The best processors are those models that suit your needs when you want to configure your computer. There are two big brands on the market, AMD and Intel, but the diversity of models can make it difficult for you when you have to make a choice. Before we explain the most important features that underlie a good processor, we want to give you a tip: if you just want to upgrade and you already have the motherboard (which you do not want to change), then choose the same architecture (more precisely, the same manufacturer) with which you got used to the computer.
To begin with, your purchase must be made according to the utility that the processor will have: video editing, databases, 2D / 3D renderings, gaming or daily tasks (working from home, writing texts, searching on internet or other simple operations that do not require a state-of-the-art device). For gaming and online activities, we recommend you go for the AMD version, because it is less demanding, and the purchase prices are good. Intel models are ideal if you work with databases or do sophisticated video and graphics editing.
The first important feature is the number of nuclei. In the case of Intel, the maximum number of physical cores is 8, and at AMD we find up to 12 cores. Interesting to Intel is that core performance is enhanced by Hyper-Threading technology, which allows the processor to run even faster than an 8-core AMD. The higher the number, the better the device. So if you are passionate about gaming or video editing, it is recommended to turn your attention to a processor with 4 or 6 cores.
Closely related to the number of cores is the frequency of the processor and you can find it expressed in MHz or GHz. The value of the frequency is given by the speed at which the internal oscillator operates a certain number of pulses per second. Currently, the performance of millions of cycles per second has been reached. Other criteria that can help you make a distinction if you stopped at two models are the cache, the technology (which you find expressed in nanometers) and possibly the mode of operation (32 or 64 bits; it helps you to know which operating system is suitable for the computer you want to configure). Another way to differentiate the processors is represented by the family and the generation they belong to. For example, at Intel we can have an i9 processor, available in i9-7960X , i9-9940X , i9-9900 , i9-9900K , i9-9900KF , i9-10900X and others . The AMD brand has named its Ryzen processors, and in the latest model we find the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 9 3950X variants .
Don't worry if the information seems too technical or difficult to understand, because our editors come to your aid. They have prepared a list of the best processors to help you make a purchase that suits your needs.
The Best PC Processors in 2021
Intel Core i5-9600KF – Nea Pleasant Recommendation
Intel Core i9-9900K – Intel
AMD Ryzen ™ 9 3900X – AMD
AMD Ryzen ™ 7 3700X – Gaming
Intel Core i7-9700K Processor – Video Editing
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 – Value for money
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G – Cheap
Intel Core i5-9600KF is the best PC processor for most people. i5-9600KF is part of the ninth generation Intel i5 processor family, being compatible with 64-bit operating systems. It has a very good average response time, being an excellent model for game enthusiasts, but also for those who work with more complex applications.
The processor is equipped with 6 cores, the maximum number we find in models manufactured by Intel, with a socket type LGA 1151 (or H4). Specifically, this socket supports processors with Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake architecture. Intel Core i5-9600KF , thanks to the 6 cores, offers impressive and pleasant experiences to use, regardless of the application or game running. For example, you can convert a 4K video in just three minutes. Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology also contributes to this, which activates automatically (causes the cores to run at the highest frequency) when you are running a very complex application, which requires a lot of processor performance.
The frequency with which the processor normally runs the data is 3.7 MHz, but with the help of Turbo Boost 2.0 technology you can enjoy a value of up to 4.6 MHz. The advantage is that Intel has implemented a technology through which you can reduce power consumption and thus reduce the heat emitted by the processor and the risk of overheating it – Enhanced Intel SpeedStep. This technology does nothing but allow the entire system to adjust the frequency and voltage of the device dynamically. In addition, you can enjoy a balance of energy supply and conservation according to your current needs.
Intel Core i5-9600KF has a cache of 9 MB. This memory is static (SRAM) and is much faster than Dynamic RAM (DRAM), due to the fact that it does not have to be constantly refreshed to retain data. The processor requests information from RAM, which it then caches.
Intel Core i9-9900K is the best Intel processor at the moment. It has a frequency of 3.6 GHz, a cache of 16 MB and a number of 8 physical cores. It is one of the newest processor models in the i9 family and, at the same time, is part of the most powerful generation on the market at the moment.
This model, which is part of the ninth generation of Intel processors, is equipped with 8 physical cores, 16 threads (the largest number encountered so far) and is clocked at a frequency of 3.6 GHz. However, the advantage of this processor is represented by Intel Turbo Boost technology through which all cores can reach a frequency of 4.7 GHz, and the first two cores can even reach up to 5 GHz.
An important detail that we liked about the Intel Core i9-9900K is the presence of the integrated heat distributor (IHS). Intel used a different material than previous models (Solder Thermal Interface Material – STIM) which they placed under the heat distributor to facilitate heat transfer. This innovation was implemented taking into account the fact that we are talking about a processor with 8 cores and possibilities of overload and, implicitly, of overheating. At the same time, the thermal power remained at 95 W, as in previous models.
Intel Core i9-9900K is the ideal processor both for those who want extra power and very short waiting times when playing, and for those who are passionate about everything that means graphic editing, 2D and 3D rendering or for achievements and upgrades of very bushy databases. The new generation models benefit from an Ultra HD experience up to eight times faster. This allows you to convert files to large formats (for example, 4K) in just a few minutes.
AMD Ryzen ™ 9 3900X is the top AMD processor of the moment. With the latest architecture from AMD, 12 physical cores, 24 threads, a production technology on 7 nanometers and a frequency of 3.8 GHz, the model is perfect for both gamers and for graphic and photo-video editing.
The Ryzen 3000 series processor models are manufactured with 7-nanometer technology, feature a new architecture and are codenamed "Matisse". Basically, the transistors are smaller, but the performance is at a high level, and the power consumption is lower than the processors of previous generations. Also note that this model works with the AM4 socket. Also in terms of performance, we mention the 12 physical cores, along with the 24 threads. Also, the standard frequency is clocked at 3.8 GHz, while the turbo speed can reach up to 4.6 GHz (you can enjoy this when you run applications or games that require a high level of performance on the core). Here we see a significant increase compared to the 2000 generation.
The cache is divided into two categories: L2, 6 MB, and L3, 64 MB. The advantage is that you can overclock (it is the process by which a hardware component of the computer is forced to run at a higher frequency than the one specified by the manufacturer), because the processor is unlocked.
In terms of energy consumption, AMD has made small improvements here as well. Given the high-performance features of the AMD Ryzen ™ 9 3900X , the typical consumption of 105 W is justified. The good part is that the package also includes a cooler (Wraith Prism) which has the role of dissipating heat. A small disadvantage may be the noise it makes when the processor is working harder.
AMD Ryzen ™ 7 3700X is one of the best processors on the market, and an excellent choice for those who are passionate about gaming. The main features of the processor are 8 physical cores, 16 threads, it can be overridden and supports both PCI Express 4 and DDR4 RAM.
The standard frequency at which this model is clocked is 3.6 GHz, while the turbo frequency can reach a speed of up to 4.4 GHz, ideal values for game lovers who want a state-of-the-art gaming processor. In terms of cache, things are similar to the AMD Ryzen ™ 9 3900X : a 4 MB L2 and a 32 MB L3. The device also features the latest architecture from AMD and was created on a 7 nanometer technology.
AMD Ryzen ™ 7 3700X works only with the help of RAM, DDR4 type, and can support both speeds up to 3.2 GHz and dual-channel configurations. The third generation of AMD processors works with the AM4 socket and it is recommended to use it on an X570 motherboard, as these models only support PCI Express 4.0. However, if you have slightly older motherboards (for example, 300 or 400), try updating the BIOS first, because it should work.
Although it has 8 physical cores, 16 threads and impressive running speeds, the typical power consumption is quite low, only 65 W. The good part is present in the package: a Wraith Prism cooling system, which helps you in situations where the processor is in high demand and risks overheating.
Intel Core i7-9700K is an 8-core processor, 8 threads, 12 MB cache and a standard frequency of 3.6 GHz, which copes well with video editing programs. Its performance is also given by the maximum frequency at which it can run, 4.9 GHz.
Compared to the Intel Core i9-9900K , where we have 8 physical cores and 16 threads, in this model the manufacturers did not use Hyper-Threading technology (which was first encountered in an i7 processor), given that here we still have 8 physical cores, but only 8 threads. One reason could be the family and the older generation that includes the Intel Core i7-9700K (i7 versus i9 and 9700K versus 9900K). Even so, video editing applications run smoothly, with no interruptions or long wait times. And if you use a program that needs more than 3.6 GHz, the turbo frequency, which is clocked at 4.9 GHz, will help you. Comparing with an older generation – Intel Core i7-8700K – we notice that the latter starts from a higher base frequency of 3.7 GHz, but can only reach a turbo frequency of 4.7 GHz.
Intel Core i7-9700K works with a 1151 socket, which is only compatible with 300 series chipsets. If you want to use a motherboard from an older or newer series, don't forget to upgrade first The BIOS. RAM has DDR4 support, as we find in i9 models, as well as 14 nanometer production technology. These details can only be advantages, given that an i7 can offer almost the same performance as an i9. The cache is 12 MB, a smaller idea than the Intel Core i9-9900K .
The good part is that this model also gives you the opportunity to overclock, which is a great reason to use your applications more demanding in terms of processor power, without any risk. A small disadvantage is the lack of cooling system. The Intel Core i7-9700K has a thermal power of 95 W, but it can get quite hot, especially when it is overloaded.
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is a processor with an excellent value for money. Here we are talking about 6 physical cores, 12 threads, a standard frequency of 3.4 GHz and a production process on 12 nanometers.
The processor has pretty good running speeds, given the standard frequency of 3.4 GHz which can reach up to 3.9 GHz with turbo boost technology. With 19 MB of cache, an AM4 socket, 6 physical cores and 12 threads, this model competes directly with Intel Core i5-8600K in terms of performance, where we find a cache of 9 MB, frequencies of 3.6 – 4.3 GHz, 6 physical cores and only 6 threads. The AMD Ryzen 5 2600 's AM4 socket only works with 400 series chipsets (for example, the X470), but it wouldn't be a problem to use with one of an older series either (such as the 300 series), but only if you do a proper BIOS update.
This model from AMD has a thermal power of only 65 W, but the advantage lies in the technologies that it comes with. One of them is Pure Power, which has an adaptive control that does nothing but optimize power consumption, regardless of the application or game you are running, thus reaching the dissipation of heat and, consequently, low energy consumption. . Extended Frequency Range 2 (XFR) helps to automatically increase processor performance, based on several high-performance cooling algorithms. Power Precision Boost 2 does the same thing, which optimizes the device's frequency in real time, by adjusting the speed in steps of 25 MHz. AMD has also implemented other features, such as Smart Prefetch (they are, in fact, learning algorithms that help better load data, providing excellent response time) and Neural Net Prediction (also helps to improve response times using built-in artificial intelligence).
Another advantage is the presence of the cooling system in the package – Wraith Stealth. At AMD Ryzen ™ 7 3700X I had a Wraith Prism cooler, much more efficient, but the thermal power is also lower at AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (65 W compared to 95 W).
The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is the best inexpensive processor, providing enough performance for an entry-level device. It is especially recommended for conventional home use, internet browsing, text / email writing and other simple tasks.
This processor model has only 6 MB of cache (2 MB in L2 and 4 MB in L3), which is explained by the fact that this time AMD used a single CCX. In other words, since it is only a CCX, only the cache attached to the quad-core subunit is available. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, given that the manufacturers have chosen to take advantage of the remaining space and also introduce an integrated graphics processor (Radeon Vega 8, with 8 compute units, running at a speed of 1100 MHz), which gives the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G a little more performance. The manufacturing technology is, however, the same as the top models, on 14 nanometers.
In terms of frequency, the processor has a standard speed clocked at 3.5 GHz, and thanks to turbo boost technology can reach up to 3.7 GHz. It is slightly weaker than its successor, the AMD Ryzen 3 2400G, which has frequencies of 3.6 GHz and 3.9 GHz, respectively. And for this model we find the AM4 type socket that you will have to use with 300 series motherboards (only if you update the BIOS) and 400 (recommended).
Although the thermal power is low, only 65 W, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G heats up quite a bit, which can be a disadvantage only if you try to run more complex applications and games, which require a lot of processor. In the case of light loads, the temperature reached by the device is decent. Let's not forget the cooling system included in the package, which gives you the advantage of enjoying more product time, because it increases its life.