Are you currently building a new desktop computer and on the market for the best processor? You’ll be happy to know that the CPU market is teeming with powerful silicon. Thanks to the fiery competition between Intel and AMD, now’s the best time to invest in a new processor.
AMD has been slowly trying to dominate the market with its Ryzen 3rd generation processors to compete with the likes of Intel Core i9-9900K and Intel Core i9-9920X. Intel, on the other hand, has its 9th-generation Coffee Lake Refresh chips are still ever popular, with the Intel Core i9-9900K leading series. And not to be outdone by AMD, Intel is gearing up to roll out its Ice Lake chips.
The market is completely already packed with a number of impressive chips, from budget big shots, like the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, to HEDT heroes, like Intel’s Basin Falls Refresh lineup. There are also many mid-range megastars to round out this best processors list, like our current favorite, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X.
In fact, currently, you can hardly throw a stone without hitting an amazing processor. This means that finding the most ideal one for your rig is key. Lucky for you, even if the latest and greatest silicon is out of your wallet’s reach, there are still several excellent Coffee Lake and Ryzen Gen 1 chips on the market.
Get ready to experience amazing PC performance – not to mention, great deals, as we’ve included our price comparison tool. These are the best processors on the market in 2019.
Best CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD’s victory lap
Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base clock: 3.7GHz | Boost clock: 4.3GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 105W
For the longest time, AMD had fallen behind Intel. However, the Santa Clara manufacturer has clearly gotten over its slump, releasing the likes of the Ryzen 2700X. This time around, AMD brings the first 12nm processors, and the performance to back it up, giving Intel a run for its money when it comes to price-to-performance. If you’re looking for one of the best processors that’ll give you great performance while saving you some tenders, you can’t do much better than the Ryzen 7 2700X.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Best high-end CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K
Cores: 8 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 5.0GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W
Thanks to increasing pressure from AMD, Intel’s offerings have been heating up like crazy (sometimes literally.) Out of this intense competition came the Intel Core i9-9900K, an absolute beast of a processor that packs eight cores and 16 threads. That’s more cores than any mainstream processor released by Intel. The performance shows that it’s worth it, as this chip can go head to head with some of AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper chips. If raw performance is what you’re seeking, the Intel Core i9-9900K is easily one of the best processors you can go for.
Read the full review: Intel Core i9-9900K
Best mid-range CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Top performance on a budget
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.32GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W
If you’re looking to purchase one of the best processors for content creation, but are on a tight budget, then the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X might just be an ideal choice. With 6 cores, 12 threads and a base clock of 3.6GHz, you’re getting a much better performance than the pricier Intel Core i5-8600K. And, you get a gorgeous RGB CPU cooler included as well. Yes, the gaming performance over the blue team is marginal at best, but when you start multi-tasking – and who doesn’t always end up with 100 chrome tabs open by lunchtime – that value starts to show itself.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Best Entry Level CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
Integrated graphics on a budget
Cores: 4 | Threads: 4 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: 3.7GHz | L3 cache: 4MB | TDP: 65W
Putting together a gaming PC while on the tightest budget? Well, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G might just be your new best friend. While it doesn’t inherit the hyperthreading capability of its predecessor, the Ryzen 3 1200, the introduction of integrated graphics makes this APU one of the cheapest ways to experience casual PC gaming, a good enough reason to give this a spot in our best processors list. Impressively, we were even able to play Overwatch at 4K Ultra-HD resolution at ‘Epic’ settings.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
Best gaming CPU: Intel Core i5-8600K
All you need for gaming
Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.30GHz | L3 cache: 9MB | TDP: 95W
When you don’t really care about creating content or streaming, and you just you’re focusing on building one of the best gaming PCs, then the Intel Core i5-8600K is definitely one of the best processors for you. It might not have as many cores as its AMD Ryzen counterparts, but that doesn’t matter, as gaming is mostly about that single-threaded performance. With this chip, you’ll be able to run all the latest games without having to worry about bottlenecking your GPU. Just don’t be surprised when rendering and encoding video takes longer.
Best VR CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Ryzen to the occasion and VR-ready to rumble
Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W
Initially the primary rival of the Intel Core i7-7700K, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X still holds its own today, despite having been succeeded by the Ryzen 7 2800X. Its high core count, when compared to the intel Core i7 7700K, means that it's better suited for VR workloads. And, now that it’s dropped considerably in price, it’s more affordable than ever. If you’re building a VR rig, do yourself a favor: save some cash without giving up on too much performance with the Ryzen 7 1800X. It’s, without a doubt, one of the best processors for VR gaming.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Best video editing CPU: Intel Core i7-7820X
X gon’ give it to ya
Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.3GHz | L3 cache: 11MB | TDP: 140W
The naming convention is confusing, given that the Intel Core i7-7820X is part of Intel’s “Skylake-X” series rather than the X-class chips built on the 14nm Kaby Lake node. However, semantics matter very little when you get to go hands-on with an Intel CPU that features this many cores. The fact that you’ll need a new motherboard to use this octa-core monster might scare some users off to Ryzen; however, Intel loyalists shan’t mind the upgrade.
Best performance processor: Intel Core i9-9980XE
There’s a new king in town
Cores: 18 | Threads: 36 | Base clock: 3.0GHz | Boost clock: 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 24.75MB | TDP: 165W
Are you the kind of user that demands world-class performance, and couldn’t care less about cost? The Intel Core i9-9980XE is among the best processors for you. With 18-cores and 36-threads, it absolutely destroys all its rivals on the market right now, if only just barely. Multi-threaded applications and workstation-class projects are going to breeze by with this chip. If that steep price tag makes you do a double take however, then you might want to look somewhere else.
Read the full review: Intel Core i9-9980XE
Best budget CPU: Intel Pentium G4560
Intel Core i3 power at a Pentium price tag
Cores: 2 | Threads: 4 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | L3 cache: 3MB | TDP: 54W
If you choose the Intel Pentium G4560 over a Core i3 chip, you won’t even notice the slight loss of performance, as you’ll be too busy counting all the money you saved. As the first Pentium chip in a long time to boast hyper-threading, the G4560 shows us what low-end CPUs have been missing for so long. And, in benchmarks, it proves that it’s easily adjacent to the pricier Intel Core i3-7100.
Best HTPC CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
Ryzen and Vega finally meet
Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 3.9GHz | L2 cache: 2MB
One of the only things that was missing in AMD’s Ryzen processors when they blew up was the integrated graphics support. But then, the Ryzen 5 2400G hit the streets and changed everything for mainstream PC users. With excellent AMD Vega graphics, it’s a fantastic APU that will be ideal for anyone looking to build a home theater PC. Plus, now that AMD has slashed the price, you can get your 4K action for cheaper than ever.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
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