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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 High-end CPUs
  5. Best Enthusiast CPUs
  6. Best 16-64 Cores CPUs

This is an Worldwide Guide!

Prices for B&H as of October 8th 2020. Click on Amazon links to see prices. Prices and availability are subject to change.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself. This post may contain affiliate links so that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

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

 – $66.99 (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
– $114.99 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
– $129.99 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
$119.99 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

$199.99 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

$244.99 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 5 5600X

– Intel Core i5-10600K/KF if you cannot wait to buy a CPU
– November 5th: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X for all around performance and lower power usage

Intel Core i5-10600K

Get the Intel Core i5-10600K from Amazon
– $274.89 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

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Launching November 5th: $299 MSRP

– Architecture: Zen 3 – Frequency/Turbo: 3.7/4.6 GHz
Cores (Threads): 6(12) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 65W – Socket: AM4

Gaming performance:
Until review are out on November 5th, all I can do is speculate. Based on what AMD announced on October 8th, at the very least, the Intel Core i5-10600K/KF and Ryzen 5 5600X should trade blows in gaming. The Ryzen 5 5600X might actually hold a slight advantage to the Core i5-10600K/KF.

Multithreaded performance:

AMD Zen 2 (3000 series) CPUs already had an edge when it came to multithreaded performance, the only thing that was saving Intel was its higher IPC and higher frequencies. With AMD Zen 3 (5000 series) catching up and looking like it will be outperfoming Intel when it comes to IPC, as well as significantly catching up frequencies wise, I’ll predict that the Ryzen 5 5600X should slightly edge the Intel Core i5-10600K/KF when it comes to multithreaded performance.

Power usage:
If you plan on building a smaller PC, if you care about power consumption and noise, note that the Core i5-10600K/KF is a 125W CPU, while the Ryzen 5 5600X is a 65W CPU, meaning that the Ryzen 5 5600X will cost less to run, power bill wise, should be less noisy and run cooler.

Worth noting:
The Core i5-10600K offers integrated graphics. The i5-10600KF and Ryzen 5 5600X don’t.

The Ryzen 5 5600X also offers ECC RAM support, unlike the Core i5-10600K/KF.

The Ryzen 5 5600X 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?
Do you need a CPU now or can you wait until November 5th? If you can wait, I’d wait to see the benchmarks on the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. Based on AMD’s announcement on October 8th, it should end up being a slightly faster CPU with significantly lower power usage.

Best High-End CPU:

Intel Core i7-10700K/KF V.S. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

– Intel Core i7-10700K/KF if you cannot wait to buy a CPU
– November 5th: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X for all around performance and lower power usage

Intel Core i7-10700K

Get the Intel Core i7-10700K from Amazon
– $377.77 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

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Launching November 5th: $449 MSRP

– Architecture: Zen 3 – Frequency/Turbo: 3.8/4.7 GHz
Cores (Threads): 8(16) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 105W – Socket: AM4

Intel Core i7-10700K V.S. AMD RYZEN 7 5800X:

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, with its new Zen 3 architecture should have the IPC advantage, but the Intel Core i7-10700K still offers higher Turbo frequencies. I expect both CPUs to trade blows, but ultimately the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X should edge the Core i7-10700K/KF, while consuming less power.

When it comes to multithreaded performance, I’d expect the Ryzen 7 5800X to have the advantage.

That said, the Ryzen 7 5800X MSRP is $449, while the Intel Core i7-10700K is currently selling for around $380. We’ll have to wait for the reviews on November 5th, but in this case, the Intel Core i7-10700K might be a better value, offering close performance at much lower price.

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

Slight advantage: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
With the AMD Zen 3 architecture offering much improved IPC than the Zen 2 architecture, it has a signifcantly edge over the Intel 10th gen Comet Lake architecture IPC.

That said, the Intel Core i7-10700K runs at higher Turbo frequencies (5.1GHz) than the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (4.7GHz), but it probably won’t be enough for single threaded performance.

Gaming Performance:

– Slight win for the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X at 1080p
– Similar at 1440p/4K and on multiple monitors

Thanks to its improved architecture, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X should have a slight edge in 1080p gaming performance over the Intel Core i7-10700K.

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.

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

Both CPUs offer 8 cores and can handle 16 threads.

Overall, they should trade blows.

That said, AMD Zen 2 (3000 series) CPUs already had an edge when it came to multithreaded performance, the only thing that was saving Intel was its higher IPC and higher frequencies. With AMD Zen 3 (5000 series) catching up and looking like it will be outperfoming Intel when it comes to IPC, as well as significantly catching up frequencies wise, I’ll predict that the Ryzen 7 5800X should slightly edge the Intel Core i7-10700K/KF when it comes to multithreaded performance.

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 24/32/64 cores workstation CPU are options to consider.

Also worth noting, both CPUs do not include a CPU Cooler, so you must get an aftermarket one.

Best Enthusiast CPU:

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

– November 5th: The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with 12 cores/24 threads, should outperform the Core i9-10900K in all situation, while using less power.
– The Intel Core i9-10900K is available right now if you can’t wait.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Available November 5th: MSRP $549

– Architecture: Zen 3 – Frequency/Turbo: 3.7/4.8 GHz
Cores (Threads): 12(24) – Integrated GPU: None
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4 – TDP: 105W – Socket: AM4

Intel Core i9-10900K

Get the Intel Core i9-10900K from Amazon

$629.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

Intel Core i9-10900KF (No integrated graphics)

Get the Intel Core i9-9900KF from Amazon
$579.99 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 the AMD Zen 3 architecture offering much improved IPC than the Zen 2 architecture, it has a signifcantly edge over the Intel 10th gen Comet Lake architecture IPC.

That said, the Intel Core i9-10900K runs at higher Turbo frequencies (5.3GHz) than the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (4.8GHz), but it probably won’t be enough for single threaded performance.

The Ryzen 9 5900X should have a solid advantage in multithreaded performance, with 2 more cores/ 4 threads and higher IPC.

Gaming performance wise, I expect the Ryzen 9 5900X to have the advantage at at 1080p. At 1440p/4K, the graphic card becomes the bottleneck.

Overall, unless you can’t wait until November 5th, in which case the Intel Core i9-10900K is available now, I’d recommend the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.

Note that neither CPU come with a stock CPU cooler, you must get an after-market CPU cooler.

Best 16-64 cores CPUs:

Summary: 8 CPUs!

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X:
AMD will be launching the 16 cores/ 32 threads Ryzen 9 5950X, based on its new Zen 3 architecture, on November 5th at a price of $799.

AMD 3rd generation Threadrippers:
AMD offers their 3rd generations Threadripper CPUs, based on the Zen 2 architecture, with three models:
– Threadripper 3960X: 24 cores / 48 threads 3.8-4.5GHz
– Threadripper 3970X: 32 cores / 64 threads 3.7-4.5GHz
– Threadripper 3990X: 64 cores / 128 threads 2.9-4.3GHz

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 ~$470
– Core i9-10920X: 12 cores / 24 threads 3.5-4.8GHz ~$670
– Core i9-10940X: 14 cores / 28 threads 3.3-4.8GHz ~$835
– Core i9-10980XE: 18 cores / 36 threads 3.0-4.8GHz ~$1060

My recommendations:

AMD is simply outperforming Intel at this level:
The Intel Cascade Lake CPUs are based on an older architecture and couldn’t match the AMD 3000 series CPUs. Versus the newer Ryzen 7 5800X, the Core i9-10900X is completely outclassed, while the i9-10920X is also outclassed and more expensive!

Versus the $800+ and $1000+ Intel 14 cores i9-10940X and 18 cores i9-10980XE, the AMD Ryzen 5950X 16 cores offers significantly better performance at a lower price, while using less power.

Intel has nothing to counter the 24 cores Threadripper 3960X, the 32 cores Threadripper 3970X, not to mention the 64 cores 3990X.

Simply put, depending on your needs and budget, opt for the 12 cores AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, 16 cores AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, 24 cores Threadripper 3960X, 32 cores Threadripper 3970X or 64 cores Threadripper 3990X.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X: Available November 5th MSRP $799

– Architecture: Zen 3
Frequency Base/Max Turbo: 3.4/4.9 GHz
Cores (Threads): 16 (32)
Integrated GPU: N/A
– RAM Support: Dual Channel DDR4
TDP: 105W
Socket: AM4

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

$1349.99 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

$1949.99 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

Click here to see the price of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X on Amazon

$3649.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Architecture: Zen 2 (3rd generation)
Frequency Base/Max Turbo: 2.9/4.3 GHz
Cores (Threads): 64 (128)
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.

All three Threadripper CPUs have high power consumption (280W TDP), 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.