May 26 2014 - There are a large number of desktop processors available and this list was generated to point out the three major categories of processors for both the Intel and AMD product lines. The three categories listed are the top performance processors, best value processors (<$250) and best budget processors (<$100). This allows users to select the CPUs best suited to their budgets. If you are looking at purchasing a fully built desktop computer or building one yourself, check out which processors you should be looking to fit your price range.
While Intel has its Core i7 Performance processors that use a different socket and are extremely expensive, they just don't offer enough of a performance difference compared to the standard desktop Core i7 quad-core processors. There is the new Core i7-4790 which has the highest clock speed of the LGA 1150 processors but the Core i7-4770K is actually a better choice because it is clock unlocked meaning it has a greater potential performance than the newer clock locked model. Pricing is around $320 making it much more affordable than the $1000+ Core i7-4960X.
AMD may be focused heavily upon their APU lineup, their highest performance chips are still designed without a graphics core. The AMD FX-9590 is their most recent model that features an octo-core or eight core processor design with a clock speed of 4.7GHz providing it with some outstanding speed. It may not provide the same level of floating point performance as Intel. Like all the FX series processors, it is fully clock unlocked which means that those willing to push it further can do so via overclocking. Since the design is very different from the APUs, it uses the Socket AM3+ design when looking for compatible motherboards. Priced around $330.
Intel's Haswell chips have been extremely popular thanks to their high levels of performance. With the problems facing Intel's next scale down of chips, the company has released a slightly faster version in the Core i5-4690 quad-core CPU. This makes it faster than the Core i5-4670K at stock speeds and frankly most people are not overclocking their processors. Pricing is also slightly better than the unlocked -5-4670K at around $225. It still uses the same LGA 1150 socket for motherboard compatibility.
The AMD A10-7850K is the latest of AMD's APU lineup with an extremely affordable $180 price tag. It is a quad core processor that offers some good performance but it still trails compared to the more expensive Intel Core i5 processor but it does well enough for the majority of tasks. The new Kaveri based design features a Radeon R7 integrated graphics processor built in which trounces Intel's HD graphics when it comes to 3D. It isn't going to be a gaming system on the whole though as it performs at roughly an entry level 3D graphics card for lower resolutions and detail levels. It uses the socket FM2+ design when searching for motherboard compatibility.
The Pentium series of processors are essentially scaled back versions of Intel's Core i series processors. This makes they very affordable options for those that don't need a lot of performance. The Pentium G3450 uses the same Haswell core as the fourth generation Core i3 processor but without the Hyper-threading. Its 3.4GHz clock speed and two processor cores is still more than enough for the basic computer user that doesn't require a lot of speed. Pricing is right around $100.
AMD did release a new Richland based processor to replace the A6-5600K but it offers only minimal performance gains and is more about efficiency and is priced over $100. When it comes to performance, the processor fares well against the Intel Core i3 thanks to its dedicated four cores but it still falls short in many tasks. Still for someone looking at a low cost desktop build, it is a solid choice for just about any use other than maybe gaming. It does feature a built-in Radeon HD 7560D graphics processor which does much better than Intel's HD Graphics in pretty much any graphics task but it still not quite suitable to be used for gaming without a dedicated card. It uses the socket FM2 design when looking at compatible motherboards. Priced around $100.