The heart of a PC is its processor. And when it comes to consumer PCs—business and data-center rigs are a whole ‘nother beast—there’s never been a CPU as potent as Intel’s beastly 18-core Core i9-7980XE, and that should be the case since this monster costs a cool $2,000 on Amazon. This monster reigns supreme in single-threaded performance, and since its 18 cores outnumber anything else currently available from Intel or AMD, the 7900X’s comes out on top of our multi-core tests, too.
Intel may hold the performance crown, but if you’re looking for superb multi-core capabilities without getting a new mortgage, the 16-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ($1,000 on Amazon) delivers big-time for half the price of the Core i9-7980XE.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for the best PC gaming performance, the Core i7-8700K ($350 on Amazon) should be your processor of choice. Its 6 cores and 12 threads hum along between 3.7GHz and 4.7GHz—far, far higher than what Intel’s 18-core chip can hit out of the box.
If it’s still available when you’re looking to buy, the Core i7-8086K—created in honor of the first x86 chip’s 40th anniversary—is the first Intel chip to hit 5GHz out of the box in single-thread applications. It’s also virtually certain to hit 5GHz on all cores if manually overclocked, though standard out-of-the-box performance is similar to the much cheaper 8700K in most scenarios. Only 50,000 chips of these chips were made. Pick one up for $425 at NeweggEdit non-product linkRemove non-product link, Amazon, or Best BuyEdit non-product linkRemove non-product link.