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Best Desktop CPUs

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Oct 1 2013 - 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.

AMD Performance - FX-9370

While AMD may be focused heavily upon their APU lineup, their highest performance chips are still designed without a graphics core. The AMD FX-9370 is their most recent model that features an octo-core or eight core processor design with a clock speed of 4.4GHz providing it with some outstanding speed. It may not provide the same level of floating point performance as Intel but it is decided much more affordable with pricing around $300 compared to Intel's offerings being over $300. 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.

Intel Performance - Core i7-4770K

Intel has released the new Ivy Bridge-E processors for the high end but the cost and performance differences just aren't worth it compared to the new Haswell based Core i7-4770K. The new processor offers modest gains over the i7-3770K it replaces but it is much more affordable at just $350 compared to $580 for the lowest cost six core Ivy Bridge-E based i7-4930K. The quad core processor has more than enough performance for those looking to use it for PC gaming, video editing or just about any heavy computing task. It is clock unlocked for those that want to overclock it but the headroom is a bit modest compared to past generations. It does use the new socket 1150 when looking for a compatible motherboard.

AMD Value - A10-6800K

The AMD A10-6800K is the latest of AMD's APU lineup with an extremely affordable $150 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 Richland based core also has the advantage of coming with a Direct X 11 compatible Radeon HD 8670D 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.

Intel Value - Core i5-4670K

Intel's Haswell chips have made it to market and the Core i5-4670K edges out the past generation i5-3570K not because of dramatically improved performance but because of the improved HD Graphics 4600 and support for the new socket 1150 motherboards for future compatibility. Performance is pretty much on par or just slightly ahead of the older chip which means that it can handle any task one might have in store for your desktop. This is the clock unlocked chip which means it can be overclocked but the new design isn't that much of an improvement for overclocking than the past Ivy Bridge models. Priced around $230.

AMD Budget - A8-5600K

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

Intel Budget - Pentium G3430

It has been a while since Intel released the new LGA 1150 socket processors with its fourth generation of Core i processors but only recently has Intel finally pushed out the low end versions of this processor core. The Pentium G3430 is still a dual core processor but it has a very respectable 3.3GHz clock speed that provides it with a good amount of performance for the average user. The big difference between it and the Core i3 models is the lack of Hyper-Threading provides the i3 with virtual quad core processing.
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