AMD and Intel have went head to head for control of the CPU market for almost forever now, but recently the long-standing rivalry has flared up to new levels never before scene. Today, Ryzen 2nd Generation is dominating the scene and Intel is about to come through with Coffee Lake Refresh. As the eternal feud of Intel vs AMD is heating up, there’s never been a better time to shop for the best processor.
In 2018, the best processors come in every shape, size and budget. If you’re trying to save a bit of cash, Intel has you covered with some low-powered T-Series desktop CPUs. And, if you’re trying to squeeze as much performance out of your machine as possible – and money isn’t an issue – you may want to take a look at AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation and Intel’s Skylake-X CPUs .
Even if you can’t get your hands on the latest and greatest CPUs, there are still plenty of great Kaby Lake and Ryzen gen 1 processors out there that can still pack a punch. These older processors aren’t just still good, they’ll let you spend more on the best graphics cards.
On the other hand, since there are so many great processors out there, picking the best CPU for gaming can result in a myriad of confusing model numbers and specs. Luckily, we have your back – we created a guide to the best processors on the market. And, since we’ve tested, reviewed and tested all these chips ourselves, you can be confident they’ll be worth your time and money. So, sit back, relax and get ready to realize PC performance you’ve only dreamed about.
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 has played second fiddle to Intel in many categories but value. Those days are over. With the Ryzen 7 2700X, and Ryzen 2nd Generation in general, AMD introduces the first 12nm CPUs and the performance backs that up, beating Intel in both single and multi-core workloads for the first time in recent history. If you’re looking for a high-performance CPU at a reasonable price, trust us, look no further.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Best high-end CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X
Ripping all the threads
Cores: 16 | Threads: 32 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: : 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 32MB | TDP: 180W
With last year’s Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, AMD already had the best value in the HEDT world. However, with the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, not only do we get higher clock speeds – but it’s even more affordable at the same time. The 2950X brings the same number of cores and threads as its predecessor, but the increased performance and lower price makes it a prodigious value if you’re in the market for a high-end processor. But, please, if you’re looking for the best gaming performance for the money, look elsewhere.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X
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 for an affordable CPU for content creation, look no further than the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X. With 6 cores and 12 threads and a base clock of 3.6GHz, you’re getting far better performance than the pricier Intel Core i5-8600K – with a dope RGB CPU cooler included. Sure, the gaming performance increase over the blue team is marginal, but when you start multi-tasking – and who doesn’t like having 100 Chrome tabs open while gaming – the value starts to show itself in spades.
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
If you’re looking to put together a gaming PC on the tightest budget, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G can take you a long way. While it doesn’t feature 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. 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 i5-7600K
“K” series Core processing at an i5 cost
Cores: 4 | Threads: 4 | Base clock: 3.8GHz | Boost clock: 4.2GHz | L3 cache: 6MB | TDP: 91W
Like the 7700K that preceded it on this list, the Intel Core i5-7600K is an unlocked, overclockable quad-core processor from Intel. However, it also suffers from the same integral shortcoming; that is that it’s barely an upgrade over the i5-6600K. Be that as it may, squeezing out only 300MHz over its precursor brings it nearly in line with the last-gen Core i7-6700K when overclocked. All the while, it won’t put too much of a dent in your budget either.
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 competition for the Intel Core i7-7700K, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X still stands up today, even though it’s been succeeded by the Ryzen 7 2800X. Its high core count, when compared to the intel Core i7 7700K means that it's much better suited to VR workloads, and now that it’s dropped significantly in price, it’s more affordable than ever before. 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.
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, but semantics matter very little when you get to go hands-on with an Intel CPU boasting this many cores. Although the fact that you’ll need a new motherboard to use this octa-core monster might be enough to scare some users off to Ryzen, Intel loyalists shan’t mind the upgrade.
Best performance processor: Intel Core i9-7980XE
This 18-core processor dominates all
Cores: 18 | Threads: 36 | Base clock: 2.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 24.75MB | TDP: 165W
The Intel Core i9-7980XE is all about brute force. With the ability to kick up all 18-cores and 36-threads up to 4.8GHz (in our testing at least), this monstrous processor brings performance to a new level of insanity. And, while it doesn’t have the most cores anymore compared to the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, the Intel Core i9-7980XE is still the best processor for anyone who needs an insane amount of power, with a budget that reflects that.
Read the full review: Intel Core i9-7980XE
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
With the amount of money you save by opting for the Pentium G4560 over a Core i3 chip, we promise you won’t even notice the slight loss in performance. As the first Pentium processor in a long time to feature hyper-threading, the G4560 goes out of its way to show us all what we’ve been missing. And, in benchmarks it more than proves itself eerily adjacent to the more expensive 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 we were left wanting when AMD’s Ryzen processors blew up is that they didn’t support integrated graphics. However, the Ryzen 5 2400G changes everything for mainstream PC users. With impressive AMD Vega graphics, it’s a fantastic APU that will be perfect for anyone looking to build a home theater PC. And, now that AMD has slashed the price you can get your 4K action on cheaper than ever.
Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
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