CPU Rankings 2020 [Desktop & Laptop]

Are you trying to find the best CPU for your next PC or Laptop?

Your search ends here. In this article, we have tested and ranked over 75 Desktop, Laptop, and High-End CPUs using various gaming and productivity tests.

Our ranking is based on the real-world performance of the CPUs and not on any synthetic benchmarking tools.

People often debate that synthetic benchmarks don’t truly reflect real-world performance. And that is true to a good extent. A benchmarking tool that measures rendering performance cannot reflect how the CPU is going to perform in Gaming or Machine Learning.

For a consumer, a CPU is better when it outperforms the competitor in those workloads that apply to that particular user.

If you’re a Content Creator who uses Adobe Premiere, get a CPU that has the best rendering performance in Adobe Premiere. If you hardly do any gaming, you shouldn’t be bothered if the CPU isn’t very good at running games.

It is as simple as that. 

Centurion Mark Real-World Performance

If you’re a gamer, benchmarks of the actual games will comprise of real-world benchmarks. If you’re a Content Creator or Video Editor, you should look for a CPU with better rendering and encoding capabilities.

And if you want your system to be an all-rounder, get the CPU with the highest overall score in our charts and still fit in your budget.

So, how do we test the real-world Performance?

We do so by manually testing the CPUs in real-world applications such as Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Blender, Handbrake, 7-Zip, Tensorflow, Android Studio, AutoCAD, Solidworks, VMWare, OpenCV, Cinema 4D, V-Ray, RealityCapture, Agisoft Metashape, Unity, and Unreal Engine.

Similarly, for gaming, we measure the average FPS and 1% Lows in popular titles such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Far Cry 5, Control, GTA V, Borderlands 3, The Witcher 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and more.

We always keep our scores up to date with the latest Security Mitigations, BIOS Updates, and new Chipset Drivers.

You can also use our CPU recommendation tool to get the answer faster.

Let’s get first started with the Desktop Rankings and then we will check out the Laptop & HEDT CPUs.

    Mainstream Desktop

First up, we have the overall ranking, which consists of both Gaming & Productivity workloads.

Overall Rankings 

Desktop PC CPU Rankings

Centurion Mark is the average value (or the overall score) of a CPU in Gaming & Productivity applications.

We test CPUs at their maximum potential to obtain the best-case scenario. Unlocked Intel’s chips are overclocked while PBO and Auto OC are enabled in Ryzen chips.

For the Ryzen Processors, Memory sub-timings are tuned using Ryzen DRAM Calculator as High-Latency is one of the biggest culprits for their low-performance in lightly threaded tasks such as Gaming. If you’re planning on buying an AMD Ryzen CPU, I’ll highly recommend following this guide to tune the memory timings.

Best CPUs for Gaming

Best CPUs for Gaming

You can find the best Gaming CPUs in the above chart. Gaming Performance depends more on Single-Threaded Performance than on the Number of Cores. A six-core Ryzen 5 3600 easily outperforms the eight-core Ryzen 7 2700X in Gaming as it has faster cores due to a new architecture (Zen 2 vs Zen+) and fabrication node (7nm vs 12nm).

But the above statement isn’t applicable for low-end CPUs with just 2 cores. For gaming, a Quad-Core CPU should be the bare minimum. As of 2019, a Hexa-Core CPU like the Ryzen 5 3600 should be the target for most gamers.

You should note that in most gaming setups, it is the Graphics Card that limits the FPS rather than the CPU. These tests are done using an RTX 2080 Ti at 1080p and 1440p under CPU Bottleneck scenarios in order to obtain the difference in performance. While using a mid-range Graphics Card or gaming at high-resolutions such as 4K, most of the above CPUs will give similar performance.

When it comes to 4K Gaming or low refresh rate gaming (such as 60 Hz or 75 Hz), most of the mid-range & high-end CPUs from both AMD & Intel will give similar results. This is simply due to the fact that at 4K, the performance gets limited by the GPU and not the CPU.

We also have a ranking chart for Desktop Graphics Cards. You can check it out here.

The above score is calculated by measuring the Average FPS and 1% Lows in over 20 different games. The games are tested at both 1080p and 1440p.

The list of games that we use for our tests includes Battlefield V, Crysis 3, Control, World War Z, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry 5, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Strange Brigade, The Witcher 3, Wolfenstein II, Forza Horizon 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Apex Legends, Metro Exodus, Borderlands 3, Just Cause 4, and Rainbow Six Siege.

Best CPUs for Productivity

Best CPUs for Productivity

All the modern CPUs deliver excellent performance in basic tasks such as Browsing, Office Work, Basic Image Editing, etc. as these tasks do not require those high number of cores or clock speeds. Most people wouldn’t notice any difference in these basic tasks, and that is why our Productivity Scores are based on tasks that require high CPU computation.

Our Productivity scores include workloads such as Encoding, Compression & Decompression, Rendering, Compilation, Browsing, Image Processing, Virtualization, and Emulation using different real-world tools that professionals use all around the world.

Whether you’re a Student, Researcher, Graphics Designer, Video Editor, Software Developer, Data Analyst, or an Engineer, we’ve got you covered.

Some of the software that we perform tests on either scale very well with High-Thread count while others (Eg. Handbrake) cannot utilize all the threads. Hence, our productivity score is based on a combination of different types of applications that make the score more realistic than just running software that is either optimized for low Core counts or the one that favors CPUs with high thread counts.

We hope you’re finding our content helpful. We just wanted to let you know that some links on this page are Amazon Affiliate Links and we may earn a small commission when you purchase something after visiting these links. To learn more, please visit this page.

Here’s the data on which the above charts are based on. The Overall Score (or Centurion Mark) is the average of the Gaming & Productivity scores multiplied by a factor of 1.1.

CPU Gaming Score Productivity Score Overall Score
Ryzen 9 3950X 243.8 508 413.5
Ryzen 9 3900XT 243.7 411.6 360.4
Ryzen 9 3900X 242.5 407.8 357.6
Core i9-10900K 257.5 360.0 339.6
Core i9-9900K & 9900KF 250 303.5 304.4
Core i7-10700K 257.3 293.3 302.8
Ryzen 7 3800XT 241.4 298.1 296.7
Ryzen 7 3800X 238.8 297.0 294.7
Ryzen 7 3700X 237.5 295 292.9
Core i5-10600K 256.3 238 271.8
Core i7-9700K 245 239.7 266.6
Ryzen 5 3600XT 231.1 234.9 256.3
Core i7-8086K 232.5 231 254.9
Ryzen 5 3600X 229.5 233.8 254.8
Ryzen 7 2700X 216.3 244.5 253.4
Ryzen 5 3600 228.8 226 250.1
Core i7-8700K 230.5 220.1 247.8
Core i7-8700 221.8 208.5 236.6
Core i5-10500 228 198 234.3
Core i5-9600K & 9600KF 231.5 189.9 231.8
Core i5-10400F 227.5 193.1 231.3
Ryzen 5 3500X 227 189.5 229.1
Core i5-8600K 223 188.5 226.3
Ryzen 7 2700 199 211.5 225.8
Ryzen 5 2600X 200.3 195.4 217.6
Ryzen 5 3500 221.3 172.1 216.3
Ryzen 3 3300X 218.3 168.7 212.8
Ryzen 5 2600 195.5 182.7 208
Core i5-8600 213 164.7 207.7
Core i5-9400F & 9400 212.3 158 203.6
Core i5-8500 197.8 157.4 195.3
Ryzen 3 3100 192.3 149.7 188.1
Core i5-8400 188.3 151.1 186.6
Core i3-10100 192.8 138.2 182.0
Core i3-8350K 194.8 124.2 175.4
Ryzen 5 3400G 190.5 116 168.6
Core i3-9100F & 9100 189.8 111.2 165.5
Ryzen 3 3200G 185 105.5 159.8
Core i3-8100 172.8 99.1 149.5
Ryzen 5 2400G 171 99.9 149
Ryzen 3 2200G 168.8 96.7 146
Athlon 3000G 147.5 73.3 121.4
Pentium G5600 145 67.5 116.9
Pentium G5400 142.5 62.7 112.9
Athlon 200GE 141 62.6 112

 

Buying Guide

As of late 2019, we have two CPU lineups from AMD and Intel. AMD’s 3000 Series CPUs (not the APUs like 3400G) are based on their latest Zen 2 architecture while Intel’s 9th Generation is based on Coffee Lake Refresh Architecture.

AMD’s Zen 2 CPUs are ahead of Intel’s 9th Gen in terms of IPC. That means if we run both the CPUs at the same clock speed (let’s say 4.0 GHz), Ryzen will outperform Intel by a mile. However, Intel’s 9th Gen can reach much higher clock speeds due to their mature 14nm Node and is still a few percent ahead in Single-Threaded Performance.

Intel’s CPUs are also less power efficient than AMD’s Zen 2, and their unlocked chips will require an additional aftermarket cooler and an unlocked Z Series Motherboard which adds up to the cost significantly.

For Gaming, both Intel and AMD perform exceptionally well in their respective price segments. Intel is a few percent ahead in Gaming due to slightly better clock speeds and lower memory latencies. However, when we talk about Value for Money, AMD Ryzen 3000 Series becomes a better choice for gaming as well.

When it comes to productivity tasks, Intel is basically out of the competition after AMD launched its 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X. Many Intel’s CPUs like Core-i7 9700K and Core-i5 9600K lack Hyper-Threading and they can’t match Ryzen CPUs in the same price segment.

All the AMD’s Ryzen Chips are unlocked and that means they can be overclocked to higher frequencies for better performance. When it comes to Intel, only those CPUs that have a ‘K’ in their naming such as the Core i7-9700K can be overclocked.

However, AMD Ryzen chips don’t have enough overclocking headroom as compared to Intel’s latest generations. And overclocking Intel’s chips is essential for them to compete with Ryzen as most of the Intel’s lineup loses against AMD at stock settings.

Understanding CPU Naming Scheme

X (AMD): Higher Clocked Variants

G (AMD): An APU. It comes with Integrated Radeon Graphics. You will need a dedicated GPU for the rest of Ryzen chips that DO NOT have a G in their naming scheme

K (Intel): An unclocked CPU that supports Overclocking. You cannot overclock non-K Intel CPUs.

F (Intel): Integrated Graphics are not present. You’ll require a Dedicated Graphics Card.

Our Recommendation

Over $600 For both Productivity & Gaming: Ryzen 9 3950X

Under $550 For Gaming: Core-i9 9900KS or 9900K

Under $500 For both Productivity & Gaming: Ryzen 9 3900X

Under $350: Ryzen 7 3700X

Under $250: Ryzen 5 3600

Under $200 for Gaming: Core i5-9400F or Ryzen 5 3500X/3500 (If available in your region)

Under $200 for Productivity: Ryzen 5 2600X

Upcoming Processors

Some of these launch dates are officially confirmed while others are estimated based on rumors and speculation.

Intel will launch another generation of 14nm Desktop Processors ‘Comet Lake’ sometime in early 2020. We are expecting a minor increase in IPC and Clock Speeds that will widen Intel’s lead in Gaming. However, those higher clocks will come at the expense of even less power efficiency and more heat. Intel’s 10th Generation’s Flagship i9 CPUs are expected to have 10 Cores, and there’s very little chance that it can come close to Ryzen 9 3900X in productivity performance.

AMD’s Zen 3 based Ryzen 4000 Series is expected to come out sometime in 2nd Half of 2020. It will be fabricated using TSMC’s mature 7nm+ Node using EUV Lithography that delivers 20% Higher Transistor Density. I’m expecting Higher IPC, Clock Speeds, and Lower latencies that could allow AMD to surpass Intel even in Gaming.

    Laptop CPUs

Laptop CPU Rankings

Note: We have not included Intel’s 8th Generation CPUs in the above graph. You can find them in the table below.

Choosing the right Laptop with a good CPU is hard. And it’s even harder to benchmark Laptop CPUs as the rest of other components of a Laptop vary from model to model.

The testing part gets even harder when it comes to Gaming because you need two Laptop models with the same dedicated GPU in order to accurately measure the impact of the CPU’s performance on gaming.

No matter how scientifically accurate the testing methodology is, the results won’t be as precise as comparing Desktop CPUs. However, we managed to do it, but it did require some amount of Mathematics to normalize the scores of different CPUs.

We do not have a separate Gaming and Productivity Chart, but you can compare the Centurion Mark which is obtained by combining both the scores.

Rank CPU Centurion Mark
#1 Ryzen 9 4900H 270.1
#2 Ryzen 9 4900HS 269.6
#3 Ryzen 7 4800H 266.1
#4 Ryzen 7 4800HS 264.7
#5 Core i9-10980HK 254.2
#6 Core i9-10875H 252.1
#7 Core i9-9980HK 250.3
#8 Ryzen 5 4600H 235.6
#9 Ryzen 5 4600HS 233.8
#10 Ryzen 7 4800U 228.7
#11 Core i9-9880H 226.2
#12 Core i7-10850H 219.6
#13 Ryzen 7 4700U 217.6
#14 Core i7-10750H 217.6
#15 Core i7-9850H 210.3
#16 Core i9-8950HK 200.4
#17 Core i7-9750H 193.8
#18 Ryzen 5 4600U 186.1
#19 Ryzen 5 4500U 183.4
#20 Core i5-10400H 181.2
#21 Core i7-8850H 179.3
#22 Core i7-10710U 177.8
#23 Core i7-8750H 177.4
#24 Core i5-10300H 176.1
#25 Core i5-9400H 175.8
#26 Core i7-8569U 174.7
#27 Core i7-10510U 172.1
#28 Core i5-10210U 169.2
#29 Core i7-8559U 169.0
#30 Core i5-9300H 168.4
#31 Core i3-10110U 167.3
#32 Core i7-8557U 164.3
#33 Core i7-1065G7 163.0
#34 Core i7-1060NG7 162.1
#35 Core i5-1035G7 160.6
#36 Core i5-1035G4 160.5
#37 Core i5-1035G1 160.3
#38 Core i5-8257U 159.2
#39 Ryzen 3 4300U 158.5
#40 Core i5-8279U 157.7
#41 Core i5-8400H 154.6
#42 Core i5-8259U 154.4
#43 Core i5-8300H 147.6
#44 Core i5-1030NG7 144.4
#45 Ryzen 7 3750H 142.5
#46 Core i5-8365U 139.9
#47 Core i7-8665U 138.3
#48 Core i7-8650U 136.6
#49 Core i7-8565U 136.4
#50 Core i7-8550U 131.9
#51 Ryzen 5 3550H 130.7
#52 Core i5-8265U 129.7
#53 Core i5-8250U 127.6
#54 Core i7-1060G7 126.3
#55 Ryzen 7 3700U 125.2
#56 Ryzen 7 3780U 123.6
#57 Ryzen 5 3500U 113.1
#58 Ryzen 3 3300U 107.0
#59 Core i3-1005G1 106.7
#60 Core i3-1000NG4 104.3
#61 Core i3-8109U 98.4
#62 Core i3-8145U 94.2
#63 Ryzen 3 3200U 79.2
#64 Pentium 5405U 64.2
#65 Athlon 300U 62.5
#66 Celeron 4205U 45.7

Buying Guide

When it comes to these ‘Mobile’ or Laptop/Notebook chips or whatever you like to call them, AMD’s Ryzen 4000 outperforms Intel in nearly every task. If you’re buying a high-end Laptop for Gaming or Productivity, choose AMD Ryzen 400 based Laptop without a second thought.

While Intel’s 10th Gen chips are pretty good for performance, they are less power efficient which results in lower battery life.

AMD’s previous Ryzen 3000 Mobile Lineup is based on Zen+ and isn’t that impressive as compared to Intel’s offerings. But it still offers excellent value for money in the budget and mid-range Laptops.

The AMD Ryzen chips include Integrated Vega Graphics that are superior to Intel’s HD & UHD Graphics. If you’re buying a budget laptop that doesn’t have dedicated graphics, you can go with AMD and get a decent gaming experience at 720p and 1080p Low.

Some Laptops like MSI GT76 Titan have the Core i9-9900K while the XMG APEX 15 uses the Ryzen 9 3950X, which are Desktop CPUs. Their score will be the same as the one listed in Desktop Rankings. However, don’t expect similar performance as these Laptops cannot be cooled as well as the Desktops and will throttle on extended use.

Both Intel and AMD have either an ‘H’ or a ‘U’ at the end of their CPU names. H Series CPUs are more powerful as they can boost clock speeds on more cores simultaneously when compared to the U Series. However, the H Series CPUs also consume more battery power.

When buying a Laptop for High-Performance Computing, do remember that the most powerful Laptop CPU (Core i9-9980HK) has a similar performance to a mid-range Desktop Chip (Ryzen 5 3600). Laptops are portable devices, and their CPUs have lower TDPs, and they cannot run at high boost frequencies for a long duration due to their limited heat dissipation capabilities.

Desktop CPUs will always be a better choice if you need High-Performance.

CPU Naming Scheme

K (Intel): Can be overclocked

H (Both Intel & AMD): High-End CPUs that offer more performance but consume more power

U (Both Intel & AMD): Ultra-Low Power CPUs that consume less power and offer lower performance

Upcoming Processors

  • Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake (Willow Cove & Xe Graphics) in Q4 2020
  • AMD Cezanne APUs (Zen 3 & Vega)  in 2021
  • AMD Van Gogh APUs (Zen 2 & RDNA 2) in 2021
  • Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake (Golden Cove & Xe Graphics) in H2 2021

    High-End Desktops (HEDT)

High-End Desktop (HEDT) CPU Rankings

High-End Desktop CPUs generally interest Content Creators & Professionals that require CPUs with Higher Cores, Memory Channels, and PCI-Express Lanes.

We use the same workload for HEDT CPUs, which we used in Productivity Tests of Mainstream CPUs, i.e. Rendering, Encoding, Emulation, Virtualization, Compression & Decompression, Compilation, Browsing, and Image Processing.

We do not include gaming performance in our HEDT tests, but for those of you who also want to game on your system, Skylake-X and Cascade Lake-X is a better choice than Threadripper 1st and 2nd Generation. However, 3rd Gen Threadripper is on par and even ahead in some games when compared to Cascade Lake-X.

Rank  CPU Centurion Mark
#1 Threadripper 3990X 1398.7
#2 Threadripper 3970X 894.3
#3 Threadripper 3960X 708.6
#4 Threadripper 2990WX 510.1
#5 Threadripper 2970WX 460.9
#6 Core i9-10980XE 453.1
#7 Core i9-9980XE 451.2
#8 Core i9-9960X 405.0
#9 Threadripper 2950X 392.0
#10 Core i9-10940X 375.6
#11 Core i9-9940X 372.5
#12 Core i9-10920X 338.6
#13 Core i9-9920X 335.8
#14 Threadripper 2920X 328.6
#15 Core i9-10900X 315.6
#16 Core i9-9900X 313.0
#17 Core i9-9820X 306.1
#18 Core i7-9800X 267.3

Buying Guide

If your workload requires Higher Core counts, Memory Channels, and PCI-E Lanes, you should rather go for a HEDT CPU than a Mainstream Desktop CPU.

The 3rd Gen Threadripper can go up 64 Cores/128 Threads while the 2nd Generation AMD Threadripper Series can go up to 32 Cores / 64 Threads. While the Skylake-X & Cascade Lake-X CPUs have a maximum of 18 Cores / 36 Threads.

The performance of Threadripper 2970WX and 2990WX isn’t as impressive due to improper NUMA support. However, AMD managed to fix those problems with the 3rd Gen Threadripper.

Threadripper 3XXX Series is based on Zen 2 while Threadripper 2XXX is based on Zen+ Architecture. When it comes to Intel, the Core i7/i9 9XXX Series is based on Skylake-X while the 10XXX Series is based on Cascade Lake-X.

While most of you will go for a CPU with a higher core count for productivity, the choice isn’t as simple as the performance of Intel’s X-Series & AMD’s Threadripper will vary depending on the CPU architecture and task at hand. But in nearly every application, Zen 2 based Threadripper 3000 Series outperforms Intel.

Zen 2, Skylake-X, and Cascade Lake-X perform better in H.265 Encoding in Handbrake. Handbrake isn’t very good at utilizing High Thread counts but still, Zen 2 manages to perform the best due to higher IPC.

Some applications utilize AVX 512, which will favor Intel’s HEDT lineup over AMD’s Threadripper 2nd Gen. However, 3rd Gen Threadripper performs exceptionally well even though it lacks AVX 512.

In Adobe Premiere and other Adobe Applications, Skylake-X & Cascade Lake-X has a slight edge over Zen+. Zen 2 based 3960X & 3970X outperform Intel in Adobe Applications as well.

In Blender and other Rendering applications, Zen+ performs better than Skylake-X & Cascade Lake-X due to the higher thread count. Zen 2 is far ahead of both Zen+ & Intel in Rendering.

Zen+ is better than Skylake-X & Cascade Lake-X for Compilation, Programming, and other Highly-Threaded Tasks. Skylake-X is better in Compression while Zen+ is better in Decompression. Zen 2 destroys both of them in Compilation, Compression & Decompression.

You should also note that Skylake-X does not support ECC Memory while Threadripper does.

CPU Naming Scheme

X (Intel): HEDT Platform

XE (Intel): Extreme Edition

X (AMD): For Enthusiasts

WX (AMD): For Content Creators & Innovators

    Server CPUs

Though we do not review or test Server Grade chips, we can certainly give a basic idea on who is currently dominating the Server market and which is a better choice.

Until the first half of 2019, Intel had been dominating the Server space since forever & AMD never managed to gain over 30% Market Share in the past two decades. In fact, as of Q1 2019, AMD only had a mere 2.9% market share in x86 based Server market.

However, AMD’s 2nd Gen EPYC Rome CPUs in late 2019 turned the whole market upside down. Let’s have a look at the flagship Intel’s Xeon Platinum & AMD’s EPYC chip.

Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 AMD EPYC 7742
Cores/Threads 28 Cores / 56 Threads 64 Cores / 128 Threads
Fabrication Node Intel’s 14nm TSMC’s 7nm
Base/Boost Frequency 2.7 / 4.0 GHz 2.25 / 3.4 GHz
L3 Cache 38.5 MB 256 MB
PCI-Express Lanes 48 PCI-E Gen 3.0 Lanes 128 PCI-E Gen 4.0 Lanes
Max Memory Support 1 TB 4 TB
Number of Memory Channels 6 8
TDP 205W 225W

The EPYC 7742 is far ahead of Xeon Platinum 8280 in every aspect. Things get even more interesting when we look at the pricing. The Xeon Platinum 8280 costs more than twice the retail pricing of EPYC 7742 while delivering less than half the performance.

When going with 2nd Gen EPYC CPUs, you’ll get approximately four times higher price-to-performance ratio when compared to Intel. This will likely result in Intel losing a significant amount of its market share in the coming years.

If you’re interested in a detailed review of the latest EPYC chips against Intel’s Xeon Lineup, I’ll recommend checking out this review by AnandTech.

    Smartphone SOCs

We have a dedicated article on the ranking of Smartphone SOCs that covers all the Qualcomm Snapdragon, Samsung Exynos, HiSilicon Kirin, MediaTek, and Apple SOCs. You can find the detailed rankings of over 100 SOCs in this article.

But for those of you who’re in a hurry, here’s the list of Top 30 Smartphone SOCs.

Top 30 Mobile Processors in September 2020

Our Smartphone Processor scores ARE NOT comparable with X86 based Desktop/Laptop CPUs.

Our Mobile Processor rankings are also not purely based on performance. We also measure other aspects such as power efficiency and different SOC Features/Components such as CPU, GPU, NPU, ISP, DSP, etc. Hence, the scores are obtained after doing more complex & comprehensive testing as compared to the Desktop or Laptop chips.




Leave a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest