Intel is a significant force in the computer industry, and its processors are undoubtedly very competitive. If you are already loyal to the brand and find yourself weighing your options (and your budget) to acquire one of the best Intel processors, the ideal one for your needs, we can help you here.
The best, in our opinion, is the Core i5-0499F, as it is powerful and affordable at the same time. But it is not the only option; Here we share more recommendations, of different prices, for those consumers who are looking for a more or less robust experience.
The best Intel processor
As great as top-end Intel CPUs are, its 9400F is arguably the best CPU that has been released in years for its price. By getting rid of the integrated graphics core, it has managed to reduce the cost and the price of this chip is in an ideal position for those who do not have a big budget, but with solid performance in the mid-range.
Despite lacking hyperthreading and the ability to easily overclock it, the i5-9400F comes with six cores, which is more than enough for most programs and a decent 4.1GHz frequency when in turbo mode. Although its 2.9 GHz base frequency may seem weak compared to previous generations, that helps keep your TPD at just 65 watts.
In many benchmarks, especially gaming, this chip easily beats the beloved Core i5-7600K a couple of generations ago and even rivals the much more robust Core i7-7700K in some tests. That's pretty impressive considering the 9400F's significantly cheaper price than either of those options.
If you want an integrated graphics core for gaming or as a backup, the Core i5-9400 is also an option, but it will cost you around 20 percent more.
The best low-cost Intel processor
If you are looking for an eighth generation processor that does not empty your wallet, the Core i3-8100 is what you need. It is a quad-core chip with a constant 3.6 GHz speed that provides no additional boost speed, but is more than fast enough for most PC users.
Like a quad-core CPU that it is, the 8100 performs fantastically well on multi-threaded workloads, despite its meager price tag and doesn't fall behind on process tasks, either. Combine it with a low-cost graphics card and make a fantastic inexpensive gaming system. Alternatively, the built-in Intel UHD 630 graphics core gives you enough muscle for some indie games at low settings.
There are some Intel Pentium CPUs that are cheaper than this model, but you will probably only save around $ 20 dollars and the loss in performance is rarely worth it, unless you are on an extreme budget.
The best high-end Intel processor
If you want an incredible processor that doesn't require selling your wheel on the black market, the Intel Core i7-9700K is the ideal solution. Based on Intel's ninth generation architecture, the only real difference between this chip and its more expensive cousin, the 9900K, is the lack of hyperthreading. It's a weird loss and this is the first desktop Core i7 CPU to ship without it in a long time, but it doesn't really affect overall performance much, especially in gaming.
It comes with eight cores and 12MB of cache on board. Its base frequency is at 3.6GHz, but when pressed in turbo mode, it can reach up to 4.9GHz on a limited number of cores. Since this is also a K series processor, it can be easily overloaded with a tight multiplier and, with good cooling, it should be able to reach 5Ghz on various cores.
The performance improvements over its predecessor aren't spectacular, so we wouldn't recommend upgrading if you already have an 8700K, but for anyone running older-generation hardware, it's a noticeable upgrade. It also has hardware fixes for Specter and Meltdown bugs, so if you're worried about security it's worth considering.
The best gross performance
It may be expensive, but Intel's new Core i9-9900K is the best gaming CPU ever created. It is marketed with turbo capacity up to 5 GHz on a pair of cores and has eight of them for gaming. Also, unlike its younger brother, the 9700K, it has full support for hyperthreading, so it can handle up to 16 threads at once.
In our tests, we found it much more capable than even some of AMD's Threadripper CPUs, and while we wouldn't say it's as powerful as some previous sources claimed, it's definitely the best game processor we've ever used. It achieved almost 120 FPS in Civilization VI at 1440P in Ultra settings when paired with an RTX 2080, and even a solid 68 FPS on average in the ever-strenuous Dexus Ex: Mankind Divided in the same setup.
It is also extremely powerful in multi-threaded scenarios and when using professional tools. There are more extreme Intel CPUs costing more than $ 1,000 that are likely to outperform them in applications that can take advantage of more cores and threads than this CPU, but few will need more power than the 9900K can offer.
* Article updated on March 18, 2020 by Aron Covaliu.