New CPUs: Current Market Status

Check out the current state of desktop and laptop CPUs as well as everything you need to know about upcoming CPUs in this ultimate, updated guide.

To make the best out of your budget for a PC, it is vital to be up-to-date with the GPU and CPU market. Keeping up with GPUs is easy as there are considerably fewer SKUs than CPUs and you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Keeping up with CPUs on the other hand is not that easy considering how many SKUs there are available. Intel’s 11th generation alone has dozens of SKUs. Additionally, it is vital to pick the right type of motherboard and RAM too.

Related:CPU Hierarchy 2021 – PC Processors Tier ListHow Many CPU Cores Do You Need?What Is CPU Cache? (L1, L2, And L3 Cache)

 To help you stay up to date with all new CPUs, we wrote this article to explain the current market status in detail.

Updates +

  • September 13, 2021: Added new information regrading the difference of performance between the 5900X and the 5950X.

About The CPU

To start out this article about the current market’s status, we have to start with a bang. And that bang is the Ryzen 9 5900X. Undoubtedly, this is the current fastest gaming CPU available with a price tag of $550. The 11900K ($550) and 5950X (800$) are very close to the 5900X’s performance, but both are not as fast and it’s important to acknowledge exactly which processor is holding the gaming crown.

Performance

The difference in performance between the top 5 processors is minuscule even when running games in 1080p.

However, for the people that are looking for the best possible gaming performance, AMD’s Ryzen 5900X is the answer. Not only is it the best, but it also comes with 12 cores and 24 threads which makes it ideal for productivity and streaming too.

Intel’s flagship on the other hand costs the same, it’s (a bit) slower and has only 8 cores/16 threads.

In the unique cases where the 5900X is slower than the 5950X in games such as Far Cry 5 or Red Dead Redemption 2, enabling PBO in Ryzen Master quickly puts the 5900X at the top.

Power draw is admirable. Peaks at 120W with PBO disabled but jumps up to 158W with PBO enabled. But, even when it is enabled, it’s lower than some of Intel’s i5s. That’s something we should definitely keep in mind.

The average temperature sits around 70C with a Corsair H115i during heavy loads.

Specifications

Base Clock3.7GHz
Max Boost Clock4.8GHz
Cores12
Threads24
ChipsetAM4
L2 Cache6MB
L3 Cache64MB
TDP105W
Process7nm

About The CPU

Intel’s flagship usually meant the CPU that held the gaming crown and most tech enthusiasts that wanted the best of the best would go with it. This time around AMD holds that title.

Not only that, but the i9-11900K was an all-around disappointment. You can see this disappointment through the comments on many of the YouTube reviews. Gamers Nexus went as far as calling it pathetic, while others have titled it as “the worst flagship Intel CPU ever”.

Why the hate?

Well, mostly because it was $50 more expensive than its predecessor, the Intel i9-10900K, it came with 2 cores less while pulling the same amount of power.

Performance

To add to the disappointment, on some occasions, the predecessor was faster than the 11900K. In other words, for some people, the more expensive and newer flagship CPU would be a downgrade. That is unacceptable. Based on Hardware Unboxed’s review, the 11900k was about 2% slower than 10900K. Even if we accept this as within margin of error, that still leaves the 11th gen flagship identical to the 10900K.

Additionally, it is about 5% slower than the 5900X (with the same MSRP) and has 12 cores compared to just 8.

If we go even further and explore power draw or temperatures, the 11900K looks even more desperate. Power draw can go up to 215W compared to the 5900X’s 160W with PBO on. Almost 35% more power draw for worse performance.

And, 200W+ power leads to a peak temperature of 94C.

Very difficult to justify this purchase. Even if you want to stick with an Intel platform, you would probably be better off with the 10900K.

Specifications

Base Clock3.5GHz
Max Boost Clock5.3GHz
Cores8
Threads16
Socket/ChipsetLGA1200
L2 Cache4MB
L3 Cache16MB
TDP125W
Process14 nm

About The CPU

By ending the bashing on Intel’s latest flagship, we can start praising its predecessor. As mentioned previously, the i9-10900K has more threads and it is $50 cheaper. Even though those 8 cores are more than enough for any game, but getting 2 extra cores won’t hurt. The extra cores could especially be useful for people that are into streaming or other productivity work.

Performance

Previously, we linked to a review hinting that the 10900K was actually faster in an average of seven games. That’s more than enough evidence that you won’t go wrong if you go down this route. It is easily in the top 5 processors at the time of writing this article.

It’s only about 2-3% slower than the 5900X while $50 cheaper. It is up to you to decide whether those $50 are worth the extra two cores and minimal increase in FPS. But, you would definitely see a performance increase in productivity work such as rendering or encoding.

Purely for gaming, saving $50 makes sense. But, 12c/24t sounds better in the long run.

Operating temperatures and overclocking are factors that need consideration. Nothing impressive to report about here though as power usage jumps up to 230W during heavy loads such as y-cruncher based on this Tom’s Hardware report.

And with great power comes huge amounts of temperature. Even with a high-end 280mm AIO cooler such as the Corsair H115i, the 10900K can peak up to 100C. But, the average operating temperature
(after 1 hour in Blender) is about 84C.

Specifications

Base Clock3.7GHz
Max Boost Clock5.3GHz
Cores10
Threads20
Socket/ChipsetLGA1200
L2 Cache2.5MB
L3 Cache20MB
TDP125W
Process14 nm

About The CPU

AMD is at the top of the game right now. In most cases, the top 5 processors in gaming performance are from AMD’s Ryzen 5000 Series. This is what makes the Ryzen 5 5600X the best six-core processor on the market. It might even be the best processor overall considering the price too. For $300 MSRP (now less), you can get AMD’s six-core CPU that sometimes outperforms Intel’s $450 flagship i9-11900K. That is a great value.

The only other comparable option is Intel’s i5-11600K.

Performance

Mind you, the 5600X is not always faster than the i9, but we’ve seen it surpass it in games such as F1 2020, Star Wars: Squadrons, Serious Sam 4, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and more. When it is not faster than the i9-11900K, it is usually identical in speed.

Looking at Hardware Unboxed’s 10 game average FPS chart, the 5600X is less than 1% slower than the i9, so basically, identical performance. Being $150 cheaper, it is a huge bargain. If your priority is gaming and productivity is secondary, go for the 5600X.

Scratch that.

Even if you do want to utilize multi-core tasks such as rendering, encoding, or compression, the 5600X is still incredibly fast, almost as quick as the previous-gen 8c/16t 3700X. The speed of the cores makes up for the lack of cores.

Some would argue that the 11600K is the better alternative. We admit that the 11600K is an amazing processor and of great value, but when compared, the 5600X is still 10% faster while requiring less power. The upgrade options from AMD’s side are a lot more lucrative. You would have the option to jump to a 5900X or 5950X down the road. Intel on the other hand can offer you the 11900K and you know how we feel about that CPU.

With a Corsair H150i, operating temperatures stay around 60C thanks to the processor’s low power draw.

Specifications

Base Clock3.7GHz
Max Boost Clock4.6GHz
Cores6
Threads12
Socket/ChipsetAM4
L2 Cache3MB
L3 Cache32MB
TDP65W
Process7 nm

About The CPU

Intel’s i9s previously mentioned aren’t the most attractive offers, especially once you consider AMD’s counteroffers. But, once we drop to down the i5-11600K, Intel finally seems like a solid offer. This is a 6 core, 12 thread processor that delivers a solid performance. This one too fits in the top 10 gaming processors category and we’d put it even higher, considering the $290 MSRP.

So, about $50 cheaper than the 5600X and only about 10% slower. Not bad at all.

Performance

In games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Watch Dogs Legion, and Death Stranding, the i5 was either identical to the Ryzen 5 5600X or slightly faster. However, when looking at CPU-bound games such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege or Star Wars: Squadrons, the 11600K can be up to 15% slower. The IPC here is definitely slower than Zen 3

Either way, the i5 puts up a good fight and we can’t ignore the great value you can get out of this processor. Although the performance per watt is better on the 5600X.

So, if you are already on Intel’s platform the 11600K is a solid choice and certainly, a better one than the predecessor (i5-10600K) as it can be up to 10% faster.

In terms of power usage, the i5 does need 20-30W more, but overall, the temperature also sticks around 60C.

Note: The 11600K does have room for overclocking improvement, some reporting an increase of 5% to 7% in certain video game titles. Whether the increase in power draw and temperatures is worth it, that’s up to you.

Specifications

Base Clock3.9GHz
Max Boost Clock4.9GHz
Cores6
Threads12
Socket/ChipsetLGA1200
L2 Cache1.5MB
L3 Cache12MB
TDP125W
Process14nm

About The CPU

With so many losses on Intel’s belt with the 11th generation, here is one solid win. The i5-11400/F is undoubtedly the best value processor right now. Since AMD hasn’t offered any Zen 3 alternative, (probably because the Ryzen 5 3600 is still selling like hotcakes), Intel holds this $200 price range.

MSRP for this CPU is just $180. For such a low price, you would get i5-10600K like performance. Only about 10% slower than the 11600K. We would say this is a win for consumers too.

Performance

Horizon Zero Dawn, Borderlands 3, and Hitman 2 put the i5-11400F and i5-11600K in the same performance range. Other more single-core dependent games put the 11400F behind by up to 15%.

Either way, you can’t get this kind of performance anywhere for just $180.

Previously, the best value processor was the Ryzen 5 3600 which you can grab for less than $180 nowadays, but the i5 is about 13% faster. For those on a tight budget, the 10400F is a no-brainer.

In terms of power consumption, during heavy loads, the 11400 can go up to 120W which is closer to the 5800X rather than the Ryzen 3600’s max of 85W.

It also runs a bit hotter than the 3600 (65C) with an average of around 70C. Keep in mind, these temperature results are not comparable to other CPUs in this article as we’re using TechPowerUp’s tests with the Noctua NH-U14S air cooler rather than Corsair’s H150i AIO.

The only major downside with this CPU is the fact that it is locked from overclocking. You won’t be able to push it for extra performance in the future.

Specifications

Base Clock2.6GHz
Max Boost Clock4.4GHz
Cores6
Threads12
Socket/ChipsetLGA1200
L2 Cache3MB
L3 Cache12MB
TDP65W
Process14nm

About The CPU

When talking about the fastest processors, we usually rely on gaming performance and the Ryzen 9 5950X is absolutely a gaming beast, often trading blows with the 11900K.

However, even though it is so good in gaming, it is not where it shines. This $800, 16 core, and 32 thread CPU is a powerhouse for productivity. It’s so good, Intel doesn’t even have an answer for this SKU.

For the people that want to encode videos, compression, or use apps such as Blender or Photoshop, this is singlehandedly the best choice.

Performance

Gaming benchmarks show the 5950X faster or equal to the i9-10900K. Keep in mind that the 11900K can be slower than the previous-gen flagship. Obviously, this puts it behind the 5900X, but that’s expected, considering the 4 extra cores. It’s amazing that a high-core count processor like this has been factory overclocked to 4.9GHz.

When it comes to multi-core tasks, the 5950X tramples the competition. 7-Zip compression benchmarks put the Ryzen powerhouse almost 35% ahead of the 11900K. It is also about 15% faster in encoding in Adobe Premiere Pro.

However, comparing AMD’s $800 CPU with Intel’s $450 8-core is not exactly fair.

So, let’s use Intel’s $1000, 18C/36T i9-10980XE. Unfortunately for the blue team, even this 18 core cannot match the 5950X in compression or any other CPU-bound benchmark.

Specifications

Base Clock3.4GHz
Max Boost Clock4.9GHz
Cores16
Threads32
Socket/ChipsetAM4
L2 Cache8MB
L3 Cache64MB
TDP105W
Process7nm
 

Table of ContentsShow

Upcoming CPUs

Best CPU Overclocking Software

We went through some of the most popular, fastest, and overall best processors on the market right now.

However, if none of these have caught your eye and you want a bigger upgrade for your system, considering waiting for the new CPU generations.

Both Intel’s Alder Lake (12th generation) and AMD’s Ryzen 6000 Series are expected to deliver incredible performance over the previous generations.

Keep in mind, both of these new generations of CPUs will come on a new socket (AM5 and LGA1700) and DDR5 RAM. In other words, it’s going to be more expensive to switch over to these CPUs.

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Branko Gapo
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.