If you’ve been looking for the best processor for your next build, you’ll be happy to know that the CPU market is filled to the brim with incredible silicon. Thanks to the vibrant competition by Intel and AMD, there has never been a better time to get a new processor. AMD has been ruling the market with its Ryzen 2nd generation processors, while Intel has responded with its 9th-generation Coffee Lake Refresh processors, headed by the Intel Core i9-9900K.
Of course, not to be outdone, AMD is slated to release its Ryzen 3rd generation CPUs to compete with the likes of Intel Core i9-9900K and Intel Core i9-9920X, looking destined to join the ranks of our best processors. These will roll out on July 7.
Until then, the market is still packed with a number of impressive processors. From budget big shots, like the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, to HEDT heroes, like Intel’s Basin Falls Refresh lineup. Plus, there are plenty of mid-range megastars to round out our best processors list, like our current favorite, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X.
You can hardly throw a stone without hitting an amazing processor right now, so finding the most ideal one for your rig is key. Luckily, even if the latest and greatest silicon is out of your reach, there are still plenty of great Coffee Lake and Ryzen Gen 1 chips on the market.
Get ready to experience amazing PC performance, and great deals – as we’ve included our price comparison tool. Here 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. Luckily, the Santa Clara manufacturer has finally gotten over its slump, unleashing the likes of the Ryzen 2700X. This time around, AMD brings the first 12nm processors, and the performance to back it up, demolishing Intel when it comes to price-to-performance. If you’re looking for one of the best processors that’ll give you great performance without burning a hole in your pocket, 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 increased pressure from AMD, Intel’s offerings have been heating up like crazy (sometimes literally.) This growing competition has resulted in the Intel Core i9-9900K: an absolute beast of a processor that packs eight cores and 16 threads, more cores than any mainstream processor released by Intel. The performance shows that it’s worth it – it 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 invest in one of the best processors for content creation, but are on a tight budget, then the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X might just be the best processor for you. With 6 cores, 12 threads and a base clock of 3.6GHz, you’re getting way better performance than the pricier Intel Core i5-8600K – and you get a gorgeous RGB CPU cooler included as well. Sure, 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 – the 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 on the tightest budget? Well, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is your new best friend. 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, which is why this makes our best processors list. 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 may be the best processor for you. It might not have as many cores as its AMD Ryzen counterparts, but that doesn’t matter, gaming is mostly about that single-threaded performance. With this processor, 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 competition for the Intel Core i7-7700K, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X still holds its own today, despite being 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 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. 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. 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 the best processor for you. With 18-cores and 36-threads, it absolutely destroys everything else on the market right now, if only just barely. Multi-threaded applications and workstation-class projects are going to breeze by with this chip. However, if that price tag makes you do a double take, then it might not be for you.
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 opt for the Intel Pentium G4560 over a Core i3 chip, you won’t even notice the slight loss of performance – you’ll be too busy counting all the money you saved. As the first Pentium processor in a long time to feature 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 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 was missing when AMD’s Ryzen processors blew up was its integrated graphics support. But then, the Ryzen 5 2400G hit the streets and changed 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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