Today we are adding our top 5 best desktop CPU lists. The five categories are
- Best budget CPU
- Best value or roundup desktop CPU
- Best value productivity CPU
- Best performance gaming CPU and then the
- Best extreme desktop CPU
Best budget desktop CPU
So let’s get into this. First up we have our best budget CPU pick and quite a lot has changed in this market segment since that time we’ve seen the arrival of AMD’s third generation rise in three series as well as Intel’s 10th gen core i3 range.
So quite a few new CPUs to pick from, it’s 2020 and the Ryzen 3300x have been added to the mix along with the core i3 10100 by far the best option, here is the Ryzen 3300X the value of the CPU offers at the 120 dollar US price point is unprecedented and while the 3100 is also quite a good deal at $100 it’s well worth spending the extra $20 for the 3300X to get all cores in a single CCX.
The Ryzen 3300X generally beats the core i3 10100 when it comes to gaming performance and it’s typically around 20% faster and I core heavy applications also as a bonus. The Ryzen processor is unlocked so the Ryzen 3300x can be overclocked for even greater performance while memory overclocking is supported on affordable B450 motherboards. This one’s really a better product for AMD, Intel made an attempt to become a bit more competitive but ultimately it was a case of too little too late.
Best value or roundup desktop CPU
For two years now our best value all around a desktop CPU category has been lead by 6 core 12 thread AMD Ryzen 5 processors. In 2017 it was the Ryzen 5 1600 in 2018, the twenty six hundred and twenty six hundred and then the twenty six hundred again in early 2019 after huge price cuts and then by year’s end we went with the Ryzen 5 3600 nothing has really changed in the last six months.
The Ryzen 5 3600 is still by far the best value desktop CPU. In fact, recently the 3600 has become even better value whose sale price is dropping it as low as a hundred and seventy five dollars. The tenth gen alternative from Intel would be the core i5 10400 and while not a terrible alternative the Ryzen processor is up to twenty percent faster for productivity tasks while delivering comparable gaming performance.
A key advantage of the Ryzen processor is the fact that it can be overclocked on a photo will B450 motherboards which also support higher memory speeds than core i5 10400. On the other hand, Intel requires a Z490 motherboard and the cheaper models that you should entertain purchasing cost around a hundred and seventy dollars.
So substantially more than a quality B450 board so in short you’re getting better performance at a more affordable price and that for me is a win-win now if you Intel to open up memory overclocking on B460 and H for ten bullets then I could certainly entertain the idea of recommending locked core i5 processors as alternatives for those strictly gaming, but short of that the Intel part just isn’t compelling enough for me and therefore the Ryzen 5 3600 once again takes our best value all-rounder award.
Best value productivity desktop CPU
When it comes to productivity doesn’t really matter what price point you’re talking about. In 2020 AMD really does dominate across the board if you want to get work done. on the cheap nothing beats the Ryzen 3300 X has a little bit more money to spend Ryzen 5 3600 even more money Ryzen 7 even more money again you can go Ryzen R9.
All up to something like these 16 core 3950X and if you happen to have rules of cash on hand well there’s the third generation threadripper range. There are a number of Ryzen processer we could pick for this category and really should, so this is more of a general Ryzen 7 / Ryzen 9.
Pick for example the 3700x is amazing value at its price for a powerful 8 core 16 threaded processor and I’d still recommend it over spending $50 more on the 3800X. then there’s the Ryzen 3900X for around $400, again amazing value given you’re getting a 12 core 24 thread processor.
Something previously unheard of for a mainstream desktop CPU. Then at the head of them, for Ryzen 3950X it’s a bit of a pricey you item at $700 and it might cost 40 percent more than the Intel Core i9 10900K but it is generally over 40% faster and core heavy workloads, so again an amazing deal for a 16 core 32 thread processor and that leaves you with a good option at $300 $400 and $700 to pick from.
Best performance gaming CPU
Although I had expected the Intel Core i3 10100 and core i5 10400 to be more compelling for gamers and they ultimately turned out to be. I was pleasantly surprised by the core i5 10600k, sure I ended up going with the Ryzen 5 3600 is the best all-rounder and I think few could argue that it’s not the more well-rounded product but if you are primarily gaming the i5 10600K is a very attractive option.
It’s priced to compete with the Ryzen 3700X and again you’re mostly interested in productivity performance then get the AMD processor, as it’s faster with its two extra cores but if you’re gaming, the name of the game well yeah it’s the core i5 10600K.
It’s a pretty great gaming processor throw it on a relatively affordable Z490 motherboard MSI’s tomahawk, for example, $190 that seems like a pretty good motherboard to go with and then put $50 towards a decent air cooler and you have the makings of a seriously high-end gaming system overclocked in most games.
It can deliver core i9 10900k like performance and at around 40% cheaper, that’s kind of nice. So while I’m partial to the core i5 10600K, if we’re being true to this category it’s the core i9 10900K that is really the best performance gaming CPU either way though it is an unlocked 10th gen core processor that will deliver maximum gaming performance and therefore I suggest that budget-conscious gamers aim for the i5 10600K while those with deep pockets opt for the i9 10900k.
Best extreme desktop CPU
Yeah well this one’s pretty easy isn’t it third gender group up what more do I need to say really if you’ve seen the reviews, well you know everything you need to know. They are pretty bloody expensive but if you do seek the ultimate in productivity performance, the price probably isn’t going to be your number one concern.
The set of three and a half thousand dollars is a bit rich for your blood then the 3700X or 3960X might be better alternatives to the insane 64 core 128 thread Beast that is the 3990X. For example the 32 core 3970X can be had for $1,900 us while the 3960 X comes in a slightly more affordable $1,400.
I personally have been using the thread Ripper 3960X in my main gaming or editing rig for a little over six months now and the experience has been flawless as an example I can warp stabilizer over a dozen 4k clips in Premiere while also using the same computer to create benchmark graphs in Excel or thumbnails and Photoshop without noticing any kind of lag or slowdown.
Prior to that I was testing out the core I9 9900K which by all accounts is two and a half times cheaper but if I tried to simultaneously use more than about half a dozen warp stabilization processors Premiere would crash and there was no chance I was doing any background tasks like crazy benchmark graphs or thumbnails or whatever especially without any serious system lag or again at risk of crashing of course.
A cascade like X part would be better suited for such productivity tasks but those basically don’t exist and even if they did the flagship 18 called 10.8 exe is ill-equipped to go up against any of the third gen threadripper processors.
So as I said this category is an easy one it’s really great to see so many options available in 2020 and whether you’re talking about AMD or Intel, I don’t think you can go to wrong, for example, the Ryzen 5 3600 might be our preference over the core i5 10400 but if you want to end up with the Intel processor you wouldn’t exactly be disappointed with the experience.
It’s a very capable gaming chip and application performance is still strong Intel’s 10th gen lineup is much more competitive than the ninth generation ever was offering SMT support across the board and of course better pricing ultimately though there still beaten by AMD on almost all France but it seems to be a situation where supply is still struggling to meet the demand.
So Intel doesn’t need to be any more competitive on pricing than they currently are still I’ve had some interesting conversations with a few local retailers that have told me the Ryzen 530 600 alone has heavily outsold Intel’s entire 10th generation there’s also publicly available evidence that, this is the case over at Amazon where you’ll find the 3600 as the number one best seller with the best-selling 10th gen Intel part the core i5 10400 way down in 15th position this has been going on for a while now
The crunch point for Intel can’t be all that far away and that’s probably why the Intel CEO is telling the public that benchmarks no longer matter at the end of the day though this all spells good news for consumers as we’re expecting to see even better value out of the 11th Gen Core series and AMD Ryzen 4000 series, as the CPU Wars continue to heat up but that is a story for another day in the meantime though if you’re in need of a new upgrade there are a number of great options available at a range of prices.
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