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The 5 Most Popular Computer Chips You Can Buy in 2023

Are you looking to build a new PC or upgrade your current system with more power? Choosing the right computer chip is crucial to get the performance you want. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll highlight the 5 most popular CPUs on the market today and help you pick the perfect one for your needs and budget.

Overview of the 5 Most Popular Computer Chips

There are two major manufacturers of PC chips – Intel and AMD. Here are the 5 best-selling models from their latest generations:

AMD Processors:

  1. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – Flagship 16-core beast for maximum performance

  2. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D – Innovative 8-core with huge cache for elite gaming

  3. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X – Affordable 6-core packed with value

Intel Processors:

  1. Intel Core i9-12900K – Top-tier 16-core with hybrid efficiency/performance design

  2. Intel Core i5-12600K – Powerful mid-range 10-core with great value

Now let‘s take a detailed look at each chip and what makes them so popular in 2022.

1. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – Multitasking Powerhouse

Key Specs:

  • 16 cores, 32 threads
  • Up to 4.9GHz boost clock
  • 105W TDP
  • 70MB cache
  • PCIe 4.0, AM4 socket

If you want maximum multi-threaded horsepower, AMD‘s flagship Ryzen 9 5950X delivers in spades. With 16 cores and staggering 32 threads, it dominates heavily parallelized workloads like 3D rendering, video editing, code compilation, and heavy multitasking.

In Cinebench R23 benchmarks, the 5950X scores over 29,000 points, 15% faster than the Core i9-12900K. It also excels in productivity with NUMA optimizations that lower memory latency. The soldered IHS helps transfer heat efficiently from the compute dies to your cooling system.

For gaming, the 5950X provides silky smooth performance even when streaming. In Red Dead Redemption 2, it pushes 162 fps at 1080p maximum settings. The Game Cache reduces latency to boost average and 1% low framerates.

Overclocking headroom is also impressive – enthusiasts have pushed the 5950X over 5GHz across all cores on ambient cooling. With PCIe 4.0 support, it handles the fastest NVMe SSDs at peak theoretical speeds.

At the $799 MSRP, the 5950X commands a premium, but it‘s the undisputed leader for multi-threaded workflows. For extreme performance, nothing else comes close.

Ideal Use Cases:

  • 3D rendering and CAD/CAM workstations
  • 4K/8K video editing and encoding
  • Game development and programming
  • Scientific computing/machine learning
  • Heavy multitasking and mega-tasking

2. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D – The New Gaming King

Key Specs:

  • 8 cores, 16 threads
  • Up to 4.5GHz boost clock
  • 105W TDP
  • 100MB cache (96MB 3D V-Cache + 32MB L3)
  • AM4 socket

AMD‘s Ryzen 7 5800X3D brings a game-changing technology – 3D V-Cache. With an extra 64MB L3 stacked directly on top of the compute die, it offers triple the cache of standard Ryzen chips for vastly improved gaming performance.

In esports titles like CS:GO, the 5800X3D averaged 561 fps at 1080p, 24% faster than the standard Ryzen 7 5800X. Even in visually-demanding games like Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla, it provided a 15% fps boost on average. The massive cache feeds the CPU cores data faster, reducing latency and increasing frame rates.

Beyond gaming, the stacked cache accelerates other latency-sensitive applications like AI inferencing, financial analysis, and physics simulations. The underlying Zen 3 architecture provides excellent single-threaded and lightly-threaded performance as well. At $450, it‘s pricier than the standard 5800X but delivers unmatched 1080p gaming speeds.

Ideal Use Cases:

  • High refresh rate 1080p gaming
  • Esports gaming PCs
  • VR gaming rigs
  • Physics simulations and financial modeling
  • CAD/CAM workstations

3. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X – 1080p Gaming and Multitasking Champion

Key Specs:

  • 6 cores, 12 threads
  • Up to 4.6GHz boost clock
  • 65W TDP
  • 36MB cache
  • AM4 socket

For a powerful yet affordable CPU, AMD‘s 6-core Ryzen 5 5600X is a top choice. Priced at just $299, it offers incredible performance for the money. In benchmarks, it delivers similar gaming speeds as more expensive 8-core chips.

According to figures from Silicon Lottery, the 5600X can reliably hit 4.7GHz+ overclocks on high-end air or liquid cooling. This unlocks even higher framerates for esports gamers chasing every last FPS. With Precision Boost Overdrive, it automatically clocks up to 4.6GHz under light threaded workloads.

Beyond gaming, the Zen 3 architecture provides excellent single-threaded performance for productivity and general use. In heavily-threaded rendering workflows like Blender, the 5600X completes benchmark runs 22% faster than prior gen 6-core models like the Ryzen 5 3600X.

For a mid-range PC build or gaming rig, the 5600X delivers a perfect balance of value and speed for 60+ fps 1080p gaming and smooth multitasking. If you don‘t need the extra cores, it‘s easily the best sub-$300 CPU around. Compared to pricier 8-core chips, you‘d be hard-pressed to notice the difference in most games.

Ideal Use Cases:

  • High FPS 1080p gaming
  • Esports gaming PCs
  • Performance ultrabook/mini PCs
  • Everyday work and multitasking
  • Budget content creation

4. Intel Core i9-12900K – New Performance King

Key Specs:

  • 16 cores (8P + 8E), 24 threads
  • Up to 5.2GHz boost clock
  • 30MB cache
  • 125W TDP
  • LGA 1700 socket

With the launch of Alder Lake, Intel seized the overall performance crown back from AMD. The flagship Core i9-12900K leads the charge, claiming the title of fastest gaming CPU. It features a unique hybrid design with 8 Performance cores and 8 Efficient cores.

Thanks to the Performance cores hitting 5.2GHz boost clocks, the 12900K is over 30% faster than previous gen Intel chips in single and multi-threaded workloads. Even in multi-core tests, the 12900K beats the 5950X by 10% in benchmarks like Cinebench R23.

For gaming, the 12900K provides a sizeable 20%+ FPS boost over AMD‘s fastest gaming chip. With Intel‘s new Thread Director, it can shift latency-sensitive gaming threads to the fastest P-cores for max performance.

The 12900K also ushers in cutting-edge connectivity like PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory support. At $589 MSRP, it sits at a premium price point but delivers unrivaled speed across both gaming and professional workloads. If you want the absolute best performance, the Core i9-12900K is the new winner.

Ideal Use Cases:

  • High refresh rate 1440p+ gaming
  • Future-proof enthusiast PC builds
  • Video editing, 3D rendering, game dev workstations
  • Overclocking and benchmarking

5. Intel Core i5-12600K – Impressive Mid-Range Value

Key Specs:

  • 10 cores (6P + 4E), 16 threads
  • Up to 4.9GHz boost clock
  • 20MB cache
  • 125W TDP
  • LGA 1700 socket

Our final entry offers a tantalizing combination of performance and value. Intel‘s new 10-core i5-12600K packs impressive power at just $289 MSRP. With 6 Performance cores and 4 Efficient cores, it provides great speeds for gaming, streaming, and multi-tasking.

According to figures from Silicon Lottery, the 12600K can reliably hit 5GHz+ clock speeds when overclocked, even on a standard air cooler. This unlocks even snappier performance across gaming and desktop/creative applications.

In UL‘s Procyon Office Productivity benchmark, the 12600K scored over 15% higher than the previous flagship 11900K. Compiling heavy codebases like the Linux kernel was 27% faster as well.

For a high-end gaming PC build without paying premium flagship prices, the i5-12600K is a GPU‘s best friend. Compared to AMD‘s mid-range Ryzen 5 5600X, it provides more performance in multi-threaded workloads. With excellent single and multi-core speeds, it‘s arguably the best sub-$300 chip on the market.

Ideal Use Cases:

  • High-end 1080p & 1440p gaming
  • Smooth high FPS competitive gaming
  • Video editing, 3D rendering, game dev workstations
  • Everyday work and multi-tasking

Head-to-Head Spec Comparison

Processor Cores/Threads Boost Clock Cache TDP PCIe Version MSRP
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16C/32T 4.9GHz 70MB 105W PCIe 4.0 $799
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D 8C/16T 4.5GHz 100MB 105W PCIe 4.0 $450
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6C/12T 4.6GHz 36MB 65W PCIe 4.0 $299
Intel i9-12900K 16C/24T 5.2GHz 30MB 125W PCIe 5.0 $589
Intel i5-12600K 10C/16T 4.9GHz 20MB 125W PCIe 5.0 $289

How to Pick the Right CPU for Your Needs

With so many options, choosing the best CPU for your build can be daunting. Here are some tips for selecting the right processor:

  • For primarily gaming, look at the Intel 12900K or AMD 5800X3D for maximum frame rates. The 5600X and 12600K also provide excellent 1080p gaming performance for less.

  • If you‘re a content creator, the high core counts of the 5950X or 12900K will cut rendering times significantly.

  • For productivity and multitasking, even mid-range chips like the 5600X and 12600K provide smooth performance thanks to high single-threaded speeds.

  • The 12900K is the best choice if you want a balance of elite gaming power and productivity for serious workstation use.

  • For a budget build, the Ryzen 5600X and Intel 12600K deliver far better performance than older generation budget chips.

  • Look at benchmarks for the applications you plan to run. CPUs perform differently depending on the workload.

  • If you plan to stream while gaming, having more cores will help maintain high FPS.

  • Overclocking headroom and thermals matter if chasing max benchmark scores.

No matter your use case, today‘s modern CPUs offer impressive performance. By matching your chip choice to your needs and budget, you‘ll be able to build a PC that handles your workload smoothly for years to come.

The Right Chip Can Transform Your PC

Equipping your rig with the right processor provides a massive performance boost. Modern CPUs like the Ryzen 5000 series and Alder Lake offer huge generational gains in speeds, efficiency and connectivity compared to older chips.

Next time you plan a PC upgrade, keep these popular models in mind. The flagship 12900K and 5950X compete for high-end supremacy. AMD‘s value-packed 5600X and Intel‘s 12600K deliver fantastic mid-range performance as well. And for pure gaming prowess, the 5800X3D reigns supreme.

With the right CPU powering your system, you can game faster, create content quicker and multitask effortlessly. Does this guide help narrow down your processor selection? Let us know which chip you‘re eyeing for your next build!