Do You Really Need The Most Expensive CPU? Find Out With CPU Boss

Erez Zukerman 07-02-2013

cpu neededPicking out a CPU for your next computer is no mean feat. Of course, if you build your own desktop, you can usually go with a single motherboard and just swap out the CPU as you see fit (depending on your CPU socket type CPU Socket Types Explained: Socket 5 to BGA Computer CPUs have a home: the socket. If you plan to upgrade, you need to understand how the CPU connects to your motherboard. Read More ). But if your next computer is a laptop, picking out the right CPU becomes even more crucial: Once you buy a computer with a given processor, that’s it – you’re stuck with that processor for the lifetime of the computer.


So, should you always go for the top-of-the-line, most expensive processor money can buy? Not necessarily. The CPU landscape is ever changing, and when it happens we try to explain what’s new (like in the case of this post from Matt explaining AMD’s Trinity Laptop APU What You Need To Know About AMD’s New Trinity Laptop APU [MakeUseOf Explains] Intel has just released its new line of laptop and desktop processors, but they’re not the only ones working on a new product. AMD has also been working hard to improve its laptop APUs and... Read More ). But sometimes, you need something more visual, like CPU Boss. This interactive website tries to demystify this question and help you pick the CPU that’s right for you without having to read separate reviews.


cpu needed

Just scrolling down the main CPU Boss page reveals a wealth of information. Indeed, it may even be overwhelming if you’re not well versed in the world of CPUs. But if you’re going for a laptop, you might want to look at either the Power Performance category plotting overall performance vs. wattage (which affects battery life), or the Best Value category for the cheapest CPU power money can buy.

Let’s take a closer look at one of these lists:

cheapest cpu


So, at a glance, you can see benchmark results lined up along the right of the list, with the CPU’s clock rates and names on the right. Some charts also add costs, but this particular one just shows the CPU names. Just by looking at this simple list, interesting tidbits start to emerge.

It turns out you’ll be getting more performance per watt out of a certain i5 chip than out of a bunch of i7s. That’s not to say that the i7 doesn’t trump the i5 in overall performance, but just in efficiency – something you should definitely care about when buying a laptop.

CPU Death Match

One interesting option CPUBoss offers is comparing two specific processors:

cheapest cpu


There are definitely differences between AMD and Intel CPUs, but even if you’re only considering one of the two, you’d do well to compare its processors. On its own, it looks like a bit of an academic exercise. But think about it – what if you’re trying to decide between two laptops that seem generally equivalent, but are different mainly in the CPU they offer?

Above you can see a specific i7 (3770K, the CPU I happen to have in my own workstation) compared with an i5 3570K. You can see the price gap at a glance ($290 vs. $215), and scrolling down,  you get a fairly elaborate (and very visual) breakdown of the difference between the two.

Going further, you can focus on one of the two processors and get a breakdown of specific features compared to the other:

cheapest cpu


This one’s for the i7 3770K. Reading this, you can see it definitely comes out on top of the i5 in just about every category. But then when you go look at the i5 3570K, you find it has  quite a few advantages of its own:

cpu needed

For example, the i5 has a definitely higher “performance per dollar” ratio — in other words, more bang for your buck. Also if you’re looking to overclock, you’d be able to take it higher than you would the i7.

This “versus” overview goes on and on for several screens, all full of interesting charts and pretty colors. What I like best about this comparison is that it stops short of making its own conclusions: You get to decide what CPU is right for your specific circumstances. To me, this feels like a responsible approach for such a comparison: clearly and visually laying out the differences, and letting you decide.


Will You Be Using CPU Boss?

I can tell you that when the time comes to buy my next computer, I will definitely be checking out CPU Boss. Having such a well-organized resource is invaluable, because there are so many things to consider when getting a processor.

What about you? Is this a tool you’ll be using, or does it feel like too much trouble? Let us know below.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. druv vb
    July 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Great article. CPUBoss is really the one for comparing those CPUs. Breaking down the every detail for us to choose what we really need. I'll definitely check the website when building my next workstation.

    I've just checked my current CPU setup which is 5 years old against a mainstream one, my old CPU is 50% slower in all areas... Time for a change me think...

    Also found out GPUBoss for Graphics Cards and SSDBoss for SSDs by the same guys.

    Thanks you MUO for keeping us informed.....

    • Erez Zukerman
      July 3, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Sure thing! :) I'm glad you found this useful, and the other "boss" sites are great, indeed. So nice to be able to compare dense information like this.

  2. Igor Rizvi?
    February 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    This is what I need,great job! :)

  3. Pianex Sobude
    February 9, 2013 at 2:10 am

    I thought the more expensive and the latest is always the best. I therefore should rethink.

  4. Anonymous
    February 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I might be getting a new laptop in the next couple of months and I like the way CPU Boss breaks down the statistics. I will definitely give it a go when the time comes.. Thanks Erez

  5. Noman Fayez
    February 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Sandy Bridge vs Ivy Bridge vs AMD for general computing all are same.

  6. Anonymous
    February 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for writing about us at CPUBoss, we appreciate it Erez. And also a big thanks to everyone who took the time to check us out and leave feedback here. As a new site, we're working hard to make tweaks and meet our goal of becoming the easiest way to compare processors (and maybe other hardware in the future). We're hungry for feedback, so if you have any suggestions (features, bugs, data, etc.), please let us know and we'll be sure to look into it. You guys are all #likeaboss.

    • Erez Zukerman
      February 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks for chiming in, Jude! I love hearing from developers in the comments. :) I hope you guys are still around in a few years, when the time comes for me to get my next computer!

  7. Nevzat Akkaya
    February 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I've checked the CPU performance of my latest laptop on internet and got detailed information on Sandy Bridge vs Ivy Bridge vs AMD, before I decide to buy it. I generally do comparisons before buying a tech device, I do this for the USB hard disks (the internal disk specs of it), smartphones etc. That's the power of Internet. One has to know technical jargon and some English too. Local information and reviews are always not enough.

    This "Cpu Boss" seems very valuable and it will be another check point for me in the future, thanks.
    My other source of information includes : wikipedia,,, and Google of course.

    • Erez Zukerman
      February 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Those really are excellent hardware resources! Thanks for the links, Nevzat.

  8. Florin Ardelian
    February 8, 2013 at 12:21 am

    >Will You Be Using CPU Boss?

    Yes. Having lost contact with the hardware world for quite a while (5 years since I built my last desktop), this will definitely be one of the tools I will need to make my next purchase (which should be soon). I will not make my decision based solely on this tool, but I'm sure it will help filter out the crap and leave me with just a handful of the best choices for my budget.

    Great article, Erez!

    • Erez Zukerman
      February 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Thanks, Florin! And yes, that same thing happens to me: I build a computer and use it for several years, and when the time comes to get a new one, I discover I have no idea what's out there at the moment. :)