Best Intel CPUs in 2023

If you’re in the market to buy a new Intel CPU, then we have some solid recommendations for you in our collection of the best Intel CPUs.

The CPU (central processing unit) is one of the most important components inside a PC. It’s what largely determines how much processing power will be available for tasks such as gaming and running software. Choosing the right processor is a complex decision to make, but buying the best CPU is crucial as it plays an intricate role in deciding how well your PC performs in different workloads, how well it runs games, and more. Intel failed to provide answers to AMD’s Ryzen series of processors, but we’re big fans of what the company achieved with the 13th Gen Raptor Lake chips.



There’s a good argument to make for focusing your PC on Intel right now, as even on the laptop side you’ll find many of the best RTX 4090 laptops with Intel chips. The company has caught, and in some cases passed, AMD for performance on heavier workloads, while retaining that traditionally outstanding single-core performance that’s important for gaming. There are a lot of great choices, both on the newest and older platforms. There’s also excellent support across the board in Windows and Linux, allowing for faster clock speeds with better system stability. All this on an older platform makes what Intel has been able to do with 13th-gen processors all that more incredible.

Our favorite Intel processors of 2023

Intel Core i5-13600K Best overall

Intel’s best-value CPU is what most people should buy

The Intel Core i5-13600K is the best value processor from Intel’s 13th Gen family of chips. It strikes a good balance between performance and cost, allowing almost anyone to build a powerful system without destroying the tightest of budgets.

Cores 6 / 8 Threads 20 Architecture Raptor Lake Process Intel 7 Socket LGA 1700 Base Clock Speed 3.50 GHz / 2.60 GHz Boost Clock Speed 5.10 GHz / 3.90 GHz Cache 24 MB RAM DDR5-5600 / DDR4-3200 PCIe 5.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770 TDP 125 W Power Draw ~181 W Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Great value
  • Plenty enough for gaming


  • 125W TDP

$318 at Amazon $318 at Best Buy

It’s not required to choose the absolute most expensive processor from AMD or Intel to enjoy the best performance for the price. The Intel Core i9 range of chips offers far more performance than most people would require from their PC, which is why we select the Intel Core i5-13600K as the best overall Intel CPU. It’s based on the same Intel 7 (10nm) process as its predecessor, but Intel managed to crank things up a notch further. There are 8 E-cores and 6 P-cores for a total of 14 cores. P-cores support Hyperthreading, resulting in a rather awkward thread total of 20. This is more than enough for gaming and even heavier workloads. Remember when mid-tier CPUs had just four cores?

The base clock speed of the P-cores and E-cores on the Intel Core i5-13600K are 3.5GHz and 2.6GHz, respectively. These are capable of boosting up to 5.1GHz and 3.9GHz. This hybrid design approach allows the P-cores to focus on tasks such as running software or games whereas the E-cores can be used for background tasks or to aid P-cores if additional cores are required. Since-core performance is still comfortably more than what AMD offers with its relative Ryzen 5 CPU, making this Intel chip a worthwhile consideration for just about any desktop PC. It will run fairly hot, thanks to the 125W TDP.

We found in our review testing that the Intel Core i5-13600K runs best with an AIO liquid CPU cooler. In order to make the most of the processor, we’d also recommend using the best DDR5 RAM. If you wish to save a few pennies and are set on the Intel Core i5-13600K, we’d recommend the Intel Core i5-13600KF, which simply removes the integrated graphics. If you plan on always using a discrete graphics card, you’ll have no problems with this more affordable processor SKU.

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Intel Core i7-13700K Best for gaming

A good middle ground between the Core i5 and i9

$370 $419 Save $49

The Intel Core i7-13700K is a mid-range processor from the company’s 13th Gen family of chips. It has a total of 16 cores and 24 cores, offering considerably high levels of performance at a reasonable TDP and price.

Brand Intel Cores 8/8 Threads 24 Architecture Raptor Lake Process Intel 7 (10 nm) Socket LGA 1700 Base Clock Speed 2.50 GHz / 3.40 GHz Boost Clock Speed 4.20 GHz / 5.40 GHz Cache 24 MB RAM DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600 PCIe 5.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770 TDP 125 W Power Draw ~253 W Pros

  • Great performance
  • Not as overkill as the Core i9
  • Not a terrible price


  • High power draw

$370 at Amazon $370 at Newegg

The Intel Core i9-13900K is a pricey chip and offers incredible levels of performance. This is largely wasted on most PC systems that wouldn’t be able to test the processor and allow it to stretch its legs. That’s where the Intel Core i7-13700K comes in. It’s not quite as powerful as the Core i9 series, but it also costs substantially less. Interestingly, while this chip does have fewer physical cores and threads, gaming performance is about on par with the Core i9-13900K, making it possible to save without sacrificing in-game frame rates.

The 13700K has a total of 16 cores, consisting of 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores. This results in a total thread count of 24. The P-cores are capable of boosting up to 5.4Ghz and the E-cores can hit 3.4GHz. Overclocking is also on the cards when coupled with good enough cooling. It’s an excellent processor for a capable system build and one we’d recommend for gamers.

Intel Core i9-13900K Best performance

The Intel CPU everyone dreams of using

$557 $599 Save $42

Intel’s newest range-topper is a 24-core, 32-thread monster that devours gaming and even the most demanding workloads.

Cores 8 / 16 Threads 32 Architecture Raptor Lake Process Intel 7 Socket LGA 1700 Base Clock Speed 2.20 GHz / 3.00 GHz Boost Clock Speed 4.30 GHz / 5.80 GHz RAM DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800 PCIe 5.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770 TDP 125 W Power Draw 253 W Pros

  • Incredible performance
  • High clock speeds


  • Power hungry
  • Runs hot

$557 at Amazon $558 at Best Buy $568 at B&H

The Intel Core i9-13900K is where your eyes should turn for the best-performing Intel processor. If you plan on pushing the system hard with video editing and other intensive applications, you’re likely going to need such a chip with numerous cores and high clock speeds. Let’s talk core counts. There are a whopping 16 E-cores joined by 8 P-cores with Hyperthreading. This results in a total thread count of 32, easily matching what AMD offers with its Ryzen 9 series of CPUs.

A downside to all this performance is power draw and heat waste. There’s a TDP of 125W, but this processor will happily draw upwards of 250W of electricity, which results in the Intel Core i9-13900K frequently thermal throttling, but by design. Intel wants the chip to run at hotter temperatures, which means you’re going to require one of the best CPU coolers to keep temperatures in check and not sacrifice too much in terms of clock speeds. We found in our testing that the CPU runs seriously hot and will likely be overkill for just about any desktop system, much like the impressive Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090.

Clock speeds come in at 2.2GHz and 3.0GHz for E-cores and P-cores. When the system requires it, the chip will happily push both up to 4.3GHz and 5.8GHz, which is incredible when you consider no custom user-set overclocking is required to hit these levels. Like other 13th Gen Intel processors, we’d recommend pairing this up with DDR5 RAM if possible.

Intel Core i5-12600K Best 12th Gen

The best CPU for those who want to save more

$180 $199 Save $19

The Intel Core i5-12600K is a fantastic mid-range processor from team blue, offering 10 cores of performance at a reasonable price. Support DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 is also present, allowing you to create a powerful PC.

CPU Speed 4.9GHz CPU Socket LGA 1700 Cores 6 / 4 Threads 16 Process Intel 7 (10 nm) Socket LGA 1700 Base Clock Speed 3.70 GHz / 2.80 GHz Boost Clock Speed 4.90 GHz / 3.60 GHz Cache 20 MB RAM DDR5-4800 / DDR4-3200 PCIe 5.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770 TDP 125 W Power Draw ~150 W Pros

  • Still a great CPU
  • Lower price than the newer 13600K
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  • Worse performance

$180 at Amazon $185 at Newegg

The Intel Core i5-12600K is the best pick if you’re buying a 12th Gen Intel CPU. It has fantastic single-core and respectable multi-core performance, something which Intel’s been known to fall behind on in previous years compared to AMD chips. The best thing about the Core i5-12600K is that it benefits from many of the same upgrades as the more powerful Core i5-13600K chip. Most notably, the hybrid architecture but with fewer P-cores and E-cores. The Intel Core i5-12600K has a total of 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores with a total thread count of 16. Base clock speeds start at 3.7GHz and 2.8GHz with boost clock speeds of 4.9GHz and 3.6GHz for P-cores and E-cores. This chip shares the same LGA 1700 socket as 13th Gen processors, allowing for a future upgrade to take place.

The support for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 further raises the performance ceiling. DDR5 memory offers a huge benefit in terms of memory speeds, whereas PCIe 5.0 doubles the bandwidth for supported components such as SSDs. The Core i5-12600K does fall behind a little now its 13th Gen replacement is here, but it could also mean you’re able to grab one with a nice discount. It’s still a great chip to put into a gaming-focused PC. Intel Core i5-12600K will serve you well regardless of the workload and it’ll continue to do so for many years to come. And you do at least have an upgrade path to 13th Gen if you get to a point you need more. But since the Core i5-12600K is unlocked, you could dive in and do a little overclocking and squeeze a little more out of it.

Intel Core i9-11900K Best 11th Gen

For those with an older LGA 1200 motherboard

The Intel Core i9-11900K may not be as good as the new Alder Lake Core i9 variant, but there’s still a lot to like about this CPU and it offers solid performance. It’s also suitable for overclocking provided you have a solid CPU cooler and a good motherboard.

CPU Speed 5.3GHz CPU Socket LGA 1200 Cores 8 Threads 16 Architecture Rocket Lake Process 14 nm Socket LGA 1200 Base Clock Speed 3.50 GHz Boost Clock Speed 5.30 GHz Cache 16 MB RAM DDR4-3200 PCIe 4.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 750 TDP 125 W Pros

  • Still great performance


  • Difficult to find stock
  • No PCIe 5.0 or DDR5

$295 at Amazon $334 at Newegg $540 at Best Buy

Intel’s Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K desktop CPU is a little bit of a mixed bag. There’s a lot to like about this CPU, but it’s also notorious for consuming a lot of power and running extremely hot at any given point. Even with the arrival of 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs, the Core i9-11900K stands as a solid offering in Intel’s product stack, making it a very good alternative to the Core i9-12900K and the best from the 11th Gen. Now that 13th Gen processors are here (including the 13900K), things are becoming more intense for this older chip and that makes it even more difficult to recommend.

Unless you’ve already got an LGA 1200 motherboard and don’t want to upgrade anytime soon, we’d go with a 12th or 13th Gen processor instead. There’s no hybrid core technology present and the Intel Core i9-11900K is an 8-core, 16-thread CPU with 16MB cache memory. We’re looking at a base clock of 3.5Ghz and a boost frequency of up to 5.3GHz, which are still solid speeds for processors of today. The Core i9-11900K is compatible with both Z590 and Z490 motherboards with the LGA 1200 socket, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to upgrade an older platform to something that can still perform at a high level.

Intel Core i5-13500 Best budget

A great choice for those on tighter budgets

Intel’s Core i5-13500 is one of the most affordable Core i5 processors around and it’s a fantastic little unit. It’s a 65W CPU with six P-cores and eight E-cores for some impressive results. It’s ideal if you’re on a budget.

CPU Socket LGA 1700 Cores 6 / 8 Process Intel 7 Socket LGA 1700 Base Clock Speed 2.5 GHz / 1.8 GHz Boost Clock Speed 4.8 GHz / 3.5 GHz Cache 24 MB RAM DDR5-4800, DDR4-3200 PCIe 5.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 770 TDP 65 W Power Draw ~ 154 W Pros

  • Hybrid cores design
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  • Will struggle with more intense loads

$248 at Amazon $249 at Newegg

The Intel Core i5-13500 may not be the most powerful Intel chip on the market right now, but there’s a lot to like about it. It is a fantastic chip for entry-level to mid-range builds. And if you have a graphics card in your build you can pick up the ‘F’ model of this CPU to save a little extra. The Core i5-13500 is a 14-core, 20-thread CPU that features Intel’s hybrid architecture. It can hit high clock speeds without consuming too much power or producing too much thermal output. Assuming you’re not into overclocking, this is a perfect solution for an entry or mid-tier gaming PC. The Core i5-13500 has a peak frequency of 4.8GHz. It’s a 65W TDP CPU and also packs Intel’s UHD Graphics 770.

The Core i5-13500’s 65W PL1 (base frequency-TDP) and 154W PL2 (turbo frequency power) ratings are lower than the 13600K’s 125W PL1 and 181W PL2 ratings. This means the 13500 generates far less heat and won’t throttle as much or cap your frequencies as much as the more expensive version.

Intel Pentium Gold G7400 Best under $100

Save even more on this affordable Intel CPU

The Intel Pentium Gold G7400 costs less than $100 but it matches the general performance of a lot of other high-end chips from previous generations.

CPU Speed 3.7GHz CPU Socket LGA 1700 Cores 2 Threads 4 Process Intel 7 Socket LGA 1700 Base Clock Speed 3.7 GHz Cache 6 MB RAM DDR5-4800, DDR4-3200 PCIe 5.0 Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 710 TDP 46 W $90 at Best Buy $90 at B&H $115 at Amazon

Intel may have finally laid the Pentium brand to rest, but one of its final versions is one of the best cheap CPUs on the market. The Intel Pentium Gold G7400 features two cores and four threads based on the 10nm Golden Cove core architecture. It’s an entry-level dual-core chip that trades blows with AMD’s Athlon processors. It features a clock speed of up to 3.7GHz and 6MB of L3 cache within a 46W TDP package. Despite being an Alder Lake chip, it doesn’t come with the hybrid combination of P and E-cores. That’s reserved for more advanced parts, but there’s still plenty to like about the general performance of the Pentium Gold G7400. It’ll work with the best motherboards for Intel processors.

On the memory front, the Intel Pentium Gold G7400 processor supports DDR4-3200 and even DDR5 memory up to 4800. Additionally, the new Pentium Gold G7400 chip also supports PCIe Gen 5, making it more future-proof than almost every competing chip in this price range. The Pentium Gold G7400 processor also comes with Intel UHD graphics 710, which should be enough to handle the basic day-to-day graphical requirements. The new Intel Pentium Gold G7400 is powerful enough to flex against AMD’s older quad-core chips, such as the Ryzen 3 3200G. It also comes with a cooler in the box, so you can install it and get rolling right away. The Pentium Gold G7400 is more powerful than the Celeron G6900 CPU too, for not a lot more money, which makes it the better option overall. For a basic, really tight-budget system, this is a pretty awesome CPU.

Buying the best Intel CPU

When you’re buying an Intel CPU right now, there’s an easy choice. If you’re a gamer or building a more all-purpose PC, the Intel Core i5-13600K is hands-down the best choice. It strikes a perfect balance between price and performance, offering a high level of computing power without too much heat. It will still run warm, so be sure to invest in capable CPU cooling to prevent it from thermal throttling. If you’re looking to save money, however, we’d recommend the Intel Pentium Gold G7400.

Intel Core i5-13600K Best overall

The Intel CPU to buy today

The Intel Core i5-13600K is the best value processor from Intel’s 13th Gen family of chips. It strikes a good balance between performance and cost, allowing almost anyone to build a powerful system without destroying the tightest of budgets.

$318 at Amazon $318 at Best Buy

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