Top 5 Best CPUs

  • 2021-12-21 21:17
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  • Recompile By Brian - CPU Review
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The CPU world has taken a hit since the arrival of AMD Ryzen processors, with each new generation delivering significant performance improvements, while Intel has been somewhat stuck and trying to react from the ground up. sitting position. That situation finally changed this year with the release of Intel's 12th Gen Cores based on the Alder Lake architecture, which now includes three new CPU models.

With readers constantly asking which CPU they should buy, and after all the extensive testing you're used to, the TechSpot CPU buying guide narrows things down to a few recommendations you can trust.

Due to price and availability, Intel is dominating the majority of the selections in this buying guide update, and the release of Alder Lake has helped them gain a foothold in the premium segment. In the meantime, there's very little happening on the AMD side, with the exception of a few Zen 3-based APUs, though they don't impress in terms of value.
Intel declined 3 out of 5 choices, with fourth being contested because you can happily go either way. Just like we've picked the best processors before, it's really all about price and value, and that's what has kept AMD competitive with the first few iterations of AMD. Ryzen because they don't always compete on raw performance.

This is a situation that AMD wants to overcome soon after fighting each other to regain market share for the past half decade. It is true that the company is heavily constrained in terms of supply at the moment, but even so, this could be a great opportunity to supply cheap Zen+ parts and drive more people to invest in their AM4 platform, which supports all their recent CPU generations.

Best Value CPU

Intel Core i5-10400 or i5-11400


After dominating the best value desktop CPUs for years with the Ryzen 5 2600 and 3600, Intel can easily beat AMD in this product category. Step in with many options, right now the Core i5-10400 is $165, while the newer i5-11400 is $190.

Please note that in a few weeks the i5-12400 will be available, adding another great value option in this price range. If you can keep it, that might be worth the wait, though I would expect that part to be a bit more expensive. If you have a CPU budget under $200, the 10400 in particular is almost impossible to beat.

There are also plenty of great value LGA1200 motherboards available. The Gigabyte Z590 UD AC might cost $180, but if you care about value the B560 series is the way to go and the $120 MSI B560M Pro-VDH WiFi is a great value board. Throw a 10400 or 11400 at it and you have a killer combo for the price of 5600X.

Then if you want to play around with overclocking, the Core i5-10600KF can be had for $210 and the 11600KF for $230. Plus we're getting up to $300 and at this point you're entering high-end gaming CPU territory.

Best High-End Gaming CPU

Intel Core i7-10700, i7-11700 or i7-12700


For the best high-end gaming CPUs, we care less about price to focus on what delivers the best performance without going beyond the point where margins fall. In such a case, such as the Ryzen 9 5950X and Core i9-12900K. But there are loads of CPUs to choose from here, and most of them are from Intel.

If you're value-oriented, the Core i7-10700F is hard to beat at $285 or the 11700F at $310, both of which are offering good deals and should give you plenty of headroom in games for years to come. We don't feel the 10900KF is worth the $440 asking price, as that makes it about 55% more expensive than the equivalent Core i7 with 25% of the cores, which you won't need for gaming, though though additional L3 caching might be beneficial right now.

From AMD you have the Ryzen 5 5600X, the Ryzen 7 5800X, and if you want to go completely overboard, go for the Ryzen 9 5900X. The problem for AMD is that Intel alternatives are more affordable or more powerful.

For example, the Ryzen 7 5800X is a great CPU for $400. The only problem is that for the same price, the Core i7-12700KF is, in our opinion, a much better CPU, generally offering far superior productivity performance, slightly better gaming performance. and in terms of cooling it's not that hard to deal with.

Simply put, the Core i7 dominates today's most high-end gaming, whether it's the 10700, 11700 or 12700, they seem to have their place.

Best Extreme Desktop CPU

AMD 3rd-gen Ryzen Threadripper

If 16 cores doesn't work for you, your next option is to dig deep and make some early money on a 3rd Gen Threadripper CPU. With AMD yet to announce the Threadripper 5000 series, you’re limited to the Zen 2 processors which include the 64-core 3990X, 32-core 3970X and 24-core 3960X, all of which are beasts in their own right.

The cheapest of the three, the Threadripper 3960X will set you back $1,650, and it'll buy you 24 Zen 2 cores in a single package. 3970X can be sold for $2,400 for 32 cores and if that sounds like about half of the cores that you really need, I can recommend you 3990X for $4,970, it has 64 cores and 128 threads.

To sum up, if you're looking to buy a desktop CPU for the most money, it's clearly going to be a Threadripper, at least until the next generation arrives.

Best Value for Productivity

Intel Core i7-12700K (Value) or AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (Performance)

When it comes to productivity and core-heavy workloads, the best mainstream desktop processor is the entry-level Core i9 or Ryzen 9. From AMD, the $500 5900X and $700 5950X are the best, and from Intel, the Core i9-12900K for $620.

If you're blundering more on the value side, the Ryzen 9 5900X is compelling. It's a bit cheaper than the 12900K, though it's $90 more than the 12700K and makes a hefty trade-off with the i7 for productivity workloads. However, Z690 motherboards start at ~$200 for a good board while a decent B550 like the MSI B550M Pro-VDH WiFi costs just $120.

In other words, the 5900X and 12700K are about the same price when you get a good motherboard, so it's a tough choice and honestly, there's no wrong choice here. If I had to choose, I would probably agree with Intel because the Z690 board offers better features than the cheap B550 and is a better product overall.

The choice between the $700 Ryzen 9 5950X or the $620 Core i9 12900K is equally tough, and assuming you want a solid motherboard when spending $500+ on your CPU, the The costs involved are the same. For the Core i9-12900K to win the majority of our productivity tests, it requires DDR5 memory, and that's not a viable option right now.

In that case, we think the 5950X is the better choice. Ryzen 9 is also significantly easier to cool down and consumes significantly less power, so it's generally the better choice.

Best Entry-Level CPU

Intel Core i3-10100

Entry-level CPUs have been AMD's bread for years, but that wasn't until Zen 3 came out in November 2020. Since then, the cheapest CPU they've offered using the Zen 3 architecture is the Ryzen 5 The 5600G for $290, or the 5600X at $300, both of which are on the low end of their respective price points. It is still possible to find 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Ryzen processors at discounted prices, but for most cases they are simply not worth the price.

That's because Intel is offering the Core i3-10100F for just $90 and the standard i3-10100 for $125. This is much better than anything on offer from AMD. In contrast, for the price of the 5600G, you can get a Core i7-10700F, an 8-core/16-thread desktop CPU.

Basically, if you just want to spend ~$100 on your CPU, you can opt for the 10100F or the Athlon 3000G, a dual core CPU with 4MB L3 cache, which is a shameful comparison for AMD.

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