You want a new processor, you’ve checked out our best CPU for gaming guide, and now you need to know the best CPU deals available right now. Well, we can help out with that too.
The processor is the brains of your gaming rig. No matter what you’re running, whether it’s the CPU-intensive Planetside 2 or Minecraft, the processor will be doing all the important number crunching, so you want to make sure you’re getting the right one and for the right money.
Some highlights this week: Threadripper has been out for a while now but it's nice to see some competition in the high end market. Threadripper makes a great alternative to Intel's Skylake-X series processors. See how these CPUs stack up in our review.
- Threadripper has arrived in full force and with only a 25 percent premium over the 1920X and 33 percent more cores, the 1950X is easily our top pick. You won't find these for much under MSRP at the moment.
- If you need more CPU power, AMD offers 12 cores and 24 threads for significantly less than Intel. The 1920X offers good value compared to its bigger brother too as it retains its clock speed while sacrificing 4 cores at a much lower cost.
- The 1900X is AMD's entry level offering for the X399 platform, if you can call a $550 CPU "entry level". It offers similar performance to that of the 1800X with the added benefit of quad-channel memory and an extended upgrade path with future TR4 processors.
- AMD's new generation of Ryzen processors is here, and much like with Coffee Lake, we'll have to wait a while for the best deals, but you can still find some money off. The big dog from the new Ryzen line up is the Ryzen 7 1800X, which will give you 4.0 GHz boost clock. Get some money off at Amazon right now.
- The next step down is the Ryzen 7 1700X, giving you slightly less clock speed, saving you a chunk of money. You can find one at the moment for $350.
- On the lower end of the Ryzen performance line is the Ryzen 7 1700. You've still got the eight cores and 16 threads, but a lower clock speed. Grab one from Amazon for $285 with the Wraith Spire Cooler included.
- In the Ryzen mainstream line we've got the Ryzen 5 1600X, bringing you six cores and twelve threads. It's currently sitting at $220 at Amazon.
- Intel's latest Extreme series CPUs push the bar for performance higher than ever. This performance does come at a cost, especially at the top of the spectrum with the Core i9-7980XE. For that cost you get an unheard of core count in a consumer CPU and while we wouldn’t recommend this chip for gaming, it shines in a professional environment. It's currently out of stock everywhere except for Microcenter.
- Like its bigger brother, the Core i9-7960X is a viable option if you are doing professional work that will take advantage of the extra cores and threads. Get it for slightly less than MSRP over on Amazon.
- The Core i9-7940X lacks the core count of the two top chips but makes up for it with a higher clock speed. There is a nice discount on Amazon right now.
- Sitting right in the middle of the Skylake-X line-up is the Core i9-7920X. With 12 cores and a modest clock speed, this chip is sure to please any enthusiast. Save $100 on Amazon.
- The Core i9-7900X has the highest clock speed out of the i9 family. With two less cores than the 7920X you gain a bit more breathing room for overclocking. Amazon is currently selling these for slightly less than everyone else at $960
- The Core i7-7820X is a great entry point into Extreme territory. It’s a significant price jump from the 8700K but with 2 extra cores it strikes a good balance between work and play. You can find it on Amazon right now for $560
- Intel's latest generation of processors, Coffee Lake, have arrived. You’ll find slightly lower clock speeds but new features and more cores make for a tempting upgrade. You can find the top end Core i7-8700K cheapest at Micro Center for $420. Other retailers are out of stock for the moment.
- Newegg has the Core i5-8600K for $300 at the moment. These CPUs lack the hyperthreading and cache size of the 8700K but retain the 6 cores at a significant reduction in cost.
- When a new generation of hardware releases, the previous generation is sometimes the better choice; however, if overclocking isn’t a priority, the Core i5-8400 exceeds the 7700k in most benchmarks and for less money. Amazon is more expensive than Micro Center right now, where it's $230.
On the lower end of the spectrum sits the Core i3-8350K. Offering 2 less cores than the higher end chips, it makes up some of the performance with a higher clock speed. Grab one for $190 from Newegg.
- The previous gen Core i5-7500 offers non-overclockers a strong performing CPU on a budget with the added bonus of an included heatsink, unlike the K-series offerings. Newegg is more expensive than Micro Center right now, where it's $170.
In our guide to the best gaming processors we've picked out our favourite overall gaming CPU, the best high-end option and the best budget processor for gaming. Here are the best prices we've found around the web for each of them today.
"For pure CPU clocks and gaming performance, the i5-7600K generally wins out."
"We ended up going with the i7-6850K, given its updated architecture and slightly faster performance, but it's basically a toss-up between that and the i7-5930K."
"The i3-7100 is almost certainly capable of maxing out a GTX 1050 Ti / R9 380 / RX 460 or lower graphics card in most games."
"Gaming performance isn't quite what we hoped for, as it fails to surpass even a Core i5-7600K, but leave the gaming behind and Ryzen 7 has a ton to offer. If you're buying a GTX 1080 Ti and planning on running a high refresh rate 1080p or 1440p display, yes, I'd suggest going with Intel. If you also want to do video editing and you don't want to shell out $400 / £400 or more on just the CPU, however, you might need to reconsider. Plus, for about the same price as the i7-7700K, you can get the Ryzen 7 1700, including a cooler no less—and the great news is that the CPU is still fully unlocked."
A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. Some of these online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.