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Best processor 2019: the best CPUs from Intel and AMD

On the market for the best processor to build your new computer? You’ll be happy to know that the CPU market is teeming with powerful silicon. Thanks to the fiery competition between Intel and AMD, now’s better than ever to invest in a new processor. 

AMD has been slowly dominating the market, especially now with its Ryzen 3rd generation processors to compete with the likes of Intel Core i9-9900K and Intel Core i9-9920X. Intel, on the other hand, has its 9th-generation Coffee Lake Refresh chips with the Intel Core i9-9900K leading series, and they are still ever popular. Plus, not to be outdone by AMD, Intel has been rolling out Ice Lake chips, and we should start seeing them in computers by the end of 2019.

The market is completely packed with a number of impressive chips, from budget big shots, like the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, to HEDT heroes, like Intel’s Basin Falls Refresh lineup. There are also many mid-range megastars to round out this best processors list, like our current favorite, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.

In fact, you can hardly throw a stone without hitting an amazing processor. This means that finding the most ideal one for your rig is key. Lucky for you, even if the latest and greatest silicon is out of your wallet’s reach, there are still several excellent Coffee Lake and Ryzen Gen 1 chips on the market.

Get ready to experience amazing PC performance – as well as great deals, as we’ve included our price comparison tool. These are the best processors on the market in 2019.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Cores: 12 | Threads: 24 | Base clock: 3.8GHz | Boost clock: 4.6GHz | L3 cache: 64MB | TDP: 105W

Incredible performance

PCIe 4.0

Beats Intel at same price

Included heatsink may not be enough

Single core performance still behind

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X isn’t just AMD’s best mainstream processor right now; it’s also currently the king of all mainstream processors. With multi-threaded performance that destroys everything in its path to start, you can’t find a better processor without stepping up to the HEDT market. There are some workloads where the Intel Core i9-9900K will still perform a little better, like with old games that are completely single threaded, but the gap is definitely starting to narrow thanks to this chip.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Intel Core i9-9900K

Best high-end CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K

Cores: 8 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 5.0GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W

Insane performance

Tight energy consumption

Very expensive for mainstream

Thanks to increasing pressure from AMD, Intel’s offerings have been heating up like crazy (sometimes literally.) Out of this intense competition came the Intel Core i9-9900K, an absolute beast of a processor that packs eight cores and 16 threads. That’s more cores than any mainstream processor released by Intel. The performance shows that it’s worth it, as this chip can go head to head with some of AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper chips. If raw performance is what you’re seeking, the Intel Core i9-9900K is easily one of the best processors you can go for. 

Read the full review: Intel Core i9-9900K

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X

Best mid-range CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X

Top performance on a budget

Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.32GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W

 Faster single-core performance 

 Better gaming performance 

 Slightly higher price 

If you’re looking to purchase one of the best processors for content creation, but are on a tight budget, then the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X might just be an ideal choice. With 6 cores, 12 threads and a base clock of 3.6GHz, you’re getting a much better performance than the pricier Intel Core i5-8600K. And, you get a gorgeous RGB CPU cooler included as well. Yes, the gaming performance over the blue team is marginal at best, but when you start multi-tasking – and who doesn’t always end up with 100 chrome tabs open by lunchtime – that value starts to show itself.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Best Entry Level CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Integrated graphics on a budget

Cores: 4 | Threads: 4 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: 3.7GHz | L3 cache: 4MB | TDP: 65W

 Playable 1080p gaming 

 Very affordable 

 Finicky drivers 

Putting together a gaming PC while on the tightest budget? Well, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G might just be your new best friend. While it doesn’t inherit the hyperthreading capability of its predecessor, the Ryzen 3 1200, the introduction of integrated graphics makes this APU one of the cheapest ways to experience casual PC gaming, a good enough reason to give this a spot in our best processors list. Impressively, we were even able to play Overwatch at 4K Ultra-HD resolution at ‘Epic’ settings.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 

Intel Core i5-8600K

Best gaming CPU: Intel Core i5-8600K

Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.30GHz | L3 cache: 9MB | TDP: 95W

Excellent single-core performance

High end gaming at a low price

No multithreading

When you don’t really care about creating content or streaming, and you just you’re focusing on building one of the best gaming PCs, then the Intel Core i5-8600K is definitely one of the best processors for you. It might not have as many cores as its AMD Ryzen counterparts, but that doesn’t matter, as gaming is mostly about that single-threaded performance. With this chip, you’ll be able to run all the latest games without having to worry about bottlenecking your GPU. Just don’t be surprised when rendering and encoding video takes longer.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

Best VR CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

Ryzen to the occasion and VR-ready to rumble

Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W

Stunning multi-core performance

Insane price

Overclocking is touch and go

Temperatures are ‘unique’

Initially the primary rival of the Intel Core i7-7700K, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X still holds its own today, despite having been succeeded by the Ryzen 7 2800X. Its high core count, when compared to the intel Core i7 7700K, means that it’s better suited for VR workloads. And, now that it’s dropped considerably in price, it’s more affordable than ever. If you’re building a VR rig, do yourself a favor: save some cash without giving up on too much performance with the Ryzen 7 1800X. It’s, without a doubt, one of the best processors for VR gaming.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

(Image credit: Future)

Best video editing CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

The best processor for most people

Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 32MB | TDP: 65W

Incredible price to performance

Affordable

Included cooler

Single-threaded performance still falls behind Intel

Yes, the single-threaded performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X still falls behind Intel, but what matters here is how it does with multi-threaded workloads. If you’re building a computer that can handle your video editing demands, this chip is an absolute beast and our top pick for video editing. But that’s not all: this AMD chip offers incredible performance and a Wraith Spire cooler at a very affordable price.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Intel Core i9-9980XE

Best performance processor: Intel Core i9-9980XE

There’s a new king in town

Cores: 18 | Threads: 36 | Base clock: 3.0GHz | Boost clock: 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 24.75MB | TDP: 165W

Sits at the top of the HEDT stack

Insane multi-core performance

Whiplash-inducing cost

Are you the kind of user that demands world-class performance, and couldn’t care less about cost? The Intel Core i9-9980XE is among the best processors for you. With 18-cores and 36-threads, it absolutely destroys all its rivals on the market right now, if only just barely. Multi-threaded applications and workstation-class projects are going to breeze by with this chip. If that steep price tag makes you do a double take however, then you might want to look somewhere else.

Read the full review: Intel Core i9-9980XE

Intel Pentium G4560

Best budget CPU: Intel Pentium G4560

Intel Core i3 power at a Pentium price tag

Cores: 2 | Threads: 4 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | L3 cache: 3MB | TDP: 54W

Closely tails Core i3-7100

Supports hyper-threading

Limited to DDR4-2400 memory

If you choose the Intel Pentium G4560 over a Core i3 chip, you won’t even notice the slight loss of performance, as you’ll be too busy counting all the money you saved. As the first Pentium chip in a long time to boast hyper-threading, the G4560 shows us what low-end CPUs have been missing for so long. And, in benchmarks, it proves that it’s easily adjacent to the pricier Intel Core i3-7100.

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Best HTPC CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Ryzen and Vega finally meet

Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 3.9GHz | L2 cache: 2MB

Impressive integrated graphics

Massive value

Limited PCI-E lanes

One of the only things that was missing in AMD’s Ryzen processors when they blew up was the integrated graphics support. But then, the Ryzen 5 2400G hit the streets and changed everything for mainstream PC users. With excellent AMD Vega graphics, it’s a fantastic APU that will be ideal for anyone looking to build a home theater PC. Plus, now that AMD has slashed the price, you can get your 4K action for cheaper than ever.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G 

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