Windows 10 is the operating system version where Microsoft finally "got it right," where the features, performance, bloat, and security issues balance out favorably for the user. The balance is so favorable that the Windows users I know are actually satisfied with bug fixes and application updates instead of a whole new version of Windows.
You may be one of the audio visual content creators who likes your software on Windows 10, but wants tasks completed faster. In that situation, a new CPU (and RAM upgrade) may satisfy your desire for higher performance.
If you are a fan of gaming on Windows 10, you are probably interested in ways to increase your performance short of replacing the whole machine. Especially If you are having a difficult time finding a reasonably priced high end graphics processor, a new CPU (and RAM upgrade) may be what you need.
EXAMPLE: X-570 motherboard with an upgradable CPU Socket Ryzen CPU Model Core Count Base Clock Architecture AM4 Ryzen 7 3600X 06 cores 3.8 GHz Zen 2 AM4 Ryzen 5 5600X 06 cores 3.7 GHz Zen 3 AM4 Ryzen 5 5800X 08 cores 3.8 GHz Zen 3 AM4 Ryzen 5 5900X 12 cores 3.7 GHz Zen 3 Consider upgrading RAM to maintain 2 GB per core for moderate tasks.
Good news is that you do not always need to change the motherboard. If you started with a newer motherboard, but were modest in CPU selection, it may be a simple matter to swap out the old CPU for a newer one with a higher Core count. More cores can bring significant increases in performance in office workstations and multimedia editing computers.
For gaming, it is often the higher clock speeds which bring more performance. Gaming tends to load up a processor with fewer processes and threads, but needs a faster CPU clock to dish out more data for the GPU to process into frames on your screen.
The suggestion for drop-in replacements is this: note the model and socket type of your current CPU. Next, go shopping for CPUs sompatible with the same socket type, but with more cores and, if possible, a higher clock speed. For example, if you have an X-99 board containing a Xeon with 6 cores, look around for
EXAMPLE: X-99 motherboard with an upgradable CPU Socket Xeon CPU Model Core Count Base Clock LGA-2011 E5-2620 V3 06 cores 3.2 GHz LGA-2011 E5-2678 V3 12 cores 3.3 GHz LGA-2011 E5-2698 V3 16 cores 3.6 GHz Consider upgrading RAM to maintain 2 GB per core for moderate tasks.
Performance gains will vary depending on the type of workload you put on the computer. Expect anywhare from 15% to 30% depending on the scope of the upgrade: increased cores, ram, and moving from Zen 2 to Zen 3 matter the most. Changing from a 6 core Xeon to a 16 core model 2698 is a major change for users of heavily multithreaded applications.