Best CPUs of 2020 So Far (Gaming, Workstation, Overclocking, Budget, & Disappointment)

by birtanpublished on August 25, 2020

With the new influx of CPS from both AMD and Intel we wanted to round up all the most recent launches from both companies and one piece for a firm recommendation on the best CPUs for different use cases those use cases include best gaming overall best budget gaming best overall

Or all-around CPU best small business or hobbyist production CPU best workstation CPU for someone who's really using it to make money with their computer and then we'll be looking at most fun to overclock and of course most

Disappointed so all of this is meant to help people who are just in the market to buy something and maybe don't want to consume the literal hours of content we've released in the past few days on CP reviews if you want in-depth really

Detailed information on each CPU individually check out the review for the CPUs as mentioned otherwise this will help you get a baseline for what's going on in the market if you're out of the loop before that this video is

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Gamers nexus net and backorder yours while reducing our reliance on advertisers or click the link in the description below the format here is going to be similar to our end-of-year roundup so the real goal is to just give

A direct recommendation on the different types of workloads for each CPU that means we're going to be leaving out a lot of the more tactical really deeper information that we've had in our reviews so again check the reviews for

That information if any of these CPUs interests you on an individual level will link the recent reviews below for the most relevant recent ones and then in the article provided alongside this video we'll also have links to each of

The reviews from when they were published so this won't be as focused on numbers but will still includes some charts for you for the most pertinent information and well instead of being focused in on

Presenting the data rapidly and for someone who's interested in a roundup of just trying to pick something we're going to start out with some of the newer stuff from Intel and AMD alike and then we'll work through a couple of the

Other recommendations where it's remained CPUs from end of year last year because not that much has changed now of course there are new CPUs immediately on the horizon there always are and we won't be able to include those but at

Least for now for a little while this content will remain a useful starting point for figuring out what CPU to buy then you'll have to check back once more stuff comes out later one final note before we get started with our choices

For the best of each category some of the data in here might be from older reviews like some of the thread Ripper stuff that's because we're just trying to pull a bunch of different sources from different points in time from our

Testing from our reviews and so you might not be able to compare all the charts in this content to the other charts in this content but within a given chart you'll be able to make direct comparisons then obviously again

The original review would be the source for the cross comparisons within a methodology intel's new core i5 10 600 k is the one that we're giving best gaming despite the 10 900k running technically higher performance stock for gaming we

Have good reasons though the first of which is that it can achieve 1090 K levels of performance with an easy overclock particularly when considering the inevitable GPU bottleneck in many games for people who are playing with

Reasonable settings that's not to discredit the 10900 K but we'll come back to that in a bit the 10600 K is a genuine leap for Intel which has been stuck for multiple generations on unsellable i5 CPUs this

One we think redeems the i-5 line up thanks to hyper threading in large part and is the most compelling buy for someone heavily focused on gaming performance maybe even with a minor non daily focus on things like video

Production 3d modeling or similar applications although there are 5 3600 maybe more well rounded particularly at its price point as the main compelling reason for that the 10 600 K is often within 4 to 5 percent of production

Level performance of the 3600 while managing potentially significantly higher frame rates the 3600 is plenty capable to game but if you really only care about gaming and don't use workstation applications

The 10 600k makes the most sense the 10 600k combines well let's see 494 its overclocking support discussed later and is a good tuning base that can reach performance levels and II can't yet claim at least in games further

Regarding the common misconception that a and the horizon CPUs are somehow smoother or more consistent in frame time delivery our data doesn't support that the 10th 600 K is higher than average fps and also in almost all cases

Out matches similarly priced rise in CPUs for frame time consistency with overall few excursions from the interval and -1 our criteria for the best gaming CPU includes price but also absolute performance and ability to tune in this

Regard the 10 600 K can achieve 10900 K stock performance in games and it can be tuned until both of them hit a GPU limit so although it's always an arms race and the 10900 k could also be overclocked at some point for most users but not all

You'll probably hit a GPU bottleneck and we'll talk about that more in a little bit because there are some redeeming factors that time 900 K anyway until more threads are needed in games this will be true in most cases or until the

30 atti comes out but for now we're giving the 10 600 K our not for the best gaming CPU particularly or especially considering its price Intel did well to get back in the game here but it's not uncontested and these still has a long

Way to go to compete head-to-head with Intel for the gaming crown and it's definitely catching up with that regeneration so Intel's gotta really get moving on 10 nanometer or whatever it's next true iteration on processes in

Order to try and keep the lead that it's been able to stop gap hold for the last few releases next up our recommendation for best budget gaming CPU where we might recommend the Intel i5 10 600 K for gaming with less restrictive of a

Budget or the 10900 K for the absolute peak of FPS for the few competitively privileged enough to really need it and notice it we'd recommend something else for more budget-conscious gamers the am the horizon 330 300 X gets that

Recommendation this CPU with its pricing at $120 MSRP is able to achieve 80 to 85% of the performance of higher-end CPUs in most games it's significantly better than the $100 3100 thanks to its 4 +0 CCX

Configuration rather than the 2+2 CCX configuration of the 3100 where Kross CCX latency affects performance so much so that even tuning infinity fabric and throw in better memory at the 3100 can't make up the gap against the 3300 acts in

Most of the tests that we published previously the 3300 acts critically can be coupled with nearly any current generation video card without significant bottlenecking on the cpu for higher graphics settings this does

Become less true if you care more about low graphics high FPS competitive gaming at which point our recommendation would shift toward the intel parts instead if you want more of a GPU bines though meaning you prefer higher graphics

Settings potentially higher resolutions than 1080p although high enough graphics at 1080p is still a bind or if you want something where the GPU is rapidly going to become more limiting than CPU the 3300 X makes a lot of sense as a

Starting point for that approach especially on a platform that has become mature enough now that you're no longer dealing with first gen rise and adopts or BIOS challenges we've been flashing through some of our bottleneck charts by

This point but you can check the previous content on that for more information on which GPUs make the most sense to pair with a 3300 X although we absolutely do not recommend coupling a $1,250 xx atti with a $120 CPU

Technically you could do it and get at least half the performance in the worst case scenarios the 2080 super is about the peak for full performance in all the tests that we've done so far but something more reasonably priced makes a

Lot more sense particularly because GPS are often easier to upgrade than CPUs anyway either way the 3300 X offers plenty of room if you want to get more out of it then look into our coverage on memory tuning and Infinity fabric

Overclocking for AMD Rison cpus some of its from before the 3300 x launch but it all applies that will get you more mileage and increase FPS Headroom as preparing a card with it although you could go all the way up the stack and be

Mostly fine something more price appropriate to the $120 part probably makes more sense just to make sure you're not overspending on one part and creating too much of an imbalance as an honorable

Mention will point out that the Athlon 3000 G at roughly $60 is another good consideration for ultra budget gaming this is mostly a stopgap measure if you're playing simpler games with less of a graphics slant or if you're

Planning to upgrade later we've tested this one a lot over the years so we'll leave it as an honorable mention and just note that you can watch our previous content to get an idea of ideal use cases for AMD Athlon cpus the 200 GE

Wasn't interesting one in a similar spot and the 3000 G is – it's not what we'd call good but it can certainly get you by if $100 is out of reach for now next up is best overall which goes again to the rise in 536 hundred we awarded the

3600 the same honor in our best CPUs of 2019 PS that we published friend of year the r5 3600 maintains this title even under direct fire from Intel's new 10 600k with the key distinction being that the 3600 in 2020 has had some of its

Viability in the mid-range gaming installations eroded by Intel's part that's her reasons discussed in the best gaming section and even the best budget game in section because the 3300 acts takes some of the 3600 performance marks

In games where the single ccac's configuration benefits it either way the 3600 still maintains its price and advantage against the Intel 10 600 K it still maintains its versatility and production and gaming applications and

It maintains an average lead in applications like blender premier v-ray and similar it's not as big of a lead as once existed in the two hundred to two hundred and sixty dollar class but it's still elite and it's also about $100

Cheaper at $180 at the time of writing on new AG anyway where the 10 600 K is closer or should be closer to 280 for anyone not as concerned about the highest frame rates the 3600 makes the most sense we think for saving some

Money but maintaining the production capabilities that you would lose with the 3,300 X it's not as potentially Korb out as the 3300 X might become in the future and so it provides some more reassurance for a longer lifespan that

Said trying to guess at the future or trying to future-proof a system is mostly a fool's errand we view the 3600 as the news any bridge this is the CPU people will be happy to have bought in six years and

People will have a hard time parting with it when it's time to upgrade the price to performance was unbeatable at launch and although it can now be beaten in gaming performance more consistently at a more reasonable configuration

Having hyper-threading on the intel part the gap isn't always wide enough to justify the cost jump with a 9600 K it was easy to recommend the 3600 instead even though the 9600 K often held a lead in gaming and that's because the 3600

Maintained better overall frame time consistency because specifically of its threat advantage in some games the 3600 hangs on for another quarter and overall best value and best all-around and it's got the most balanced performance even

For imbalanced workloads that are gaming oriented it's hard to beat the 3600 in price to performance at least up until intel's newer stuff the 10 400 came close but it misses when paired with a non 0 90 platform based on our knowledge

Today the 10 600 K does win but it's about $100 more expensive at the time of writing and that's a big jump our next category is for the best small business and hobbyist production which we assigned last year to the Andy our 939

50 X in light of current releases that hasn't changed thread rivers still offers value for the high-end workstation users but for people who might be hobbyist artists editors or coders or maybe on small

Businesses that work with CPU intensive applications the 3950 X is justifiable as a means to better enable making money off of your work it's not as full-on of a financial commitment as threader fur is but it still provides a lot of the

Benefits your major loss other than more cores is in PCIe lanes and maybe in memory bandwidth with the difference in channeling but the high core count and performance offers a lot for users of popular workstation applications or

Workflows at our testing we've seen the 3950 acts show expressive performance and code compiling and windows achieving the top ranked on the chart outside of these significantly more expensive threader 4 series recently we've also

Noticed that the 1350 acts has dropped from its launch price of $750 to normally about $700 which further strengthens the argument and nearly every other production application we tested the

3950 access come out on top of the processors near it in price class it's the top and handbrake it's at the top and compression and decompression of workloads near price class anyway other than threaded fur it's tied with a 10

980 axion v-ray or very close to it in applications like Premiere and rendering tasks and it's also the 3950 axe a firm chart leader again behind the 3970 axe in blender 4 cycles rendering on the cpu with heavy scenes as a bonus the 3950

Axe is capable of gaming unlike Andy's original 16 core threaded for CPU the 3950 axe has solved many of the latency related issues that caused problems where some games just didn't work you definitely shouldn't buy it for a gaming

System but if you do mostly work on a machine and then sometimes play games the 3950 axe is a capable performer we see this as a good CPU choice for people who use or hope to use their computers to make money our next one is a natural

Transition into best high-end workstation this is for people with thread intensive heavy production workloads especially those who might be more established in their money-making endeavors the 3990 axe comes out between

Our previous best CPUs piece and this one and so it's a newcomer to the roundup in terms of best overall value for a production machine the 3970 axe makes more sense definitely but the 3990 axe does get

Crown for quote best in the purest sense of the word in a lot of the tests although not all of them the 10 9 8 exe and the 3125 axe were Intel's attempts with the 3175 axe coming out much before but our recent revisit of the Intel W 30

175 X showed it against parts like the 3990 X and we'll put that on the screen it was rare that Intel could out match the 3990 X and even rarer that the Intel part and a motherboard could be bought for anywhere near the combined price of

The thread River combination in Blattner the 39 ND act scales cleanly and holds a significant lead even over the 3970 X of about 39 percent in the GN logo render it's not as advantaged in premiere where the cores aren't fully leveraged so it

Wouldn't be our go-to choice for a video editing machine the 3950 X splits the difference and makes a lot more sense there the hundred 960 X is also in this application and is one that we use for our video editing machines it's

Also the 3990 acts somewhat truncated in performance in the compression and decompression 7-zip testing where the 3990 exit needs more memory bandwidth to really make full use of its course the CPU does however directly benefit in

Applications like Kaos groups v-ray encode compiling with chromium and a few other tests that we've published the biggest note is that you'll want to buy more RAM with the threader for 3990 X the amount will depend on your projects

And what you're doing but an hour code compile we saw a huge hit to performance where it fell to 200 minutes to render when coupled with 32 gigabytes of RAM while the 64 gigabyte solution allowed it to finish in 22 minutes that

Difference is thanks to paging out to the drive which hurts performance the 3990 X really needs to be partnered with other high-end parts so the CPU cost alone isn't the only thing you're looking at in greasing here you also

Need more or faster memory depending on your applications that you're using and you might potentially need a faster SSD or i/o solution if you are in a scenario where you're going to be paging out every now and then the best balance

Would be the 39 70 X as you aren't overspending for constrained scenarios but the 3950 acts would be the best price conscious fallback that still achieves most the performance in specific applications like premiere as I

Mentioned will note that Intel's high-frequency parts like the 9700 K and 9900 K are among the best performers in Photoshop that specific application still seems to like frequencies so heavy Photoshop users might want to look

Elsewhere next is most fun to overclock the Intel Core i 9/10 900k gets our recommendation has the most fun overclocking CPU until Z 490 platform is completely insane for overclocking it has overclocking features an abundant

Builds IDE has called the platform the easiest to overclock and we've heard similar accolades from Joe of bearded hardware in our own experience we'd agree with the caveat that it's not only the easiest to tune but also the most

Scalable to user experience you don't have to be a pro like these guys to leverage the ease of overclocking features in Z 490 if you want something that's good out of the box but can also be treated like a tuning project for

Days off of work we can highly recommend the Intel eye 910 900 okay and a z4 90 bored with it we've overclocked the ten nine hundred K both with standard coolant and with extreme cooling like in our video with hi cookie

Where we were reaching about seven gigahertz and the boards are supportive of both approaches z4 ninety earmark features include the following one is per core hyper-threading which allows tuning for applications that may have an

Optimal count of threads for peak performance or might enable you to better do core binning DMI and PG overclocking for i/o performance increases are also present in this version of the Intel chipset for point

Number three extremely capable memory overclocking support is a major one with tuning upwards and beyond five thousand megahertz for the best kits and skilled overclockers although bios overall depends on the vendor the z4 90 core

Feature set of OC knobs is replete with tools to research and tweak making it a great combination for enthusiasts who are more interested in the tuning aspect than the baseline performance this is sort of like a project car except it's a

Project car that came fully complete and functioning our next one is for biggest disappointment a tradition for GN round ups we were torn between the 10 400 and the 10 700 K for reasons that you can check our reviews for ultimately we

Decided to give the honour to the 10 700 K that's because the 10 7rk is positioned in a way that doesn't give it much selling room for workstation tasks and these now same priced 3900 X gets you up to 12 cores instead and it

Manages to win and nearly every production workload we test it because cores aren't everything for gaming tasks although the 10 7rk is objectively superior to a.m. these offerings Intel's I own 10 600 K roughly matches it or can

Be made to outmatch it meanwhile $100 higher anyone looking for the highest framerate possible without any compromise should be looking at the 10 900k instead the 10-7 RK fails to prove much value as flanked between Intel's

10900 K and 10 600 K and as similarly contested by AMD is 3900 X now finally as we always like to do with these pieces we also have a worst trend and that one's going to be tone-deaf marketing which seems like you could

Mostly set phrase for just about any worst trend at any point in time AMD and Intel both been guilty of tone-deaf marketing lately AMD's side there was the sort of almost playing a victim card in regard

To the be 550 X 570 fiasco and the whole fracas around not supporting the 400 series motherboards for his m3 parts but at the same time Andy put itself in that position and he had some legitimate technical excuses that were valid but

Also and these marketing is what caused the whole problem to begin with and that's because Andy whether it meant to or not and through its partners whether they meant to or not did sort of lead people along thinking that they'd be

Able to upgrade later so that's just what you get for taking shots at the other guy in this case that'd be Intel for doing something that you will eventually do and we have a whole series on all that if you want to learn more

About it and they had many technical reasons that were valid it ended up walking it back and has new technical issues that will emerge but at the end of the day it was all caused by tone-deaf marketing on

Intel side Intel is so focused on having six times more soldiers in total war that it has also overlooked some of its own poor marketing one of those was the phrase that we sort of went off on on our Intel 10 series specifications

Roundup where we talked about how in top presented that X percent of games are single threaded doors optimized for single thread is specifically what the marketing text said optimized for single thread when we pushed on that matter it

Proved that it wasn't defensible and so Intel struck that line from its PDF and re-released a revised version so this is another instance where marketing if not for being challenged by technical press or users will obviously just try to say

Whatever it wants and in both scenarios Intel and AMD have demonstrated that they apparently seem to have maybe numbers to back it up but they seem to think that just marketing the product on its merits alone isn't good enough and

Both companies have to sort of tweak the wording one way or the other to be maybe a little bit gray area as to whether what they're saying is even possible for being true not just if it's true which is normal marketing but if there's

Any possibility that what they've said can be reinforced with data and then that I mean that's just it's just where we are with the sort of tribal mentality of picking a brand and defending it in any case the the end result hopefully

Will that be that both companies can learn from their respective experiences in the last month and hopefully focus on revising to market instead on the actually very strong independent merits of each of their products in an

Objective sense rather than trying to tweak the dialogue to mislead people and that'll bring us to the end so hopefully that helps out with getting a handle on the cpu situation right now there's a ton of stuff out there we've released I

Think at least some of our highest quality content in a long time with back-to-back really in-depth reviews of each of the new CPUs we have follow-up coverage we have overclocking coverage we have live streams with liquid

Nitrogen if that interests you and then we've got recaps of those if you want the short version so if it's been a little while you're building the first system and a couple of years or something each of those content pieces

Would be a great place to go once you think you've found a CPU for maybe from this list and want to learn more about it and we'll point you that way so that you can learn more about the CPU you're potentially choosing including things

Like power thermals all that stuff thanks for watching as always if you want to support this type of content you can go to store documents nexus net and backorder one of our mouse mats they sold out basically immediately but we do

Have more coming back in or the mod mats are there as well and go to and axis to help us out directly subscribe for more we'll see you all next time

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