These are the best AMD CPUs you can buy in 2022
AMD CPUs have evolved a lot over the years to become so much more than just an affordable alternative to Intel CPUs. In fact, they’ve been stomping on Intel chips for a few generations now, offering an incredible value for money with an appealing price to performance ratio. AMD CPUs are also dominating our collection of the best CPUs as well as the best gaming CPUs on the market right now. While Intel is doing some impressive work with its new Alder Lake processors, we still think the existing AMD CPUs offer great value, especially when you consider the platform entry cost of the new Intel chips. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best AMD CPUs you can buy right now.
Navigate this article:
- Best overall AMD CPU to buy: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- Best AMD CPU for gaming: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- The best AMD CPU for enthusiasts: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
- Best budget AMD processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
- Best AMD CPU for budget gaming: AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
- Best Workstation AMD processor: AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX
Best overall AMD CPU to buy: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
While the Ryzen 9 590X and the Ryzen 9 5900X, both dominate the high-end CPU market, we think it’s the Ryzen 5 5600X CPU that offers the best value for your money. As such, it’s our pick of the best overall AMD CPU you can buy right in 2021. This $300 processor from the house of AMD is capable of delivering a stunning blow to Intel’s mid-range lineup. It’s a fantastic mainstream chip that’s equally good for gaming, content creation, productivity, and more.
The Ryzen 5 5600X comes with six cores and twelve threads powered by AMD’s Zen 3 architecture fabricated on the 7nm process. This processor offers approx. 19% improvement in instructions per cycle (IPC) over its last-gen counterpart. It also brings a ton of other noteworthy features to the table including improved memory overclocking, new cache topology, and more. The Ryzen 5 5600X is also a 65W TDP chip, which means it’s one of the most power-efficient chips in AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series. Intel hardly offers anything that comes close to the Ryzen 5 5600X in terms of power efficiency.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X comes with a base frequency of 3.7GHz and boosts all the way up to 4.6GHz. While the official peak frequency is clocked at 4.6GHz, the chip is known to frequently cross the 5GHz mark under favorable conditions. Overclocking is also an option with the Ryzen 5 5600X with which users can get more performance out of this chip. Overclocking performance is obviously not going to be as good as the Ryzen 9 5950X, but it comes close for a fraction of its cost. It also boasts 36MB of L3 cache to topple the competition.
In terms of performance, the Ryzen 5 5600X beasts nearly Intel chips in its category and trade blows with some of the high-end chips from the blue team too. The 5600X even beats the Core i9-10900K in most single-threaded workloads including gaming at 1080p. This makes it one of the best processors you can buy for your gaming rig without burning a huge hole in your pocket. It goes without saying that even the Core i7-10700K isn’t as fast as the Ryzen 5 5600X, even after overclocking.
The thing about the Ryzen 5 5600X is that it drops right into the existing motherboards with an AM4 socket, thereby reducing the overall platform entry cost. You can check out our list of the best AMD motherboards to see all the available options for your new AMD CPU. This particular processor works well with 500-series chipsets like the X570 and B550 models. You can also use a 400-series chipset, although we think stepping up to either an X570 or the B550 would be a better choice to get PCIe 4.0 support and more.
Overall, we think the Ryzen 5 5600X is an excellent processor that’s worth picking up in 2021 even with so many alternatives around. You can also step up to one of the high-performance chips like the Ryzen 9 5900X or even the Ryzen 9 5950X, but we think the Ryzen 5 5600X is plenty for most users looking to build a performant gaming rig.
- The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is our pick for the best overall CPU if you're leaning towards an AMD-based build. It's not as powerful as the Ryzen 9 5950X, but it's way cheaper and it beats nearly all the Intel chips in its category and beyond.
Best AMD CPU for gaming: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
While the Ryzen 5 5600X is our pick for the best overall AMD CPU you can buy right now, we think hardcore gamers who’re serious about getting the best gaming performance should setup up the Ryzen 7 5800X. This particular CPU brings some meaningful upgrades to the table, making it a fantastic chip for single-threaded applications like gaming. AMD has greatly reduced the latency between cores by packing in 8 cores per CCX — up from 4 cores per CCX on Zen 2. Notably, each core also has direct access to 32MB of L3 cache, thereby improving the overall performance of the chip.
The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X comes with 8 cores and 16 threads for an impressive multi-core performance too. This makes it a solid option for those leaning towards content creation workloads as well. Not to mention, the Ryzen 7 5800X is also a great chip for streamers who’re looking to share their gameplay with others live on platforms like Twitch. The Ryzen 7 5800X can also boost up to 4.7GHz, with a total of 32MB of L3 cache. These specs are very similar to that of its last-gen counterpart, however, the Ryzen 7 5800X has a higher boost clock. That’s a huge improvement, especially when you consider each core having direct access to all the cache. We’re looking at an IPC improvement of about 39% in games.
One thing we don’t necessarily like about the Ryzen 7 5800X is that it doesn’t come bundled with a stock cooler. While most gamers and enthusiast will get their hands on an aftermarket CPU cooler, we still think it’s a glaring omission. The bundled AMD Wraith cooler used to be one of the stock coolers and we think it would’ve been great for users running this particular chip at stock settings. It also adds up to the overall cost of the build and the Ryzen 7 5800X isn’t as affordable, to begin with. At $449, the Ryzen 7 5800X costs $150 more than its last-gen counterpart, the Ryzen 7 3800X. Sure, it’s an impressive processor that’s worth considering, nonetheless, but we think a little less aggressive price or at least a bundled cooler would’ve made things that much better.
The Ryzen 7 5800X didn’t really have a competing chip from Intel until the new Alder Lake CPUs arrived recently. That those new chips still demand a new motherboard and CPU coolers, which again adds to the overall entry cost of the platform. The Ryzen 7 5800X drops into the existing set of 500-series motherboards with an AM4 socket, so we think they offer much better overall. Intel’s Core i7-10700K also comes close to the performance of the Ryzen 7 5800X, but it’s not better by any means. We think the 5800X is the chip to beat in when it comes to gaming and content creation for most users. You can check the like below to find the best price online for this particular CPU right now.
The best AMD CPU for enthusiasts: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
The Ryzen 9 5950X is the best CPU in AMD’s 5000 series and we think it blurs the lines between the mainstream CPUs and HEDT processors. The Ryzen 9 5950X is one heck of a powerful chip that packs 16-cores. Intel’s didn’t really have an answer to this particular until the new 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs arrived. Intel’s closest competition was the Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition, which is way more expensive than the 5950X. This is the processor we recommend for those who want nothing but the absolute best for gaming, content creation workloads, and anything between.
The Ryzen 9 5950X may not be as powerful as the company’s more power-hungry Threaripper chips, but it comes close, really. It packs 16 cores and 32 threads that can rip through any and all kinds of workloads. In fact, we recommend buying the Ryzen 9 5950X for most users over a Threadripper CPU. The best thing about the Ryzen 9 5950X is that it drops right into one of the existing 500-series chipset motherboards thanks to the trusty old AM4 socket compatibility. The Threadripper CPUs, on the other hand, demand their own specialized TRX40 chipset and oversize motherboard socket.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X comes with a base clock of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 4.9Ghz. While the base clock of the 5950X is less than the 3.5Ghz base clock of 3950X, the boost is slightly higher. We’re also looking at some other minor changes for AMD is charging a $50 premium over the last-gen 3950X. Both CPUs are based on the 7nm process and have the same 105W TDP. In comparison, the Intel Core i9-10980XE has a TDP rating of 165W and it also costs around $250 more than the 5950X. Overclocking is also entirely possible on the Ryzen 9 5950X and it’s proven to boost past the 5GHz mark under favorable conditions.
We recommend pairing the Ryzen 9 5950X with a capable motherboard to get the usage out of this CPU. You can pick X 570 chipset based motherboard from ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, etc. and easily push this particular CPU to its limits. Do keep in mind that the Ryzen 9 5950X doesn’t come with a bundled CPU cooler, so you will have to bring your own cooler. You can either pick up a big-sized fan cooler or an AIO liquid cooler for your build to the temperatures in check. We don’t recommend skimping on both the CPU cooler and the motherboard, or else you may end up facing some performance bottlenecks.
You can also step down to the Ryzen 9 5900X over this particular CPU to save some money, at that point, you might as well go down to the Ryzen 7 5800X. The Ryzen 9 5950X represents the best of what AMD has to offer in the mainstream CPU market. We’re expecting the new AM5 platform next year but until then this is going to be our pick for the best high-performance mainstream AMD chip you can buy in the market.
Second-best high-performance AMD CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
The Ryzen 9 5900X sits on top of AMD’s 5000 series product stack along with the Ryzen 9 5950X as one of the CPUs you can right now. It may not be as powerful as the Ryzen 9 5950X, but it packs a lot of punch and it’s definitely one of the best high-performance AMD CPUs you can buy right now. It’s built on Zen 3, an architecture that AMD has built from the ground up to increase IPC performance and overall efficiency of the chip. Despite the higher TDP value, you can still count on the Ryzen 9 5900X as a highly efficient CPU on the market, on par with a lot of other 5000 series chips.
The Ryzen 9 5900X comes with 12 cores and 24 threads. In comparison, the Ryzen 9 5950X comes with 16 cores and 32 threads. So the 5900X is definitely more of a toned-down version of the 5950X. This makes sense because we still think the Ryzen 9 5950X is a high-performance no compromise CPU designed only for enthusiast users. We’re looking at a max boost clock of 4.8GHz, but it can easily get past the 5Ghz mark under favorable conditions. Each core of this particular CPU has direct access to the 32MB of L3 cache memory, unlike the distributed cache on the Ryzen 9 3900X.
Even with a high core count and the max clock speed, the Ryzen 9 5900X reaches a max TDP of around 140W, which is lower than what the last-gen counterpart would reach at max speeds. This goes to show how optimised the new Zen 3 architecture is really. These new 5000 series chips are some of the most power-efficient processors you can buy right now. AMD was able to squeeze a lot of performance out of these 5000 series chips.
Another thing we like about the Ryzen 9 5900X is that you don’t need a new motherboard if you already have one with an AM4 socket. That’s right, this CPU just like every other unit in the Ryzen 5000 series drops right into one of the existing 500 series chips. We recommend picking up an X570 based chip for this processor to get the performance out of this CPU. You can also overclock 5900X, so you might want to pick up a potent CPU cooler too since AMD has stopped bundling stock coolers with its high-performance chips. The Ryzen 9 5900X may run hot at times, especially when you’re overclocking it, so it’s best if you pick up a big sized fan cooler or at least 240mm AIO to manage the thermal output of this beast.
At $549 for the Ryzen 9 5900X right now, you’re looking about a $50 jump from its last-gen counterpart. This isn’t a tough pill to swallow, but you’ll definitely be looking at big numbers for a high-end rig with good quality components to go along with a CPU this powerful. The Ryzen 9 5900X is also a fantastic option for gamers who’re looking to get the absolute best for their gaming experience. You can also step up to the more expensive Ryzen 9 5950X, but that’s only recommended for more advanced users.
Best budget AMD processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
The Ryzen 5 3600X is a relatively old CPU on the market right now, but we think it still deserves a spot in our collection. The Ryzen 5 3600X is our pick for the best budget AMD CPU you can buy right now on the market. The 3600X is a successor to the 2600X and it trails behind the new 5600X in terms of overall performance. The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is a hexa core CPU with 12 threads and it’s quick enough to hold its own when it comes to single-threaded applications. The ‘X’ suffix also means this particular CPU can be overclocked to get more performance out of it. In fact, we’ve recommended the 3600X over the standard 3600 mainly for the overclocking potential for users who want to play around with settings to get more performance.
The Ryzen 5 3600X is a fantastic CPU for gaming. We’re looking at a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost frequency of 4.2Ghz. This is more in line with a lot of processors on the market right now. What makes the Ryzen 5 3600X better even today is the availability of a 35MB L3 cache. It’s being shared but it’s still more than double the 16MB of the preceding Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 5 2600. The Ryzen 5 3600X CPU also boasts 24 CPU-based PCI Express 4.0 lanes and 16 chipset lanes. This was one of the CPUs to being support for PCIe 4.0 support, although Intel has taken that crown now in the case of PCIe 5.0 support with its new Alder Lake CPUs.
The Ryzen 5 3600X offers impressive multi-threaded performance which is great for tasks other than just gaming. Technically, you can this CPU even for content creation or streaming, but you may have to keep your expectations in check. It generally matches the performance of the more powerful Ryzen 7 3800X, which is quite impressive. The Ryzen 5 3600X also topples other Intel CPUs in its category so this is definitely a no brainer over the 9th gen Intel CPUs. The Ryzen 5 3600X is compatible with the AM4 socket which means it drops right into either a 500-series or even a 400-series motherboard. We recommend pairing it with either a B550 or a B450 motherboard, saving yourself some money instead of buying the more expensive X570-based motherboards.
The Ryzen 5 3600X also comes with a very capable Wraith Spire cooling fan in the box, which makes it a much better offering for economical shoppers. The bundled stock cooler is plenty to run the Ryzen 5 3600X in stock settings. You may, however, need a high-performance CPU cooler for the 3600X if you plan on overclocking it, though. Overall, the Ryzen 5 3600X is a solid budget CPU that’s worth buying even in 2021. Yes, the newer 5000 series AMD chips are arguably better than this one, but you can’t possibly go wrong with eh 3600X if you’re looking at a budget build. You can check below to find the best price online for this particular CPU.
Best AMD CPU for budget gaming: AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
Buying an APU is your best bet to start playing games on your new PC without the need for a discrete GPU. And that’s particularly exciting now since getting your hands on a graphics card is more difficult than ever. Well, if you’re in the market to buy a new APU, then we think the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is the one to buy, and it’s our pick for the best budget gaming CPU you can grab right now. Sure, the Ryzen 5 5600G is more affordable than this one, but being able to cover the cost of gaming without buying a discrete GPU itself makes it a budget build for you, so we think it’s best to pump a bit more money on a better processor for when you actually buy a discrete GPU when they’re more widely available for decent prices.
The Ryzen 7 5700G is a part of AMD’s new ‘Cezzane’ APUs and it’s an 8-core APU that sits on top of the Ryzen 5 5600G and the quad-core Ryzen 3 5300G in AMD’s APU product stack. This particular CPU costs less than the Ryzen 7 5800X and the Ryzen 5 5600X, but you do get more bang for your buck. AMD has always had a strong presence in the APU market and the new Ryzen 7 5700G makes it even better. It’s based on the Zen 3 architecture and brings 8 cores and 16 threads to the table. We’re looking at a base frequency of 3.8GHz and a boost frequency of 4.6GHz. Yet it still has a relatively lower TDP rating of just 65W, which is quite impressive. This means it’s just as power-efficient as most other 5000 series chips.
That being said, the Ryzen 7 5700G isn’t exactly a Ryzen 7 5800X with an iGPU. AMD has lowered the L3 cache and has also ditched support for PCIe 4.0 support. This means the Ryzen 7 5700G is somewhat limited in terms of performance since you can’t use PCIe 4.0-based components such as the newer SSDs. You do get memory support for up to DDR4-3200, which is great. Notably, the Ryzen 7 5700G also comes with AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler, which is a nice addition. This will allow you to save more money for other core components for your PC build.
The Ryzen 7 5700G also drops right into one of the existing AM4 motherboards on the market, so it’s great if you’re upgrading from an older AMD CPU. The fact that these new 5000 series AMD chips have such a low platform entry cost makes them very desirable even though Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs are arguably more powerful. The integrated GPU is based on the Vega architecture that comprises eight compute units and 512 GCN cores operating at 2GHz.
It’s worth pointing out that these integrated GPUs rely on shared system memory, you might want to purchase a good quality RAM with decent memory speeds to make the most out of this particular APU. Gaming is also possible with this APU, but we suggest you keep your expectations in check since this is still going to give you an entry-level gaming experience.
Second best AMD APU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
While the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is the best APU you can buy right now for a budget gaming build, we think the Ryzen 5 5600G also deserves a spot in this collection mainly because of its incredible price to performance ratio. It’s our alternate pick for the best AMD APU you can buy on the market right now. This APU starts to take the shine off the more expensive 5700G counterpart by serving up ~96% of its performance, that too at a significantly less price. This easily makes it the best value APU you can grab right now as you wait for the graphics card prices to go down.
The Ryzen 5 5600G is based on the Zen 3 architecture and it’s paired with the Radeon Vega graphics engine. The 5600G comes with six cores and twelve threads. It comes with a base frequency of 3.9GHz and a boost frequency of 4.4GHz. This particular APU is rated for 65W TDP, which is again quite impressive. It’s worth pointing out that the Ryzen 5 5600G further lowers the entry price of the AMD 5000 series by shaving $40 off the Ryzen 5 5600X, making it a fantastic option for those building a mid-range PC. You can always buy a discrete GPU later when the market stabilizes.
The Ryzen 5000G also supports DDR4-3200 memory speeds, which is great. The integrated GPUs, in case you don’t know rely on the shared system memory, so it’s probably not a good idea to skimp on the choice of memory. Compared to the Ryzen 5 5600X, you get integrated graphics but you miss out on the PCIe 4.0 support. You’ll also be sacrificing 200Mhz of base clock speeds and half the L3 cache, so do keep that in mind as well. That being said, we think it’s a fair trade-off considering you do get an iGPU for $40 less.
As for the gaming performance, well the Ryzen 5 5600G isn’t necessarily the best performing CPU out there but it’s definitely amongst the best. You might want to keep your expectations in check when it comes to the overall gaming performance since it’s not going to compete with a discrete GPU. The 5600G, we’d say is plenty of casual games, but you will still be looking at a lower visual fidelity while playing some modern titles. Think of it as a good stop-gap solution until you can afford a discrete graphics card. That might take some time, so the 5600G is a good option to get started with gaming on your new rig if you don’t necessarily want to wait.
If you’re planning to buy a high-end GPU in the future though, then you might want to step up to the more powerful Ryzen 7 5700G. The 5600G might become a bottleneck in the future, especially if you’re eyeing the high-performance GPUs on the market. The Ryzen 5 5600G is more of a ‘non-X’ equivalent to the Ryzen 5 5600X. That being said, you’re better off buying the 5600X if you do have a discrete GPU.
Best Workstation AMD processor: AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX
AMD’s Threadripper 3000 processors absolutely dominate the HEDT space with incredible powerful CPUs. Well, guess what? The Threadripper Pro CPUs are even better as they bring some meaningful upgrades by enabling all eight memory channels and all the PCIe lanes. We’re adding the AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX to this list as an option for those who want nothing but the absolute best when it comes to raw compute power. This chip comes with 64-cores and 128 threads and it’s the leader of the pack when it comes to pure computing power. This particular chip, along with a few others, were exclusive to Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620 workstations, but we think AMD did the right thing by bringing a handful of them to the retail market.
The AMD Threadripper Pro brings a lot of noteworthy features to the table to make it one of the best workstation CPUs on the market. The 3995WX can single-handedly outperform dual-socket Intel systems that come with up to 56 cores. Well, that’s not really a surprise considering AMD’s been leading the workstation CPU space for quite some time now. The 3995WX is very similar to the Threadripper 3990X but there are some features that you simply can’t ignore. The Threadripper Pro 3995WX brings eight DDR4-3200 memory channels to life, which means we’re looking at a significantly higher memory throughout the quad-channel options. Intel’s Xeon W models top out at DDR4-2933, so there’s that too.
AMD has also bumped the max memory capacity up to 2TB in systems that support up to two DIMMs per channel. This is also a huge bump over AMD’s own consumer models that only support up to 256GB. Notably, AMD has also increased the PCIe 4.0 support from 72 lanes with the standard Threadripper models to a whopping 128 lanes on the Pro models. This makes it very desirable for professional users looking to take advantage of the high-performance PCIe peripherals. Just to put things into perspective, you can connect up to four Nvidia Quadro GPUs in a single-socket chassis, which is incredible.
It’s, however, worth pointing out that this particular CPU demands special attention. The ‘WX’ suffix denotes that it’s a professional workstation chip that drops into specialized single-socket WRX80 motherboards featuring the sWRX8 socket. The supported motherboards are some of the expensive ones you can find on the market right now as they tend to offer a robust power delivery system capable of handling the raw power of these monstrous CPUs. The 280W AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX features a max frequency of over 4.0 GHz. You’re also looking at a higher base frequency of 2.7 GHz, which is higher than EPYC’s maximum of 2.25 GHz for a 64-core processor.
Overall, the AMD Threadripper 3995WX is one of the best high-performance workstation-grade CPUs you can buy on the market right now. Nothing comes to the performance of this CPU in the single-socket ecosystem, really. That being said, most users are better off buying either the Ryzen 9 5900X or the Ryzen 9 5950X that fall under the mainstream CPU category. They’re not nearly as expensive as the Threadripper and they don’t demand a high platform-entry cost either.
Best AMD CPUs to buy right now: Final Thoughts
Even after the arrival of Intel’s new Alder Lake CPUs, we think the existing lineup of AMD CPUs have a lot to offer. Not to mention, the existing Ryzen CPUs don’t come with a high platform entry cost as they drop right into the existing AM4 sockets found on the 500-series and 400-series motherboards. Between the new CPU coolers for LGA 1700 socket and the new Z690 chipset based motherboards, you’ll already be spending a lot of money on a build involving one of the new 12th Gen Intel CPUs. We think the Ryzen 5 5600X is the best overall AMD CPU you can buy on the market right now. You can also step up the more powerful Ryzen 9 5900X or even the Ryzen 9 5950X if you want the best of what AMD has to offer in the mainstream market. We’ve also added some APUs to the collection for those who are leaning towards an entry-level budget gaming rig.
AMD is expected to launch the new AM5 platform next year, so we suggest you keep an eye on this list for some significant changes based on what the company brings to the market. As always, we also encourage you to join our XDA Computing Forum to get more recommendations from our community experts in the PC hardware space.