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The Best CPUs?

By that, I mean the CPUs that offer the best performance at a given price range.

If you have the time or knowledge to do research… but who does in this busy world?
I do realize that not everyone has the time nor knowledge to read detailed CPU reviews.

I write this guide on the best CPUs to help you save your time and money!

Summary: Skip to the recommendations

  1. Best Entry-level CPUs
  2. Best Lower Mid-range CPUs
  3. Best Upper Mid-range CPUs
  4. Best Lower High-end CPUs
  5. Best Upper High-end CPUs
  6. Best 16-32 Cores CPUs

This is an Worldwide Guide!

Do you live in the USA?

Use Amazon or B&H 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 as of August 3rd 2020. Click on Amazon links to see prices. Note that I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Best Entry-level CPUs:

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

Get the AMD Athlon 3000G Processor with Radeon Vega 3 Graphics from Amazon

 – $49.00 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Zen
Frequency (Turbo): 3.5 (N/A) GHz
Cores (Threads): 2 cores/ 4 threads
Integrated GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 3 192 GPU Cores, 1100MHz
TDP: 35W
Socket: AMD AM4

Lowest cost recommended APU, ideal for entry-level PCs and HTPCs

While this is no powerhouse, it’s still a very decent budget CPU. It’s a good choice for low-cost builds, for a family member, students or for a home theater PC.

Its integrated graphics aren’t as powerful as the ones on the Ryzen 3 3200G, so don’t expect to run 1080p games on it. But 720p should be playable.

Note that the AMD Athlon 3000G is completely unlocked, so you may overclock it if you wish to boost performance a bit.

Note that you want to pair it up with dual-channel (two or four sticks) of DDR4 RAM, preferably high frequencies, such as 3200MHz, for the best performance possible in video games. Avoid using a single stick of RAM: It can halve gaming performance.

Get the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G Processor with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics from Amazon

 – $99.99 (B&H – Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Ryzen 2nd generation
Frequency (Turbo): 3.6 (4.0) GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 cores/ 4 threads
Integrated GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8 512 GPU Cores, 1250MHz
TDP: 65W
Socket: AMD AM4

Excellent integrated graphic performance, for a gaming PC on a small budget.

Manufactured on a 12nm process as opposed to 14nm for the Athlon 3 3000G, the Ryzen 3 3200G offers significantly higher performance, thanks to having twice as many cores, a more modern architecture, way more GPU cores (512 versus 192) as well as higher base, Turbo and GPU frequencies.  You now get 3.6/4.0GHz CPU base/Turbo and 1250MHz for the GPU, compared to 3.5/3.5/1100MHz for the Athlon 3000G.

The AMD Ryzen 3 3200G feature the AMD Radeon Vega 8 integrated graphics, which offer gaming performance that is far better than Intel integrated graphics, 2-3x the performance at 1920 x 1080.

Note that you can overclock the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, unlike the Intel Core i3-10100.

Note that you want to pair it up with dual-channel (two or four sticks) of DDR4 RAM, preferably high frequencies, such as 3600MHz, for the best performance possible in video games. Avoid using a single stick of RAM: It can halve gaming performance.

Gamers with a dedicated graphic card:
Skip AMD’s APUs and go with one of the three CPU options below, which feature better CPU performance.

Best Entry-Level CPUs:

Intel Core i3-9100F (No integrated graphics)

Get the Intel Core i3-9100F from Amazon
– $74.89 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Coffee Lake – Frequency/Turbo: 3.6/4.2GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (4) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 65W – Socket: LGA1151 (300 series chipset)

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $129.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Zen 3rd gen – Frequency/Turbo: 3.6/3.9GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (8) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 65W – Socket: AM4

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $127.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Zen 3rd gen – Frequency/Turbo: 3.8/4.3GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (8) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 65W – Socket: AM4

Intel Core i3-10100

Get the Intel Core i3-10100 from Amazon
$142.50 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Comet Lake – Frequency/Turbo: 3.6/4.3GHz
Cores (Threads): 4 (8) – Integrated GPU: Intel UHD 630
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 65W – Socket: LGA1200

Intel Core i3-9100F:
The Core i3-9100F, which has no integrated graphics, is the second least expensive CPU that I recommend, being an option for a rock-bottom budget Gaming PC with a dedicated graphic card. That said, its limited to 4 threads, greatly limiting its performance compared to the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X

Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X:
Recently launched, the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X are 4 cores / 8 threads CPUs based on AMD latest Zen 2 architecture. The main differences between the two is frequency:
The Ryzen 3 3100 runs at 3.6-3.9GHz, while the the Ryzen 3 3300X runs at 3.8-4.3GHz.

The lower priced Ryzen 3 3100 offers similar or better performance than the 6 cores Ryzen 5 1600 or Ryzen 5 2600, at a lower price, while offering better gaming performance. It completely outclasses the Core i3-9100F.

The higher-end Ryzen 3 3300X takes performance up a notch or two, outperforming the Intel Core i3-10100 all around, slightly edging it in gaming and greatly outperforming it in heavy multithreaded workloads.

Intel Core i3-10100:
The Core i3-10100 brings a welcome change compared to the previous generation Core i3-9100, that is the addition of Hyper-Threading. So instead of being limited to 4 cores and 4 threads like the Core i3-9100, the Core i3-10100 can handle up to 8 threads at once, doubling the number of threads compared to the previous generation.

That said, it faces tough competition this time around, from the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X. Thanks to its higher single threaded and multithreaded performance, the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X comes out ahead of the Core i3-10100 in the vast majority of scenarios, including gaming.

The only reason that I’d recommend the Core i3-10100 would be for office PCs, where the integrated graphics offer sufficient performance and help lower the total cost of the PC.

Don’t waste your money on the Core i3-10300 or i3-10320
These offer the same quad-core/8 threads design, simply with slightly higher Turbo frequencies. Which is a good thing. What’s bad is their price, which is too close to the much better 6 cores/12 threads AMD Ryzen 5 3600, If you want a CPU that offers both great gaming and overall performance, see the Ryzen 5 3600 below.

Best Lower Mid-range CPUs:

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

– AMD Ryzen 5 3600 for the best gaming performance, all-around performance and PCIe 4.0

Get the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 from Amazon

$174.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Ryzen 3rd generation – Frequency/Turbo: 3.6/4.2 GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 3200MHz – TDP: 65W – Socket: AM4

Get the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X from Amazon

$209.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Ryzen 3rd generation – Frequency/Turbo: 3.8/4.4 GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 95W – Socket: AM4

Get the Intel Core i5-10400F from Amazon

$181.25 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Comet Lake – Frequency/Turbo: 2.9/4.3 GHz
Cores (Threads): 6 (12) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel – TDP: 65W – Socket: LGA1200

AMD Ryzen 5 3600/3600X V.S. Intel Core i5-10400F?

For gaming performance only:

The main competition to the $167 AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the $180-190 Intel Core i5-10400. The $205 Ryzen 5 3600X is another option at a slightly higher price.

When it comes to strictly 1080p gaming performance, all CPUs trade blows, the Core i5-10400 holds a very slight performance advantage, offering overall a few % more performance than the Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X.

Note that if you game at 1440p or 4K, then all CPUs offer similar performance, as the GPU becomes the bottleneck.

Multithreaded performance:

Under heavier, multithreaded, workloads, the Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X hold a significant advantage against the Core i5-10400.

Worth noting:
The Ryzen 5 3600/3600X also offers ECC RAM support, unlike the Core i5-10400.

The Ryzen 5 3600/3600X supports PCIe 4.0, unlike the Core i5-10400.

The Ryzen 5 3600/3600X is unlocked, allowing you to overclock it, unlike the Core i5-10400.

Which one would I pick?
Unless all you do is game at 1080p, I’d get the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, seeing as it offers great overall performance at a lower price.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 platform is also significantly less expensive, helping it being a better value overall.

That said, you can’t go wrong with either CPU.

Best Upper Mid-range CPUs:

Intel Core i5-10600K/KF V.S. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

– Intel Core i5-10600K/KF for gaming performance
– AMD Ryzen 7 3700X for multithreaded performance

Get the Intel Core i5-10600K from Amazon

– $299.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Intel Core i5-10600KF (No integrated graphics)

Get the Intel Core i5-10600KF from Amazon
– $277.50 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Comet Lake – Frequency/Turbo: 4.1/4.8 GHz
Cores (Threads): 6(12) – Integrated GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630 for K version, None for KF version
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 125W – Socket: LGA1200

Get the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X from Amazon

$283.55 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Ryzen 3rd generation – Frequency/Turbo: 3.6/4.4 GHz
Cores (Threads): 8(16) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 65W – Socket: AM4

Gaming performance:
The Intel Core i5-10600K/KF holds an advantage when it comes to gaming performance, being a notch faster than the Ryzen 7 3700X overall.

Multithreaded performance:

Under heavier, multithreaded, workloads, the Ryzen 7 3700X holds a significant advantage against the Core i5-10600K/KF, thanks to having 2 more cores and supporting 4 more threads..

Worth noting:
The Ryzen 7 3700X also offers ECC RAM support, unlike the Core i5-10600K/KF.

The Ryzen 7 3700X supports PCIe 4.0, unlike the Core i5-10600K/KF.

Both CPUS are unlocked, allowing you to overclock them.

The Intel Core i5-10600K/KF does not included a CPU Cooler, so you must get an aftermarket one.

Which one would I pick?
It depends on what you plan to do: If all you do is game at 1080p, then get the Intel Core i5-10600KF, seeing as it offers better gaming performance.

However, if you want better multi threaded performance for heavy workloads with plenty good gaming performance, then the 8 cores / 16 threads Ryzen 7 3700X makes more sense.

The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X platform is also significantly less expensive, helping it being a better value overall.

Best Lower High-End CPU:

Intel Core i7-10700K/KF V.S. AMD Ryzen 7 3800X

– The AMD Ryzen 7 3800X offers excellent value, offering roughly 8% lower gaming frame rates and trading blows on overall multithreaded performance at a much lower price
– The Intel Core i7-10700K/KF offers slightly higher gaming and single threaded performance, but at a price

 

Get the Intel Core i7-10700K from Amazon

– $408.89 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Intel Core i7-10700KF (No integrated graphics)

Get the Intel Core i7-10700KF from Amazon
– Available soon at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Comet Lake – Frequency/Turbo: 3.8/5.1 GHz
Cores (Threads): 8(16) – Integrated GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630 (KF variant: None)
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 125W – Socket: LGA1200

Get the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X from Amazon

$329.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Ryzen 3rd generation – Frequency/Turbo: 3.9/4.5 GHz
Cores (Threads): 8(16) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 95W – Socket: AM4

Intel Core i7-10700K V.S. AMD RYZEN 7 3700X and 3800X:

With its higher Turbo frequency, the Intel Core i7-10700K keeps the single-threaded performance crown and has a very slight edge in 1080p gaming performance. Of course, at 1440p/4K, the graphic card is the bottleneck.

When it comes to multithreaded performance, while performance in gaming at 1080p is close enough to not perceive a difference and

For great all around performance and value, I’d recommend the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or 3800X, which offer close performance at much lower prices.

Single threaded performance:
Performance per core: System responsiveness, web browsing, gaming

Slight advantage: Intel Core i7-10700K
With the AMD 3rd generation Ryzen architecture offering much improved IPC than the second generation of AMD Ryzen CPUs, it just edges the Intel 10th gen Comet Lake architecture IPC. That is, at the same frequency, the AMD 3rd gen Ryzen offers just a hair better performance.

That said, the Intel Core i7-10700K runs at higher Turbo frequencies (5.1GHz) than the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X (4.5GHz), allowing it to keep a slight advantage for single threaded performance.

Gaming Performance:

– Slight win for the Intel Core i7-10700K at 1080p
– Similar at 1440p/4K and on multiple monitors

Thanks to its higher Turbo frequencies, the Intel Core i7-10700K has a slight edge in 1080p gaming performance, about 8% faster.

Mind you, if you game at 2560 x 1440, 4K or on multiple displays, the performance gap shrinks and you’re unlikely to perceive a difference: At that point, it’s mostly all about the graphic card(s).

Multi threaded performance:
Performance when all cores are working: Rendering, video/photo editing, 3D, other programs that use many cores.

All three CPUs offer 8 cores and can handle 16 threads.

Overall, they trade blows. In tasks that depend more on single-threaded performance and high frequencies, the Core i7-10700K has a slight edge, while under heavier multithreaded loads, the Ryzen 7 CPUs hold the advantage.

You can’t go wrong with either AMD or Intel here. Then again, if you care about multithreaded performance, an AMD 12 or 16 cores CPU desktop CPU or 24/32 cores workstation CPU are options to consider.

Also worth noting, the Intel Core i7-10700K does not included a CPU Cooler, so you must get an aftermarket one.

Best Upper High-End CPU:

Intel Core i9-10900K V.S. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

– The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 cores/24 threads, wins in multithreaded performance, while offering nearly as good 1080p gaming performance and single-threaded performance. All of this at a much lower price.
– The Intel Core i9-10900K offers the best gaming performance for competitive gamers at 1080p, holds a a slight edge in single-threaded performance, is a step behind in multithreaded performance and costs a lot more.

Get the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X from Amazon

$434.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Ryzen 3rd generation – Frequency/Turbo: 3.8/4.6 GHz
Cores (Threads): 12(24) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 105W – Socket: AM4

Get the Intel Core i9-10900K from Amazon

$599.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Intel Core i9-10900KF (No integrated graphics)

Get the Intel Core i9-9900KF from Amazon
$549.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Comet Lake – Frequency/Turbo: 3.7/5.3 GHz (2 cores)
Cores (Threads): 10(20) – Integrated GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630 (None on KF variant)
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 125W – Socket: LGA1200

With its higher Turbo frequency, the Intel Core i9-10900K holds on to the single-threaded performance crown and has a slight edge in 1080p gaming performance.

However, the Ryzen 9 3900X has an advantage in multithreaded performance, with 2 more cores/ 4 threads, while offering still very good performance in gaming at 1080p. At 1440p/4K, the graphic card becomes the bottleneck.

Unless you’re a competitive gamer who wants every single FPS possible, I’d recommend the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, which is a much better value when you compare prices!

Best 16-32 cores CPUs:

Summary: 7 CPUs!

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X:
AMD launched the 16 cores/ 32 threads Ryzen 9 3950X, based on the Zen 2 architecture, at a price of $749.

AMD new 3rd generation Threadrippers:
AMD launched their 3rd generations Threadripper CPUs, based on the Zen 2 architecture, with two models:
– Threadripper 3960X: 24 cores / 48 threads 3.8-4.5GHz $1399
– Threadripper 3970X: 32 cores / 64 threads 3.7-4.5GHz $1999

AMD also announced that they will be launching the Threadripper 3990X, a 64 cores / 128 threads monster, in 2020.

New Intel Cascade Lake-X CPUs
Intel launched their Cascade Lake-X CPUs. They are based on the same architecture as the previous generation, with small frequency bumps and lower prices. Four models are available:
– Core i9-10900X: 10 cores / 20 threads 3.7-4.7GHz $590
– Core i9-10920X: 12 cores / 24 threads 3.5-4.8GHz $689
– Core i9-10940X: 14 cores / 28 threads 3.3-4.8GHz $784
– Core i9-10980XE: 18 cores / 36 threads 3.0-4.8GHz $979

My recommendations:

AMD is simply outperforming Intel at this level:
Versus the $590 and $689 Intel 10 cores i9-10900X and 12 cores i9-10920X, the AMD Ryzen 3900X 12 cores offers better performance at a lower price.
Versus the $784 and $979 Intel 14 cores i9-10940X and 18 cores i9-10980XE, the AMD Ryzen 3950X 16 cores offers better performance at a lower price.

Intel has nothing to counter the 24 cores Threadripper 3960X nor the 32 cores Threadripper 3970X.

Simply put, depending on your needs and budget, opt for the 12 cores AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 16 cores AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, 24 cores Threadripper 3960X or 32 cores Threadripper 3970X.

Click here to see the price of the AMD Ryzen 3950X on Amazon

$729.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Zen 2 (3rd generation)
Frequency Base/Max Turbo: 3.5/4.7 GHz
Cores (Threads): 16 (32)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 3200MHz
TDP: 105W
Socket: AM4

Click here to see the price of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X on Amazon

$1349.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Zen 2 (3rd generation)
Frequency Base/Max Turbo: 3.8/4.5 GHz
Cores (Threads): 24(48)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 3200MHz
TDP: 280W
Socket: sTRX4

Click here to see the price of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X on Amazon

$1899.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture:Zen 2 (3rd generation)
Frequency Base/Max Turbo: 3.7/4.5 GHz
Cores (Threads): 32 (64)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Quad Channel DDR4 3200MHz
TDP: 280W
Socket: sTRX4

No CPU cooler, no integrated graphics, high power consumption and heat dissipation
Note that the Threadripper CPUs do not include a CPU cooler, nor an integrated graphic card, so you need to also purchase a CPU Cooler and a dedicated graphic card.

Both Threadripper CPUs have high power consumption, so make sure that the CPU cooler and case cooling can handle them, especially if you intend to overclock them!

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this latest edition of the Best CPUs article.

With this being such a long article with many recommendations and alternatives, you may find some typos.

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

Or you may have some questions.

If that happens, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.