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We’ll also make sure you understand how these CPUs perform in relativity to each other, though it won’t boil down to any old i3 vs i5 vs i7 battle. Let’s get into it.
When buying a CPU you want to take into account your specific needs– you don’t just want to buy the latest Intel CPU– that’s why we tried to do our best to cover a breadth of use cases so that it’d be easier for you to find the perfect CPU for your needs. We’ve even slid in a few more alternatives in the margins, just in case you’re extra discerning (or just aren’t interested in overclocking ).
Today, we’re going to cover four of our top picks for the best Intel CPU . While there are a lot of great Intel Core processors, these are ones that represent the best of their respective niche and price range, either in value or sheer performance.
Products at a Glance Buying The Best Intel Processor For You
In the olden days of processors, “cores” did not exist. Rather, a core by itself was considered the processor, and the later addition of cores was akin to bundling multiple processors in one. Nowadays, dual and quad-core processors are the standard, with the idea of a single-core processor being outright laughable and unheard of to today’s consumers.
Typically speaking, your most important metric for gaming performance will be single-core performance. Most titles are not optimized to use any more than four CPU cores, but a few cutting-edge games exist that break this trend.Clock speed and overclocking
Clock speed is a measure of…well, speed. Specifically, the effective speed (measured in Gigahertz) of a processor’s cores. Base clock speed refers to the average clock speed the CPU may operate at (unless power-saving is enabled by the OS, in which case the CPU downclocks), and boost clock speed, or turbo, refers to the maximum speed the CPU can reach.
These maximum speeds are dependent on the cooling conditions of the PC in question. The better your cooling, the more your processor can push its Turbo frequencies. (Assuming your processor has turbo mode.)
“Overclocking” refers to the practice of manually setting higher clock speeds in order to achieve more performance. Once upon a time, you could do this with any processor, but nowadays this feature is locked down to specific CPUs and motherboard architectures.
With Intel in particular, only processors whose names end in K can be overclocked. These overclockable CPUs will also need either a Z370 motherboard or Z390 motherboard to utilize their overclocking functionalities.
Overclocking generally requires more power, cooling, tweaking, and maintenance than average CPU usage. In the case of an Intel CPU, overclocking-capable CPUs and motherboards will also cost a good bit more. Keep this in mind when making your purchase (that’s why we suggested non-overclockable alternatives for the 8600K and 8700K!)
All of this being said, you can’t necessarily compare clock speed across generations of CPUs because their architecture makes them too different to compare.Intel Processor Generations: 8th gen vs 9th gen and the new 10th gen
The first three CPUs on this list belong to either the 8th or 9th generation (indicated by whether they are 8000 or 9000 series respectively). The main difference between 8th and 9th Generation Intel CPUs are…
They also operate on the same motherboards, though 8th Gen motherboards may require a BIOs update before they can be used with 9th Gen CPUs. Always be sure to check with the manufacturer that your 9th Gen CPU is compatible if you aren’t sure.
In the case of 8th Gen vs 9th Gen, we honestly just recommend buying whichever is cheaper.
The last two are the brand new, not even on some shelves yet 10th gen processors which will need a new motherboard – a Z490 will do it as they fit a brand new socket design. If you invest in one of these though you are potentially future-proofing yourself for years to come.
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