The best 10 CPUs in comparison

Integrated graphics6-core
CPUs (1 - 5)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990XAMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3995WXAMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970XAMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960XAMD Ryzen 9 3950XApple M1 MaxAMD Ryzen 9 3900XApple M1AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950XIntel Core i9-11900K
Image
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X
AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3995WX
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Apple M1 Max
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Apple M1
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X
Intel Core i9-11900K
Best price
Best price
General info
CPU temperatureIf the CPU exceeds the maximum operating temperature then problems such as random resets can occur.
CPU temperatureIf the CPU exceeds the maximum operating temperature then problems such as random resets can occur.68°C
90°C
68°C
68°C
95°C
N.A.95°C
N.A.68°C
100°C
64-bit supportA 32-bit operating system can only support up to 4GB of RAM. 64-bit allows more than 4GB, giving increased performance. It also allows you to run 64-bit apps.
64-bit supportA 32-bit operating system can only support up to 4GB of RAM. 64-bit allows more than 4GB, giving increased performance. It also allows you to run 64-bit apps.
PCI Express (PCIe) versionPeripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) is a high-speed interface standard for connecting components, such as graphics cards and SSDs, to a motherboard. Newer versions can support more bandwidth and deliver better performance.
PCI Express (PCIe) versionPeripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) is a high-speed interface standard for connecting components, such as graphics cards and SSDs, to a motherboard. Newer versions can support more bandwidth and deliver better performance.4
4
4
4
4
N.A.4
N.A.3
4
GPU clock speedThe graphics processing unit (GPU) has a higher clock speed.
GPU clock speedThe graphics processing unit (GPU) has a higher clock speed.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.350MHz
DirectX versionDirectX is used in games, with newer versions supporting better graphics.
DirectX versionDirectX is used in games, with newer versions supporting better graphics.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.12.1
Total score for "General info"
Total score for "General info"
Performance
CPU speedThe CPU speed indicates how many processing cycles per second can be executed by a CPU, considering all of its cores (processing units). It is calculated by adding the clock rates of each core or, in the case of multi-core processors employing different microarchitectures, of each group of cores.
CPU speedThe CPU speed indicates how many processing cycles per second can be executed by a CPU, considering all of its cores (processing units). It is calculated by adding the clock rates of each core or, in the case of multi-core processors employing different microarchitectures, of each group of cores.64 x 2.9GHz
64 x 2.7GHz
32 x 3.7GHz
24 x 3.8GHz
16 x 3.5GHz
8 x 3.2GHz & 2 x 2GHz
12 x 3.8GHz
4 x 3.2GHz & 4 x 2GHz
16 x 3.5GHz
8 x 3.5GHz
L2 cacheA larger L2 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.
L2 cacheA larger L2 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.32MB
32MB
16MB
12MB
8.1MB
12MB
6MB
12MB
8MB
2MB
L3 cacheA larger L3 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.
L3 cacheA larger L3 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.256MB
256MB
128MB
128MB
72MB
N.A.64MB
N.A.32MB
16MB
CPU threadsMore threads result in faster performance and better multitasking.
CPU threadsMore threads result in faster performance and better multitasking.128
128
64
48
32
10
24
8
32
16
Turbo clock speedWhen the CPU is running below its limitations, it can boost to a higher clock speed in order to give increased performance.
Turbo clock speedWhen the CPU is running below its limitations, it can boost to a higher clock speed in order to give increased performance.4.3GHz
4.2GHz
4.5GHz
4.5GHz
4.7GHz
N.A.4.6GHz
N.A.4.4GHz
5.3GHz
Total score for "Performance"
Total score for "Performance"
Memory
Bus transfer rateThe bus is responsible for transferring data between different components of a computer or device.
Bus transfer rateThe bus is responsible for transferring data between different components of a computer or device.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.8GT/s
Maximum memory bandwidthThis is the maximum rate that data can be read from or stored into memory.
Maximum memory bandwidthThis is the maximum rate that data can be read from or stored into memory.95.37GB/s
204.8GB/s
95.37GB/s
95.37GB/s
47.68GB/s
408GB/s
47.68GB/s
68.25GB/s
87.42GB/s
50GB/s
Maximum memory sizeThe maximum amount of memory (RAM) supported.
Maximum memory sizeThe maximum amount of memory (RAM) supported.512GB
2000GB
N.A.N.A.N.A.64GB
128GB
16GB
2000GB
128GB
Memory channelsMore memory channels increases the speed of data transfer between the memory and the CPU.
Memory channelsMore memory channels increases the speed of data transfer between the memory and the CPU.4
8
4
4
2
N.A.2
8
4
2
RAM speedIt can support faster memory, which will give quicker system performance.
RAM speedIt can support faster memory, which will give quicker system performance.3200MHz
3200MHz
3200MHz
3200MHz
3200MHz
N.A.3200MHz
4266MHz
2933MHz
3200MHz
Total score for "Memory"
Total score for "Memory"
Features
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)AES is used to speed up encryption and decryption.
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)AES is used to speed up encryption and decryption.
AVXAVX is used to help speed up calculations in multimedia, scientific and financial apps, as well as improving Linux RAID software performance.
AVXAVX is used to help speed up calculations in multimedia, scientific and financial apps, as well as improving Linux RAID software performance.
Front-end widthThe CPU can decode more instructions per clock (IPC), meaning that the CPU performs better
Front-end widthThe CPU can decode more instructions per clock (IPC), meaning that the CPU performs betterN.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.8
N.A.8
N.A.N.A.
MultithreadingMultithreading technology (such as Intel's Hyperthreading or AMD's Simultaneous Multithreading) provides increased performance by splitting each of the processor's physical cores into virtual cores, also known as threads. This way, each core can run two instruction streams at once.
MultithreadingMultithreading technology (such as Intel's Hyperthreading or AMD's Simultaneous Multithreading) provides increased performance by splitting each of the processor's physical cores into virtual cores, also known as threads. This way, each core can run two instruction streams at once.
SSE versionSSE is used to speed up multimedia tasks such as editing an image or adjusting audio volume. Each new version contains new instructions and improvements.
SSE versionSSE is used to speed up multimedia tasks such as editing an image or adjusting audio volume. Each new version contains new instructions and improvements.4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
4.2
N.A.4.2
N.A.4.2
4.2
Total score for "Features"
Total score for "Features"
Benchmarks
Blender (classroom) resultThe Blender (classroom) benchmark measures the performance of a processor by rendering a 3D scene. More powerful processors can render the scene in less time.
Blender (classroom) resultThe Blender (classroom) benchmark measures the performance of a processor by rendering a 3D scene. More powerful processors can render the scene in less time.88.6seconds
N.A.143.5seconds
182.1seconds
270.7seconds
N.A.353.3seconds
N.A.360.4seconds
N.A.
Cinebench R20 (multi) resultCinebench R20 is a benchmark tool that measures a CPU's multi-core performance by rendering a 3D scene.
Cinebench R20 (multi) resultCinebench R20 is a benchmark tool that measures a CPU's multi-core performance by rendering a 3D scene.24763
24463
17444
13552
9148
N.A.7178
N.A.7003
6214
Cinebench R20 (single) resultCinebench R20 is a benchmark tool that measures a CPU's single-core performance by rendering a 3D scene.
Cinebench R20 (single) resultCinebench R20 is a benchmark tool that measures a CPU's single-core performance by rendering a 3D scene.495
477
509
509
531
N.A.521
N.A.449
732
Geekbench 5 result (multi)Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures a processor's multi-core performance. (Source: Primate Labs, 2021)
Geekbench 5 result (multi)Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures a processor's multi-core performance. (Source: Primate Labs, 2021)24898
N.A.22917
20335
14174
12523
11864
7404
12576
10929
Geekbench 5 result (single)Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures a processor's single-core performance. (Source: Primate Labs, 2021)
Geekbench 5 result (single)Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures a processor's single-core performance. (Source: Primate Labs, 2021)1207
N.A.1258
1280
1297
1710
1282
1710
1059
1856
Total score for "Benchmarks"
Total score for "Benchmarks"

How to choose a CPU for your computer

Whether it's a high-end gaming computer, an office workstation, or a PC for general use, each desktop build has its own set of requirements, which will determine what components you need. Before searching for a CPU for your PC, you should think about what type of software you are going to use frequently.

CPU workloads

There are two types of workloads in the technical sense: single-threaded and multi-threaded workloads.

Single-threaded workloads are simple tasks, like web browsing or text editing, which do not require a lot of processing power. Multi-threaded workloads involve heavier types of processing, for example, video editing and gaming. These types of workloads require a powerful processor, coupled with a significant amount of RAM.

The number of cores and the clock speed are the two primary indicators of a CPU's power. A CPU core receives instructions and performs calculations (operations) accordingly. Clock speed, also called clock rate, refers to the frequency at which one core is running, determining how fast the processing unit executes instructions.

Together, they give the total clock speed or CPU speed, about which you can read in detail here. With more cores, the CPU's performance increases, as each core is being utilized to process the workload.

CPU socket

You also have to think about the motherboard's socket whenever you're looking to buy a new chip, as CPUs have various sizes, and the CPU must fit on the motherboard. AMD and Intel have a lot of different sockets for almost every new generation of CPUs. Taking into account that Intel CPUs became more and more popular, chances are that you'll find more motherboards compatible with Intel CPUs.

AMD vs. Intel

Brand wars are frequent in the tech industry, and when it comes to CPUs, there are only two giants: AMD and Intel. AMD CPUs operate efficiently and usually have a lower price tag. For example, AMD Sempron and Athlon dual-core processors are affordable, starting at 30$, and perform very well on PCs running home applications.

However, AMD processors do get hotter than Intel chips, and additional cooling solutions may have to be implemented. Intel CPUs are a bit more expensive, but they tend to outperform the competition, especially when it comes to multi-threaded workloads. Intel CPUs are power efficient and generate less heat. For this reason, many portable computers employ Intel CPUs.

CPU performance

CPUs use multiple cores to increase the overall speed by running numerous instructions simultaneously. Knowing the type of workload will help you determine what kind of processor you'll need.

For a PC running general-purpose applications, a dual-core processor will be enough, while for more complex workloads, you'll probably need a quad-core. The more cores a CPU has, the pricier it is. More cores translate to faster and better processing for heavy computing tasks, such as 3D modeling, photo and video editing, big data processing.

Generally, a quad-core processor would be the right choice if you use your computer for various tasks. For example, the Intel Core i5 quad-core processors provide excellent performance for running common applications and for gaming. However, Intel i7 processors shine when complex computing is involved, such as running 3D modeling applications or playing games with 4K HDR graphics, and this is mainly because of Intel's hyperthreading technology.

Hyperthreading doubles the logical cores or thread count of a processor. By duplicating the threads of one core, execution resources are used efficiently, and the processing speed increases.

AMD chips, though cheaper, are perfectly acceptable for everyday usage, and high-end processors can deliver outstanding performance, but they do not have hyperthreading. AMD does compensate with high clock speeds and more cores packed into a single chip.

CPU benchmark

While CPU benchmark is a component of CPU performance, it's worth mentioning separately as it can help you determine which CPU is the best for your needs. What is a CPU benchmark? It's a score that uses baseline measurements to compare the performance of a CPU against others. In essence, they provide companies and users with a standardized way to engage in CPU comparison.

UserBenchmark, Geekbench, and Cinebench, and PassMark are all excellent CPU benchmarks to look at when comparing CPUs. While you'll encounter various measurements, it's especially helpful to look at the difference between the single-core score and the multi-core score.

Devices and actions that only require a single-core, including playing games and working with basic programs, will rely more on the single-core score. For heavily-threaded games, you'll need to look for a CPU that has a higher multi-core score to ensure that the processor can support the workload.

Integrated graphics

Sometimes, the graphics processing unit (GPU) is integrated into the processor. For most entry-level desktop PCs, CPUs that have integrated graphics are good enough. But for designers, content creators, and IT solutions, a graphics module embedded on the CPU does not rise to the challenge. Thus, a dedicated GPU is necessary for professionals. Our guide for graphics cards gives helpful tips for choosing a GPU.

By Don Chen
| Updated on
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