A good CPU is essential for any computer. It is the brain of any desktop of laptop. That being said, not all models provide the same performance or adapt equally to different types of use. The key to a successful CPU purchase is to know what you need.

You’ll want to choose a powerful CPU if you’re an avid gamer or use your computer for professional purposes. But looking for the best products of the year still isn’t enough. Their characteristics may greatly vary from one model to the next, from one brand to another. We’ve designed this shopping guide to help you learn the key features in order to make the right decision.

Key Facts

  • You need to know exactly what to look for if you want to buy one of the CPUs on the market. Models designed for gamers are different from those tailored to multimedia or graphic design.
  • Understanding different factors such as voltage, cache or processor cores is key to finding exactly what you’re looking for. The options are endless, whether you opt for Intel or AMD.
  • Your CPU’s compatibility is naturally essential. Not only will it avoid wasting money on a product that doesn’t satisfy your needs, but it will also guarantee optimal performance and a model most tailored to what you’re really looking for.

Ranking: The best CPUs on the Australian market

The base frequency or turbo of a CPU aren’t the only criteria that make it the best on the market. The performance of these processors depend on many other factors. The internal architecture, for instance, is a key aspect that is too often overlooked by users. In the following section, you will find our selection of the very best CPUs available on The Australian market right now.

No. 1: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

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AMD is one of two leading CPU manufacturers in the world, so it’s not surprising to see one of their products be Amazon’s Choice in the category. If you’re looking for one of the best quality yet affordable CPUs, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is a fantastic option. It is a very interesting choice for gamers on a tight budget, costing less than $150.

Its extremely affordable price means that you’ll still have to make some concessions, generally playing with a lower quality – 720p at 30 or 40 FPS. You might be able to go a little higher with certain video games. Its big brother, the Ryzen 3 1300X, is superior in certain aspects; however, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G has a superior value for money. It is ideal for 4K videos or basic graphic design work.

No. 2: Intel Core i7-8700k

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You’ll probably have guessed: Intel is the other world leader in CPU manufacturing, and this is their Core i7-8700 model. With a price reaching towards 600 dollars, we guarantee that its performance and incredible useful life make it worth every penny. It is one of the very best options for gamers. It comes with 6 cores and 12 threads that few CPUs out there can match.

It’s basically the ideal choice if you want to build yourself a high-performance computer while staying away from overclocking. The quality of its components and its high compatibility means that you shouldn’t have any problem combining it with lower range motherboards. This will allow you to create a great PC at a reasonable price.

No. 3: AMD Ryzen 5-2600

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AMD’s Ryzen 5-2600 CPU is an Amazon Best Seller in the category, and it’s easy to understand why. The second most affordable model of our ranking, its versatility is undeniably its main advantages. With this CPU, you’ll be able to play video games at 1440p, but also perform advanced graphic design and editing tasks without any problem.

It features a total of 6 cores and the Wraith Stealth Cooler to avoid your computer from overheating. Ryzen’s Master utility software allows you to overclock your device in total freedom to unleash its full potential. Past customers have particularly praised the overall value for money of this jack of all trades of computer processors.

No. 4: Intel Core i9-7980XE

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Intel’s Core i9-7980XE is quite simply one of the very, very best high-end CPUs. This is the reason why this product is tailored for professional use and the most powerful devices – such as workstations. Its price is therefore prohibitive, costing almost 1,500 dollars. However, this is the best option if you want something ultra-professional and with an extended lifespan.

Presenting a Skylake architecture, this extremely complete CPU has a total of 18 cores that work with the Hyper-threading technology – this allows the processor to offer up to 36 threads. Its maximum power can reach up to 4.4 GHz. In addition to this exceptional capacity, it has a thermal design power (TDP) of 165 W and 24.75 MB of L3 cache. You can naturally overclock with this CPU.

No. 5: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

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Last but not least, here comes one of AMD’s most powerful processors: the Ryzen 7 2700X. It offers an incredible value for money and it is considered to be one of the best high-end CPUs. The Ryzen 7 2700X is an excellent choice if you’re a graphic designer. As a matter of fact, it outperforms the Core i7-8700K in certain sectors and is a bit more affordable.

For gaming purposes, this model is somewhat better than the Ryzen 7 1800X in terms of single core power. This means that you will get a higher clock rate if you play on 144 or 240 Hz monitors. In addition, it is also compatible with economic motherboards – you will simply have to update their BIOS updated if they do not have the X470 chipset.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about CPUs

The quality of a CPU is determined by a series of elements that make up the processor. You should know that Intel and AMD are the two major companies to manufacture and distribute these products. You need to learn everything about CPUs if you want to make the right decision, which is why we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions in the section below.

Remember that compatibility is the key to finding the right CPU for you 
(Source: Golubovy: 54302124/ 123rf.com)

What is a CPU exactly?

A CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the central hardware of any computing equipment. It has the responsibility of running the system like a band leader. If we take its name to the letter, the primary task of a CPU is to process all the functions of the device it manages.

Using a computer would be absolutely impossible without a CPU. This technological brain isn’t simply responsible for storing information; it constantly checks the status of the operating system. This processor also receives instructions from the different components and applications installed, and it generates the output data of the device.

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The CPU is one of the most important parts of your computer.

Intel Core or AMD CPU?

Intel and AMD processors dominate today’s market. There is such a variety of options that it is hard to determine which brand offers the best quality. Since your needs and our budget ultimately determine what you’re looking for, some models of our ranking above will suit you. While this may disappoint you, others will not and you’ll have to discard them.

Analysing every single CPU model by Intel Core and AMD would be near impossible, but we’ve still designed the following table to give you an overview of their products. We’ve included the main advantages and disadvantages of the two brands, that you can use as a starting point to decide which CPU best fits your needs.

Intel AMD
Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages
They offer a lower energy consumption. Many of their best models are particularly expensive. Their products tend to offer better value for money. They usually consume more energy and therefore produce more heat.
Good option for small computers because they generate little heat. Good option for desktop computers. AMD CPUs are generally not the best for laptops.
Widely compatible. Some of their models offer incredible power due to the number of cores.
Its QuickPath Interconnect technology offers high quality memory. Gaming-specific models have greatly improved.
They currently have 14 active plants around the world, a true testimony their position within the industry.

What is the frequency of a CPU?

Generally called clock rate, it is very present in various computer elements – RAMs also have it. It is measured in clock cycles per second (hertz) and represents the time needed to carry out its functions. This is basically the processing speed of your CPU.

If you want to use this value for comparison, remember to do so between CPUs of the same class. That being said, they don’t have to be products of the same manufacturer. Note that these values may sometimes be lower than what is indicated on the box. Poor compatibility, for instance, may lead to reduced speeds. You can find programs designed to tell you your CPU’s clock rate.

The cache is a memory that helps to speed up a CPU’s performance.
(Source: Radub85: 36172609/ 123rf.com)

This value is particularly critical if you want to push your computer to its limits. Higher speeds will offer better performances when it comes to gaming or professional environments, such as graphic design. If you’re interested in know the intricacies of clock rate, countless articles and videos available on the web dive right into this topic.

What are a CPU’s cores?

The first single-core processors had – you guessed it – one core only. Technological development has led to an increase in that number. To put it very simply, we could define these cores as a processing unit in themselves. Their role is to interpret instructions and carry out concrete actions accordingly.

Whether you’re using your computer or your smartphone, every action you execute goes straight through the CPU. Each core of the processor has the ability to carry out individual processing cycles. There are three key levels to these cycles: fetching, decoding and executing.

Your needs and your budget will ultimately determine which brand you opt for.
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The cores of a CPU naturally determine its overall performance. However, keep in mind that a higher number of cores doesn’t always equal a better performance. On the one hand, more cores will allow your CPU to perform more processing cycles simultaneously. On the other, we explained in the previous paragraph that the clock rate determines the speed of a CPU.

What is the architecture of a CPU?

The architecture of a CPU is the design that its microprocessor presents. This isn’t only relevant for aesthetics or space saving: the level of performance of your CPU also depends on it. We generally identify four main components of this structure:

  • The ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit): It is responsible for carrying out all the operations requested.
  • Registers to store temporary data: The ALU uses them to understand the instructions received and determine how it will execute them with the RAM.
  • Process Control Blocks (PCBs) used to communicate with the outside: These blocks are crucial, as they help to manage the flow of information and to establish the order of execution of the different tasks requested.
  • The program counter: It synchronises the execution of everything related to the CPU, both orders and internal processing. This prevents errors or setbacks from happening.
Seymour CrayAmerican Electrical Engineer & Supercomputer Architect

“Anyone can build a fast CPU. The trick is to build a fast system.”

What is the cache of a CPU?

Also called cache memory, this CPU element stores data to facilitate their access and increase fluidity when executing commands. This information can be the result of previous calculations or a simple duplicate of data stored in other components of the system. The cache presents three main levels:

  • L1 cache: Also known as the primary cache. Located in the core of the CPU, it has a maximum capacity of 768 KB. It focuses on storing and accessing data and instructions that are frequently used and of capital importance for the operation of the device and its different programs.
  • L2 cache: It is also responsible for storing frequently used data. The main difference is that it is slower than the L1 cache – although faster than the RAM. While it is part of the CPU, it is not located in its cores. It also stores a copy of the L1 cache.
  • L3 cache: The L3 cache holds a copy of the L2 as the latter does with L1 cache. It is also faster than RAM, but slower than L2 cache. Its main goal is to facilitate the access to data and instructions not found by L1 or L2. Its size tends to be larger than the two previous caches, and it helps to boost the overall performance of the processor.

How does a CPU affect gaming ?

This is the section for you if you’re an avid gamer. You’ll often see people talking about the best gaming CPUs, but we seldom delve into the tasks it must carry out when you’re playing video games. Your CPU is responsible for the physics, AI (artificial intelligence) and other non-graphic aspects. The graphic card, on the other hand, naturally takes care of graphics.

For this reason, a CPU is important but it isn’t the cornerstone for gaming. A quality CPU will be completely useless if you don’t have a good graphic or video card. That being said, the CPU remains the base of the structure and cannot be overlooked. In the end, the best option to obtain optimal performances is to find a balance between the different components involved in gaming.

Shopping Criteria

Knowing a couple of things about CPU simply isn’t enough if you want to make the right purchase. We’ve already discussed some aspects that you need to take into account to choose the CPU that is most tailored to your needs. In the following section, we’ll analyse a couple of criteria more for you to be perfectly informed when taking your decision.

  • Gaming, graphic design or everyday use
  • Number of cores and clock rate
  • Overclocking and multithreading
  • Cache and voltage
  • Compatibility

Gaming, graphic design or everyday use

The sales of AMD’s CPUs have increased by 5% in recent years. This growth reflects very well the brand’s relentless efforts to develop its products. However, the constant improvement of AMD’s CPUs doesn’t mean you should get one of their models right away. Intel Core CPUs still offer great options. In the end, meeting your real needs is all that matters.

Each user has their own, both in terms of tastes and the type of tasks you want your operating system to carry out. Your use of the CPU is therefore the very first criterion you should take into account when making your purchase. Here is a quick guide to help you in your decision:

If you want to You should get
Play the latest video games: A CPU with a high clock rate and with an integrated graphics chip (if you want to avoid an extra investment).
Dedicate yourself to professional graphic design: A CPU with a good clock rate, but more importantly a high number of cores to avoid crashes and enhance its multitasking capabilities.
Play and dedicate yourself to graphic design in an informal context: An affordable CPU (with integrated graphic chip or not). You can find quality options with basic features for less than $150.

Number of cores and clock rate

These two elements and their individual characteristics basically determine the overall performance of the CPU. Make sure you analyse both criteria and to combine them efficiently if you want to get the very best CPU on the market. When it comes to cores, the majority of CPUs will offer anywhere from 2 to 10.

As we explained earlier, the clock rate indicates the speed of the CPU. A higher values means that it will be easier for the cores to work quickly and meet multitasking demands. In that regard, Intel generally offers greater performance. You cannot neglect these aspects if you’re looking for mid to high-end products.

A quality CPU will be completely useless if you don’t have a good graphic or video card.
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On the other hand, both Intel and AMD CPUs feature another interesting value: the maximum frequency. This represents the highest speed that a processor can reach in the most demanding situations and in certain thermal or consumption conditions. Note that you’ll have to analyse this value if you’re already looking for very specific products.

Overclocking and multithreading

Certain CPUs also present another component that we haven’t talked about just yet: the threads of the cores. Intel dubbed this technology ‘Hyper-threading’, and its role is to divide the action of each core in two. This technology is essential if you want to choose one of the very best CPUs on The Australian market.

Nowadays, AMD processors offer a very similar technology. It is also important for you to consider overclocking. This feature allows you to modify certain CPU values to enhance the performance of your device. Please keep in mind that not all models will let you overclock, as this characteristic is designed for the most advanced users only.

Cache and voltage

The cache memory is a key factor to take into account when it comes to buying the best Intel or AMD CPU. As we stated earlier, this type of memory helps to speed up the performance of your processor. It is in charge of making sure that the CPU receives and can work at all times with the information it needs.

The best professional Intel or AMD CPUs will have caches superior to 4 MB. Generally speaking, the value will oscillate 2 and 8 MB. In addition, it is interesting for you to take into account the power consumption of the CPU, as well as its thermal management. In the medium to long run, a quality CPU that has a tendency t heat too much will lose in performance.

Compatibility

Chether you’re looking for the best CPU to replace the one you currently have or because you want to design your very own PC from scratch, its compatibility is fundamental. In that regard, the motherboard and the RAM memory are the two main aspects to consider. You risk having a poor performance or a useless CPU if it is not compatible.

The very best processors will offer the maximum RAM memory possible. This doesn’t simply prevent compatibility issues: it also means you won’t have to invest in a CPU that you don’t really need. This will maximise the value for money of your purchase, and the model you buy will fully satisfy your needs.

Summary

The best CPUs on the Australian market are characterised by their versatility. You’ll find models tailored for every possible use, and it’s up to you to decide which best fits your needs. Take them into account, as well as key criteria such as clock rate, cache memory or voltage. There will always be the right product in line with your budget.

Think carefully about what you’ll use your computer for. A powerful processor with a high clock rate will satisfy you if you’re into playing the latest video games. On the other hand, everyday tasks combined with some editing will require a mid-range CPU. Buying the right model and you’ll increase the useful life of your computer.

If you found our shopping guide on CPUs useful, feel free to share our article on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!

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