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A computer cannot work without many components, but the most important is the processor. It processes all commands issued by the user on the software.

By choosing an Intel Processor, you are guaranteed to buy high-quality and reliable products that can serve for many years. However, before taking the leap, it is important to clearly understand what tasks will be performed on the computer.

Oversupply of processing power is not so scary because it provides a reserve for the future. However, the money spent to purchase it could be seen as a waste. Nevertheless, having insufficient processing power is even sadder in all respects.

In this article, we’ve put together the best Intel processors, explaining what tasks – this or that model is ideal for.

Affiliate Disclosure: Hope you find the product you’re looking for. Just so you know, we’re an affiliate and may earn a commission or compensation for any successful purchase through the links on this page.

The best low-cost processors from Intel

We didn’t look at the extremely cheap processors such as the Pentium G4560 or G5400 in this list.

If your requirements are limited to writing, watching videos, e-mail correspondence, and similar tasks, then you can comfortably choose a dual-core processor.

It is true that Celeron is still not worth buying because it will not provide significant savings, but 2 threads instead of 4 will affect performance.

1. Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge

Yes, we decided to begin this review – not with a specific model, but with a whole line. The average cost of each model in this category is approximately the same, so each user will be able to decide which processor is best suited for his/her tasks.

There is even a dual-core model in this category, but it is too expensive and it is generally pointless to buy it for the above reason. Other solutions can offer operating frequencies from 2.3 to 3.4 GHz and an integrated graphics core (from 1050 to 1150 MHz).

Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge
Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge

The Intel Core i5-3570K is the only unlocked animation processor available in the series. Its main characteristics do not differ from 3570 without the index “K”.

The L1 cache size for all models is 64 KB, while L2 and L3 can vary from 512 to 1024 and from 3072 to 6144 KB, respectively.

The heat difference with the maximum operating temperature is also different, which for energy-efficient T-solutions can be 35 or 45 W when heated within 65-70 degrees. In other modifications of good cheap Intel processors from the Ivy Bridge family, these figures can rise to 77 W and 103 degrees.

Advantages:

  • very cheap modifications are available
  • unlocked multiplier
  • the temperature under load is about 60 degrees
  • excellent combination of price and performance
  • overclocking above 4 GHz (for models with index “K”);
  • performance is sufficient for almost any task.

Disadvantages:

  • somehow obsolete in 2021.

2. Intel Core i5-4460 Haswell

Not a bad entry-level Khazar processor. Of course, buying an i5-4460 will be especially important if you have a socket 1150 in which a weaker “stone” of the same line is installed.

Building a fourth-generation Intel computer from scratch is no better than doing it with Ivy Bridge. Nevertheless, you have the opportunity to buy other components cheaply, which will also make the installation profitable.

Intel Core i5-4460 Haswell
Intel Core i5-4460 Haswell

However, this is not about that, but about one of the best processors according to the reviews – Core i5-4460, offered in American online stores for a relatively modest $108.

The nominal frequency of this processor is 3.2 GHz for each of the 4 cores. In turbo mode, the value increases by 200 MHz.

For the integrated graphics core, the base frequency is 350 MHz and the dynamic frequency is 1.1 GHz. In this case, the maximum amount of subsystem that can be consumed by RAM is 1.7 GB.

Advantages:

  • good standard CO
  • good graphics
  • moderate price
  • lack of significant heating under load
  • core speed.

Disadvantages:

  • outdated platform
  • slightly inflated.

3. Intel Core i3-9100F Coffee Lake

To compete with AMD, which offers its consumers good gaming PC processors without integrated graphics, Intel has decided to add “F” gem “modifications” to its lineup.

This is a great solution for those who immediately plan to purchase a graphics card that this budget Intel processor will reveal.

Intel Core i3-9100F Coffee Lake
Intel Core i3-9100F Coffee Lake

Please note that this model is only compatible with 3XX series chipsets.

The price of I3-9100F starts from $160, which is almost as expensive as the analogue of the eighth generation “blue”.

It has 4 cores and the same number of threads. The base frequency of the processor is 3.6 GHz, and in Turbo Boost mode it can reach 4.2 GHz. The device supports 16 PCI-E bands and memory up to 2400 MHz in dual channel mode.

You can also note the 65 W heat pack and operating temperature of up to 100 degrees.

The main advantages:

  • excellent performance
  • base and amplifier frequencies
  • low heat production
  • enough for any new games.

The best Intel processors – quality/price

Everyone wants to enjoy high system performance without spending a lot of money on hardware. And if you don’t use a computer for tasks, such as video editing and processing, you won’t need an impressive budget.

You can get a decent processor option for just $ 140-224 … In addition, for the average user, its implementation will last at least a few years. And if you only play with Full HD resolution and not with the most powerful cards, then for longer.

1. Intel Core i3-8300 Coffee Lake

We decided to start the second category with the Core i3-8300 model. This is a good processor for an office computer and a basic gaming computer.

It includes 4 cores running at 3.7 GHz. The capabilities to increase performance in the form of Hyper-Threading are not provided in this processor, which does not prevent it from remaining an excellent solution for modern games and even for simple editing or similar tasks.

Intel Core i3-8300 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i3-8300 Coffee Lake

If the combination of price and CPU quality is so important to you that you’re willing to sacrifice performance slightly, then the i3-8100 may be the best buy.

In our chosen model, however, the frequency is slightly higher and the L3 cache is larger (8 MB vs. 4 for the younger “stone”). This provides improved in-game performance.

Advantages:

  • four full cores
  • better and cheaper than i5-7500
  • fast work
  • good built-in graphics
  • sufficient regular cooling.

Disadvantages:

  • not supported by 2XX chipset.

2. Intel Core i5-8500 Coffee Lake

Another powerful 8th generation processor, but now with 6 cores. The Intel Core i5-8500 is rated at 3 GHz when all threads are loaded. But in practice, the processor can run at about 3.9 GHz for 5/6 cores.

The device is delivered in the usual configuration for the manufacturer from the “stone” itself, a sticker on the box, and a standard cooler. Of course, there is also the accompanying waste paper.

Intel Core i5-8500 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i5-8500 Coffee Lake

As for the cooling system, this is a well-known solution for blue fans with bifurcated radially spaced aluminum fins that are blown out by a 70 mm fan.

Considering the heat dissipation of 65 W and the maximum temperature of 100 degrees, this is enough for the stable operation of the i5-8500. The maximum CPU frequency is 4.1 GHz (Turbo Boost) but is only accepted with one active core.

Advantages:

  • good performance
  • has integrated graphics
  • good cooler package
  • there is a possibility for overclocking
  • bypasses a competitor in a single thread
  • reasonable costs
  • in games works at the i5-8600 level.

Disadvantages:

  • compatible with 3XX boards only.

3. Intel Core i5-9600K Coffee Lake

Best rated Intel processor under $300. Here’s how the Core i5-9600K can be characterized: It belongs to the Coffee Lake Refresh family, offers all the same 6 cores, but with a base frequency of 3.7 GHz and overclocking to 4600 MHz.

An unlocked multiplier must be added to this, so that the user can overclock the processor to higher frequencies (although an appropriate cooling system is required).

Intel Core i5-9600K Coffee Lake
Intel Core i5-9600K Coffee Lake

Note that, the i5-9600K is an analogue of the i7-9700K and i9-9900K, not the i5-8600K, as it may seem at first glance. This is due to the fact that the new product is a derivative of the discarded older models, in which 2 cores were simply deactivated.

In the reviews, the Intel processor is praised for soldering under the hood, which provides the opportunity for serious overclocking without scalping.

By the way, in a direct alternative from the previous generation, the manufacturer has used a polymer thermal paste, whose thermal conductivity is much worse. The graphics core here is the same as the older models – UHD 630, so you can temporarily play with simple projects on it.

One and a half megabytes of L3 cache is allocated to the core in the i5-9600K, which provides a total of 9 MB.

Advantages:

  • unlocked multiplier
  • slight heat dissipation
  • use of solder under the cover
  • good overclocking potential
  • base frequencies and Turbo Boost
  • attractive costs.

4. Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge

In terms of reliability, Sandy Bridge processors are still one of the best solutions on the market. They also outperform many competitors in terms of value for money. It is for this reason that we decided to put the entire line of second-generation i7 in first place on this category.

Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge
Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge

It includes several great solutions, the most popular of which is 2600.

It is a 3.4 GHz quad-core processor with decent HD 2000 1350 MHz integrated graphics and 8MB L3 cache. Also, it supports Hyper-Threading, which means it can run two threads of commands on the same core at the same time. The typical heat dissipation of the “stone” is 95 W.

Advantages:

  • Hyper-Threading support
  • everything is one of the most powerful “stones”
  • costs about $300
  • cold even with ordinary CO
  • can be overclocked (model with index K).

Disadvantages:

  • does not support a number of new instructions
  • there is no reserve for the future.

The best Intel processors for games

Yes, we’re looking at the best gaming processors, not Intel’s most advanced processors. The person who buys the Xeon W-3175X understands why he gives so much money. But gamers don’t need 28 cores and 56 threads.

Although modern games are able to work with multithreading, however, not with such a huge quantity. And the reason is not in the laziness of developers, but in the lack of powerful processors for most users.

Therefore, you can limit yourself to 8 cores and with them you can even edit videos and streaming games if you are interested in such activity.

1. Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake

Let’s start with a simpler model that is suitable for those who just want to play. The good thing here is that the Core i7-6700K can work with both DDR3 and DDR4 RAM.

The first can be used, for example, if you are upgrading an old computer and do not have enough money to buy all the new hardware right away. The speed of working with DDR3 RAM in some cases will be almost not lower than the levels of DDR4.

Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake
Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake

However, the processor was included in the review not because of this, but because of its attractive price and excellent performance. Intel Core i7-6700K offers 4 cores and 8 threads.

The nominal frequency of this stone is a very good 4 GHz, and also, it is able to overclock another 200 MHz.

The graphics core is present here and in simple games like CS: GO or DOTA 2, in HD and low settings, it gives a good result.

Advantages:

  • support for both DDR3 and DDR4
  • performance for 1 W
  • there is a possibility for overclocking
  • reliability and practicality
  • excellent game results.

Disadvantages:

  • not the best graphics core.

2. Intel Core i7-9700K Coffee Lake

The 9th generation model continues our review of the best Intel processors. In fact, this is another iteration of the same Skylake, but this is not surprising given the success of this architecture.

The 9700K can offer the buyer nominal frequencies of 3600 MHz across all cores, as well as up to 4.9 GHz in Turbo Boost, which is not too far from the truth even at full load. The L1, L2, and L3 volumes in this model are 64, 2048, and 12288 KB, respectively.

Intel Core i7-9700K Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-9700K Coffee Lake

“Stone” supports all current instructions, including SSE4.2, AVX2.0, FMA3 and AES hardware acceleration. There are 8 processing cores available at once, but there is no support for Hyper-Threading technology.

Like all new processors, the i7-9700K works with motherboards exclusively based on the system logic of the 300 series. Plus, keep in mind that you can manually overclock processors with the “K” index only on Z-chipsets.

Advantages:

  • eight full cores
  • well-developed technical process (14 ++ nm)
  • overclocking in Turbo Boost mode
  • has a good supply of games
  • 100 percent incurs its costs
  • manual overclocking capabilities
  • motivated costs.

Disadvantages:

  • The “stone” will be quite hot.

3. Intel Core i9-9900KF Coffee Lake

Finally, the most powerful Intel processor in its category is the i9-9900KF. The base frequency is 3.6 GHz with a gain-up of up to 5 GHz! This model boasts of 8 full cores and 16 threads.

With this processor, you can install DDR4-2666 memory in a dual-channel mode of up to 128 GB, which for a long time will not be a mandatory band for gamers.

Intel Core i9-9900KF Coffee Lake
Intel Core i9-9900KF Coffee Lake

As noted above, the “F” prefix in the model name indicates the absence of a graphics core. If for some reason you still need it, then you can buy an i9-9900K processor. It differs only in this and even the average price in online stores for these two devices is comparable.

The volumes of L1 and L2 caches in the reviewed model are similar to the i7-9700K described above, but the third level cache is slightly larger – 16 MB. From experience, the higher the L3, the better the efficiency in games.

Depending on the other hardware, the selected project and other conditions, the difference can vary from a few frames to 10-20% compared to stones where the cache size is smaller.

Advantages:

  • number of cores and threads
  • overclocking capabilities
  • frequency in Turbo Boost mode
  • universality (games/work)
  • excellent power reserve
  • stable 4.7 GHz in all cores.

Disadvantages:

  • when overclocking all TPD cores about 200 watts.

Which Intel processor shoud you choose?

If your computer has very weak processors and you want to slightly speed it up, then you should choose the appropriate option from the Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge or Haswell lines.

Optimal solutions for a gaming computer in terms of price-performance are the eighth generation i3 and i5.

If you want overclocking at a reasonable price, then buy the i5-9600K.

And topped our review of the best Intel processors for gamers – the eight-core i7-9700K and i9-9900KF.


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