Best CPUs, Processors and APUs For Your Money: March 2015

| March 5, 2015 | (8)
Intel Core i7 5960X die shot

A die shot of the Intel Core i7 5960X 8 core CPU, the best CPU for $1050.

The Best CPU For Your Money?

By that, I mean CPUs that offer unsurpassed performance at a set price. Why would you want that?

Because you want the best bang for the buck, because you want the best CPU for your money and because you want the highest performance possible, right?

If you have the time to do research… but who does in this busy world?

However, I do realize that not everyone has the time to read detailed CPU reviews nor does everyone can make sense of complex CPU specifications.

This is why I write this guide for you: To help you save your time, sanity and money by letting you know what are the best CPUs for your money.

Things to keep in mind when reading this article:

I’ll use this opportunity to remind you that this article is only a guideline for the prices I’ve seen on March 5th 2015.

  • Prices and availability change everyday. I can’t keep up with accurate pricing everyday, but I can suggest to you great CPUs that you won’t regret buying at the price ranges that I list.
  • This list is based on the best prices from B&H, NewEgg and/or Amazon on new CPUs. No used, open box or refurbished CPUs are included. While you may be able to score a nice discount, those CPUs come with trade offs, such as limited return policy, limited warranty, etc.

Best $40 CPU:

Intel Celeron G1840:

$43.99 – Amazon
– G1820 (100MHz slower): $46.50 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 2.8 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (2)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1333MHz
TDP: 53 W
Socket: LGA 1150

V.S the competition:
The Intel Celeron G1840 is based on Intel’s Haswell architecture and it has no problem outperforming the AMD A6-6300 Dual-Core 3.7-3.9GHz at this price range, thanks to:
1. The dual-core design of this Intel processor (two CPU cores, each with its FP/SSE (Floating Point) unit) is superior to two CPU cores with a shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) unit as seen on AMD’s Trinity and Richland “dual-core” designs.
2. The higher IPC (Instrutions per Clock) of the Haswell architecture.

On top of outperforming the AMD A6-4300, the Celeron G1840 is also more power efficient, consuming less power at idle and load than its direct competitor.

Pros:
– Decent CPU performance (best at this price)
– Low price
– Integrated video card, so you don’t require a dedicated video card.
– Low power consumption
– Based on the latest 4th generation of Intel “Core” CPUs, Haswell, with the highest performance and lowest power consumption available from Intel.
– LGA 1150 socket: You can upgrade to an higher-end Pentium/Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs simply by swapping CPUs.

Cons:
– Only a dual-core CPU, with no Hyper-Threading and a rather low 2.8GHz frequency.
– Completely locked, overclocking is not supported nor possible.
– Supports RAM frequency of only 1333MHz.

Ideal for:
– A very low budget family PC, if all you want to do is browse the Internet, watch some videos, listen to some music, do some Office work and the like.
– NAS, Streaming PC, Budget server

Avoid for:
– Any demanding workload
– Heavy multitasking
– Audio/photo/video editing
– Gaming PCs: In 2015, a quad-core CPU is pretty much a requirement to achieve decent performance with demanding video games.

CPUs to avoid:
AMD Sempron: Awful performance, as it’s only a single core CPU based on a much older architecture.
AMD Trinity and Richland “Dual-Core”, such as the Athlon X2 340, A4-4000, A4-5300 and A4-6300: Those so called “dual-core” are in reality one module that contains two CPU cores with a shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) unit. Some would argue that it’s not quite the same as a “true” dual-core processor and their terrible performance, compared to the Celeron G1610, backs up that statement.
Intel G1620/1630: These are the Celeron brand version based on the older Ivy Bridge architecture, with slightly lower performance (5-10%) and slightly higher power consumption.

Best $60 CPU:

Intel Pentium G3240:

$61.51 – Amazon
– G3220 (100MHz slower): $58.95 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 3.1 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (2)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1333MHz
TDP: 54 W
Socket: LGA 1150

V.S the competition:
The Intel Pentium G3240 is based on Intel’s Haswell architecture and it has no problem outperforming AMD’s competition at this price point (Athlon X2 370K, A4-5400K and A4-6300/6400K), thanks to:
1. The dual-core design of this Intel processor (two CPU cores, each with its FP/SSE (Floating Point) unit) is superior to two CPU cores with a shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) unit as seen on AMD’s Trinity and Richland “dual-core” designs.
2. The higher IPC (Instrutions per Clock) of the Haswell architecture.

On top of outperforming the AMD competition, the Pentium G3240 is also more power efficient, consuming less power at idle and load than its direct competitors.

Pros:
– Decent CPU performance (best at this price)
– Low price
– Integrated video card, so you don’t require a dedicated video card.
– Low power consumption
– LGA 1150 socket: You can upgrade to an higher-end Core i3/i5/i7 latest gen Haswell CPUs simply by swapping out your CPU.

Cons:
– Only a dual-core CPU, with no Hyper-Threading.
– Completely locked, overclocking is not supported nor possible.
– Supports RAM frequency of only 1333MHz.
– The integrated video card is underwhelming, very weak performance, far from a Gaming PC required performance level.

Ideal for:
– A budget family PC, if all you want to do is browse the Internet, watch some videos, listen to some music, do some Office work and the like.
– Office PCs
– NAS, Streaming PC, Budget server

Avoid for:
– Any demanding workload
– Heavy multitasking
– Audio/photo/video editing
– Gaming PCs: In 2015, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading or Quad-Core is pretty much a requirement to achieve decent performance with demanding video games.

CPUs to avoid:
AMD Trinity and Richland “Dual-Core”, such as the Athlon X2 370K, A4-5400K and A4-6300/6400K: Those so called “dual-core” are in reality one module that contains two CPU cores with a shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) unit. Some would argue that it’s not quite the same as a “true” dual-core processor and their terrible performance, compared to the Celeron G1610, backs up that statement.
- Intel Pentium G620, G630, G645 and G850 CPUs based on the “Sandy Bridge” architecture. Those are based on an older architecture and won’t match the performance of newer “Ivy Bridge” or “Haswell” architecture based CPUs.

Best $75 CPU:

Intel Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition: Unlocked for massive overclocking!

$69.99 at Amazon (USA)
– $76.50 at BH (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 3.2 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (2)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1333MHz
TDP: 53W
Socket: LGA1150

Higher performance than the competition:
In the same price range, we have the AMD Athlon X4 760K that’s available for $78.

The Pentium G3258 is a quite unique Intel CPU, seeing as it’s a fully unlocked CPU that only costs $70. It’s a 3.2GHz dual-core CPU with no Hyper-Threading, based on the Haswell architecture. At stock frequencies, it’s a fine CPU for its price, but where it really shines is when you overclock it. Many website and buyers report that it can reach 4.5GHz or more with a decent after-market CPU Cooler. At 4.5GHz or more, it has no problem outperforming its main competitor in its price range, the AMD Athlon X4 760K.

Even if you don’t overclock it, with its highly efficient Haswell architecture and its decent 3.2GHz frequency, the G3258 can hold its own against the AMD Athlon II X4 760K. But really, it would almost be a shame not to take advantage of its overclocking potential!

Pros:
– More than decent CPU performance (best in this price class), especially when overclocked!
– Unlocked multiplier, overclocking is supported and easy.
– Low power consumption (53W TDP)
– Low price
– Integrated video card
– Allows you to upgrade to higher-end Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs down the road.

Cons:
– Natively supports RAM frequency of 1333MHz, higher is usually supported with overclocking.

Ideal for:
– Budget Gaming PCs with a really tight budget.
– Budget Family PCs, to browse the Internet, watch some videos, listen to some music, do some Office work and the like.
– NAS, Streaming PC, Budget server and other workloads requiring a low power consumption

Avoid for:
– Audio/photo/video editing
– Higher-end Gaming PC

Best $120 CPU:

Intel Core i3-4160

$118.99 (Amazon)
$118.99 (B&H – International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell Refresh
Frequency (Turbo): 3.6 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (4)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4400
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1600MHz
TDP: 54W
Socket: Intel LGA 1150

VS the Competition:
AMD’s closest priced CPU is the FX-6350 ($120, Six-Core, 3.8GHz/4.2GHz Turbo).

I picked the Intel Core i3-4160 over the AMD FX-6350 because:

  1. The Intel Core i3-4330 (100 MHz slower than Core i3-4160) outperforms the FX-6350 in most games and trade blows, losing and winning depending on the application, thanks to its higher single thread performance, according to AnandTech.
  2. The Core i3-4130 (200MHz slower) outperforms the FX-6350 when it comes to gaming performance, according to Xbit Labs.
  3. The Core i3-4130 has a far lower power consumption: 16W less at idle and 105W less at load! Lower power consumption = Lower utility bill, not requiring a more powerful power supply (saving money), less heat and less noise.
  4. The Intel LGA1150 platform offers more interesting upgrade options with the more powerful Core i5 and i7 series of CPU. With the AMD AM3+ platform, you’re limited to slightly more powerful FX-83xx CPUs that are no match for Intel’s Core i5/i7 CPUs.

Pros:
– Outstanding single threaded CPU performance (best at this price) thanks to the Intel Haswell architecture.
– 54W TDP is lower than any AMD mainstream processors, nearly half what the FX-6300 needs. Lower power consumption results in less heat, noise (consider an after-market CPU Cooler if you desire even less noise), lower utility bill and less expensive power supply.
– Integrated video card: Dedicated video card not required.

Cons:
– Fully locked: You cannot overclock this CPU. You can however upgrade to a Core i5 or i7 K series CPU if you want to overclock.
– Only two cores with Hyper-Threading: Multi-Threaded CPU performance is good but not great. Not ideal if you need all the CPU multi-threading processing power that you can get, for a workstation for example. Consider upgrading to a Core i5 or i7.

Ideal for:
1. A Budget Family PC, as it offers good processor performance at this price.
2. A Budget Gaming PC with a dedicated video card.
3. A NAS, Streaming PC, Budget Server or HTPC, anything with a low power consumption requirement.

Avoid for:
– Mainstream or High performance Workstation or Gaming PC.

Alternative #1: More powerful for threaded application:

AMD FX-6300

$99.99 (Amazon)

3 modules / 6 cores, 3.5-4.1GHz, No Integrated GPU
The FX-6300 does well in gaming performance, but Intel’s Core i3-4160 offers slightly better gaming performance.

That said, the FX-6300 six integer cores offer better performance in applications that are well multi-threaded, such as audio, photo and video editing.

It features an unlocked ratio multiplier for easy overclocking; just make sure to have an after-market CPU Cooler that can handle the heat!

It’s also $20 less expensive right now, hence why it’s even more worth considering as an alternative.

Alternative #2: Far more powerful integrated video card:

AMD A8-7600

$106.65 (Amazon)

Based on the latest Kaveri architecture

2 modules / 4 cores, 3.3-3.8GHz, Radeon R7 GPU: 384 GPU Cores running at 720MHz

If you want an APU  with an integrated GPU that offers good gaming performance, the A8-7600 is an excellent choice for $100.

According to AnandTech’s review of the A8-7600, the A8-7600 outperforms the older A10-5800K and A10-6800K when it comes to the integreated video card performance.

It’s priced similarly and consumes less power (65W TDP), so this no reason not to pick it up over its predecessors.

Note that you want to pair it up with DDR3 2133MHz RAM for the best performance possible in video games.

If you want an APU with even better integrated video card card performance, the A10-7800, which is recommended as an alternative for $140, is the way to go.

Best $145 CPU:

AMD FX-8320

- $139.99 at Amazon (USA Shipping)
- $149.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Vishera
Frequency (Turbo): 3.5 (4.0) GHz
Cores (Threads): 8 (8)
Integrated GPU: N/A
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1866MHz
TDP: 125W
Socket: AM3+

VS the Competition:
Intel doesn’t offer much around this price point, only slightly higher frequencies Core i3 that just can’t keep up with the AMD FX-8320 CPU. The only Intel’s processor in direct competition with the AMD FX-8320 is the Core i3-4360 ($145, Dual-Core+ Hyper-Threading, 3.7GHz, no Turbo).

I picked the AMD FX-8320 over the Intel Core i3-4360 because:

  1. The FX-8320 outperforms the slightly less powerful Core i3-3220 in gaming and most applications. The Core i3-4160 isn’t that much faster than the Core i3-3220 and thus can’t keep up with the FX-8320 in most cases and even gets crushed in heavy multi-threaded apps.
  2. The AMD FX-8320 is fully unlocked for overclocking. The Intel Core i3-4350 is fully locked and cannot be overclocked.

Pros:
– Very Good CPU performance (best at this price), good enough to team up with dedicated video card if you want to.
– “Eight” CPU Cores
– Fully unlocked: Overclock it as much as you can. Make sure to get a motherboard with solid power delivery components and a good CPU Cooler to get the most overclock out of it.
– Officially supports RAM frequency of 1866MHz with dual-channel.

Cons:
– “Eight-Core” CPU performance is about equivalent to a quad-core Intel CPU.
– 125W TDP is higher than any Intel mainstream processors, more than twice what the Core i3-4130(54W) needs. Higher power consumption results in more heat, noise (consider an after-market CPU Cooler if you desire low-noise) and more expensive power supply.
– No integrated video card: You must use a dedicated video card.
– Upgrade options are limited.

Ideal for:

1. A Mainstream Family PC, as it offers very good processor performance at this price.
2. A Budget/Mainstream Gaming PC with a dedicated video card.
3. A Budget Workstation.

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC, Budget server and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.

Lower TDP alternative

The AMD FX-8320E 95W, $139.99 (Amazon) offers similar performance to the FX-8320, but with a lower TDP of 95W instead of 125W, resulting in lower power consumption, less heat and usually less noise from the CPU Cooler.

Frequency wise, its base frequency is 3.2GHz instead of 3.5GHz for the FX-8320 non-E, but the Turbo frequency is 4GHz just like the FX-8320. This will result in slightly lower performance, but most likely nothing perceivable.

Best $140 APU (CPU + GPU in one):

$139.99 – AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU

- Architecture: Kaveri
Frequency (Turbo): 3.5 (3.9) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (4)
Integrated GPU: Radeon R7: 512 stream processors 720MHz
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 2133MHz
TDP: 65W
Socket: FM2+

Why the A10-7800?
The A10-7800 performance in video games is nearly as good as the more expensive A10-7850K and its TDP is lower at 65W vs 95W for the A10-7850K.

The A10-7800 is only an interesting option if you want a processor with powerful integrated graphics at a reasponable price

Compared to the previous generation “Richland” top-end APU, the A10-6800K, the A10-7800 “Kaveri” CPU portion performs on par, but the GPU (video card) part is clearly more powerful, resulting in quite higher performance in video games.

Pros:
– Powerful integrated video card (GPU): Capable of handling most modern games at 1920 x 1080 with medium/high settings.
– Officially supports RAM frequency of 2133MHz with dual-channel.

Cons:
– Relatively poor CPU performance compared to similarly priced alternatives.

Ideal for:

1. A Budget Family PC, as it offers a good balance of CPU and GPU performance at this price.
2. A Budget Gaming PC without a dedicated video card.

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC, Budget server and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.
– Highly demanding workloads, so avoid for Workstations
– A Gaming PC with a dedicated video card.

Best $200 CPU:

Intel Core i5-4590:

$189.99 (Amazon)
– i5-4570 (100MHz slower): $209.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 3.3 (3.7) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (4)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4600
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1600MHz
TDP: 84W
Socket: LGA1150

V.S. AMD FX-8350:
Most video games only use two to four cores and prioritize single-threaded performance (a domain where Intel dominates AMD) so when it comes to gaming performance, AMD’s FX-8350 is no match for Intel’s Core i5-4570. On top of that, the Fx-8350 consumes roughly 85W more power at load than the Core i5-4590, a considerable difference.

While its 8 cores might make it seem like an attractive option for heavy multi-threaded programs, even then, the Core i5-4590 competes with it thanks to its far higher IPC and far higher single-thread performance.

In the end, the Core i5-4590 is just a better choice is the vast majority of cases and this is why I’m recommending it at the $200 price point.

Pros:
– Great CPU performance, excellent choice to team up with a dedicated video card if you want to.
– 84W TDP is lower than AMD’s CPUs and APUs. Lower power consumption results in less heat, noise and you don’t need a more powerful, more expensive power supply.
– Integrated video card, so you don’t require a dedicated video card.

Cons:
– Locked: Forget overclocking. Unlocked K variant (4690K) is more expensive.
– The integrated video card is underwhelming, very weak performance, far from a Gaming PC required performance level.

Ideal for:

1. A Mainstream Family PC, as it offers very good processor performance at this price.
2. A Mainstream Gaming PC with a dedicated video card.
3. A Budget Workstation.
4. A Budget Server

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.

Alternative #1: 200MHz higher base and Turbo frequencies for $20 more:

Intel Core i5-4690

$216.99 (Amazon)

The Core i5-4690 offers base and Turbo frequencies that are 200MHz higher than the Core i5-4590.

Not a bad deal for $20 more if you ask me. Unless you intend to overclock, in which case you definitely want to consider the unlocked K variant alternative below.

Alternative #2: Unlocked multiplier for Overclocking:

Intel Core i5-4690K

$229.99 at Amazon (USA)
$239.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

If you want to overclock, the Core i5-4690K K variant is the way to go, with its unlocked multiplier.

Make sure that you get a Z97 chipset equipped motherboard to ensure compatibility and to be able to overclock of course. Most Z87 motherboards with a BIOS/UEFI update should be compatible too.

Best $335 CPU:

Intel Core i7-4790K:

$337.99 at Amazon (USA)
– $337.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 4.0 (4.4) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (8)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4600
- RAM Support: Dual Channel 1600MHz
TDP: 88W
Socket: LGA1150

Why I recommend it / V.S. the AMD FX-9590:
High Gaming Performance:
It’s the CPU that offers the highest performance for a gaming PC with a one or two graphic/video cards, thanks to its high-frequencies and highly efficient architecture that offers far higher single-threaded performance than AMD’s CPUs.

Most video games only use two to four cores and prioritize single-threaded performance so when it comes to gaming performance, AMD’s fastest CPU, the 220W(TDP) FX-9590 is no match for Intel’s Core i7-4790K when it comes to gaming performance.

Simply put, AMD hasn’t updated their high-end FX CPU’s architecture since it launched in September 2011. In the meantime, Intel is trying to launch a new generation of Core i CPUs every year, alternating between a new architecture (higher performance) and a smaller manufacturing process (lower power consumption).

When the first CPU based on the Bulldozer FX architecture came out, they were facing Intel second generation Sandy Bridge Core CPUs, such as the popular Core i5-2500K. The Core i7-4790K is two generations ahead of that, so it has a higher-performance architecture, higher frequencies (4GHz base frequency, 4.4GHz maximum Turbo frequency) and is even more power efficient.

High overall performance:
With 4 Haswell cores and Hyper-Threading, the Core i7-4790K can handle 8 threads simultaneously. With its high performance, you can use it for your Workstation too.

The Core i7-4790K also consumes a lot less power (200W less at load than the AMD FX-9590!), resulting in a PC that consumes less electricity (lower electricity bill) and is less noisy.

It also allows you to spend less money on the power supply because you don’t need one that’s as powerful.

Ready to overclock
Finally, it is an unlocked CPU, so you can overclock it (raise its frequency) to raise its performance even more!

Pros:
– Best CPU performance for video games, best choice to team up with dedicated video card(s).
– 88W TDP is lower than AMD’s CPUs and APUs. Lower power consumption results in less heat, noise and you don’t need a more powerful, more expensive power supply.
– Integrated video card, so you don’t require a dedicated video card, unless you want one of course.
– Unlocked: Overclocking is done by raising the multiplier. Simple and easy.

Cons:

– The integrated video card is underwhelming, very weak performance, far from a Gaming PC required performance level.

Ideal for:

1. A High-end Family PC, as it offers very good processor performance at this price.
2. A High-end Gaming PC with a dedicated video card.
3. A Budget Workstation.
4. A Budget Server

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.

Best $385 CPU:

Intel i7-5820K

$385.33 at Amazon (USA)
$385.33 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.3 (3.6) GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12)
Integrated GPU: N/A
- RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2133MHz
TDP: 140W
Socket: LGA2011

V.S. Competition: None

AMD simply offers no competition at this price, as it has no CPU capable of competing with the Intel six-core Core i7-5820K.

The Core i7-5820K is just a better choice performance wise, power consumption wise and heat wise. Which is why I’m recommending it at the $400 price point.

Pros:
– Outstanding CPU performance, capable of handling pretty much anything.
– Unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking.
– Support for quad-channel DDR4 RAM running at 2133MHz.
– 140W TDP is far lower than AMD’s FX-9590 220W TDP. Lower power consumption results in less heat, noise and you don’t need a more powerful, more expensive power supply.

Cons:
Does not include a CPU Cooler, you must buy your own.
– Support for only 28 lanes of PCI-Express 3.0, can be a bottleneck for 3/4 video cards setups.
– No integrated video card: You must use a dedicated video card.

Ideal for:

1. A very high-end Family PC, as it offers outstanding processor performance. Most likely overkill.
2. A Mainstream/High-End Workstation.
3. A Mainstream Server

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.
– Gaming PCs, the Core i7-4790K is a better choice.

Best $565 CPU:

Intel i7-5930K

$574.99 at Amazon (USA)
$574.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

- Architecture: Haswell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.5 (3.7) GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12)
Integrated GPU: N/A
- RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2133MHz
TDP: 140W
Socket: LGA2011

V.S. Competition: None

The Core i7-5930K is essentially a faster variant of the Core i7-5820K, with the full 40 lanes of PCI-Express 3.0 bandwidth available.

Pros:
– Outstanding CPU performance, capable of handling pretty much anything.
– Unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking.
– Support for quad-channel DDR4 RAM running at 2133MHz!
– Support for 40 lanes of PCI-Express 3.0, ideal for Crossfire/SLI with two, three or four video cards.
– 140W TDP is far lower than AMD’s FX-9590 220W TDP. Lower power consumption results in less heat, noise and you don’t need a more powerful, more expensive power supply.

Cons:
Does not include a CPU Cooler, you must buy your own.
– No integrated video card: You must use a dedicated video card.
– Pretty expensive

Ideal for:

1. A very high-end PC, as it offers outstanding processor performance.
3. A Mainstream/High-End Workstation.
4. A Mainstream Server

Avoid for:
1. Gaming PCs, the Core i7-4790K is a better choice.
2. NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.

Best $1050 CPU:

Intel i7-5960X:

$1049.99 at Amazon (USA)
$1049.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

Simply put, this is THE most powerful desktop CPU available on the market.

- Architecture: Haswell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.0 (3.5) GHz
Cores (Threads): 8 (16)
Integrated GPU: N/A
- RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2133MHz
TDP: 140W
Socket: LGA2011

The first Intel 8 core/16 thread consumer CPU, the Core i7-5960X offers unmatched processing power for those who demands it.

Pros:
– Outstanding CPU performance, capable of handling pretty much anything.
– Unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking.
– Support for quad-channel DDR4 RAM running at 2133MHz!
– Support for 40 lanes of PCI-Express 3.0, ideal for Crossfire/SLI
– 140W TDP is far lower than AMD’s FX-9590 220W TDP. Lower power consumption results in less heat, noise and you don’t need a more powerful, more expensive power supply.

Cons:
Does not include a CPU Cooler, you must buy your own.
– No integrated video card: You must use a dedicated video card.
– Expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Ideal for:
1. A High-End Gaming PC
2. A Mainstream/High-End Workstation.
3. A Mainstream Server

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on the Best CPUs, Processors and APUs For Your Money.

Of course, with this being such a long article (over 4000 words) with many recommendations and alternatives, you may find some typos.

Alternatively, you may believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation.

Or you may have some questions.

If that happens, feel free to leave a comment below and remember, you can join us on our forums to discuss with everyone else the laptop that you’re planning to buy, ask your questions and join our helpful community!

Category: The Best Computer Parts For Your Money

About Mathieu Bourgie: HR Founder - Computer expert with over 14 years of experience in building, fixing and modifying PCs. Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for PC hardware and now I enjoy helping others build their own PCs! In April 2008, I launched Hardware Revolution and ... Read more at my about page .

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/syncnomore SyncNoMore

    What is the best CPU (under 500$) for Live Streaming? Very helpful article!

    • https://www.facebook.com/Mathieu.HR MathieuB

      I’d go with the Intel Core i7-4790K. Highly efficient architecture, 4 cores + Hyper-Threading (can handle 8 threads at once) and high frequencies.

  • Aidan

    What would be the best cpu with a r9 270x for just straightly high quality 4k htpc build? I’ve been looking at the pentium g3258 from intel. I’m under a budget 220$ for motherboard and cpu.

    • https://www.facebook.com/Mathieu.HR MathieuB

      Do you intend on doing any converting or just playback?

    • John Galt

      I hope you aren’t expecting to encode or play any games at 4k. That requires a very high end build with 290’s in crossfire or better. Why such a low spec build for a mighty 4k display?

  • http://www.writing-for-children.com Peter Taylor

    Many thanks for this, Mathieu.
    I don’t do gaming or download and watch movies, but I am looking at purchasing a laptop, and the choice is bewildering. Apart from word processing and web browsing, it will be used for Dragon Naturally Speaking, Photoshop and occasional video editing and music production in Cubase or similar. Do you recommend a separate graphics card (if so, which one or ones do you like? or will the graphics built in to any i3 or i5 be adequate for my purposes? Do I need to go to i7? I don’t want to spend more than I have to as I mainly use my desktop.
    I was given a specially built desktop as a gift about 2 years ago, and it does all that I ask of it with an Asus P8H77-MLE motherboard, i3-3220 processor @3.3GIG …and I think it may have a ??KINGSTON hyperx fb-dimm ‘accelerator’ (I have been given the packaging). I’ve no idea what else may be inside. I know nothing about computers, only what I want to use them for.
    Your suggestion will be much appreciated.
    All best wishes from Brisbane Australia
    Peter Taylor

    • https://www.facebook.com/Mathieu.HR MathieuB

      Hello Peter,

      For your purposes, a dedicated video card is not necessary.

      Photoshop and video editing require a faster CPU than most tasks, but if you’re happy with the performance of Core i3-3220, I’d suggest that you look into a laptop with a Core i5 CPU, which will offer roughly equivalent CPU performance compared to the desktop Core i3. Higher frequencies (That 3.3GHz is the frequency of your Core i3 CPU) will result in higher performance.

      For the RAM, aim for at least 8GB, preferably 12-16GB if you like to have all those programs open at the same time.

      Storage wise, consider getting a laptop with what is called a ‘SSD’ (Solid State Drive) instead of a hard drive.

      SSDs offer far higher performance than traditional hard drives, lower failure rates and much higher shock resistance (so if you drop your laptop, your disk is less likely to get damaged).

      A SSD will allow your PC to boot and shutdown in less than 15 seconds and launch heavy programs such as Photoshop in just a second or two. It will help when you work with heavy files and finally your PC will feel far more responsive.

      Hope this helps,
      Mathieu

      • http://www.writing-for-children.com Peter Taylor

        That is a massive help. Thank you so very much Mathieu!