Now’s the time to invest in one of the best processors on the market. With Intel and AMD locked in a fiery competition, the CPU market is teeming with impressive chips. AMD is preparing to roll out its  Ryzen 4000 desktop processors, and Intel has just released its Comet Lake-S chips, saturating the market with excellent options touting the most competitive prices we’ve seen to date.

And, if you want a powerful PC, one of the best processors is simply the way to go. The faster and more powerful your CPU is, the better your computer’s performance and power efficiency will be. Whether you’re only browsing the web and streaming movies after work or actually taking on processor-hungry tasks on a daily basis, you’ll definitely see and feel the difference when you’ve got one under the hood of your PC.

We gathered the top CPUs 2020 has to offer to help you find the best processor for your needs. Whatever your budget is and however demanding your computing needs are, you’ll find something here that will suit you.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

(Image credit: AMD)

Best CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Team Red’s takeover

Cores: 12 | Threads: 24 | Base clock: 3.8GHz | Boost clock: 4.6GHz | L3 cache: 64MB | TDP: 105W

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$429.99

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$499.99

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Incredible performance

PCIe 4.0

Beats Intel at same price

Included heatsink may not be enough

Single core performance still behind

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X isn’t just AMD’s best mainstream processor right now; it’s also currently the king of all mainstream processors. With multi-threaded performance that destroys everything in its path to start, you won’t find a processor more impressive without stepping up to the HEDT market. Sure, there are some workloads where the Intel Core i9-9900K will still come out better, like with old games that are completely single threaded. However, thanks to this chip, the gap is definitely starting to narrow.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

(Image credit: AMD)

Best high-end CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

A mainstream CPU moonlights as an HEDT processor

Cores: 16 | Threads: 32 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: 4.7GHz | L3 cache: 64MB | TDP: 105W

$689.99

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$699.99

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$749.99

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Performance powerhouse

Cheaper than HEDT

PCIe 4.0

Needs extra cooling

Limited gaming advantage

The highest tier in the Ryzen 3000 series is the performance powerhouse you’re looking for, if you want something for heavily threaded computer work. Besides high-end gaming, the Ryzen 9 3950 also blasts through processing tasks. It’s expensive, but for a mainstream processor that can go toe-to-toe with HEDT processors, that’s hardly a surprise. And, it’s also well worth the price, if you need its level of performance. Just remember that it may take a bit to keep cool so be sure to follow AMD’s guidance.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

(Image credit: AMD)

Best mid-range CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Top performance on a budget

Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base clock: 3.8GHz | Boost clock: 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 32MB | TDP: 95W

$206.99

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$219.98

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$359.98

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1 Amazon customer review

Excellent performance

Affordable

Includes a cooler

Still 6-cores

With more threads than the Intel Core i5-9600K, this mid-range graphics card delivers impressive multi-threading performance. However, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X doesn’t just stop there: it takes that budget-minded stage of performance to a new level, with its increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance and a higher clock speed while staying at the same price point. It also stays competitive in even the most intense single-threaded applications.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

(Image credit: AMD)

Best entry-level CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100

PC gaming just got cheaper

Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: 3.6GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 65W

Excellent performance

Affordable

Doesn’t suck up much power

Not as fast as the 3300X

May bottleneck high-end GPUs

Budget-minded consumers who missed out on all the 3rd-generation Ryzen excitement the first time will appreciate AMD’s latest attempt in the entry-level sphere. There’s no denying that the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is appealingly cheap, but it does so without compromising on performance. In fact, this chip delivers a performance that could almost rival that of processors double its price, without sucking up much power. And, it’s an excellent choice for budget gamers who are looking for something that can handle 1080p gaming.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 3100

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

(Image credit: AMD)

Best gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

The new budget gaming champion

Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: 4.3GHz | L3 cache: 16MB | TDP: 65W

Excellent multi-core performance

Affordable

Mid-range gaming performance for cheap

Not a huge jump over Ryzen 3 3100

It’s releases like the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X that really push gaming PCs forward. This processor may not technically beat the likes of Ryzen 9 3900X and the Intel Core i9-9900K, but its excellent performance, coupled with its affordability, brings downs the barrier to entry on heavy multi-threaded performance. Suddenly, people don’t have to break the bank to experience what it’s like to have top-end hardware powering their PCs. Is it a wonder that the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is one of our favorite CPU releases in 2020?

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Intel Core i5-10600K

(Image credit: Intel)

Best VR CPU: Intel Core i5-10600K

Hyper-Threading for everyone

Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base clock: 3.5GHz | Boost clock: 4.7GHz | L3 cache: 64MB | TDP: 105W

$299.98

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$519.89

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656 Amazon customer reviews

Excellent multi-core performance

Affordable

Good thermal performance

No PCIe 4.0

Higher power consumption

Mid-range buyers will appreciate the fact that they actually don’t have to shell out quite a bit of cash for Intel’s hyper-threading technology. With Intel’s Core i5-10600K offering, it’s possible to have it for much less than $500. This chip may lack PCIe 4.0 support and has a higher power consumption, but it makes up for those in spades. Besides hyper-threading, this processor also delivers superb multi-core performance as well as improved single-core performance. What’s more is that it’s got great thermals to keep that pesky heat down.

Read the full review: Intel Core i5-10600K

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

(Image credit: AMD)

Best video editing CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

The best processor for most people

Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base clock: 3.6GHz | Boost clock: 4.4GHz | L3 cache: 32MB | TDP: 65W

$279.99

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$279.99

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1 Amazon customer review

Incredible price to performance

Affordable

Included cooler

Single-threaded performance still falls behind Intel

The single-threaded performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X admittedly still falls behind Intel, but what matters most in video editing and rendering is how a chip does with multi-threaded workloads. If you’re building a computer that can handle your video editing demands, this chip is an absolute beast and our top pick for video editing. That’s not all: this AMD chip offers impressive performance and a Wraith Spire cooler at a very affordable price.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

(Image credit: AMD)

Best performance processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

Perfecting the Threadripper line

Cores: 24 | Threads: 48 | Base clock: 3.8GHz | Boost clock: 4.5GHz | L3 cache: 128MB | TDP: 280W

$1,340

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$1,790.45

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Excellent single and multithreaded performance

Competitive price

Not backwards compatible

Launched alongside the even more potent Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X may have the same core count as its predecessor. However, it comes with a brand-new architecture that delivers performance gains as well as PCIe 4.0, making it among the best Threadripper chips yet. The 3960X delivers dramatically improved single-threaded performance and has successfully reduced its predecessors’ idiosyncrasies that affect their own performance. It may come with a higher price tag and require the TRX40 motherboard – not to mention, a powerful cooler – but it’s certainly worth the fuss if you can maximize its skills to your advantage.

AMD Athlon 300GE

(Image credit: AMD)

Best budget CPU: AMD Athlon 300GE

A best value performer

Cores: 2 | Threads: 4 | Base clock: 3.4GHz | Boost clock: 4.0GHz | L3 cache: 4MB | TDP: 35W

Incredibly cheap

Low power usage

Not powerful enough for demanding tasks

Whether you’re looking for a processor for your media center or for your desktop PC, the AMD Athlon 300GE is among the best value performers you can find on the market today. It’s reliable and surprisingly fast for what it can do. It’s never going to deliver a breathtaking performance, but for a processor in the budget space, it’s definitely going to impress you.

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

(Image credit: AMD)

Best HTPC CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

Best for 720p gaming

Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base clock: 3.7GHz | Boost clock: 4.2GHz | L3 cache: 4MB | TDP: 65W

$149.89

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$149.99

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$184.98

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Affordable

Radeon Vega graphics

Bundled cooler

Lower performance in applications than alternatives

With a noticeable, if small, performance advantage over its predecessor, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3400G is a capable option for your home theater PC and budget gaming computer. That means that it’s an affordable alternative to folks who don’t quite take gaming as seriously as the big gamers, touting a solid 720 and a fairly decent 1080p gaming performance. 

Round up of today’s best deals

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core,…

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

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AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core,…

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

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AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core,…

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

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$206.99

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AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Processor…

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AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core,…

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X…

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X

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AMD Ryzen 5 3400G 4-core,…

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

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