Best overall

Intel Core i5-7600K

Intel Core i5-7600K

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The Intel Core i5-7600K ($239.99) is part of the company's mid-tier processor line, sporting a quad-core design with no multithreading for a total of 4 logical cores. This allows for increased productivity and performance, and the "K" in the name of this specific model dictates the allowance for overclocking, an added bonus for the price.

Bottom line: The Core i5-7600K hits the sweet spot for many and is a perfect processor for your next PC build.

One more thing: Can't hit that FPS target in a CPU-intensive application/game? Be sure to get overclocking.

Why the Intel Core i5-7600K is the best processor for your PC

It's a quad-core processor without hyperthreading, but there's plenty of scope for overclocking should you have adequate cooling. All this at a reasonable price makes the Core i5-7600K an exciting choice.

When looking for a new CPU, it's easy to automatically go for the more expensive options expecting a return in performance. And you'd be correct in that assumption — but the question is whether or not you need that kind of power and to pay that much. When it comes to value in performance versus cost, the Intel Core i5-7600K is your best bet. It takes everything that made the i5-6600K so good and slaps some Kaby Lake on top.

It's a mid-range processor in the Core i5 family of chips, with its total of 4 physical cores. Before you assume Windows will see that as 8 cores thanks to hyperthreading, it's worth noting that this CPU does not support Intel's dual-stream technology. That said, you're investing in a solid quad-core processor that is fully unlocked. Coupled with a sealed water-cooling unit, this chip can be overclocked to 4.6GHz and above, depending on other components and the chassis you have.

If you're not into overclocking, the base frequency of 3.8GHz is more than enough for general use and the processor can turbo up to 4.2GHz without any settings being fiddled with. We would actually find it difficult to recommend a processor more powerful than the i5-7600K simply due to its performance, price and available overclocking capabilities. If you're looking for a processor for gaming and can afford such a chip, it's definitely worth considering.

Best Enthusiast

AMD Threadripper 1920X

AMD Ryzen Threadripper

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This is the dad of dads, the king of processor chips. Meet AMD's new Ryzen Threadripper 1920X ($799), which sports a total of 12 physical cores with hyperthreading. That's right; you get a total count of 24 threads with this thing inserted into a compatible motherboard socket. Should you require incredible amounts of performance, this chip is for you.

Bottom line: You don't need this processor, and probably never will. That said, if you happen to have more than $700 laying around to spare, some could class it a worthy investment.

One more thing: AMD is undercutting Intel's enthusiast offerings with its Threadripper series by a fair amount.

Best Value

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

Ryzen 7 1800X

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When looking at mid-level CPUs, sometimes it's better to go for a processor that doesn't cost a fortune but offers superb levels of performance. The best bang for the buck is AMD's new Ryzen lineup, notably the 7 series. The 1800X is the flagship of this Ryzen 7 series and only costs $419.99. That's less than $500 for an 8-core processor with 16 threads.

Bottom line: The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is among the best processors you can buy when it comes to bang for the buck.

One more thing: Bundles are available with AM4 motherboards or all-in-one water cooler.

Best overall

Intel Core i5-7600K

Intel Core i5-7600K

See at Amazon

The Intel Core i5-7600K ($239.99) by Intel is part of the company's mid-tier processor line, sporting quad-core chips with no multithreading for a total of 4 logical cores. This allows for increased productivity and performance, and the "K" in the name of this specific model allows for overclocking, an added bonus for the price.

Bottom line: The Core i5-7600K hits the sweet spot for many and is a perfect processor for your next PC build. It's also future-proof to a degree thanks to being unlocked.

One more thing: Can't hit that FPS sweet spot in a CPU-intensive application/game? Be sure to get overclocking.

Updated August 7, 2017: We added Ryzen to the list, switching out the Intel Core i7-6950X for the new Ryzen Threadripper 1920X and the Core i3 with the Ryzen 7 1800. The older FAX chip was removed as we agree with feedback that Ryzen essentially offers similar value in essence.