September 2016 Update: What’s new?

– The price of the AMD A8-7600 went up by about $10.
– The price of the AMD FX-8300 and A10-7860K have dropped.
– The prices of the Intel Core i5-6600, i5-6600K, i7-6700K and i7-6900K have dropped.

Other than that, our recommendations haven’t changed since August.

The Best CPU, Processor or APU For Your Money?

By that, I mean CPUs, processors and APUs that offer unsurpassed performance at a price range. 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.

This is an Worldwide Guide!

Do you live in the USA?

Use Amazon, B&H and Newegg for your purchase.

Do you live outside of the USA?

No problem. All the parts can be purchased from B&H, who ships worldwide.

Prices for B&H and Newegg as of September 6th 2016. Put your mouse on Amazon links or click on them to see prices.

Good Entry-level CPU:

Intel Pentium G1840

Get the Intel Celeron G1840 from Amazon

$46.50 at B&H (International Shipping)
$48.33 at Newegg

– Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 2.8 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (2)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics
– RAM Support: DDR3 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 dual-core 4.0GHz AMD A4-7300 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 “dual-core” designs.
2. The higher IPC (Instrutions per Clock) of the Haswell architecture.

On top of outperforming the AMD A4-7300, 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), fine for web browsing and basic office work.
– Low price
– Integrated video card, so you don’t require a dedicated video card.
– Low power consumption
– Based on the 4th generation of Intel “Core” CPUs, Haswell.
– 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 2.7GHz frequency.
– Integrated video card offers limited performance, not adequate for gaming.
– Completely locked, overclocking is not supported nor possible.
– Supports RAM frequency of only 1333MHz.

Ideal for:
– An entry-level family or Office 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, Media Server.

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

CPUs to avoid:

AMD Trinity and Richland “Dual-Core”, such as the Athlon X2 340, A4-4000, A4-5300, A4-6300 and A4-7300: 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 G1840, backs up that statement.
AMD AM1 Kabini Athlon 5350/5150 and Sempron 3850/2650. Low TDP CPUs, with awful performance. The highest-end quad-core 2.05GHz Athlon 5350 is no match even for an entry-level Intel dual-core CPU such as the G1820. Lower end models are even worse. Intel stated TDP is a worse-case scenario, in most cases they consume less power, so you wouldn’t see that much of a difference in power consumption anyway.
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 Entry-level CPUs:

Intel Pentium G3258 V.S. Intel Pentium G4400 V.S. AMD Athlon X4 845

  • If you value single-threaded performance, low-power usage and don’t plan on overclocking, the Intel Pentium G4400 is your best choice at this price point.
  • If you value single-threaded performance and plan on overclocking, get the Pentium G3258 and an after-market CPU Cooler, such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus.
  • If you value multi-threaded performance, whether you plan on overclocking or not, get the AMD Athlon X4 845.
  • Gaming? Overclocked, the Pentium G3258. Not overclocked? The AMD Athlon X4 845 trade blows with the Intel CPUs and is slightly more future-proof thanks to being able to handle 4 threads.

AMD Athlon X4 845

Get the AMD Athlon X4 845 from Amazon

$67.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Carrizo: Excavator cores
Frequency (Turbo): 3.5 (3.8) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 modules / 4 threads
Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: DDR3 2133MHz
TDP: 65 W
Socket: FM2+

The AMD Athlon X4 845 is based on the newer, higher performance and more power efficient Excavator architecture.
Its product name suggests that it sits below older products like the X4 860K, but don’t be fooled: Thanks to using AMD’s latest microarchitecture, the AMD Athlon X4 845 offers higher performance on average compared to the X4 860K, while using less power, with its 65W TDP compared to the 95W TDP of the Athlon X4 860K.

Value wise, it’s hard to beat, especially when you consider that it can be overclocked (by raising the BCLK) with its stock CPU Cooler, unlike the Intel Pentium G3258, which requires an after-market CPU Cooler (add $25-30) for serious overclocking, because its low-profile CPU Cooler can’t cope with the additional heat.

Pros:
– Great multi-threaded performance at this price point.
– Supports RAM frequency of 2133MHz
– New AMD ‘Near-silent‘ 95W CPU Cooler, quiet and offers enough headroom for overclocking.

Cons:
– Single threaded performance below Intel’s CPUs.
– Higher power consumption than Intel CPUs (65W V.S. 53W TDP)
– No integrated video card: You must use a dedicated video card
– Locked multiplier: Overclocking is still possible, but slightly more limited

Ideal for:
– Budget Gaming PCs with a really tight budget, especially if overclocked
– Budget Family PCs, to browse the Internet, watch some videos, listen to some music, do some Office work and the like.
– Entry level Office PC on a really tight budget for some work, entry-level Audio/photo/video editing. You’ll be better off with at least a mid-range CPU.

Avoid for:
– Mid-range or High-end Gaming PC
– NAS, Streaming PC, Budget server and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.

Intel Pentium G3258

Get the Intel Pentium G3258 from Amazon

$66.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$69.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Haswell
Frequency (Turbo): 3.2 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (2)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD
– RAM Support: DDR3 Dual Channel 1333MHz
TDP: 53W
Socket: LGA1150

Overclocking alternative:
The Pentium G3258 is a quite unique CPU for Intel, because it’s their only fully unlocked CPU that costs only $70. Other unlocked Intel CPUs start at over $200.

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 two competitors in this price range, the Intel Pentium G4400 and the AMD Athlon X4 845. That said, you do need to spend more money on an after-market CPU Cooler to overclock. Intel only includes a low-profile which isn’t capable of handling serious overclocking.

Don’t plan on overclocking?
At stock frequencies, there are better CPUs at this price. If you value more single-threaded performance, the Intel Pentium G4400, but if you value multi-threaded performance, get the AMD Athlon X4 845.

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

Cons:
– Supports RAM frequency of 1333MHz
– Poor integrated video card performance
– Included low-profile CPU Cooler can’t cope with overclocking. The purchase of an after-market CPU Cooler for overclocking increases the total cost.

Ideal for:
– If overclocked: 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
– Mid-range or High-end Gaming PC

Intel Pentium G4400

Get the Intel Pentium G4400 from Amazon

$64.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Skylake
Frequency (Turbo): 3.3 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (2)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD 510
– RAM Support: DDR4/DDR3L Dual Channel, type of DDR and frequency supported depends on your motherboard.
TDP: 65 W
Socket: LGA 1151

V.S the Intel Celeron G1840:
The Intel Pentium G4400 is based on a newer architecture (Skylake versus Haswell for the Celeron G3258) and runs at a slightly higher frequency (3.3GHz vs 3.2GHz), so it offers a small boost in performance compared to the Intel G3258 at stock frequencies.

Pros:
– Best single-threaded CPU performance at price point, unless you overclock the Pentium G3258
– Integrated video card, so you don’t require a dedicated video card.
– LGA 1151 socket: You can upgrade to an higher-end Core i3/i5/i7 latest gen Skylake CPUs simply by swapping out your CPU.
– 65W TDP is higher than the G3258 at stock frequencies, but with overclocking, the G3258 will use more power. The AMD Athlon X4 845 also has a 65W TDP, but in real-life scenarios, it uses slightly more power than the Intel Pentium G4400.

Cons:
– Multi-threaded performance isn’t as good as on the AMD Athlon X4 845.
– Completely locked, overclocking is not supported nor possible.
– 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.
– Budget Office PCs
– NAS, Streaming PC, Media server

Avoid for:
– Any demanding workload
– Heavy multitasking
– Audio/photo/video editing
– Gaming PCs: Get the Athlon X4 845 or an overclocked Pentium G3258 instead.

Best Entry-Level APU (CPU + GPU in one):

Get the AMD A8-7600 from Amazon

$79.99 (B&H – International Shipping)
$79.99 (Newegg)

– Architecture: Kaveri
Frequency (Turbo): 3.1 (3.8) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 modules/ 4 cores
Integrated GPU: AMD Radeon R7 384 GPU Cores, 720MHz
– RAM Support: DDR3 Dual Channel 2133MHz
TDP: 65W
Socket: AMD FM2+

2 modules / 4 cores

The quad-core design of this AMD processor looks like this: Four CPU cores, with two shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) units.

If you want an APU with an integrated GPU that offers good entry-level integrated gaming performance, the A8-7600 is an excellent choice for $90.

This is why I recommend it for the entry-level Tier of the Budget Gaming PC article (How to easily build your Budget Gaming PC: Worldwide Edition!)

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 integrated video card performance.

Note that you want to pair it up with dual-channel (two or four sticks) DDR3 2133MHz RAM for the best performance possible in video games.

If you want an APU with even better integrated video card card performance, I recommend the A10-7860K or the A10-7890K, in order of price and performance.

From a CPU performance point of view, it’s faster overall than an Intel dual-core CPUs, like the Pentium G3258 and while not as powerful, it does trade blows with the Intel Core i3 dual-core + Hyper-Threading CPU in applications that are well multi-threaded.

Best Mid-range CPUs:

Get the AMD FX-8300 from Amazon

$109.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Vishera
Frequency (Turbo): 3.3 (4.2) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 modules/ 8 cores
Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: DDR3 Dual Channel 1866MHz
TDP: 95W
Socket: AMD AM3+

4 modules / 8 cores, 3.3-4.2GHz, No Integrated GPU
The FX-8300 does well in gaming performance, but Intel’s Core i3-6100 offers slightly better gaming performance.

However, the FX-8300 can overclocked, unlike Intel Core i3 CPUs. When overclocked, the FX-8300 has no problem outperforming the Intel Core i3, even in video games.

The FX-8300 eight 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!

Get the Intel Core i3-6100 from Amazon

$118.69 at B&H (International Shipping)
$124.99 (Newegg)

– Architecture: Skylake
Frequency (Turbo): 3.7 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 (4)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 530
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4-2133, DDR3L-1600 @ 1.35V
TDP: 65W
Socket: Intel LGA 1151

VS the Competition:
AMD’s closest priced CPU is the FX-8300 (Eight-Core, 3.3GHz/4.2GHz Turbo).

The Intel Core i3-6100 is far more efficient, using significantly less power than the FX-8300 and thus outputting less heat and running more quietly.

In video games, the Core i3-6100, thanks to its high IPC (Instrutions per Clock) performance of the Skylake architecture, will outperform the FX-8300 at stock frequencies. Gaming performance is highly dependent on IPC performance.

That said, if you overclock the FX-8300 (resulting in higher costs, due to the requirement of a more powerful power supply and after-market CPU Cooler), it will outperform the Core i3-6100 in gaming performance.

Simply put, if you want a simple Gaming CPU, that is highly efficient and don’t want to overclock, the Core i3-6100 is the best pick.

However, if you want a CPU that can handle more demanding program that are well multi-threaded and/or are ready to overclock to get more performance, the FX-8300 is the better choice. Remember that the Core i3-6100 is locked and cannot be overclocked.

Also consider that:
1. The Intel LGA1151 platform offers more recent technology, such as PCI-Express 3.0, M.2 slot, DDR4 support and more.
2. The Intel LGA1151 platform also 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 Skylake architecture.
– 65W TDP is lower than any AMD mainstream processors. 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 the AMD FX-8300 or upgrading to an Intel 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.

Best Mid-range APU (CPU + GPU in one):

Get the AMD A10-7860K from Amazon

$104.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$109.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Godavari
Frequency (Turbo): 3.6 (4.0) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 modules/ 4 cores
Integrated GPU: AMD Radeon R7 512 GPU Cores, 757MHz
– RAM Support: DDR3 Dual Channel 2133MHz
TDP: 65W
Socket: AMD FM2+

2 modules / 4 cores
This is AMD’s third most powerful APU with a quad-core CPU running at 3.6GHz, with a Turbo frequency of 4.0GHz.

The integrated GPU has 512 GPU cores, running at 757MHz, so you get as many GPU cores as the more powerful APUs, but with a slightly lower frequency.

The quad-core design of this AMD processor looks like this: Four CPU cores, with two shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) units.

If you want an APU with an integrated GPU that offers the excellent performance at a lower price than the best APU, this is a great choice.

Note that this is a K Black edition APU, meaning that it’s easy to overclock the CPU part by raising its multiplier. For higher gaming performance, overclocking the GPU part makes more sense.

From a CPU performance point of view, it’s faster overall than an Intel dual-core CPU, like the G4400 and while not as powerful, it does trade blows with the Intel Core i3 dual-core + Hyper-Threading CPU in applications that are well multi-threaded.

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:
– CPU performance comparable to Intel dual-core Core i3.

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 High-End APU (CPU + GPU in one):

Get the AMD A10-7890K from Amazon

$148.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$148.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Godavari
Frequency (Turbo): 4.1 (4.3) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 modules/ 4 cores
Integrated GPU: AMD Radeon R7 512 GPU Cores, 866MHz
– RAM Support: DDR3 Dual Channel 2133MHz
TDP: 95W
Socket: AMD FM2+

2 modules / 4 cores
This is AMD’s most powerful APU with a quad-core CPU running at 4.1GHz, with a Turbo frequency of 4.3GHz.

The integrated GPU has 512 GPU cores, running at 866MHz, which is the most potent integrated GPU solution from AMD.

The quad-core design of this AMD processor looks like this: Four CPU cores, with two shared FP/SSE (Floating Point) units.

If you want an APU with an integrated GPU that offers the best performance possible from AMD, this is it.

Note that this is a K Black edition APU, meaning that it’s easy to overclock the CPU part by raising its multiplier. For higher gaming performance, overclocking the GPU part makes more sense.

From a CPU performance point of view, it’s faster overall than an Intel dual-core CPU, like the G4400 and while not as powerful, it does trade blows with the Intel Core i3 dual-core + Hyper-Threading CPU in applications that are well multi-threaded.

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:
– CPU performance comparable to Intel dual-core Core i3.

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 High-End CPUs:

Get the Intel Core i5-6500 from Amazon

$204.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$204.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Skylake
Frequency (Turbo): 3.2 (3.6) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (4)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 530
– RAM Support: DDR4 Dual Channel 2133MHz
TDP: 65W
Socket: LGA1151

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 i5-6500. On top of that, the FX-8350 consumes a lot more power at idle and at load than the Core i5-6500.

While its 8 cores might make it seem like an attractive option for heavy multi-threaded programs, even then, the Core i5-6500 competes or outperforms it thanks to its more modern architecture that offers higher IPC and far higher single-thread performance.

In the end, the Core i5-6500 is just a better choice is the vast majority of cases and this is why I’m recommending it at the $200 price point.

Note that it can be overclocked with a motherboard equipped with a Z170 chipset. You’ll want an after-market CPU Cooler and a more powerful power supply for best results.

Pros:
– Great CPU performance, excellent choice to team up with a dedicated video card if you want to.
– 65W TDP is lower than AMD’s competing CPUs. 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:
– 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 very low power consumption.

Alternative #1: Higher base and Turbo frequencies for $20 more:

Get the Intel Core i5-6600 from Amazon

$225.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$229.99 at Newegg

The Core i5-6600 offers a base frequency that’s 100MHz higher and a Turbo frequency that’s 300MHz higher than the Core i5-6500.

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:

Get the Intel Core i5-6600K from Amazon


$234.85 at B&H (International Shipping)
$239.99 at Newegg

If you want to easily overclock by raising the multiplier, the Core i5-6600K K variant is the way to go, with its unlocked multiplier.

You also get a base frequency that’s 200MHz higher than the Core i5-6600.

Make sure that you get a Z170 chipset equipped motherboard to be able to overclock your CPU.

Note that the Core i5-6600K DOES NOT include a heatsink/fan CPU cooler, you must get your own. Which is a good thing for overclocking anyway.

Unlocked, higher-end Intel Core i7 CPU:

Get the Intel Core i7-6700K from Amazon

$333.39 at B&H (International Shipping)
$339.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Skylake
Frequency (Turbo): 4.0 (4.2) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (8)
Integrated GPU: Intel HD Graphics 530
– RAM Support: Dual Channel 1600MHz
TDP: 91W
Socket: LGA1151

Why I recommend it / V.S. the AMD FX-9590:

High Gaming Performance:
This is 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 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 i7-6700K 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 i7-6700K is four (!) generations ahead of that, so it has a higher-performance architecture, higher frequencies (4GHz base frequency, 4.2GHz maximum Turbo frequency) and is even more power efficient.

High overall performance:
With 4 Skylake cores and Hyper-Threading, the Core i7-6700K can handle 8 threads simultaneously. With its high performance, it’s a fine choice for a Gaming PC that also gets used as a workstation.

The Core i7-6700K 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 multiplier CPU, so you can easily 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).
– 91W 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, weak performance, far from a Gaming PC required performance level.
Note that the Core i7-6700K DOES NOT include a heatsink/fan CPU cooler, you must get your own. Which is a good thing for overclocking anyway.

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.

Alternative #1: 65W TDP, lower price and slightly lower performance

Get the Intel i7-6700 from Amazon

$304.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$304.99 at Newegg

The Core i7-6700, not to be confused with the Core i7-6700K recommended above, also offers 4 cores with Hyper-Threading, but with lower frequencies (3.4-4GHz vs 4-4.2GHz), a lower TDP (65W vs 91W) and a locked multiplier, at a lower price as well.

It also comes with an Intel stock CPU cooler, unlike the Core i7-6700K.

A fine option for HTPC, small form factor PCs and people who want a Core i7 CPU at a lower price.

Note that it can be overclocked with a motherboard equipped with a Z170 chipset. You’ll want an after-market CPU Cooler and a more powerful power supply for best results.

Alternative #2: Higher performance for Workstations

Get the Intel Core i7-5820K from Amazon

$373.05 at B&H (International Shipping)
$389.99 at Newegg

– 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

The Intel Core i7-5820K, with its six cores and Hyper-Threading, can handle 12 threads at the same time, so it’s is a better choice for a Workstation than the Core i7-6700K.

The Core i7-6800K (recommended below) is replacing the Core i7-5820K, but both can be used the same platform, so if you don’t mind slightly lower performance (5% on average), the Core i7-5820K is less expensive than its replacement.

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 Mainstream/High-End Workstation.
2. A Mainstream Server

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.
– Gaming PCs, the Core i7-6700K is a better choice for 1-2 video cards setups, the Core i7-6800K, 6850K or 6900K are better choices for a 3 or 4 video cards setups.

Alternative #3: Even higher performance for Workstations

Get the Intel i7-6800K from Amazon

$428.30 at B&H (International Shipping)
$439.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Broadwell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.4 (3.6) GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2400MHz
TDP: 140W
Socket: LGA2011

The Intel Core i7-6800K is the replacement to the Core i7-5820K. It’s based on a newer architecture, Broadwell-E compared to Haswell-E and its base frequency is 100 MHz higher. Overall, you can expect about 5% more performance on average compared to the Core i7-5820K.

If you don’t mind paying the price premium over the Core i7-5820K, the Core i7-6800K is a fine choice.

Pros:
– Outstanding CPU performance, capable of handling pretty much anything.
– Unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking.
– Support for quad-channel DDR4 RAM running at 2400MHz.
– 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 Mainstream/High-End Workstation.
2. A Mainstream Server

Avoid for:
– NAS, Streaming PC and other workloads requiring a low power consumption.
– Gaming PCs, the Core i7-6700K is a better choice for 1-2 video cards setups, the Core i7-6800K, 6850K or 6900K are better choices for a 3 or 4 video cards setup.

Intel Six-Core CPU with higher frequencies and more PCI-E lanes:

Get the Intel Core i7-6850K from Amazon

$609.99 at B&H (International Shipping)

– Architecture: Broadwell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.6 (3.8) GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2400MHz
TDP: 140W
Socket: LGA2011

V.S. Competition: None

The Core i7-6850K is essentially a faster variant of the Core i7-6800K, with the full 40 lanes of PCI-Express 3.0 bandwidth available as well.

Pros:
– Outstanding CPU performance, capable of handling pretty much anything.
– Unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking.
– Support for quad-channel DDR4 RAM running at 2400MHz.
– 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.
2. High-end Gaming PC with multiple video cards.
3. A Mainstream/High-End Workstation.
4. A Mainstream Server

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

Intel 8-core CPU:

Get the Intel i7-6900K from Amazon

$1,064.73 at B&H (International Shipping)
$1,099.99 at Newegg

– Architecture: Broadwell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.2 (3.7) GHz
Cores (Threads): 8 (16)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2400MHz
TDP: 140W
Socket: LGA2011

Improving on the first Intel 8 core/16 thread consumer CPU, the Core i7-5960X, the Intel Core i7-6900K offers improved performance thanks to architecture improvements and higher frequencies.

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.

Intel Extreme 10-core CPU:

Get the Intel i7-6950X from Amazon

$1,649.99 at B&H (International Shipping)
$1,649.99 at Newegg

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

– Architecture: Broadwell-E
Frequency (Turbo): 3.0 (3.5) GHz
Cores (Threads): 10 (20)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 2400MHz
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 5200 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, ask your questions and join our helpful community!