core, users expect it to be more effective than the last in terms of energy consumption, which lowers their monthly bills while at the same time allowing them to work or play with more quality.

Especially because energy prices went up during the pandemic, reducing how much you consume when using your computer is more than welcome, isn’t it?

Intel Core CPUs are known for drawing a lot of power, and some users even joke about it, but Intel managed to improve energy consumption from the 11th gen to the 12th gen. As a result, Alder Lake consumes almost 100W less than its predecessor, as you can see from the benchmarks in this article.

Consuming less power, the overall heat of your system will also be lower, so your CPU and other parts will last more, meaning you will save money in the long term.

That, plus the fact that the new architecture makes Alder Lake’s processing much more efficient, makes it obvious that you will be able to work much more paying for less power.

Intel managed to reduce Alder Lake’s power consumption compared to Rocket Lake (11th gen). However, if you want to decide whether you should upgrade your, for example, 6th gen Intel Core based on energy efficiency, then you might be surprised by the answer. According to this article, Skylake still shows to be very power efficient even when put side by side with Alder Lake.

Of course, Skylake is an old processor and doesn’t have many of Alder Lake’s capacities. Moreover, if you have a Skylake, it probably is already damaged by use and not showing the same performance, so upgrading would be good.

If You Will Upgrade Your GPU

If you rely heavily on your GPU and consider selling your old one and getting a newer model, perhaps you should do the same with the CPU.

You might consider doing this if you are planning to buy a very recent GPU, such as one of the RTX 30 series. These GPUs benefit immensely from newer CPUs. In addition, since their graphical processing power is enormous, a great CPU such as any of the Alder Lake models will help elevate the quality of those graphics to the ultimate level.

Another very practical reason that will make you want to upgrade your CPU along with the GPU is bottleneck. If one of the parts is not powerful enough, you will notice bottleneck when you are playing or using heavy software. Of course, using the right configurations also plays a part in this.

If you want to check if your desired new GPU will bottleneck your current CPU, you can calculate the percentage here. You need to choose the CPU, the GPU, the purpose (gaming? general tasks?), resolution, and then you will see a percentage. Anything lower than 5% is fine.

For example, we calculated how well an i9-12900K goes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti in standard resolution, showing a 0% bottleneck.

Price drops and good deals

Last but not least, we know that many people only upgrade their desktops when they see enticing prices.

It is very common for CPUs to have price drops or simply show up on sales on retailers such as Amazon. So when you see a powerful CPU you’ve been waiting a long time to buy dropped in price, you should take the chance to upgrade your system.

But how do you keep track of CPU prices? PC Part Picker! Here you can check the price trends for some CPUs, but notice that 12th gen Intel Core models are not included, so you will want to browse the site more.

You can browse products and find the price history of the exact PC part you want, be it a GPU, CPU, etc. For example, here you can find the price history of the Intel Core i5-12600K.

If you’d like, you can even set a price alert so the site will e-mail you when the part’s price drops to a value you can afford.

Unfortunately, the site does not maintain the history of prices for Amazon. Still, you can check the general price history and compare it to the current Amazon price to see if it is worth it.

Final Thoughts

Updating your old Intel Core CPU might be a great deal. We gave you some reasons why, and we hope that helps you decide if your CPU really needs to be replaced by a new one.

If you will buy a new CPU and you found this post useful, don’t forget to buy using our affiliate link. That way, we earn a small commission and you help us keep going.

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