CPU Hierarchy 2023 – PC Processors Tier List

Learn how processors from AMD and Intel stack up against each other in this ultimate CPU hierarchy that we keep up-to-date at all times.

When upgrading a computer to get more FPS in games or to be more productive, the GPU and CPU are the main pieces of hardware that must be changed. The GPU’s role is to handle all visual-related tasks, such as video games, videos, etc., while the CPU handles almost everything else.

With so many processors available on the market and different price points, finding the right one is never easy.

To ensure that anybody reading this article makes an informed choice, we have created this hierarchy of CPUs from the last couple of generations to help you determine what you need.

We are ranking the CPUs in tiers based on their performance in gaming and productivity.

Without further ado, here is the ultimate CPU hierarchy list!

Note: Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs have P (performance), E (effective), and T (threads) indicators under Cores/Threads

Related:What Is A CPU?What CPU Do I Have?CPU vs. GPU – What Is The Difference?

Table of ContentsShow

S Tier

CPU Hierarchy S Tier

The top-tier is where the most powerful and costly processors belong. These CPUs are for users wanting to enhance their FPS in the most visually challenging games or to do specialized work.

To achieve top-notch productivity, consider the third-gen Threadripper. It provides remarkable price-to-performance value. One model, the Threadripper 3990X, boasts 64 cores and costs $4000.

Alternatively, the Threadripper 3960X is priced at $1,400 with 24 cores and 48 threads. If you are looking for an Intel solution, the i9-10980XE has 18 cores/ 36 threads at $1000. We wouldn’t recommend these for gaming, though.

To obtain exceptional quality and favorable bargains, consider Intel’s premium-grade processors like the i9-13900K, i7-13700K, and i5-13600K. They are priced at $589, $409, and $319, respectively. The 12th gen SKUs are also a prudent option.

AMD also offers excellent gaming performance for a decent value with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, Ryzen 7 7700X, and Ryzen 5 7600X.

However, AMD’s Ryzen non-X CPUs like the Ryzen 9 7900, Ryzen 7 7700, and Ryzen 5 7600 have even more impressive price-to-performance ratio.

The newly released Ryzen 9 7950X3D and Ryzen 7 7800X3D are the fastest gaming CPUs in the world, followed closely by the Ryzen 9 7900X3D.

The rest of the Ryzen 7000 series, like the Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 9 7950X, are also solid options, especially if you’re leaning toward productivity work.

AMD’s Ryzen 5950X, 5900X, and 5700X are also quite fast CPUs, so they deserve this S-tier ranking. The MSRPs are $799, $549, and $299 respectively.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Benchmark 7800X3D Simulated Results 18 8 screenshot

Gaming

Model Boost Clock Cores/Threads TDP
1.Ryzen 7 7800X3D5.0 GHz8/16120W
2.Ryzen 9 7950X3D5.7 GHz16/32120W
3.Ryzen 9 7900X3D5.6 GHz12/24120W
4.Intel Core i9-13900K/KS5.8 GHz8P/16E/32T125W
5.Ryzen 7 7700X5.4 GHz8/12105W
6.Intel Core i7-13700K5.4 GHz8P/8E/24T125W
7.Ryzen 9 7950X5.7 GHz16/32170W
8.Ryzen 9 7900X5.6 GHz12/24170W
9.Ryzen 5 7600X5.3 GHz6/12105W
10.Ryzen 9 79005.4 GHz12/2465W
11.Ryzen 7 77005.3 GHz8/1665W
12.Ryzen 5 76005.1 GHz6/1265W
13.Ryzen 7 5800X3D4.8 GHz8/16105W
14.Intel Core i5-13600K5.1 GHz6P/8E/20T125W
16.Intel Core i9-12900KS5.5 GHz8P/8E/24T150W
17.Intel Core i9-12900K5.2 GHz8P/8E/24T125W
18.AMD Ryzen 9 5950X4.9 GHz16/32105W
19.Intel Core i7-12700K5.0 GHz8P/4E/20T125W
P – Performance cores, E – Efficiency cores, T – Threads

Productivity

ModelBoost Clock Cores/Threads TDP
1.AMD Threadripper 3990X4.3 GHz64/128280W
2.AMD Threadripper 3970X4.5 GHz32/64280W
3.AMD Ryzen 9 7950X5.7 GHz16/32170W
4.Intel Xeon W-3175X3.8 GHz28/56255W
5.AMD Threadripper 3960X4.5 GHz24/48280W
6.AMD Threadripper 2990 WX4.2 GHz32/64250W
7.Intel Core Core i9-10980XE4.8 GHz18/36165W
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Currently the most powerful consumer CPU in the world.

A Tier

CPU Hierarchy A Tier

The A-tier of CPUs consists of new and older generation CPUs that do not cost an arm and a leg and have a lower core count.

Here, we have the Ryzen 5 5600X and the Ryzen 5 5600 competing against Intel’s i5-11600K. Both of these CPUs are similarly priced and have 6 cores/12 threads. They are also considerably cheaper than S-tier CPUs at around $300.

However, the Ryzen 5 5600 is a much better affordable choice as it only costs $200.

The Ryzen 5700G and 5600G (AMD’s processors with integrated graphics) can also be placed here, just under the i9-10900.

We also have the processors from two generations ago, the 10700K and 10900K.

AMD’s third generation also deserves a place in the top category. Particularly the Ryzen 3900X and 3700X models.

Intel’s i3-12100F might appear as simply another i3 with 8 threads only, but it actually performs quite admirably, exchanging blows with the 11400F, 3700X, and other CPUs.

Model Boost Clock Cores/Threads TDP
1.Intel Core i9-11900K5.3 GHz10/16125W
2.AMD Ryzen 9 5900X4.8 GHz12/24 105W
3.Intel Core i5-12600K4.9 GHz6P/4E/16T125W
4.AMD Ryzen 7 5800X4.7 GHz8/16105W
5.AMD Ryzen 7 5700X4.6 GHz8/1665W
6.Intel Core i7-11700K5.0 GHz8/16125W
7.Intel Core i9-10900K5.3 GHz10/20125W
8.Intel Core i7-10700K5.1 GHz8/16125W
9.AMD Ryzen 5 5600X4.6 GHz12/2465W
10.Intel Core i5-124004.4 GHz6P/0E/12T65W
11.AMD Ryzen 5 56004.4 GHz6/1265W
12.Intel Core i5-11600K4.9 GHz6/12125W
13.Intel Core i9-10900/T5.20 GHz/4.60 GHz10/2065W/35W
14.AMD Ryzen 9 3900X/XT4.6 GHz/4.7 GHz12/24105W
15.AMD Ryzen 7 5700G4.6 GHz8/1665W
16.AMD Ryzen 5 5600G4.4 GHz6/1265W
17.Intel Core i5-11400F4.40 GHz6/1265W
18.Intel Core i5-10600K4.8 GHz6/12125W
19.Intel Core i3-12100F4.3 GHz4P/0E/8E58W
20.AMD Ryzen 7 3800X/XT4.5 GHz/4.7 GHz8/16105W
21.Intel Core i5-10400F4.3 GHz6/1265W
22.AMD Ryzen 7 3700X4.4 GHz8/1665W

B Tier

CPU Hierarchy B Tier

We have reached the second-tier of CPUs. Don’t be mistaken; the processors in this category are still more than capable of handling modern-day games and outputting competitive FPS. Second-tier processors might provide the best price-per-performance of all these options.

The Ryzen 3600 was and possibly still is one of AMD’s most successful processors. A processor with 12 threads and low power usage sold for just $200. How can someone not love it?

These days, you could probably grab the 3600 or even the 3600X for as little as $180.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Ryzen 3600, one of AMD’s most valued CPUs.

Some of Intel’s 9th-generation CPUs also fit here perfectly. The 9900K and even the 8-thread 9700K are still good enough. Of course, this is at a much lower price than MSRP.

Model Boost Clock Cores/Threads TDP
1.Intel Core i9-9900K5.0 GHz8/1695W
2.Intel Core i7-9700K4.9 GHz8/895W
3.Intel Core i9-99005.0 GHz8/1665W
4.Intel Core i7-97004.7 GHz8/865W
5.AMD Ryzen 5 55004.2 GHz6/1265W
6.AMD Ryzen 5 3600X4.4 GHz6/1265W
7.AMD Ryzen 5 36004.2 GHz6/1265W
8.AMD Ryzen 3 3300X4.3 GHz4/895W
9.Intel Core i5-9600K4.6 GHz6/695W

C Tier

CPU Hierarchy C Tier

We have entered the group of processors that are starting to reveal their age, insufficiency of cores, and power, particularly when it comes to the latest video games.

AMD’s second generation of Ryzen still provides incredible value, but its IPC is pretty weak, leaving a lot to be desired. The same goes for Intel’s 9th generation i5s and i3s.

The Ryzen 2700X is a pretty good option as you can grab it for less than $200 and get an 8-core and 16-thread CPU. However, this is Zen+, don’t mistake it for AMD’s Zen 2 (3600, 3700X, etc.). It is considerably slower in single-core performance.

Intel’s i5s (such as the 9400F) are also outdated, considering they are locked to just 6 threads while i3s are stuck at 4 threads. That’s too low by today’s standards.

Model Boost Clock Cores/Threads TDP
1.Intel Core i3-103004.4 GHz4/865W
2.Intel Core i5-9400/F4.1 GHz6/665W
3.Intel Core i3-101004.3 GHz4/865W
4.AMD Ryzen 7 2700X4.3 GHz8/16105W
5.AMD Ryzen Pro 4750G4.4 GHz8/1665W
6.AMD Ryzen 3 31003.9 GHz4/865W
7.AMD Ryzen 3400G4.2 GHz4/865W

D Tier

CPU Hierarchy D Tier

This is the D-level, a group of CPUs that can greatly impede your GPU from reaching its maximum capability, especially if you possess a high-quality GPU like an RTX 3090 or RX 6900XT.

Even considering the low costs of CPUs such as the 2600X, i3-9100, and others, they are difficult to recommend as there are comparably priced SKUs with significantly better performance.

Model Boost Clock Cores/Threads TDP
1.AMD Ryzen 7 27004.1 GHz8/1665W
2.AMD Ryzen 5 2600X4.2 GHz6/1295W
3.AMD Ryzen 5 26003.9 GHz6/1265W
4.Intel Core i3-91004.2 GHz4/465W
5.AMD Ryzen 3 3200G4.0 GHz4/465W
6.AMD Ryzen 5 2400G3.9 GHz4/865W
7.AMD Ryzen 3 2200G3.7 GHz4/465W
8.Intel Pentium G66054.3 GHz2/458W

Final Words On The CPU Hierarchy

This tiered list contains approximately 40 CPUs. That is a comparatively low number considering there are hundreds of CPUs out there. However, we decided to limit our list to the last three iterations of processors from both AMD and Intel.

There are also some exclusions from the latest generations as some CPUs can only be bought as part of an OEM PC or pre-built systems.

These CPU rankings are based on several review websites and YouTube tech channels, including Tom’s Hardware, Hardware Unboxed, and Gamers Nexus. We also compared scores from benchmarks such as Cinebench and Geekbench 5.

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Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is almost impossible. That's why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements related to CPUs.