11 Best Intel CPUs of 2022: The Ultimate Guide

 

Intel has been the biggest brand in CPU manufacturing for over a long time. Its rival AMD has launched many competing processors, but Intel has always been one step ahead. This dominance and power might have attracted you enough to buy your next processor from Intel. But what are the best Intel CPUs in 2022?

Don’t worry, as I’ve got your back. Here, I’ve listed the 11 best Intel CPUs from various categories. I’ve selected them after thorough research and testing. So, you will find them justifying in their categories. Also, check out this buying guide that can help you look for a new processor. So without further ado, let’s start!

intel cpu shot

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Table of contents

Best High-Performance Intel CPUs

Best Mid-Range Intel CPUs
Best Budget Intel CPUs
    Best Cheapest Intel CPUs

    Best Intel Gaming CPUs

    Takeaway

    What’s Next?

    Best High-Performance Intel CPUs

    As now you understand how to get your next processor, let’s dive into the best Intel processors you can buy in 2022. First, I have listed the top-tier processors with the highest performance experience this year.

    Intel Core-i9 12900K

    i9 box

    Standing tall among all, we have the Intel Core-i9 12900K, the most powerful Intel chip. This processor’s clock speed can go up to a whopping 5.2Ghz. This chip is for those users who want a top-end computer. Here are some astonishing benefits of getting the Core-i9 12900K:

    Extreme Overclocking: The most significant feature is the 5.2GHz beasty clock speed. It is the fastest consumer-grade processor available on the market at the time of writing. Also, its base speed is amazing, sitting on the 3.2GHz base speed. This high performance makes it the best Intel CPU for gaming and streaming.

    High Multithreading: The i9 12900K packs 16 cores (8 performance and 8 efficient cores) and 24 threads. It makes it highly multitasking and ideal for video editors and graphic designers. With such efficiency, its base power consumption is 125W.

    Super Cache Memory: This CPU also gives the fastest performance because of another reason. The Core-i9 has 30 MBs of cache with 14MBs of L2 cache. This amount ensures smooth performance and instant execution of commands.

    UHD Graphics 770: The integrated graphics in the 12900K CPU is Intel’s strongest UHD Graphics 770 with a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.55 GHz. It can support 4K and 8K resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate. So, you may not even require a graphics card in many situations.

    Pros

    • Ultimate Gaming Experience
    • Suitable for Extreme Graphics Handling
    • High Cache Size
    • 5.2 GHz Turbo Speed

    Cons

    • High max power consumption
    • Costs a lot

    Intel Core-i7 12700K

    i7 12700k box and cooler

    This is less powerful than the previous CPU but still a performance beast. This processor packs the same power but in a controlled way. It is suitable for those who want top-quality performance but don’t want to exaggerate everything. Here are some of its features:

    High Clock Speed: A bit behind i9, 12th gen i7 has a base clock speed of 3.6GHz. But when overclocked, you will unleash the 5.0 GHz max turbo boost. It has a power consumption of 190W when you unlock the turbo mode.

    Performance Boost: Such power is packed in only 12 cores, where 4 are the efficient cores, and 8 are the performance cores. A greater number of performance cores allow you to obtain top-end operations without spending as much. Also, it has a 25 MB cache, and the CPU can work with both DDR4 (up to 3400 MT/s) and DDR5 (up to 4800 MT/s) memory.

    Shared Graphics: The Intel Core-i7 12700K also has the UHD Graphics 770 integrated feature. So, they back you in the graphics department. However, the max dynamic frequency is lowered to 1.50 GHz. But it can still support much visual information without any stress.

    Affordable: The highlighting feature of the i7 12th generation is that it has many features similar to the Core-i9, or just a step behind. But, it is way cheaper than the superior processor. It becomes the best Intel Chip for all those seeking premium features but don’t want to spend more than $500 on processors.

    Pros

    • Amazing Single-Core Performance
    • Efficient Multithreading
    • Similar to Core-i9 12900K
    • A Lot Cheaper Than the Core-i9 12900K

    Cons

    • Only compatible with Z690 motherboard
    • Doesn’t come with a cooler

    Intel Core-i5 12600K

    i5 12600k

    If you want the best value Intel CPU in 2022, the mic drop choice will be Intel Core-i5 12600K. It has the best value for money ratio. You get decent enough power and performance at a very reasonable price. Moreover, it does not consume a hefty amount of electricity. Some of its great highlights are below:

    Gamer’s CPU: i5 12600K is probably the best Intel processor for gaming in many aspects. The 10 cores are enough to conquer many games with 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores. The CPU operates on 3.7GHz and unlocks up to 4.9 GHz frequency. You won’t feel any lag with 16 threads and 20 MBs of cache while doing everyday stuff.

    Cheap: All the specs come to you within $300. The affordability gives you the chance to spend more on a quality graphics card, while the CPU gets you top-tier performance. It has an insane price according to the specs it offers.

    Powerful Graphics: It packs the same UHD Graphics 770 system as its counterpart, working at 300 MHz. The max dynamic frequency is 1.45 GHz with 4K HDMI and 8K DP output. Both at a 60Hz refresh rate.

    Low TDP: This CPU is also efficient enough and doesn’t consume much energy. It can operate at a maximum of 100°C at only 125W. But if you overclock the processor, it will require no more than 150W. Like premium CPUs, it also has a Digital Thermal Sensor (DTS).

    Pros

    • Faster than i9 11900K
    • Efficient Power Consumption
    • High Value for Price Ratio
    • Amazing Overall Performance

    Cons

    • Compatibility issue with a few games
    • Doesn’t come with a CPU cooler

    Best Mid-Range Intel CPUs

    Moving forward to our next category, below are the two best mid-range Intel CPUs for users on a smaller budget. These can elegantly support games, and they are great to handle office work. Let’s take a look:

    Intel Core-i5 12400

    i5 12400

    The best mid-range Intel CPU of 2022 is the Core-i5 12400. Note that it does not have a K in the end, so you can’t overclock it. You can get the 12400K, but it will cost you a lot more. Here are its features:

    Performance Specific: The Core-i5 12400 has only 6 cores, all of which are Performance cores. Their base clock speed is 2.5 GHz, but it can go up to 4.4GHz. As mentioned earlier, you can’t overclock it. But you may not require it with the 18 MB cache, as the CPU smoothly executes normal operations.

    Low Power Consumption: The lower CPU frequency requires a lower power consumption. This Intel processor can operate on 65W. But if the turbo mode is activated then it will take no more than 120W. The clock speed with such a low electric requirement makes 12400 highly efficient. As it needs less power, it doesn’t run into heating issues. Although 100°C is this i5’s max operating temperature, it is very unlikely for the CPU to even get close to that.

    Cheaper: This CPU can fulfil all of your performance requirements and you spend just around $200 for it. It makes it superbly cheaper than other options and yet it provides all the needed specs. It also makes it accessible to many users who want a good Intel computer chip.

    Decent Gaming Experience: Talking specifically about gaming, the 12400 has Intel UHD Graphics 730 integrated. It is sufficient to work on many games and provides a fantastic experience.

    Pros

    • Efficient & Affordable
    • Great Clock Speed
    • High Single-Core Performance & Multithreading
    • Less Heating Issues

    Cons

    • Can’t be overclocked
    • Doesn’t have Efficiency cores

    Intel Core-i5 10600K

    i5 10600k

    Until now, I’ve been reviewing only the latest 12th gen Intel CPUs. But as we are trickling down in price, the generations will also decrease. But don’t underestimate these oldies, as they are still the best Intel processors in many fields even today.

    The next best mid-range Intel processor in 2022 is the Core-i5 10600K. This 10th generation Core-i5 processor has enough artillery power to compete with many other modern gen processors. The following are a few of its fascinating highlights:

    Suffice Core Frequency: The i5 10600K has 6 cores and 12 threads. The multithreading of it is amazing considering it is two generations older. The processor's base clock speed is 4.1 GHz, but you can get a whopping 4.8 GHz if you overclock it.

    Ryzen Rival: Apart from the price, this 10th gen CPU gave a tough competition to many Ryzen 5 & 7 CPUs. Alas, AMD wins again in the costs department, as it is more expensive than their Ryzen conterparts. Otherwise, 10600K is slightly better in performance.

    4K Gaming: Again, you get 4K gaming at 60Hz. However, the support is limited to 30Hz in HDMI. Although the CPU can support DDR4-2666, you can’t use the DDR5. Other worthy features include the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630. You also get the 64 GB max memory support.

    TDP & Cache: It doesn’t take in a lot of energy, and the TDP rating is 125W. When working low, it consumes 95W, which is not bad but somewhat high. It has a 12 MB cache with Intel Smart Cache integration. The amount is not bad if you use the PC for normal working or pair it with a good GPU.

    Pros

    • Great CPU for office usage
    • Competitive Clock Speed
    • Amazing Multithreading
    • Doesn’t heat much

    Cons

    • Comparatively expensive
    • Comparatively higher TDP

    Best Budget Intel CPUs

    Below are two Intel CPUs which are great if you want to do casual internet browsing, light working, or simple light gaming. They are for users with a small budget, so therefore, their performance also matches that. But still, these are the best budget Intel CPUs you can buy.

    Intel Core-i5 10400F

    i5 10400F

    Intel Core-i5 10400F is the best Intel CPU at a low cost. It can meet many requirements and provide a great value for money ratio. You can experience smooth functioning and low thermal complications. It is designed for low-budget users who don’t want to perform hefty work. Here are some of its features:

    Competitive Speed: The 10400F can provide you with an up-to-date processor's speed, even being from the 10th generation. Its base CPU frequency is 2.9 GHz, but you can achieve a max turbo speed of 4.3 GHz. Also, with a 12 MB cache, your regular operations are smooth.

    Competitive Price: You get the above competitive power at a very reasonable price. Right now, this 10th gen i5 is available for around $150. But there's more.

    CPU Cooler: Core-i5 10400F has a CPU cooler inside the package. So, it not only provides its competitors' speed at almost half the price but also saves you money since you don’t need to spend it on a cooler. Moreover, the TDP rating is also 65W (it isn't a hothead either).

    Budget Gaming: It has 6 cores with 12 threads. So overall, it can support your gaming pretty well. But, it is confined for moderate to light games. You can run GTA V at low settings though at the very least.

    Pros

    • Amazing Mid-Range Performance
    • Low TDP
    • Good for Moderate Gaming
    • CPU Cooler Included

    Cons

    • Overclocking unavailable
    • Graphics can get unsatisfactory

    Intel Core-i3 10300

    i3 10300

    The other fascinating budget processor from Intel is the Core-i3 10300. It is a quad-core CPU that could merely cost above $150. But still, it has some pretty amazing specifications compared to other quad-core processors. It mainly targets those low-end office users who want a powerful CPU but also are short on money.

    Don’t worry; the Core-i3 product line is specifically designed for those low-end users. You can estimate that the Core-i3 10300 has potential as it can handle light image editing. I’m not talking about Photoshop, but you can easily operate Inkscape. Here are some of its juicy features:

    Small Powerhouse: Don’t be fooled by the name, as this processor can boost your work with insane power. Its base frequency is 3.7 GHz, and when working at turbo speed, it can get up to 4.4 GHz. The 4 cored CPU has 8 threads and 8 MB of cache. So, it can perform normal routine operations quite comfortably.

    Graphics Support: It is integrated with Intel UHD Graphics 630, so you get the basic CPU features at a low price. Due to a decent power in integrated graphics, you get 4K max resolutions of HDMI and DP at 30 and 60Hz, respectively (this is not for gaming).

    Intel AES-NI: This 10th gen i3 has Intel AES New Instructions like higher mid-range CPUs. This feature makes sure that the encryption and decryption of data should be fast. It helps in bulk encryption of data and assists authentication and random number generation for security.

    Package Power Tracking: The Core-i3 10300 has a higher PPT envelope. The package power tracking records the maximum power the socket is consuming. It doesn’t consume much energy with a TDP of 65W. But when using the turbo mode, it can take up to 142W.

    Pros

    • High CPU Clock speed
    • Good Graphics
    • Great for Office Computer’s Use
    • Competitive to Mid-Range Processor

    Cons

    • Comparatively Pricy
    • May throttle with heavy software

    Best Cheapest Intel CPUs

    In this section, I target all those who want to get the cheapest CPU. They may not have enough of a budget or just want to browse the internet, watch videos, or play solitaire. Below are the two best Intel CPUs at the lowest price, but don’t expect much results from them. Even with the lowest settings, they can’t support heavy software and lag in mid to high-end games.

    Intel Core-i3 8100

    i3 8100

    If you're seeking the best cheapest Intel CPU for gaming, the Core-i3 8100 is for you. Well, you can’t just jump straight into playing cyberpunk 2077. However, the CPU can handle many other AAA games with sufficient memory and a suitable graphics card. Here are some of its great features:

    Interesting Mix: The Core-i3 8100 is an amazing blend of power and modesty. The CPU runs on 4 cores and 4 threads, clocking at the speed of 3.6 GHz. However, it doesn’t have a turbo mode, and you can't overclock it either. But still, it has enough power to run games on low or medium settings.

    Low Price: The 8100 comes under $120, making it extra convenient to purchase. People who thrive for a decent gaming experience but can’t spend much on expensive processors, can rely on this CPU. But you should be careful not to try to test its limits. 

    Fascinating Gaming: Talking about games, you can play Forza Horizon 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Tomb Raider, and many more. To get a great experience, pair it with a 1-2 GB graphic card and at least 8 GB RAM (it can support up to 64 GB memory). This set will be enough to give you an enticing gaming experience.

    Pros

    • Cheap Gaming Intel CPU
    • Stock Cooler Available
    • Great for Low Budget users
    • Competitive to Ryzen 5 1400

    Cons

    • No hyper-threading
    • No turbo boost

    Intel Pentium Gold G6400

    intel pentium G 6400

    The Intel Pentium Gold G6400 is the cheapest Intel processor in 2022 you can buy. It is the only Intel processor in this list that is not a Core-i. It may not be the best as you lose some things due to the price. But some worthy features made me include it in this list. Here they are:

    Insanely Affordable: First of all, you can buy this CPU at an insane price. Right now, it is available below $70 in the retail market. You can’t find any other CPU at such a low price with the power ot provides.

    Surprisingly High Clock Speed: The G6400 is a dual-core processor with 4 threads. Both are P-cores, but the amazing fact is that it has a clock speed of 4.0 GHz. It’s great power for a dual-core CPU. This processing power is capable of performing any routine work on your PC.

    Hyper-threading: The main highlight of this CPU is not the high clock speed; but it’s the hyper-threading ability. You don’t expect this feature from dual-core processors. Also, 58W of power consumption won’t raise the electricity bill.

    Pros

    • Highly Affordable
    • Bundled CPU Cooler
    • Amazing Performance for the Price
    • Hyper-threading

    Cons

    • No turbo boost
    • No overclocking

    Best Intel Gaming CPUs

    Till now, I’ve been considering the best overall Intel CPUs. Although I mentioned gaming throughout this guide, below are my two best picks solely dedicated to gaming. I’ve factored in the performance, price, affordability, and compatibility. Let’s get into it:

    Intel Core-i7 11700K

    i7 11700k

    The Intel Core-i7 11700K is an astonishing CPU for gaming. The processor is powerful enough to support high-end AAA games at max settings. Also, it is efficient and doesn’t consume much energy regardless of specs. It is a potential competitor to many AMD CPUs and Intel’s 12th gen series CPUs. The following are its fascinating features:

    High Clock Speed: The Core-i7 11700K has a high clock speed that enables you to play top-tier games effortlessly. Its base CPU frequency is 3.6 GHz, but you can overclock it up to 5.0 GHz. Its 8 cores and 16 threads make it capable of handling the gaming load.

    Boost Technology: This CPU has three boost technologies triggered under certain conditions. The adaptive boost technology (ABT) can adjust the turbo boosts of cores if more than three are active. The Single-core and all-core thermal velocity boosts (TVBs) will make respectively one or all cores faster. The temperature doesn’t hinder its performance if it exceeds 70°C.

    TDP: The Intel Core-i7 11700K is highly energy efficient. Many other processors with this power usually consume a lot of electricity. But the base TDP rating of 11700K is 95W. Also, even when working at 5.0 GHz, it consumes only 125W.

    5K Graphics: It comes with Intel UHD Graphics 750. The i-GPU is capable of providing 1.3 GHz of max dynamic frequency. This allows the i7 to execute many ultra-realistic graphics games conveniently. Also, it supports 5K resolutions on both HDMI and DP. When paired with a great graphics card, the combo will be beautiful.

    Pros

    • Perfect for Gaming
    • Compatible with Older Z590 motherboards
    • Intense Overclocking ability
    • Great integrated GPU

    Cons

    • A bit expensive
    • Older 14nm lithography

    Intel Core-i5 11600K

    i5 11600K

    The last Intel CPU of this guide is the Core-i5 11600K. It is the best Intel gaming CPU for those with a lower budget. This processor is powerful enough to match the performance of the i7-10700K. If you are looking for a fairly priced gaming solution, this might be your answer. Let’s have a look at its highlights:

    Competitive Performance: As mentioned earlier, it competes with the Core-i7 10700K in performance. The fun part is that it has 6 cores while the i7 has 8-cores. Also, it has multi-threading with 12 threads making it an excellent choice for multitasking. You may game and stream simultaneously with this CPU.

    Great Value For Money: It has 3.9 GHz of CPU base frequency, but you can overclock it to 4.9 GHz. It also has a total cache of 12 MB for a smooth experience. Not only that, but it also costs less than $280 for this amazing strength.

    No Overheating: The Core-i5 doesn’t consume much electricity, as its TDP rating is 95W. So, less electric consumption leads to low thermal output. It causes less heat ups even when the temperature is maintained during hardcore gaming.

    Frame-Rate Stability: Since heating is not a big issue, this processor can provide a stable frame rate throughout a game. Its average frame rate of F1 2019 at 1080 Ultra is above 200 fps. In the highest settings of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it maintains 175+ fps. Talking about Far Cry New Dawn, you get around 80 fps at 4K Ultra-high settings.

    Pros

    • Smooth and Fabolous Gaming Experience
    • Great Clockspeed
    • Stable Frame Rates
    • Less Heating Issues

    Cons

    • Doesn’t include a CPU cooler
    • A bit power-hungry when overclocked

    But at the end of the day, there is no point in having a good CPU if you aren’t going to pair it with the right GPU. Check this guide out to find out how to pick a good graphics card for your next build.

    Takeaway

    Buying a new Intel processor is not difficult, but the availability of various chips make it tricky to select a suitable one. In this detailed guide, I’ve given you the 11 best Intel CPUs in 2022 you can buy. Each one is distinctive in its category. Select the most suitable one for enhancing your gaming, office work, productivity, and routine PC performance. The beasts from the five categories are always here to help.

    If you want to do more independent research on how to find the best CPU for your needs check out this article.


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