This article has been just updated: January 15, 2024
Intel and AMD are at war. The two semiconductor companies that develop computer processors and related technologies for business and consumer markets know that mobile devices overtook desktop computer several years ago, so they have to fight not only with each other but also with mobile chipsets. That’s, of course, good news for consumers, who can choose from desktop CPUs that are more powerful, more efficient, and more affordable than ever before.
If your desktop computer is ready for a major upgrade, our selection of the top 7 best CPUs in 2024 is here to help you select the right progressor for your machine and budget.
|Price (according to Amazon)
|1. Intel Core i3-8100
|2. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
|3. AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
|4. Intel Core i5-8600K
|5. Intel Core i7-9700K
|6. AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X
|7. Intel Core i9-9980X
CPUs are not nearly as important for consistently achieving high FPS in games as they once used to be. Unless you don’t care about how much money you spend on your gaming PC, you’re better off buying a more affordable CPU and using the money you save to get a better GPU. The Intel Core i3-8100 delivers a tremendous value at a very affordable price and is everything you need for comfortable Full HD gaming at high details. Just don’t expect it to be as future-proof as CPUs that cost 10 times as much, because it won’t be.
Pros: Affordable price. Great gaming performance. Four physical cores.
Cons: Doesn’t support Hyper-Threading technology.
The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X promises the highest multiprocessing performance you can get on a mainstream desktop PC, and its benchmark result reflects this. The CPU is compatible with AM4 motherboards, which are readily available and relatively affordable for what they offer. If you buy a high-end motherboard, you can expect great overclocking results with the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X. Just keep in mind that the CPU draws a lot of energy when it’s under heavy load, so don’t be surprised to see your electricity bill skyrocket if you game 24/7.
Pros: Fantastic performance delivered at a reasonable price. Compatible with AM4 motherboards. Suitable for overclocking.
Cons: High energy draw when it’s under load.
If it wasn’t for its quirky nature and early compatibility issues, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G would easily be our budget computer processor of choice. It’s extremely affordable, features a capable Vega on-chip graphics, and delivers solid Full HD gaming and application performance. You can also overclock it to get even more processing power out of it, but not without expensive memory modules and a better heatsink. When it was released, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G had several compatibility issues, but virtually all of them have been taken care of now.
Pros: Gaming-ready CPUs don’t get more affordable than this. Capable Vega onboard graphics. Overclocking potential.
Cons: Early compatibility issues. Insufficient single-core performance.
The 8th generation of Intel’s Core i5 processor has finally received two extra cores, which it so desperately needed to compete with similar CPUs from AMD. With its 6 cores and aggressive Turbo Boost, the performance of the Intel Core i5-8600K is on par with the excellent gaming performance of previous-generation Core i7 models, making it a fantastic choice for gamers who want to enjoy latest AAA titles at the highest graphical settings and multitask without limits. The CPU is easily overclockable, but we expect most gamers and PC users to be happy with its stock performance.
Pros: 6 cores for extra performance under heavy loads. Effective Turbo Boost that kicks in when needed.
Cons: No Hyper-Threading technology.
Top-of-the-line CPUs, such as those in the Core i9 series of flagship processors from Intel, are fun, but they certainly don’t deliver great value for money. Why? Because you can move one step down to the Core i7 series and enjoy great overall performance at a much more affordable price. Yes, the Intel Core i7-9700K is still an expensive CPU, but it’s not ridiculously expensive, especially when you take a look at its benchmark result. What’s more, the Intel Core i7-9700K doesn’t use nearly as much power as the i9-9900K, so it saves you money in the long run.
Pros: Excellent performance at a relatively affordable price. Doesn’t use as much power as the i9-9900K. 8 CPU cores.
Cons: Doesn’t come with a cooler.
Remember when dual-core CPUs were all the rage? Well, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X has not two, not four, not eight, but 16 cores and 32 threads that together provide astonishing simultaneous multi-processing power. With 40 MB of combined cache, you can access large data sets in the blink of an eye, and AMD has even added a new Precision Boost Overdrive tool into the Ryzen Master application to let users to maximize their CPU’s power draw and frequency without having to deal with obscure BIOS options.
Pros: 16 cores and 32 threads. 40 MB of combined cache. Mind-blowing single- and multi-core performance.
Cons: Power-hungry and difficult to cool.
The Intel Core i9-9980X is not a good buy. The CPU is incredibly expensive, and it doesn’t even come with a fan or heat sink. But it does have 18 dedicated CPU cores, 36 threads, and a boost clock of 4.5 GHz. Does it make sense to buy this CPU to play games at 4K resolution? No. Does it make sense to buy this CPU to render video or edit music? No. Does it make sense to buy this CPU because you can afford it and want the most powerful desktop computer money can buy today? You bet.
Pros: Incredible performance in single- and multi-threaded workloads. High Turbo Boost frequency.
Cons: Price. Limited value for money.
Regardless of what your budget is, there’s a CPU that can meet your needs without emptying your bank account. Faster and more efficient CPUs are released every year, so there’s no reason to pay for more than what you really need. But if you’re an avid gamer who streams Full HD gameplay footage in real-time, our list of the top 7 best CPUs available in 2024 is here to help you find the right flagship processor for you.
The top 7 best processors of 2024, known for their strong performance in various benchmarks, included the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, Intel Core i9-9900K, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, Intel Core i7-9700K, AMD Ryzen 5 3600, Intel Core i5-9600K, and the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X. These CPUs were recognized for their excellent performance-to-price ratios and abilities to handle gaming, streaming, and professional workloads effectively.
The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X stood out due to its impressive 12 cores and 24 threads configuration, making it an exceptional choice for multitasking, content creation, and high-end gaming. With its strong single-threaded and multi-threaded performance, it was highly favored in benchmarks and user reviews alike.
The Intel Core i9-9900K was a powerhouse with 8 cores and 16 threads, achieving high clock speeds that made it a go-to CPU for gaming enthusiasts. It was renowned for its excellent single-threaded performance and its ability to achieve high frame rates in even the most demanding games.
The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X excelled in balancing performance and power consumption. With 8 cores and 16 threads, it was very competitive in multi-threaded applications and offered excellent value for creators and gamers looking for a high-performance CPU at a reasonable price.
The advantages of the Intel Core i7-9700K highlighted in 2024 benchmarks included its strong gaming performance, courtesy of its 8 cores and high clock speeds. It delivered fast frame rates and was considered a great option for gamers who prioritized performance over multi-threaded capabilities.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 was known for its excellent gaming performance at its price point, making it a favorite among budget-conscious gamers. Its 6 cores and 12 threads provided fantastic value and delivered solid performance across various gaming titles as per 2024 benchmarks.
The Intel Core i5-9600K was praised for its overclocking capabilities and strong gaming performance, with its 6 cores providing good speed and efficiency. It was often recommended for gamers looking for a mid-range processor that could handle modern games well.
The AMD Ryzen 5 2600X was an excellent choice for budget builds due to its balance of price and performance. With 6 cores and 12 threads, it offered great versatility for gaming, streaming, and productivity tasks at a very attractive price point.
Yes, the Intel Core i9-9900K and Intel Core i7-9700K both came with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630. These provided a decent baseline for graphics performance without the need for a dedicated graphics card, suitable for basic tasks and light gaming.
In 2024, AMD was the first to introduce support for PCIe 4.0 with their Ryzen 3000 series processors, offering greater bandwidth for compatible motherboards and devices, such as faster NVMe SSDs and next-gen graphics cards.
Processors like the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and AMD Ryzen 7 3700X were highly beneficial for video editing and rendering, thanks to their multiple cores and threads which greatly improved performance in multithreaded applications used in these tasks.
Most of the top CPUs of 2024 exhibited good thermal performance, but the Intel Core i9-9900K was known to run hot under heavy loads, often requiring robust cooling solutions. AMD’s Ryzen processors generally maintained cooler operating temperatures, which was an advantage in thermal efficiency.
AMD’s Ryzen processors, such as the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 5 3600, typically came with a stock cooler that was sufficient for standard operation. However, Intel’s top-tier CPUs like the i9-9900K did not include a stock cooler and required the purchase of an aftermarket cooling solution.
Yes, when paired with a powerful graphics card, processors like the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and Intel Core i9-9900K were more than capable of handling 4K gaming, although gaming performance at such high resolutions is typically more dependent on the GPU.
There were differences in power consumption, with Intel’s i9-9900K generally consuming more power compared to AMD’s Ryzen processors, which were noted for their improved efficiency and lower power consumption while still delivering comparable performance.
Yes, AMD’s processors used the AM4 socket type, while Intel’s processors required the LGA 1151 socket for the 9th generation CPUs. Different sockets meant compatibility with different motherboards, affecting the upgrade path and system build considerations.
Overclocking could significantly enhance the performance of CPUs like the Intel Core i9-9900K and AMD Ryzen 5 3600, allowing users to extract more power for applications that benefit from higher clock speeds. However, this often required advanced cooling solutions and could impact long-term stability and power consumption.
Main considerations included performance needs (gaming vs. multitasking), price, platform ecosystem (AM4 vs. LGA 1151), cooling requirements, power consumption, and potential for future upgrades. Reviewing benchmarks and comparisons helped inform these decisions.
Both AMD and Intel took security features seriously, but in 2024, Intel faced some scrutiny due to vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre. Both companies released firmware and software updates to address any potential security issues.