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Fixed PC processor: the best AMD and Intel CPUs

 

Fixed PC processor

Looking for a processor to build or upgrade a desktop PC? Here is a selection of Intel and AMD CPUs with the best price-performance ratio to work, create or play.

The processor – or CPU, for central processing unit in English – is the brain of any computer. It is this complex electronic component – current models contain hundreds of millions of transistors… – that processes both instructions and data from the operating system and applications, including information that travels through the Internet and other networks. It is not surprising that it is the subject of all the attention, especially when the calculation needs are important, as is the case for video games or digital creation (audio, photo, video, 3D, etc.).

In fact, what matters most about a processor, whatever its brand, generation and architecture, is its computing power. Unfortunately, there is no clear indication on a packaging to prejudge this, even if its name can give valuable clues. And you have to perform fairly extensive tests in various applications to get a precise idea, through indices. Also, like a car engine, there's no point in building a monster horsepower for basic use. A current entry-level CPU is more than enough for office automation, watching videos or surfing the Web. On the other hand, for all calculation-intensive applications (video games, real-time audio, video and photo processing, CAD, 3D modelling, etc.) with specialized software, there is always a race for maximum power. Race which is obviously accompanied by a rise in price, with prices which sometimes reach that of a complete laptop PC. Also, rather than rushing to the latest high-end chip from Intel or AMD, it makes more sense to think in terms of performance-price ratio. What we did to establish our selection.

In addition to use and price, the choice of a desktop PC processor depends on several technical criteria.

  • The socket. This is the support on which the processor is positioned on the motherboard. At Intel, it is called "LGAxxxx", the "x" corresponding to a series of numbers (1166, 1200, etc.) and at AMD, it has been the AM4 (or TrAM4) for a while. The socket will depend on the nature of the set of components on your motherboard, also called "Chipset" (see below) and the possibilities offered and more or less activatable options.
  • The number of cores. Although the frequency remains the yardstick, the number of cores – the calculation units – has become so too. The more cores there are, the more expensive it is and the faster and better the optimized applications will run. Note, the hearts are engraved on the circuit. The "threads" are data routing pipes, at the rate of two per core to date. In the data sheets is therefore written: "number of cores: 4/8" the first number designates the physical cores, the second, the "threads" (or logical units).
  • Frequency. It is the speed of the clock that paces the processor. Expressed in gigahertz (GHz), it indicates a number of cycles per second. The higher it is, the faster the processor "works". But it is not always synonymous with performance for all that, because the computing power depends on other parameters related to the architecture of the processor such as its number of cores, its fineness of engraving, its cache memory or the games of instructions that he knows how to handle. The base frequency corresponds to the one that all the cores (physical & logical) hold when they are working at full. The Turbo frequency corresponds to the maximum speed that certain cores can reach. The importance of the frequency varies according to the uses. Games, for example, are more sensitive to frequency than to the number of cores, while the reverse is true for audio-video encoding tools.
  • The thermal envelope (TDP). Expressed in watts, the thermal envelope is often associated with the consumption reached by a processor at its maximum. This is not quite the case, it is its consumption at cruising speed. Why "thermal envelope"? Because, by Joule effect, the components emit heat when they receive electric current, their fuel. In fact, AMD and Intel always report the watt value associated with this outward heat release. It is useful for sizing the cooling system (ventirad or water cooling, for example).
  • The chipset. This component determines the functions of a motherboard as well as the processors it can accommodate. Different generations of processors are grafted onto several chipsets but, of course, pairing a very recent processor with an older chipset (or vice versa) will not be the most optimal. At Intel as at AMD, the chipset is identified by a letter and a series of numbers (Z470, X590, Z690…): the further the letter is in the alphabet and the larger the number, the more the chipset is evolved within its range.

AMD desktop PC processor:

The Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G is part of AMD's penultimate processor collection. And like its big brothers Ryzen 7 and 9, it is made of a particular wood, which gives it great versatility in the applications and tasks that can be entrusted to it. In addition, the presence of the graphics part integrated into the circuit (Radeon Vega 7 Graphics) makes it possible to save on a dedicated graphics card, useless for office automation.

The Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G

Socket: AM4

Number of cores / Threads: 6 / 12

Frequency: 3.7 GHz (4.2 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 65 watts

Compatible chipsets: AMD A520, B550, X570

Intel Desktop PC Processor:

In the Core family, the i3s embody the "premium" entry-level. The 10105 is more than enough for office applications, especially at this price! Like AMD's Ryzen 5 - recommended above, this Core i3 10105 incorporates both computing units but also an integrated graphics controller. Taken alone, it is cut for office automation and some hard work. However, do not expect to play the graphics part included, you will be disappointed. However, if you associate it with a graphics card worthy of the name, it can give the change for the game in Full HD. Note that you can also turn to the Core i3-10100 as an alternative solution or, to have the latest generation of Core in the engine, the Core i3-12100.

Intel Core i3 10105

Socket: LGA 1200

Number of cores / Threads: 4 / 8

Frequency: 3.7 GHz (4.4 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 65 watts

Compatible chipsets: Intel B560 Express, H510, H570, Q570 and Z590

Cheap AMD PC processor:

At AMD, entry-level processors are now reserved for manufacturers (Lenovo, HP, etc.). So finding a cheap AMD PC processor often comes down to digging into older generations of chips like the Athlon 3000G. They can be mounted on a recent motherboard, provided that you have checked the compatibility with the chipset. The advantage of this Athlon? It has everything you need to power a PC whose ambitions are limited to office automation, watching videos and surfing the Web. Note that you can also turn to the Ryzen 3 1200 AF or the Ryzen 3 3300X as alternatives.

AMD Athlon 3000G

Socket: AM4

Number of cores / Threads: 2 / 4

Frequency: 3.5GHz

Thermal envelope: 35 watts

Compatible chipsets: AMD A350, B350, B450, X370, X470

cheap intel pc processor:

Star of the Intel catalog at the end of the 90s, the Pentium has now become an entry-level processor. But not cheap! No, especially this version: the G6405 is a nervous little CPU that has power to spare for a very low price! It would almost have its place among the Core i3s but does not have the same complex technological attributes. However, it's almost as good as Gen 4 Cores in some applications and clocks in at a maddening rate.

Intel Pentium Gold G6405

Socket: LGA 1200

Number of cores / Threads: 2 / 4

Frequency: 4.1GHz

Thermal envelope: 58 watts

Compatible chipsets: Intel B560 Express, H510, H570, Z590

AMD Ryzen 5 gaming PC processor:

The game starts with the Ryzen 5 5600X, an AMD processor from the latest collection, the Ryzen Series 5000. State-of-the-art architecture (Zen 3), cores and gigahertz to give you video game experiences in very good conditions: the top. This version of the processor comes with a fan, something increasingly rare. If you buy an AMD motherboard at the same time as this processor, you will have to flash the BIOS because the latter may not support the processor natively. Two solutions, have the flash done in store when buying the card (up to 35 euros) or do it yourself provided that you have an AMD processor that is compatible with the new card and allows you to do it start to then launch the flash sequence. Note that you can also turn to the Ryzen 5 3600 as an alternative solution.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Socket: AM4

Number of cores / Threads: 6 / 12

Frequency: 3.7 GHz (4.6 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 65 watts

Compatible chipsets: AMD B550 and X570

Intel Core i5 Gaming PC Processor:

A designated competitor of the Ryzen 5 5600, the Core i5-11600K is a very relevant choice for anyone who wants to build an Intel processor-based gamer PC. As many cores, more power under the hood but also a larger thermal envelope. As it is a "K" type processor, it is possible to unleash certain performances provided you have the right motherboard and the appropriate knowledge. As an alternative, you can opt for the latest Core i5-12600KF, which is more expensive but offers more cores and more threads.

Intel Core i5-11600K

Socket: LGA 1200

Number of cores / Threads: 6 / 12

Frequency: 3.9 GHz (4.9 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 125 watts

Compatible chipsets: Intel B560 Express, H510, H570, Q570, Z590

AMD Ryzen 7 gaming PC processor:

We go up a notch with the Ryzen 5800X. It's a thunderbolt in the latest generation of AMD, in Zen 3 architecture. The one we recommend to all gamers who want to build an AMD configuration rather than an Intel one, to see if the price difference is justified technically and on a daily basis. So far, no complaints! It's a good sign. As for the Ryzen 5 above, be careful if you build a new configuration from scratch, you will probably need to (do) flash the BIOS for the motherboard to recognize this little monster. As an alternative, you can turn to the older, but still very efficient Ryzen 7 3800X.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Socket: AM4

Number of cores / Threads: 8 / 16

Frequency: 3.8 GHz (4.7 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 105 watts

Compatible chipsets: AMD B550 and X570

Intel Core i7 Gaming PC Processor:

The Core i7-10700KF is a few euros cheaper than the 10700K because it has no integrated graphics. And, for a gaming machine, it's useless! We usually have a nice and big AMD or Nvidia graphics card that takes care of displaying everything. The 10700KF rather than the state-of-the-art 12700KF? Yes, because generation 10 retains the advantage of frequencies, to within a few megahertz and costs much less (120 euros less on average).

Intel Core i7-10700KF

Socket: LGA1200

Number of cores / Threads: 8 / 16

Frequency: 3.8 GHz (5.1 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 125 watts

Compatible chipsets: Intel B460, H410, H470, Q479, W480 and Z490

AMD PC processor audio-video creation:

The Ryzen 9 5950X comes from the latest generation of processors from AMD and is the figurehead there. For video editing, 3D creation, audio processing, streaming and video games, it works wonders. The 5950X a plus is an excellent choice for anyone looking to build a big machine to meet a variety of needs. The best thing is to mount it on an AMD X570 motherboard with at least 16 GB of DDR4 memory to fully exploit it.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Socket: AM4
Number of cores / Threads: 16 / 32
Frequency: 3.4 GHz (4.9 GHz in Turbo)
Thermal envelope: 105 watts
Compatible chipsets: AMD A520, B550, X570

Intel PC processor audio-video creation:

Intel Core i9 10980XE Extreme Edition

Socket: Intel LGA2066

Number of cores / Threads: 18 / 36

Frequency: 3 GHz (4.6 GHz in Turbo)

Thermal envelope: 165 watts

Compatible chipsets: Intel X299 Express

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