There’s simply no match to the best processors. And, if you want that new PC you’re building or that existing one you’re upgrading to rival one of the best computers on the market, getting one is the only way to go. After all, only a powerful CPU is good enough to see you through your most demanding computing needs.
Luckily for you: With Intel and AMD locked in a fiery competition, the best processors are more affordable than ever. You no longer have to break the piggy bank to get a CPU that will see you through the best PC games or the most demanding 4K video editing workloads. Plus, there are more choices than ever, so you have a lot of options depending on your needs. Now’s a great time to invest in one of the best processors. From Intel’s impressive Comet Lake-S to AMD’s Ry-zen 5000 chips, here are our top picks.
AMD Ry zen 9 5900X: Best CPU for high-end gaming
Specifications: Cores: 12Threads: 24Base clock: 3.7GHz Boost clock: 4.8GHzL3 cache: 64MBTDP: 105W
Reasons to buy: Amazing performance+A new single-core champion+Same power consumption
Reasons to avoid: Price went up-No included cooler
The AMD Ry zen 9 5900X brings the biggest gen-on-gen jump in a single performance in years, making it a terrific upgrade.
This latest release from AMD is not just a stronger processor across the board. It’s also an incredibly powerful processor for gaming and creative work full stop. The fact that you won’t need a new motherboard is just a nice perk.
AMD Ry zen 9 3950X: A mainstream CPU moonlights as an HEDI processor
Specifications: Cores: 16Threads: 32Base clock: 3.5GHzBoost clock: 4.7GHzL3 cache: 64MBTDP: 105W
Reasons to buy: +Performance powerhouse+Cheaper than HEDT+PCIe 4.0
Reasons to avoid: -Needs extra cooling-Limited gaming advantage
The highest tier in the Ry zen 3000 series is the performance powerhouse you’re looking for, if you want something for heavily threaded computer work. Besides high-end gaming, the Ry zen 9 3950 also blasts through processing tasks. It’s expensive, but for a mainstream processor that can go toe-to-toe with HEDI processors, that’s hardly a surprise. And, it’s also well worth the price, if you need its level of performance. Just remember that it may take a bit to keep cool so be sure to follow AMD’s guidance.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X: Top performance on a budget
Specifications: Cores: 6Threads: 12Base clock: 3.8GHzBoost clock: 4.4GHzL3 cache: 32MBTDP: 95WTODAY’S BEST DEALS
Reasons to buy: +Excellent performance+Affordable+Includes a cooler
Reasons to avoid: -Still 6-cores
With more threads than the Intel Core i5-9600K, this mid-range graphics card delivers impressive multi-threading performance. However, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X doesn’t just stop there: it takes that budget-minded stage of performance to a new level, with its increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance and a higher clock speed while staying at the same price point. It also stays competitive in even the most intense single-threaded applications.
AMD Ry zen 3 3100: PC gaming just got cheaper
Specifications: Cores: 4Threads: 8Base clock: 3.5GHzBoost clock: 3.6GHzL3 cache: 16MBTDP: 65W
Reasons to buy: +Excellent performance+Affordable+Doesn’t suck up much power
Reasons to avoid: -Not as fast as the 3300X-May bottleneck high-end GPU s
Budget-minded consumers who missed out on all the 3rd-generation Ry zen excitement the first time will appreciate AMD’s latest attempt in the entry-level sphere. There’s no denying that the AMD Ry zen 3 3100 is appealingly cheap, but it does so without compromising on performance. In fact, this chip delivers a performance that could almost rival that of processors double its price, without sucking up much power. And, it’s an excellent choice for budget gamer who are looking for something that can handle 1080p gaming.
AMD Ry zen 7 5800X: Ry zen to the top
Specifications: Cores: 8Threads: 16Base clock: 3.8GHzBoost clock: 4.7GHzL3 cache: 32MBTDP: 105W
Reasons to buy: +Excellent single-core performance+Strong for gaming+Low power
Reasons to avoid: -Price jump from Ry zen 3000-No included cooler
Intel no longer has the monopoly on gaming CPU s. Rocking 8 cores and 16 threads, along with much stronger single-core performance, the AMD Ry zen 7 5800X is among the best CPU s for gaming – as well as less demanding creative work – right now.
And it comes with a much more approachable price tag compared to most of Intel’s offerings, making it a much better value.
Intel Core i5-10600K: Hyper-Threading for everyone
Specifications: Cores: 6Threads: 12Base clock: 3.5GHzBoost clock: 4.7GHzL3 cache: 64MBTDP: 105W
Reasons to buy: +Excellent multi-core performance+Affordable+Good thermal performance
Reasons to avoid: -No PCIe 4.0-Higher power consumption
Mid-range buyers will appreciate the fact that they actually don’t have to shell out quite a bit of cash for Intel’s hyper-threading technology. With Intel’s Core i5-10600K, among Intel’s latest chips to hit the streets in 2021, it’s possible to have it for much less than $500. This chip may lack PCIe 4.0 support and has a higher power consumption, but it makes up for those in spades. Besides hyper-threading, this processor also delivers superb multi-core performance as well as improved single-core performance. What’s more is that it’s got great thermals to keep that pesky heat down.
AMD Ry zen Thread ripper 3960X: Perfecting the Thread ripper line
Specifications: Cores: 24Threads: 48Base clock: 3.8GHzBoost clock: 4.5GHzL3 cache: 128MBTDP: 280W
Reasons to buy: +Excellent single and multi threaded performance+Competitive price
Reasons to avoid: -Not backwards compatible
Launched alongside the even more potent Ry zen Thread ripper 3970X, the AMD Ry zen Thread ripper 3960X may have the same core count as its predecessor. However, it comes with a brand-new architecture that delivers performance gains as well as PCIe 4.0, making it among the best processors in the Thread ripper arena. The 3960X delivers dramatically improved single-threaded performance and has successfully reduced its predecessors’ idiosyncrasies that affect their own performance. It may come with a higher price tag and require the TRX40 motherboard – not to mention, a powerful cooler – but it’s certainly worth the fuss if you can maximize its skills to your advantage.
AMD Athlon 300GE: A best value performer
Specifications: Cores: 2Threads: 4Base clock: 3.4GHzBoost clock: 4.0GHzL3 cache: 4MBTDP: 35W
Reasons to buy: +Incredibly cheap+Low power usage
Reasons to avoid: -Not powerful enough for demanding tasks
Whether you’re looking for a processor for your media center or for your desktop PC, the AMD Athlon 300GE is among the best processors you can find on the market today in terms of value. It’s reliable and surprisingly fast for what it can do.
It’s never going to deliver a breathtaking performance, but for a processor in the budget space, it’s definitely going to impress you.
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G: Best for 720p gaming
Specifications: Cores: 4Threads: 8Base clock: 3.7GHzBoost clock: 4.2GHzL3 cache: 4MBTDP: 65W
Reasons to buy: +Affordable+Rad eon Vega graphics+Bundled cooler
Reasons to avoid: -Lower performance in applications than alternatives
With a noticeable, if small, performance advantage over its predecessor, AMD’s Ry zen 5 3400G is a capable option for your home theater PC and budget gaming computer.
That means that it’s among best processors for folks who don’t quite take gaming as seriously as the big gamer, touting a solid 720 and a fairly decent 1080p gaming performance.