What Is The Best CPU For Graphic Designers?

best CPU

What is the best CPU for graphic designers?

Today we’re going to look at some CPUs to find out which one is the best CPU for graphic designers. The two main players on the market are AMD and Intel.

Which make is better – AMD or Intel?

Intel was a clear favorite amongst creatives and gamers alike up until last year. In 2018 the picture looks a bit different, with AMD having released their popular Ryzen chips which have significantly improved the performance of their processors. The playing field is pretty even, in other words. If you do prefer a particular brand, then, by all means, stick to what you know. If not, then you should always go for the better deal and get more bang for your buck.

That said, there are some marginal differences between the two makes to take into account. The reason why gamers in particular love Intel is that their processors can handle more instructions per cycle (IPC). This means that the CPU can process multiple commands at the same time, and that makes Intel slightly better in terms of handling games and many Adobe products. AMD, on the other hand, produces CPUs with more threads and cores than Intel. This makes AMD processors ideally suited to handle video editing programs, as well as animation software.

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What is the purpose of the CPU?

Avid readers of our blog will know that we place a lot of emphasis on what a particular piece of equipment is for. We like gear that solves problems, and so we should always consider why we need something rather than what it can do. It can be tempting to splash all your cash on the most expensive CPU available on the market. But depending on your individual needs, you might be better off saving some of that cash. You can instead spend that on graphics cards or other accessories you’ll need.

The best CPU for basic use

If you are just a casual computer user who browses the internet, watch videos, and send emails, then you can safely stick to an entry-level CPU that doesn’t cost a whole lot. The average range for this lower tier of processors is as little as $50-100 (Ryzen 3 or Intel Pentium). The lower range of chips will allow you to use word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs. This makes this kind of CPU ideal for the average office worker.

The best CPU for playing games

If you’re into your computer games after school or work, then you might need to invest a bit more in your CPU. The most common gaming CPUs are in the $150-250 range (Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU). However, as every gamer will know, this is by no means the last money you’ll spend on your computer. The best games require the best graphics cards — so save up for that as well.

The best CPU for creative work

For those of you working in graphic design, music production, and video editing, you’re looking at another tier of CPU. This one is in the $250-350 range (Core i9 or Ryzen), and will also allow you to overclock (more on that below). This is also a good price range if you’re anticipating higher workloads in the future, and want to preempt that by having more computing muscle.

The best CPU for heavy duty work

The upper tier of CPU is those that will set you back $400 or more (Intel Core X or AMD Threadripper CPU). These are typically necessary if you do a lot of 4K video editing, or dabble in complex 3D animation projects. This powerhouse of a CPU will allow you to not only perform the aforementioned tasks but also play games at the same time! This is the epitome of multitasking.

What are the generations and which one do you need?

The technology for CPUs is moving very fast, and both AMD and Intel upgrade their processors every year. In 2018 the generations you’ll find of the market are Ryzen 2 for AMD and 8th Gen Core Series for Intel.

CPUs are upgraded from the bottom up

Because this is not cheap for AMD and Intel to do, they typically start by upgrading the lower end chips. This means that you will most likely find that the most powerful chips are still using last years’ technology.

Where can you see which generation your CPU is?

Each chip will come with a model number, like for example Intel’s Core i7-8400. The generation is the first digit of the model number, so 8th Gen Core Series in this case.

What else does the model number mean?

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered why they can’t just name the CPUs something easy like iPhone X or Galaxy S8. Each manufacturer divides their CPUs into four categories. The first three categories are low- (Ryzen 2 or Core i3), middle- (Ryzen 5 or Core i5), and high-end (Ryzen 7 or Core i7). The last one includes chips like Intel’s i9, which give you a serious workhorse of a computer.

What are the cheapest models?

If you’re stretched for money or want to buy graphics cards and other accessories, then there are affordable options available. AMD offers the Athlon line of processors, while Intel has two ranges: Pentium and Celeron.

What are the most expensive models?

At the higher end of the scale, AMD offers the Threadripper (mentioned earlier) and Intel has the Core i9 (also see above) and Core X ranges.

best CPU
Find the best CPU for your creative work.

What are the technical specifications for a CPU?

The instruction manual for a CPU can be daunting to read, and there are a lot of tech specs provided that don’t make sense at first. The important ones you should check are below:

Clock speed

The speed at which processors work is measured in GHz (gigahertz). The higher is obviously the better, and you’ll also see a range for the lowest and highest speeds. The CPU will adjust the clock speed depending on its temperature so it doesn’t overheat.


The core of a CPU is essentially the heart of it. All modern CPUs have at least two cores now, and the most expensive ones have as many as 18. Common mid-range cores have between four and eight cores.


Whilst the cores can handle different tasks each, they can also divide their processing power to handle more than more at the same time. This process is called threading and is essentially multitasking for CPUs.

Thermal Design Profile

This number of watts shows you how much heat the CPU will generate at most. This is good to know so you don’t damage other parts of the computer. Invest in a cooling system if it gets too hot.

Which technical specifications are most important?

Higher clock speeds are generally important for performing most tasks. If you’re using your computer for sound editing, gaming, browsing, and writing, then you should go for a higher clock speed. If you’re doing more demanding tasks, like editing 4K videos and multitasking, you should focus on the number of cores and threads.

What is overclocking?

We mentioned the term earlier, as its a popular practice — especially in the era of cryptocurrency mining. Overclocking is essentially pushing the CPU to the limit and then some. All processors will come with technical specifications for what they can do. These include details like the clock speed, similar to the maximum speed of a car. Overclocking, as the name implies, is the practice of pushing the CPU further than what it is built for.

Why you shouldn’t overclock

Although it can be useful at times, overclocking definitely not healthy for your CPU or the motherboard of the computer. It risks the CPU overheating and damaging other parts of the computer. To prevent that from happening, many users invest in new cooling systems and a motherboard that can handle overclocking. But if you are going to spend additional money on these accessories, you might as well buy a better processor that can handle more.

Which one do we think is the best CPU?

As you can see, the best CPU largely depends on what your needs are. Whether you’re a graphic designer, a business owner, and/or an avid gamer, there are great CPU out there for you. Here is our top five. 

Best CPU #1: Intel Core i7-8700K

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Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W

Best CPU #2: AMD Ryzen 5 2600

Get it in just two days with Amazon Prime right now.AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler - YD2600BBAFBOX

Best CPU #3: Intel Core i5-8600K

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Intel Core i5-8600K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.3 GHz unlocked LGA 1151 300 Series 95W

Best CPU #4: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

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AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX

Best CPU #5: Intel Core i5-8400

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Intel Core i5-8400 Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.0 GHz LGA 1151 300 Series 65W

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Brandon Stapper
Brandon Stapper is an entrepreneur and investor. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Nonstop Signs, an industry leading graphic design, print, and sign business with multiple locations throughout the United States. At 20 years old, with no formal education and only a few hundred dollars, Stapper turned a $400 custom decal machine in a garage into an international printing powerhouse focused on helping businesses improve their marketing and branding with everything from retail signage to packaging, to trade show displays.
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