(Image credit: MSI)In case you missed it, there's been a major shift in the CPU space: AMD now rules the roost. It has been winning plaudits for a couple of years now with its Ry zen processors but has always been kept off the top slot by Intel's awesome gaming prowess.
Once you've worked out which CPU you want to build a machine around, the next question is what sort of motherboard you should pick. Intel's latest Comet Lake chips use the new LGA1200 socket, and we'd go with either a Z490 or cheaper B460 motherboard at this point.
Whatever resolution you're gaming at, this processor can handle it, and keep your graphics card of choice fed with lots of juicy frames. So if you have dreams of 3D rendering, video editing, or any other serious tasks, you'll know that you have the raw grunt to handle it.
You don't need to, but if you do, you'll hit higher clocks for longer and also open up the wonderful world of overclocking, which could make it worthwhile. This is a decent little overclocked, and while it won't affect gaming much, it'll help in other areas nicely.
It trades blows with AMD's new Ry zen 7 5800X, which is another 8-core, 16-thread processor of the 7 nm Zen3 variety, but represents better value for money. This is basically $70 cheaper than AMD's similarly capable chip, and that's money that could be better spent elsewhere.
AMD's processors don't have a lot of overhead in them, while you can easily push the 10700K over 5GHz on all cores, and without melting through the heat spreader either. Conversely, AMD brings PCIe 4.0 support to the party, though it's worth noting that despite Nvidia building it into the Ampere RTX 30-series cards it doesn't have a lot of impact in terms of gaming performance just yet.
In a world where Intel doesn't exist this would be an incredible chip and would have made it into our top three recommendations no sweat. It's great for gaming, producing the same figures that can be seen for the 5900X and 5600X, but it also appears to hit the sweet spot in configuration terms, with its eight cores and 16 threads surely seeing it right for the future, seeing as that is what the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are rocking.
Intel's top gaming chip, the Core i9 10900K, lost a lot of what made it special with the release of Zen3. It's still a cracking game chip, don't get us wrong, but it traded on being the very best, and once that went, it lost a lot of its shine.
It's still overkill for the vast majority of cases, apart from possibly at the very, very high-end, and for serious workloads AMD chips just make more sense, but there's still a bizarre charm to this CPU. Gaming still benefits from high clock speeds, and this still delivers, it just doesn't make a lot of sense given the competition.
You'll need to invest in a Z490 motherboard to go along with this chip, and some serious cooling, (a decent PSU wouldn't go amiss either). Don't be fooled by that reasonable 95W TDP, as it'll push way beyond that, especially if you're thinking of exploring its overclocking chops.
It's slightly faster than the previous-gen Core i5 9400 but that F-suffix means it ditches the Intel integrated graphics completely. While the i5 10400F may not be as fast as other CPUs in multi threaded tests, in our gaming suite, it's tied with AMD's last-gen 3900X.
You can also look at the Ry zen 5 3600X as a small step up in performance for $40 more, but the vanilla 3600 can overclock a bit better thanks to a lower starting point, effectively matching its more expensive sibling. Again, fast memory with tight timings helps performance with Ry zen CPUs.
(Image credit: AMD) A cheap CPU with integrated graphics, for ultra-budget builds. We did want to put the AMD Ry zen 3 3300X in here, but it's been sold out since launch, so there doesn't seem much point (it's a great chip if you can find it).
The Ry zen 5 3400G is the true budget gaming solution, however, in that it includes relatively potent integrated graphics. If you're planning on using a dedicated GPU, though, we'd recommend you stick with the 3300X, because this chip also limits the PCIe lanes to your discrete graphics card.
Just make sure the motherboard you buy includes the requisite HDMI and/or DisplayPort outputs. Many X470/X570 boards skip those ports, as the other Ry zen CPUs lack integrated graphics.
That's overkill compared to many of the CPUs, but at 1080p, it shows the most significant difference in gaming performance you're likely to see. Upgrading your graphics card is a piece of cake compared to swapping out your CPU and potentially motherboard and RAM.
AMD's Apes were tested on an MSI B350I Pro AC motherboard, as we needed something with video ports. CPUs contain caches designated as Level 1, 2, and 3, with L1 being the fastest and smallest and L3 being the slowest and largest.
A processor with a 3 .7 GHz clock speed can process 3 .7 billion instructions a second. Clock speed is one of the most critical factors for determining performance in games and workload functions.
AMD also supports turbo or boost clocks, and we use the terms interchangeably regardless of CPU vendor. AMD’s highly anticipated Zen3 made its debut on Thursday with four new Ry zen 5000 CPUs that aim to snatch the gaming crown from Intel.
The company cited improvements such as cache, execution, branch prediction, and load/store for upping the efficiency overall. AMD’s previous Ry zen 3000 chips were built on a base structure of four compute cores.
With the new design, all 8 cores on a die now share the same L3 cache and help boost the Ry zen 9 5900X past its bitter enemy in gaming. Among the games shown by AMD, the flagship consumer Core i9-10900K exceeds the Ry zen 9 5900X only in Battlefield V, but not by much.
The Ry zen gap would typically cause AMD to be 10 to 20 percent slower than an Intel chip at games not limited by the GPU performance. The company said the new Ry zen 9 5900X is the first consumer desktop chip to break the 600 mark in Mason’s Cine bench R20 test in single-threaded performance, with a score of 631.
Again, you can see that Ry zen gap where the Zen3 outperforms the Zen 2 by largely double digits. In gaming, AMD showed off the new Ry zen 9 5900X either tied or ahead by single-digit percentage increases in performance against the Core i9-10900K.
AMD further stressed that its new Zen3 chips lead in power efficiency, which is admittedly a little less pressing for desktops than it is for laptops, Compared to the original Ry zen 7 1800X, a new Zen Ry zen 9 offers up a 2.4X increase in performance per watt. Hillock compared the Ry zen 5000 series to the company’s prior success with Avalon 64, when AMD was firing on all cylinders.
“We are about to release a product that has full-spectrum, total coverage leadership of every sort of performance metric that a gamer, that a PC enthusiast would want a desktop CPU to offer. The last surprise of the day came from a reveal of AMD's new Radon RX 6000-series GPU and some preview performance.
The preview numbers would indicate the new Radon is competitive with Nvidia's well-received GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card. Most of the new Ry zen 5000 mobile family of chips share similarities with the desktop CPUs the company announced a few months ago, and they'll start shipping with laptops from some bigger computer-makers in February.
To that point, AMD claims that the 5800U can deliver almost 18 hours of battery life for normal use cases and up to 21 for video playback. OEMs have already started announcing laptops with these chips, so we expect to see those illuminating benchmarks as early as next month.
He is a reformed media executive who has been writing about technology for 10 years at Ars Technica, Engadget, Mashable, PC World, and many others.