What is CPU IPC?

To understand what is CPU IPC, we’ll need to break down their individual parts. CPU stands for the Central Processing Unit. If you compare a CPU to human anatomy, a CPU is considered as the brain of the operation – the thing that drives the system and makes it work. Although there are multiple processors, a CPU is considered the most important. 

This brings us to IPC. There are a few key factors that affect the CPU’s performance based on its architecture, including, cores, clock speed, cache size, and processor type.

IPC stands for Instructions per Cycle/Clock and relays how much a CPU can do in one cycle. 

Stay tuned to find out more about CPU IPC and what it exactly does. 

CPU IPC: Explained

So, we know that IPC means Instructions per Cycle/Clock, but what does it actually do?

The CPU’s clock speed will tell you how many cycles a CPU can complete, and the IPC goes into even further detail, by telling you how many tasks a CPU can complete within that cycle. 

A higher clock speed doesn’t necessarily mean that it performs better either.

For example, if you had a CPU with a lower clock speed but a higher IPC, then it could potentially still perform better than a CPU with just a high clock speed. What makes up a fast CPU is a combination of clock speed, IPC, and the number of cores.

(Note: A CPU can be made up of multiple processing units, and each one is called a core.) 

How is IPC determined?

IPC can’t always be determined by a figure. It’s not going to be one number and you can buy your computing system based on the highest figure. It’s a little harder than that to determine. 

Typically, IPC is measured by benchmark testing. A CPU benchmark test is essentially an assessment used to see how well the CPU is performing. Within this benchmark testing, the IPC can be established. 

A lot of modern processors will emit up to four instructions per cycle, and therefore, if all four of the tasks can be completed by the CPU, it’ll have a high IPC. If it only completes one task, for example, it will have a lower IPC.

For general use, a lower IPC still allows your system to function properly. 

However, for serious gamers, you may want to look at a higher IPC. Why? Higher IPCs are able to run the gaming software better than those with lower IPCs as they can complete the tasks at a faster pace.  

What affects IPC?

IPC that’s too low is often caused by other issues elsewhere in the system, including memory stalls, long latency instructions, starvation, and mispredicted branches. 

Therefore, it’ll have an impact on how the CPU performs.

What are some high IPC options for gamers?

As stated, gamers will want CPUs that have a higher IPC. IPC isn’t the determining factor of how you should choose a CPU, but it does have a massive impact on how it really performs.

Although there are different factors that you need to consider about CPUs, as previously mentioned. However, the key focus will be CPUs with high IPCs that are incredible options for gamers. 

AMD Ryzen 3rd-Generation Processor

In 2019, AMD’s Ryzen 3rd-gen processor was released. It uses the world’s most advanced technology for manufacturing. It really has everything that you’ll need for high gaming performance and you don’t even need a separate graphics card.

It enforces a 15% improvement to IPC performance.  

The 3rd-gen range is between $250 for the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and $1200 for the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X.  

Overall, this range has been named one of the best processors for gaming.

Intel’s 11th-Generation Rocket Lake-S Processor

In 2021, the Intel 11th-gen processor was released. Of course, its predecessors are good options but this is what its newest version has to offer. It’s designed to process tasks easily, simply, and efficiently. 

It implements a 19% improvement for IPC performance.

It’s priced between $170 for the RKL-S Core i5-11400 and $560 for the RKL-S Core i9-11900K.

Altogether, another great processor option for gamers.


By now, you should understand the basics of CPU and IPC. Looking for a new processor can be difficult but if you keep IPC in mind, then it’ll help to find the best performing processor. Take a look at the suggested models for the ultimate gaming experience.

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