I often get asked this question from people looking to upgrade their machines. Many people also like to buy the latest and greatest available and end up buying quad core/octa-core Ghz processors. My simple advice to you will be – Go for the latest if you often see or had seen very high CPU usage on your old machine like the one in the screenshot below.
This CPU usage (100%) is seen in my machine while converting a video from one format to another. This process also called “Transcoding” is a very CPU intensive process and would definitely faster if there were more CPU cores in my machine.
Majority of the work which gets done in a typical laptop or desktop don’t need this much CPU. Thus I always advice not to go for the latest and greatest in CPU but have a look at a slightly older version or the one before that which would definitely be cheaper.
Another advice which i give to up-graders is to opt for maximum possible RAM which their machine and budget can afford. I will get into details of that in another post.