Ask a PC expert: Should you buy an unlocked K-series Intel CPU, or save money on a non-K chip?

We answer a common question from our Full Nerd community!

Credit: Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Should you spend the extra money on an Intel K-series processor? It’s a question we’re frequently asked, because it isn’t as simple as you might think.

PCWorld CPU guru Gordon Mah Ung has the (nuanced) answer for you though. He explains everything you need to know about unlocked K-series processors: Yes, they’re the only Intel CPUs that can be overclocked, but by purchasing one of these premium parts, you’re also committing to buying an enthusiast-class Z-series motherboard, as only those parts can crank clocks beyond stock speeds. K-series chips also lack a cooler in the box.

For those reasons and others, Gordon thinks most people shouldn’t pay extra for an Intel K-series CPU. That’s the short answer. For a more detailed explanation, including a few very valid reasons why some people may want to consider a K-series chip, check out the video below.

We’re trying out a new format here, responding to common questions we receive on our Full Nerd podcast. If you like it let us know!

Have a PC- or gaming-related question? Email thefullnerd@pcworld.com and we’ll try to answer it in the future. You can also join the PC-related discussions and ask us questions on The Full Nerd’s Discord server. And be sure to follow PCWorld on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch to watch future episodes live and pick our brains in real time!

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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