Which processor to buy in early 2021: we select a CPU for any wallet


Which processor to buy in early 2021: we select a CPU for any wallet

Unfortunately, the situation with computer hardware, in particular with video cards, remains deplorable. 3000 series from NVIDIA, it seems, you can not expect at all in the near future. According to the news , the deficit will last at least until mid-year. But even the previous generation is almost impossible to buy, and even if the batch arrives in stores, then the prices are very far from being adequate. For example, for GTX 1650 they ask from $300 to 400 USD, and old lady 1050 Ti costs from $250 to 350 USD.

But on the processor market, everything is not so sad, and now it is quite possible to choose a productive CPU at an adequate price. And what exactly to buy, we will tell you.

But first, we want to draw your attention to the fact that when choosing a processor, a lot will depend on the installed video card. If you play at 60 FPS and even in 4K, most likely you will not see the difference between many processors from our list, since performance will depend primarily on the GPU. Special attention should be paid to the selection of the processor if you need the maximum FPS for high-frequency displays. Here, indeed, every frame can be counted. And in general: the more FPS now, the longer the processor will be relevant. If you don't know exactly what hardware is installed in your PC

Gags (100 - 150 USD)

The name speaks for itself: these processors are intended, rather, for an office computer or media center. Games, if they pull, are only the simplest ones like CS: GO. But they are cheap, and they can wait out difficult times.

We recommend:

We will not recommend Intel products in this price segment. The integrated video core is much more powerful in AMD, which in some cases makes it possible to do without a video card at all. However, if you want an Intel-based assembly and need a stub, then you can take something the cheapest, for example, the Celeron G5905 for 50 USD.

Pay attention to the Athlon 3000G or at least its predecessor 200GE. They are about the same in performance, but the new processor is a little faster, and with a difference of a couple of dollors, it is better to take it. 

Undemanding games can be played without a graphics card. Blockbusters will also start - evenCyberpunk 2077 . But they will just start: it will be impossible to talk about comfortable gameplay. Although, with a strong desire, some projects can still be completed - at minimum and 720p.

If you add a video card, then you can play in Full HD. However, control in such processor-demanding games as"The Witcher 3" orShadow of the Tomb Raider won't be the most responsive.

Beginner level (130-200 USD)

These are the cheapest CPUs that modern games can handle. It is worth noting that the difference in price between the plugs and the initial gaming level is not that big, and in some cases the plugs cost even more. Taking Pentium or Athlon more expensive than 3000G / 200GE is a waste of money. Probably for some specific office tasks Pentium Gold G6600 for $115 USD will be preferable, but not in our case. By the way, if Pentiums were quad-core (without HT), the layout could change. But Intel is in no hurry to increase cores and threads in the cheapest solutions.

We recommend:
At the moment, it is better to take something from the Ryzen 3 or Core i3 line and get normal performance in games. The best choice in the category is the Core i3-10100F for $125 USD. This is a quad-core eight-thread processor, which can be compared to the popular Core i7-7700 at the time. With it, you can definitely play all modern games, albeit not always with the maximum FPS.

It is worth noting that 400 series motherboards will also support 11th generation Intel Core processors, so the i3-10100F can be seen as a temporary stopgap before purchasing a new i5 or i7. Alternatively, you can take a motherboard on the Z-chipset and overclock the memory, which will positively affect the speed of the processor right now, while you are saving up for an upgrade. Whatever the "experts" on the Internet say that overclocking is not necessary for Intel, the test results speak for themselves.

The Core i3-10100F has practically no competitors. Ryzen 3 3100 costs $178 USD, and in games it shows results even slightly worse, especially when the Core i3-10100F has overclocked memory. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take the 3100 if you want to upgrade to the Ryzen 5000 series in the future.

Please note that the F index means a locked video core, that is, a video card is required for the processor. Also, don't confuse it with the previous generation Core i3-9100F. The old processor has only 4 threads, which is much worse and has a significant impact on performance. But for the price they have parity.

Ryzen 5 1600 for $180 USD, Ryzen 2600 and 2600X for $195 USD, as well as Ryzen 5 3500 / 3500X for the same $192 USD can be attributed to the same category. Despite so many offers at roughly the same price, everything is simple here. First, there is little sense in the Ryzen 5 1600, when there is a more recent 2600 / 2600X at the same price. If only take it on the secondary housing for six or seven thousand. Secondly, if you need a processor not only for games, but also for work tasks, then you should take 2600 / 2600X, otherwise - 3500 / 3500X. Versions with X and without now cost almost the same.

Nevertheless, there won't be any noticeable difference in games compared to the Core i3-10100F, especially when paired with a medium video card. At the same time, the cost of six-core AMD is significantly higher. Unless games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which work well with a lot of threads, the R5 2600 will be great. But in general, it is better to invest the extra money, for example, buying an SSD or video card.

Optimal choice (150-300 USD)

We got to the fun part. Processors from this category are the best choice for a gamer. At a relatively moderate cost, you get decent performance and headroom for the future. We recommend choosing something from this segment for yourself, and leaving more expensive processors for enthusiasts, streamers, work tasks or for those who are not used to counting money.

We recommend:

In the Intel camp, the most affordable processor in this category will be the Core i5-10400F processor for $150 USD. In games, it is faster than the Ryzen 5 2600, so a small overpayment is justified here.

You can also consider buying the previous generation in the face of the Core i5-9600KF, which does not have hypertrading, which means there are only 6 computing threads. In overclocking up to 5 GHz, such a processor bypasses the 10400F, but it costs $150 USD. Moreover, it needs a top-end chipset motherboard to be able to overclock.

All other Core i5s are not worth considering. Except for similar versions with a built-in video core, if you need a built-in in order to be able to use a computer until video cards are on sale.

The best choice is Core i5-10600KF. Its performance, taking into account overclocking, should be enough for a long time, and if you need a machine to squeeze out maximum FPS, then this is a suitable option. Such a CPU costs a lot - $220 USD. In fact, this is a copy of the Core i7-8700K, which is now sold on the secondary market for about the same money.

In the AMD camp, the countdown starts with the Ryzen 7 100 for 500 USD. This is not the best choice for gaming, but if you also need a processor for work, and for a reasonable price, then you can take it. Sixteen threads do not yet provide a significant advantage in games. But, for example, in Cyberpunk 2077, the difference can be noticeable.

The next processor that should be considered for purchase is the Ryzen 5 3600 for $300 USD. In general, the processor is not bad, but it costs a lot (prices have grown noticeably lately). Its competitor, the Core i5-10400F, delivers similar performance (even higher with overclocked memory) and is cheaper. You can buy it if you want AMD or are also going to run working software. The red processor is ahead of the competitor here, despite the same number of threads. However, Ryzen has more L3 cache. Moreover, to work in the future, it will be possible to upgrade to some Ryzen 7 with 16 threads.

Pre-top level (250-450 USD)

At this level, we select processors that may already be redundant for most gamers. Any processor from the list above is enough for a comfortable game, but if you need more, then go ahead.

We recommend:
Let's start with a pair of Ryzen 7 3700X for $400 USD and a Core i7-10700F for 26,000. The latter processor is still preferable, since it performs better in games. It looks even more senseless to buy more expensive 3800X and 3800XT for 35,000 and $430 USD, respectively. The performance is not much better than the younger 3700X, but the price is significantly higher.

As for the Ryzen 5 5600X, then, in theory, it should have fallen into the previous category, but at a cost of $386 USD, it already competes with the i7 from Intel. Interestingly, in games it shows approximately the same performance as the Core i7-10700K. And the cost is similar: for 10700KF they ask for $330 USD.

Coolest (unlimited budget)

In the current conditions, few can afford top-end components. And, by and large, a simple gamer does not need such power. You can play at ultras at 60 FPS on a much more affordable configuration.

We recommend:
If you want to build the fastest gaming system and don't need to save money, then it makes sense to take the Ryzen 9 5950X for $1220 USD in the OEM version. Intel will have the i9-10900K for $550 USD (how this monster shows itself in action, you can learn from our material ). In the stock state, AMD takes the lead - insignificantly, but still. When overclocked, the processors are almost on par.

Is such an insignificant increase in performance in games worth the money? Definitely not. But AMD is clearly ahead in workloads. Primarily due to the larger number of cores and threads. In this regard, Intel has no analogues on the LGA 1200 platform. If you want more than 10 cores, then you need to switch to LGA 2066. There is, for example, an eighteen-core Intel Core i9-10980XE for $1050 USD.

If you want to save a little, then you should take the Core i9-10850K for $410 USD. It has 100 MHz lower base frequency, but it also costs less than 10900K. Besides, AMD has a 5800X for $530 USD. It is slightly inferior in games to the i9-10900K, but it costs a little less. It can also be considered for  purchase. 

Which processor to buy in early 2021

As you can see, the market situation is ambiguous. The Ryzen 3000 series has risen in price and no longer seems so attractive compared to the competitor, and the new AMD processors cannot be called budget. As soon as AMD products began to overtake Intel processors, prices also increased. It turns out that building the system is now more profitable on Intel.

Besides, do not forget that the 11th generation of "blue" processors is on the way. And here, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the right buying decision. First, the new processors will be compatible with 400 chipset motherboards. That is, you can upgrade without replacing the motherboard if you buy now something from the 10 line. Secondly, the flagship Core i9-11900 and its variations will have only 8 cores, unlike the i9-10900, which has 10. So, if multithreading is critical for you, you need to take this into account.
Thirdly, budget motherboards based on B560 and H570 (but not H510) officially support memory overclocking. That is, for a "free" increase in performance only at the expense of RAM on processors with a locked multiplier, it will not be necessary to buy a top-end chipset. As soon as new processors appear on the free market, we will definitely refresh our material. Keep for updates.

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