Question Looking for advice on CPU and cooling for new build


Apr 24, 2018
I am building a new computer with higher end parts than I have ever done before. If anyone is willing, I could use help in choosing some parts, specifically the CPU and what kind of cooling I should consider.

I have built a few comps over the years, but it's been a while and they have all been basic builds with lower end parts. For cooling I have never had a to consider anything other than a coupe of fans. I'm still mostly a novice.

One of my requirements for this comp is that it will run the PS3 emulator RPCS3 well, specifically the NCAA football games, which is CPU intensive. I want at least an 8core/16thread CPU, and I am even considering a 12/24 CPU.

For 8/16 CPUs it looks like Intel has i7-10700K or i9-9900K. AMD, on the other hand, has several 8/16 Ryzen 7 CPUs (1700's, 2700's and 3700s). I don't really know how to size up what I need out of these 8/16 CPUs. Does it really matter which of these I choose? Is the number of cores more important than the clock rate when it comes to running an emulator?

I don't want to buy more than I need, and I would like to keep the CPU cost to less than $400 if I can (absolute max of $500), but if I had to error, I would error on getting a little more CPU than I need. I don't want to buy an expensive CPU and find out it was not quite enough to run the emulator well. That would be the bigger mistake for me.

What about a 10/20 or 12/24 CPU? There is the i9-10900K for $490, and then AMD has the Ryzen 9 3900s in the mid-$400 range. In my head I am thinking the 12/24 CPU will be good if I do a little video editing and it's future proof for a while too, while only being $70-$100 more than I was going to pay with an 8/16 CPU. But then I saw a comment that said if you are using it mostly for playing a game the Ryzen 7 3700 with Zen 3 architecture is better (while still being a 8/16 CPU), and it's $100 cheaper too? Any thoughts? Is that comment wrong? Again, I don't really play games, except I want to play NCAA college football on the RPCS3 emulator.

I did ask the RPCS3 community about CPUs, but all I really learned is that I want an 8/16 CPU.

I honestly don't know what to do with this. I have never done liquid cooling, and I don't know if I need to start with a higher end CPU, even if it's just for the sake of the CPUs life. I am not planning on overclocking though, I have never done that before, but there is a small chance I might need to if the emulator needs it. I doubt I would need it for anything else I do though. If I don't overclock, what kind of cooling do I really need? Can I get away with a high end air cooler? Do I just compare the TDP rating for my CPU and my air cooler to see if it will cover my cooling needs?

Thanks for reading all of that, and any help you can give is very appreciated.