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The equipment market is constantly replenished with new generations of microcircuits. Each of them is becoming more and more perfect than the previous one, but there are more and more offers, which makes it more difficult for users to make a purchase decision. This time we have prepared for your attention an assessment of the best Intel processors of 2021. We decided to recruit 15 models at once in all price categories.
Please note that we did not list the latest 12th generation for several reasons:
- The very high cost of the processors themselves due to their small number.
- Lack of assortment of motherboards. Currently, there are cards for sale only on the Z690 chipset and at an inflated price.
- DDR5 memory is still raw and will not reveal its potential for about six months.
I want to immediately answer several important questions that we read from users on our social networks.
Should I buy a processor with integrated graphics from Intel? Yes, if you are confused by the prices of video cards and have a desire to sit inside. You may not expect maximum performance, but the integration will cope with the simplest tasks and games. Why are the 11 and 12 series processors not included in the estimate? The 11 series is not price balanced, it is more expensive than the 10 series with similar performance. In fact, this is the same 10 series, but with fewer cores (typical for i9-11900K), support for PCI-E 4.0 and an increase in lanes from 16 to 20 pieces.
Series 12 is raw, only high-end chipsets are sold at inadequate prices. In addition, manufacturers only develop fasteners for air and liquid cooling systems for the LGA 1700. Which line is the most profitable to take and from which manufacturer? AMD’s offerings dominate the market in terms of price/performance, with models like the Ryzen 5600X, 5900X, and 5950X versus the i9-10900K and i9-11900K. Series 12 is more powerful than AMD products, but for the reasons described above, we do not recommend buying them. Is it worth it to save money on a motherboard? Of course not. The more powerful the processor, the more stable power it needs. Installing, for example, an i9-10990K on a card with an H410 chipset and trying to overclock it, you will get unstable operation with constant disconnection and burn-in of the VRM zone. Therefore, manufacturers produce different lines of cards for certain types of processors.
If you have not yet decided which chip from the company is best suited for your case, we note the following strengths of processors from leading manufacturers of such products:
|Performance per core||+|
|Ease of overclocking||+|
|Integrated graphics performance||+|
Therefore, we have equality. AMD has a tighter budget, better multi-threaded graphics, and better integration. Intel focuses on per-core performance, providing users with easy overclocking and stable high frequencies.
The best budget Intel processors
Here are economical solutions for home and office. Working with documents, multimedia tasks and simple games are the main tasks for which these processors are purchased.
Intel Celeron G5905
The Celeron G5905 series opens the first 15 Intel processors. This is a simple 2-core processor for office computers or multimedia workstations. The 3.5 GHz operating frequency will make it comfortable to surf the Internet, watch movies or draw. There is no dynamic or other type of overclocking. Support for DDR4 memory up to 2666 MHz in dual-channel mode has a positive effect on performance. UHD 610 graphics are integrated into the chip, ready to help even in the absence of a graphics card. Combined with the Intel Celeron G5905, the GT710/730 and 1030 work well for 4K at 30fps on HDMI and 60fps on DP. The processor will not pull 8K. In this way, a balanced and energy efficient assembly is achieved.
- great price;
- high frequency;
- support OP up to 2666 MHz.
- no acceleration.
Intel Pentium Gold G6400
You can’t ignore the legendary “stump” of the Pentium Gold G6400 series. Unlike the Celeron G5905, this inexpensive processor from Intel supports hyper-threading technology, which converts 2 physical cores into 4 logical ones. Combined with 4 MB of L3 cache and 4 GHz frequency, this chip becomes an excellent choice for office and gaming computers for low-demanding projects. It supports up to 3 monitors simultaneously and runs at 4096 x 2304 @ 60Hz when a DP monitor is connected, 4096 to 2160 @ 30Hz when an HDMI monitor is connected. This is facilitated by the integrated graphics Intel UHD Graphics 610. The maximum amount of RAM, as well as its frequency, is limited by the built-in controller to 128 GB and 2666 MHz. Thus, you will get a reliable “working employee” with a minimum investment for several years to come.
- frequency 4 GHz;
- support for 128 GB of RAM;
- support for up to 3 monitors in 4K.
- not at this price.
Intel Core i3-9100F
Another budget processor from Intel for an ultra-budget business computer or gaming computer, paired with the GTX 1650, 1050, 1063 or RX 550, 560. The already ordinary Coffee Lake architecture with a 14 nm process technology allowed us to achieve 3.6 GHz performance on a PC. The box is overclocked to 4.2 GHz. There are only 4 cores and threads. Level 3 cache is equipped with a modest 6 MB. The processor is practically “omnivorous” for DDR4 memory in two bands and an operating frequency range of 1600-2400 MHz. Most often, motherboards with the H310 socket for office solutions and with the B365 chipset for gaming machines are ported to the i3-9100F. This assembly is suitable for comfortable playing in almost any Free-to-Play project. Low heat dissipation makes it undemanding to cooling; A simple cooler with a 92mm fan and two heat pipes will do.
- low price;
- a small heat pack;
- overclocked to 4.2 GHz.
- limited gaming potential.
Intel Core i5-9400F
The Intel Core i5-9400F can rightfully be considered the best budget processor of the current year. The affordable price makes the model especially attractive for those who want to build a budget gaming system for modern Free-to-Play games. For office tasks, it is bought together with cards based on the B365 chipset and for overclocking on the Z390. With the 14nm process technology, Intel was able to reduce the thermal envelope at higher loads, leaving 6 cores and 12 threads unchanged. The base frequency of 2.9 GHz with a boost to 4.1 GHz is not unusual. In terms of performance, the i7-7700 is in no way inferior in synthetic tests, and surpasses it in some games. Buyers speak well of the standard cooler in the boxed version and the lack of need for good cooling. We think there is no savings in this, especially when it comes to overclocking and running in tandem with a GTX 1070/RTX 2060 or 1660 Ti. The overclocked processor overheats, the elements under the cover do not receive normal heat dissipation and are quickly destroyed.
- high performance;
- good price;
- availability of motherboards;
- support for RAM up to 2666 MHz.
Intel Core i5-9600KF
The best budget Intel processor in 2021 is the Core i5-9600KF, which offers the most features in its price range for the LGA1151 v2. Buyers very often use this model for experimentation, trying to get into the 5 GHz bands, while 4.6 GHz is allowed with dynamic overclocking. The processor successfully handles almost all modern games, including open world projects, thanks to 6 full cores with 12 threads. Additional convenience is provided by the 9 MB L3 cache. Please note that the processor is only compatible with 300 series chipsets and will not work with B460 or Z490. Due to the high frequencies, it has an impressive thermal package and a maximum operating temperature of 100 degrees. I am glad that the manufacturer did not put thermal paste on the cover, but solder, although in terms of its properties it is inferior to AMD’s proposals.
- overclocking potential;
- volume level L3;
- support for 300 series outlets.
- middle segment.
The best Intel processors for price and quality
This category contains processors for “budget games”. These chips offer decent performance and average overclocking potential.
Intel Core i3 Comet Lake Refresh
For those who want to save money and build a computer for Full HD, combined with a GTX 1650 / 1660ti and a board with a B560 chipset, we recommend that you pay attention to the relatively inexpensive Intel Core i3 Comet Lake Refresh series processor. It differs from the 10100F in higher frequencies – 3.7 GHz in normal mode and up to 4.4 GHz with dynamic overclocking. Otherwise, these are the same 4 cores with 8 threads and thermal paste under the lid. The manufacturer guarantees that the 65W “stone” thermal glazing package is low and the thermal paste does not dry out with prolonged use. In practice, many users, when playing high-end projects, notice high operating temperatures in the range of 70-75 degrees. Also of note is the 6MB L3 cache, which is half that of the 10400F. We do not recommend using it to play CyberPunk 2077, RDR2, or Microsoft Flight Simulator as it is an open world that requires a lot of processing power.
- ideal for budget PCs;
- high operating frequencies;
- availability of motherboards.
- small three-level cache;
- not suitable for high-end games.
Intel Core i5-11600KF
Let’s start with the fact that both the 11600K and the model with the KF prefix are on sale today. The difference between these processors is about 100 rubles, but “K” is taken if you plan to build a powerful computer, but there is not enough budget for a video card. The built-in UHD Graphics 750 will provide the computer with comfortable work only in office activities; when watching a video from Full HD, the video sequence will start to slow down and stutter. So your best bet is to take the 11600KF, dig around a bit and get a GTX 1070/1080 in the aftermarket. In general, the processor shows decent performance in all modern games thanks to 6 cores, 12 threads and dynamic overclocking to 4.9 GHz per core. It is not recommended to install semi-tower or tower chillers with two heat pipes. The “stone” turned out to be hot, the heat dissipation was 95 watts.
- high clock frequencies;
- good overclocking potential;
- support for RAM up to 3200 MHz.
- large heat pack.
Intel Core i5-10400F
The Intel i5-10400F processor remains the best value for money processor despite the release of the 11 and 12 series. This is likely due to high prices, lack of native DDR5 memory, and motherboards for the latest generations of chips. Company. We advise you to take 10400 if there is no funding and you need to sit on the building. The 10400F is built on a 14nm process with 6 cores and 12 threads. Instantly starts at 2.9 GHz with automatic overclocking to 4.3 GHz, it is not recommended to buy the boxed version because of the unassuming cooler. It is better to take the OEM version and buy, for example, DeepCool Lucifer 2.0 for stable overclocking at a frequency of 4.6-4.7 GHz. The 2666 MHz limit on RAM support is removed by purchasing a motherboard based on the Z chipset. However, if you do not plan to go beyond factory overclocking, Gammax 400 is enough.
- optimal price;
- wide range of dynamic acceleration;
- energy saving mode.
- low RAM frequency supported.
Intel Core i7-10700KF
If you are looking for a mid-range processor from Intel, we recommend that you pay attention to the i7-10700KF line, which is still considered an expensive and powerful solution. 8 cores 16 threads with a frequency of 3.9 to 5.1 GHz. Ways to “remove” any modern project, up to 3D games. And it’s not even about the frequency, but about the 16 MB L3 cache, as well as the bandwidth of the 8 GT / s bus and the 14 nm process technology. Consequently, the processor quickly loads data that is already in use if it needs to be reused. A 100-degree operating temperature ceiling and a 125W thermal block require high-quality air cooling or a two-section dropsy, if you take the “rock” for overclocking. The processor is similar in characteristics to the i9-9900K, but unlike it, it has an improved controller and greater stability during operation.
- excellent L3 cache;
- high overclocking frequency;
- the chip is easy to overclock.
- increased heat dissipation during acceleration.
Intel Core i5-10600KF
The best Intel processor in terms of price-performance ratio in 2021 is the Intel Core i5-10600KF. Users like this chip for its stable performance, easy overclocking and reasonable price. It performs well when editing graphics, and the operating frequencies are too high and range from 4.1 to 4.8 GHz. noticeable. With a three-section LSS, 5.2 GHz may be required, but this will reduce stability. With this processor, good overclocking opportunities open up. The module is capable of supporting 4.5GHz on all cores, which is important for complex processing or open-world games. It supports RAM speeds up to 2666 MHz, but if you buy a Z590 motherboard with XMP profile support, frequencies can go up to 3200 MHz.
- base frequency 4.1 GHz;
- 4.5 GHz is stable on all cores;
- adequate price.
Best Premium Intel Core Processors
The upper segment is represented by the most powerful models on the market. They are suitable for reproducing any modern project, as well as for creating high-performance scientific computers.
Intel Core i9-9900KF
In our subjective opinion, we are talking about the best 9th generation Intel chip. The processor is really relevant due to the wide range of operating frequencies. Out of the box, it starts at 3.6GHz and is capable of boosting up to 5.0GHz. 8 cores and 16 threads on a 14nm process technology transfer heat to the cover not through thermal paste, but through soldering. Therefore, the developers were reassured that the thermal interface does not dry out. Supports up to 128 GB of RAM at 2666 MHz and above (with matching motherboard). Due to the combination of features, this is one of the few processors that cannot be overclocked. For modern games, 8-12 threads are enough, at least 16 threads that are present here. However, if you are going to overclock it, you will need a three-way liquid cooling system.
- excellent performance;
- no need for overclocking;
- Supports up to 128GB RAM.
- support for 300 series cards;
- the chip needs cooling.
Intel Core i7-10700KF
The Intel Core i7-10700KF BOX processor is designed to upgrade gaming computers in the upper and antediluvian segments. It performs well when heated up to 100°C. The TDP of 125W indicates the energy efficiency of the system, but this only applies to the base frequency range. The base clock is set at around 3.8GHz. Thanks to Turbo Boost 2.0 technology, this figure has been increased to 5.1 GHz. The Intel Core i7-10700KF BOX has an octa-core configuration. The L2 cache is 2MB and the L3 cache is 16MB. The special feature of the processor is that it supports DDR4-2933MHz memory with a bandwidth of 46.9GB/s. Virtualization and multi-threading technologies, as well as Enhanced SpeedStep power-saving technology, make this processor ideal for a powerful gaming PC.
- low operating temperatures.
Intel Core i9-10850K
In fact, this is a clone of the 10900KF series with minor changes. All the same 10 cores with 20 threads, using the same 14 nm process technology. Operating frequencies were reduced by 100 MHz, integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics were added. This resulted in a temperature drop of 4-13 degrees and a 3-5% performance loss compared to the 10900KF. This makes it ideal for rendering and 3D graphics. Able to stably maintain a frequency of 4.8 GHz on all cores at a temperature of 65-70 degrees. The powerful processor supports DDR4 RAM, and its maximum capacity can reach 128 GB. It has an integrated PCI-E 3.0 controller. With 125W heat dissipation within the factory frequency range, the maximum temperature under load is set to 100°C. Supplied without cooling system.
- integrated graphics UHD 630;
- ideal for rendering;
- warms up slightly.
- comes without cooler.
Intel Core i9-10980XE
Another premium processor from Intel for workstations that perform engineering design, large dataset calculations, 2D or 3D object modeling. The Cascade Lake-X architecture uses a 14nm manufacturing process. For installation, an LGA 2066 socket with an X299 chipset is used. It has 18 cores and 36 threads with an operating frequency range of 3000 to 4800 MHz, and the ability to increase these values with a free multiplier provides high processing power for complex tasks. The maximum amount of DDR4 RAM can be up to 256 GB at up to 2933 MHz. In addition, the processor offers support for various instruction sets and virtualization technologies. The size of the thermal block is 165W, the maximum temperature at peak load is 86 degrees.
- 18 cores with hyper trading;
- high operating frequencies;
- OP support up to 256GB.
Intel Core i9-10900KF
The best processor from Intel in 2021 in terms of price / performance is the Core i9-10900KF model. As already mentioned, the representatives of the twelfth generation, in our opinion, are still excessively expensive. The 11th generation has less thermal packs by reducing the number of cores The i9-10900KF in turn has 10 cores and 20 threads simultaneously on an LGA 1200 socket. It starts at 3.7GHz and goes up to 5.3GHz, which is one of the highest speeds among processors. The cache size has also increased significantly – now it is 20 MB, which means that the processor will be able to load more used data if necessary. To unleash the potential of the processor, you will need to purchase a motherboard with a Z490 chipset. When the frequency reaches 4.7 GHz, the processor starts to slow down, resulting in a loss of performance. It is recommended to purchase top drops and cards with cooling radiators on power circuits.
- best performance for your money;
- overclocking frequency 5.3 GHz;
- large three-level cache.
- throttling up to 4.7 GHz in the absence of high-end cooling.
How to choose a good Intel processor
When choosing an Intel processor for a future PC build, you need to decide what tasks the computer performs and build it around the processor. For an office and a simple multimedia center with integrated graphics, processors with 2 cores and 4 threads or 4 cores and 4 threads are optimal. A distinctive feature of such processors will be good frequencies, lack of overclocking and low power consumption. Therefore, there is no need to spend money on expensive motherboards or cooling systems. Take, for example, an Intel Pentium Gold G6400 with a card based on the H410 / H510 chipset, a GT 1030 graphics card with 8 GB of RAM, you get a simple system without overpaying.
If you don’t know which processor to choose from Inter for gaming, we recommend starting with 6-core 12-thread processors such as the i7-10600KF or i7-10600K if you need to sit in line. The ideal option would be 8-core and 16-thread models, such as the i7-10700 or i9-10900KF, which will last for the next 5 years. Throw in B560 or Z490/590-level cards, an RTX 2070 up to 3080 Ti graphics card, and 32GB of RAM, and you’ve got a high-end computer for all occasions. It is not recommended to take more powerful models and here’s why. Modern game engines are tweaked for optimization and the amount of resources they can use. Therefore, octa-core solutions may perform better than 12- or 14-core processors.
But when it comes to complex calculations, simulations and large resources, the Xeon line and flagship models like the Intel Core i9-10980XE, sharpened for multithreading, come to the rescue. They are bundled with server cards with X299 chipsets and above, 64 GB of RAM and PNY series graphics cards, are designed for computing and are not suitable for games.
What is the best Intel processor to buy in 2021?
In the end, we traditionally sum up the leaders of the rating, in our opinion. If you don’t know which processor to buy from Intel, start with what kind of computer you plan to build. In any case, it will be more convenient to pay attention to different price categories:
- The Gold G6400 is a good multimedia PC processor;
- Core i7-10600KF is Intel’s best mid-range processor
- The Core i9-10900KF is the best Intel processor for gaming.
It should be noted that we regularly update our ratings and do not forget about the existence of new generations of chips, the demand for which, in our opinion, is not yet at the peak of its demand.