If you want a powerful PC, one of the best processors on the market is the way to go. The faster and more powerful your CPU is, the better your computer’s performance and power efficiency will be. And, you’ll certainly see and feel the difference, whether you’re only browsing the web and streaming movies after work or actually taking on processor-hungry tasks on a daily basis.Lucky for you, now’s a great time to invest in a powerful processor. Thanks to the fiery competition between Intel and AMD, with AMD rolling out its Ryzen 3rd generation processors, and Intel releasing its Coffee Lake Refresh and Ice Lake chips, the CPU market is teeming with the best processors with the most competitive prices we’ve seen to date. You can hardly throw a stone without hitting an impressive processor that does the job and more. To help you find the best processor for your needs, we gathered the top CPUs 2020 has to offer. Whatever your budget is and however demanding your computing needs are, you’ll find something here that will suit you.
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 won’t find a processor more impressive without stepping up to the HEDT market. Sure, there are some workloads where the Intel Core i9-9900K will still come out better, like with old games that are completely single threaded. However, thanks to this chip, the gap is definitely starting to narrow.Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
The highest tier in the Ryzen 3000 series is the performance powerhouse you’re looking for, if you want something for heavily threaded computer work. Besides high-end gaming, the Ryzen 9 3950 also blasts through processing tasks. It’s expensive, but for a mainstream processor that can go toe-to-toe with HEDT processors, that’s hardly a surprise. And, it’s also well worth the price, if you need its level of performance. Just remember that it may take a bit to keep cool so be sure to follow AMD’s guidance.Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
With more threads than the Intel Core i5-9600K, this mid-range graphics card delivers impressive multi-threading performance. However, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X doesn’t just stop there: it takes that budget-minded stage of performance to a new level, with its increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance and a higher clock speed while staying at the same price point. It also stays competitive in even the most intense single-threaded applications.Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Budget-minded consumers who missed out on all the 3rd-generation Ryzen excitement the first time will appreciate AMD’s latest attempt in the entry-level sphere. There’s no denying that the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is appealingly cheap, but it does so without compromising on performance. In fact, this chip delivers a performance that could almost rival that of processors double its price, without sucking up much power. And, it’s an excellent choice for budget gamers who are looking for something that can handle 1080p gaming.Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 3100
It’s releases like the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X that really push gaming PCs forward. This processor may not technically beat the likes of Ryzen 9 3900X and the Intel Core i9-9900K, but its excellent performance, coupled with its affordability, brings downs the barrier to entry on heavy multi-threaded performance. Suddenly, people don’t have to break the bank to experience what it’s like to have top-end hardware powering their PCs. Is it a wonder that the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is one of our favorite CPU releases in 2020?Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
Mid-range buyers will appreciate the fact that they actually don’t have to shell out quite a bit of cash for Intel’s hyper-threading technology. With Intel’s Core i5-10600K offering, it’s possible to have it for much less than $500. This chip may lack PCIe 4.0 support and has a higher power consumption, but it makes up for those in spades. Besides hyper-threading, this processor also delivers superb multi-core performance as well as improved single-core performance. What’s more is that it’s got great thermals to keep that pesky heat down.Read the full review: Intel Core i5-10600K
The single-threaded performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X admittedly still falls behind Intel, but what matters most in video editing and rendering is how a chip 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. That’s not all: this AMD chip offers impressive performance and a Wraith Spire cooler at a very affordable price.Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Launched alongside the even more potent Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X may have the same core count as its predecessor. However, it comes with a brand-new architecture that delivers performance gains as well as PCIe 4.0, making it among the best Threadripper chips yet. The 3960X delivers dramatically improved single-threaded performance and has successfully reduced its predecessors’ idiosyncrasies that affect their own performance. It may come with a higher price tag and require the TRX40 motherboard – not to mention, a powerful cooler – but it’s certainly worth the fuss if you can maximize its skills to your advantage.
Whether you’re looking for a processor for your media center or for your desktop PC, the AMD Athlon 300GE is among the best value performers you can find on the market today. It’s reliable and surprisingly fast for what it can do. It’s never going to deliver a breathtaking performance, but for a processor in the budget space, it’s definitely going to impress you.
With a noticeable, if small, performance advantage over its predecessor, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3400G is a capable option for your home theater PC and budget gaming computer. That means that it’s an affordable alternative to folks who don’t quite take gaming as seriously as the big gamers, touting a solid 720 and a fairly decent 1080p gaming performance.
Michelle Rae Uy also contributed to this article.