It's a gamble that has unquestionably paid off though, and the gaming performance offered by Intel's latest CPUs is nothing short of incredible. The Core i5 K is the standout processor for gamers because it not only offers great gaming performance across the board, but it does so at a price point that isn't going to reduce you to tears.
That it soundly beats the Core i9 K is just the icing on the cake. As this is a new platform, you will need to pick up a new motherboard and probably new memory while you're at it—Alder Lake supports DDR5 as well as DDR4. That means the initial outlay may be a bit more than you planned, but the performance is worth it, and it isn't a power-draining beast either, so you won't need an outlandish cooler to get the most from it.
Throw in future-looking support for PCIe 5. Long live the king. Read our full Intel Core i5 K review. That the Core i5 K takes the top spot is hard to argue with—awesome performance at a good price will do that—but Intel's top chip hitting the second spot may be a little more surprising. The reasoning here is that the vast majority of gamers should get the Core i5, leaving this second spot covering those that need even more performance.
If you're building a high-end PC not just for high-end, 4K gaming, but for more serious pursuits like 3D rendering and video editing, then this is the chip for you. It's a powerhouse, no question about it, but one that really needs a system built around it to make it shine—you'll need a beefy PSU to get that absolute best from it, and a serious cooler wouldn't hurt either. The fact that there is plenty of overclocking headroom will allow you to push it to a whole new level as well.
When it comes to gaming performance, this is the fastest chip out there, by a considerable margin. The problem is, you only get a few more frames per second over our top recommendation and you have to pay royally for the privelige. And even when you're buying an 'ethusiast' class CPU, you still need to have an eye on overall value for money.
Read our full Intel Core i9 K review. The Core i5 is nearing on legendary status in the Alder Lake lineup, and that's because of its unprecedented ability to overclock where it shouldn't. The lack of a 'K' at the end of the Core i5 's name should denote its lack of overclocking prowess, but somewhere in the silicon it has the ability for BCLK overclocking.
With a motherboard capable of taking advantage of the Core i5 's overclocking ability, we managed to push this little chip that could to 5. It didn't run too hot or too power hungry to do it, either, though you will need to be considerate of cooling potential before attempting this.
Similarly, Intel doesn't recommend anyone does this—though that's true of pretty much any overclocking nowadays. The company also could close the door on the non-K-series overclocking at some point, so keep that in mind if that's the sole reason you're thinking of purchasing this chip. If you're not looking to overclock in the slightest, however, don't fret.
The Core i5 was already impressive without its secret ability, and with cooler included at this price tag, it's one helluva great deal. Read our full Intel Core i5 review. The key takeaway for us as gamers is that this improvement means AMD pushed Intel to improve, and improve it did with Alder Lake. Whatever resolution you are gaming at, this processor can handle it and keep your graphics card of choice fed with many juicy frames.
The fact that this is a core, thread monster means that it can cope with anything else you throw at it as well. So if you have dreams of 3D rendering, video editing, or any other serious tasks, you'll know that you have the raw grunt to handle it. That it won't hold you back when gaming makes it even sweeter. The only real downside is the pricing and the dropping of the Wraith cooler—don't forget to factor in when you buy.
You do get what you pay for, though, and this is a phenomenal chip for gaming and anything else you might want to do. If you're in the market for absolute power, you could step up to the Ryzen 9 X , which gives you 16 cores and 32 threads.
The Ryzen 5 X has lost some of its shine since the Core i5 released—Intel's chip just pips it in gaming performance and is available for a fair bit less money. That said, the reason we still feel the Ryzen 5 X worth mentioning is that, while it's a great chip in its own right, it's also a lot cheaper if you're upgrading from another older AM4-compatible processor. That could save you a lot of cash on a compatible motherboard, which you'd definitely need to drop if you picked up an Intel 12th Gen chip.
There's also very little between any of the Ryzen chips in games, which means you'll hit the same frame rates with this chip as you will the more expensive Ryzen 9 X. Which is incredible when you think about it—top-tier performance from the most affordable Zen 3 CPU? We'll say yes to that every single day. This does have half the core count of the X, rolling in as it does with six cores and 12 threads.
However, this is only an issue with those more serious workloads, which is more than sufficient for more reasonable stuff. The Ryzen 5 X also bucks the Ryzen family's trend by shipping with a Wraith Stealth cooler, so you don't have to drop extra money on a third-party chiller.
You don't need to, but if you do, you'll hit higher clocks for longer and also open up the wonderful world of overclocking, which could make it worthwhile. This is a decent little overclocker, and while it won't affect gaming much, it'll help in other areas nicely.
The Core i5 F is a surprisingly exciting option. Even long after its first release date, this processor is still available at a great price. Not only that, it's slightly faster than the Core i5 that came before it, but that F-suffix means it ditches the Intel integrated graphics completely.
Overall, it's an excellent budget-friendly choice that doesn't cost much more than a Core i3 part. There are other compromises, like the locked multiplier—no overclocking here. But you can save money and grab an H motherboard. At least you get a cooler in the box, something we'd like to see as an option with every CPU. Most boards will happily run the F at 3. Future games may start to push beyond its 6-core capabilities, but probably not before you're ready for an upgrade.
Right now, the i5 F is plenty fast and extremely affordable. AMD's APUs are the best processors to drop into your rig if you're not going to use a discrete graphics card, but still want a modicum of gaming performance out of your system.
That makes this a chip that's almost up there with the best of the Ryzen series CPUs in processing power, but with the graphical grunt to deliver p gaming on low settings in some seriously demanding titles. At the same time, you wait for discrete graphics cards to be available and without compromising too heavily on your system performance in the meantime.
The issue is that, as the G is a monolithic design rather than chiplet, there are some performance differences compared to the standard Ryzen 7 X, a straight eight-core, thread CPU without graphics. It also lacks PCIe 4.
But it's still an excellent all-around AMD processor and a handy option when graphics cards are still so rare. While gaming resolutions run from p to 4K, we largely test at p. We use a mix of motherboards depending on the platform, but all high-end to ensure as level a playing field as we can.
To further eliminate any bottlenecks, a high-speed PCIe 4. Alder Lake is the most recent platform to be released, and while initially only Z motherboards were available, Intel and its partners have since released cheaper chipset such as H, B, and H Unless you're desperate for the still slightly awkward Intel PCIe 4. This is a rather loaded question.
AMD has held the top spot for a long time, with its Zen architecture making for some incredible leaps in performance, but Intel has stolen the crown with its Alder Lake family, specifically the Core i5 K. The fact that it's a completely new kind of hybrid CPU is almost by the by, it's just a really strongly performing chip. It's worth remembering that most games are GPU-limited, which means the graphics card is the limiting factor in terms of performance, and you would likely see the same essential frame rates with either CPU manufacturer when a discrete graphics card is used.
The Ryzen 9 X's healthy slathering of cores and threads are incredibly adept at productivity workloads. Still, it does come with a dual-channel memory controller that can restrict performance in workloads constrained by memory throughput.
However, outside of that notable restriction, if you're after a chip and platform that can do serious work seriously fast , but still be nimble enough to deliver high-refresh gameplay at the end of the day, the Ryzen 9 X fits the bill like no other CPU before it, blurring the lines between HEDT and mainstream platforms.
The Ryzen 9 X is a previous-gen processor, and we typically don't recommend investing in older chips for productivity-focused builds. However, given sporadic chip shortages, the Ryzen 9 X might be the only option at times if you're looking for a core thread processor to drop into a mainstream motherboard. However, if you prize a brutal mix of performance in all aspects, like single- and multi-threaded work and gaming, the Ryzen 9 X is your chip — it delivers in all facets.
The core thread Ryzen 9 X is rated for a 3. Not only is the X incredibly potent in threaded applications given its price point - it is also the uncontested fastest gaming chip on the market, so you'll get the best of both worlds. The Ryzen 9 X drops into existing series and some series motherboards be sure to assure compatibility.
You'll need to bring your own cooler, and the bigger, the better — cooling definitely has an impact on performance with the higher-end Ryzen processors. However, if you're looking for a chip with a great mixture of both single- and heavily-threaded performance, the Ryzen 9 X is a great option.
However, the X brings more than enough extra application performance to justify the premium, not to mention that it's the most power-efficient desktop PC processor we've ever tested. That means it is easier to cool than competing chips in its price range, ultimately resulting in a quieter system.
The X serves up more than enough performance for day-to-day application workloads, but you'll need to align your expectations with the fact that this is a six-core processor. That said, you won't find this level of performance from any other six-core chip on the market. If entertainment is also on the menu, the X is an incredibly well-rounded chip that can handle any type of gaming, from competitive-class performance with high refresh rate monitors to streaming.
The Ryzen 5 X has a 3. The chip also has a 65W TDP rating, meaning it runs exceptionally cool and quiet given its capabilities the previous-gen model was 95W. Existing AMD owners with a series motherboard will breathe a sigh of relief as the X drops right into existing series motherboards, and some series models be sure to check compatibility lists.
If you need a new motherboard to support the chip, both and series motherboards are plentiful and relatively affordable, with the B lineup offering the best overall value for this class of chip. The Core i represents the lowest-end processor we'd recommend for a productivity-focused machine.
The is the best budget chip on the market, largely because AMD's only competing chip comes in the form of the two-year-old Ryzen 5 that can't compete with the more modern Remember, the F will perform the same as the non-F model, but you lose QuickSync. Taken as a whole, the Core i has a better blend of performance than the Ryzen 5 throughout our full suite of application tests. The 's large lead in single-threaded work is impressive, and its only deficiencies in threaded work come when it is topped with its stock cooler.
The roughly matches the in threaded work with a better cooler, even with the power limits strictly enforced, while removing those limits gives the uncontested lead. The Core i supports the PCIe 4. Additionally, B-series motherboards, which make the best pairing with this chip, support both memory overclocking and lifting the power limits, both of which yield huge dividends.
You'll have to overlook the higher power consumption if you go with the Core i, especially if you remove the power limits. Intel's stock cooler is also largely worthless, so you should budget for a better cooler. Read: Intel Core i Review. Whether you're buying one of the best CPUs we listed above or one that didn't quite make the cut, you may find some savings by checking our list of coupon codes , especially our lists of Newegg promo codes and Micro Center coupons.
He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware. Tom's Hardware Tom's Hardware. Included in this guide:. Specifications Architecture: Zen 2. Socket: sTRX4. Base Frequency: 2. Top Boost Frequency: 4. Reasons to avoid - Benefits a narrow cross-section of workloads. AMD Threadripper X. Base Frequency: 3. Reasons to avoid - Lack of backward compatibility.
Intel Core iXE. Socket: LGA Reasons to avoid - Price. AMD Ryzen 9 X. Specifications Architecture: Zen 3. Socket: AM4. Reasons to avoid - Requires beefy cooling. Reasons to avoid - No bundled cooler. AMD Ryzen 5 X. Base Frequency: 4.
Reasons to avoid - Higher gen-on-gen pricing. Intel Core i Specifications Architecture: Rocket Lake. Reasons to avoid - Power consumption.
Rocking 8 cores and 16 threads, along with much stronger single-core performance, the AMD Ryzen 7 X is among the best processors for gaming — as well as less demanding creative work — right now. Finding the best processor for your needs and budget isn't just about finding the fastest processor out there, since it is possible to buy way more processor than you actually need. It's important to look at what you actually want out of your new processor and shop accordingly.
If you're looking for the best gaming CPU on the market, definitely look at the Intel Core iK and AMD Ryzen 7 X3D, but if you aren't planning on doing much gaming and you're just looking for something to handle everyday tasks faster with some medium duty processing work, anything from a Core i5 to a Ryzen 7 should do the trick. And if you're on a tight budget, an AMD Ryzen 3 might be better. Sure, it won't give you blazing fast graphics like a high-end chip, but it also won't cost you a huge sum of cash.
This means it's designed for serious content production like 3D rendering for movies or film scoring with dozens of digital instruments at a time. It's also obscenely expensive, costing more than twice what a high-end gaming PC would probably cost you. Bringing it back down to Earth, the fastest processor by benchmark scores is the Intel Core iK, hands down. But things get interesting when it comes to gaming. There, the AMD Ryzen 7 X3D absolutely crushes it, punching way above its weight in terms of gaming performance and outperforming even the iK at 4K gameplay.
If you are looking for raw performance regardless of price, the Intel Core iK is the reigning champ, but it's going to require a whole new motherboard and most likely a whole new cooling solution as well. Meanwhile, if you're looking for the best gaming processor, the AMD Ryzen 7 X3D not only outperforms just about every other processor out there, it slots right into an AM4 motherboard and doesn't require much more in the way of cooling though liquid cooling is highly recommended.
Named by the CTA as a CES Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry. North America. Intel Core iK. Specifications Cores: Threads: Base clock: 3. Boost clock: 5. L3 cache: 30MB. Reasons to avoid - All new platform, all new hardware.
AMD Ryzen 9 X. Boost clock: 4. L3 cache: 64MB. Reasons to avoid - Price went up. Specifications Cores: 8. L3 cache: MB. L3 cache: 20MB. Reasons to avoid - Will need all new hardware. AMD Ryzen 3 Specifications Cores: 4. Boost clock: 3.
L3 cache: 16MB. Reasons to avoid - Not as fast as the X. AMD Ryzen 7 X. L3 cache: 32MB. Shop by price. Build your own PC! Build your own PC Create your perfect computing experience. Shop by Socket Type. See all - Shop by Socket Type. Shop by Processor Type. See all - Shop by Processor Type. Ryzen 5 Core i7 4th Gen. Core i7 9th Gen. Core i5 4th Gen. Core i5 6th Gen. Ryzen 7 Core i7 3rd Gen. Ryzen 9 Core i7 6th Gen. Core i5 9th Gen. Ryzen 3 Core i7 8th Gen. Best selling. See all - Best selling.
Intel 12th Gen Core i7 K 3. Intel Core iK Processor 5. Intel Core iK 4. All Auction Buy it now. List view. Ryzen 7 Core i5 6th Gen. Pentium see all. Number of Cores 12 16 2 4 6 8 see all. Buying format All listings filter applied. Free postage. Only 3 left. Intel Xeon X 3. Intel T Core Duo 2. Only 1 left. Intel Core i 3. Intel Xeon E, 3. Intel Core 2 Duo P 2. Intel Core iQM 2. Intel Core iM 2. Working Intel Core i7 M 2. Intel Xeon E v2 12 Core 2.
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The Best CPUs for Ryzen? Core i9? Threadripper? Whether you're upgrading your desktop PC or building a new one, choosing the right processor is the most. Intel Core i Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to GHz LGA (Intel Series Chipset) 65W, Model Number: BX Best Desktop CPUs for Work ; 1. AMD Threadripper WX. Best Highest-End Workstation CPU · Zen 2 · sTRX4 · 64/ ; 2. AMD Threadripper X.