The best Intel processors were dominating the processor market a few years ago. Recently, however, AMD started to dethrone the Blue Kings thanks to their affordable yet reliable Ryzen series. Although Intel has taken a hit in its sales numbers, it doesn’t take anything away from its processors. Even the most premium gaming rigs and workstations prefer to use Intel chips over their AMD counterparts.
When buying Intel processors, you have to keep a few key points in mind. These include your budget, what apps/games you’ll be using with the processor, and the power usage of the processor. Before we dive into the best Intel processors you can buy in 2022, let’s look at the technicalities.
What are the key aspects of Intel processors?
With Intel looking to reinstate itself as the processor king for gaming, they’ve recently released their 12th generation of processors. The bigwigs at the company call it the Alder Lake architecture. They’ve used their new 10nm architecture by combining big and small cores, calling it Intel 10nm Enhanced SuperFin. While this all sounds good and fancy, you should know the fundamental aspects first. Once the basics are in place, you’ll understand even more about the newer architectures.
Number of Cores
Let’s put it simply – the more cores that a processor has, the better it performs. Each core can perform one task. Therefore, the higher the number of cores, the more processes a processor can perform at once. Even the lower end processors that you find today have four to six cores.
Did you know that the higher the number of cores, the slower the cores will move? Even if you have the budget to buy Intel processors with 64 cores, you should stick to a lower core count. This will enable your processor to finish faster as it goes through smaller tasks. To put it simply, you’re better off with higher clock speeds and anywhere between six to 12 cores for your processor.
Overclocking is when you change the clock speed of your Intel processors from the base speed to something much higher. This helps the processor work much faster but runs the risk of overheating and coming across voltage issues. However, some of the best Intel processors have the suffix ‘K’ after their model number. This implies that you can overclock the processor to a certain extent safely. I don’t recommend you overclock your CPU unless you have proper technical knowledge on how to do so.
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Thermal Design Power, or TDP, measures how much power the processor will need to work its tasks. A processor with a high TDP will draw more power and produce more heat. If the Intel processors have lower core counts and lower clock speeds, they will generate less heat and require less power. Ensure that your Power Supply Unit can handle the load with a powerful processor.
Which are the best Intel processors in 2022?
As mentioned earlier, Intel has released its Alder Lake lineup in 2022. With the 12th generation of Intel processors, you’re getting more efficiency and power than the previous generation of processors. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that the older generations aren’t worth buying. If they fit within your budget and meet your needs, you can go for the 10th and 11th generation processors. Let’s take a look at the best Intel processors you can find now:
Intel Core i5-12600K
Hands down, this has to be the best Intel processor you can find in the market for 2022 so far. I’d go so far as to say that this is the best processor you can find now, period. While it isn’t the fastest or the most powerful, the price to performance ratio is commendable. This processor is handy for gamers, whether you prefer solo campaign games or fast-paced multiplayer games. I wouldn’t recommend this processor if you like casual gaming or need a processor for a lab.
- Cores – 10
- Threads – 16
- Base clock – 3.70GHz
- Turbo clock – 4.90Ghz
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Intel Core i9-10900K
If you have the budget to spend on premium Intel processors, the Intel Core i9-10900K is a beast of a performer. Considering its power, you will need a massive Power Supply Unit to provide the juice for this processor. However, if you’ve got an old or a mid-range graphic card for gaming, it might bottleneck the performance of this processor. You have to ensure that your GPU balances out the processor to achieve maximum efficiency. Despite the significant power requirement, the processor works well to dissipate heat.
- Cores – 10
- Threads – 20
- Base clock – 3.7 GHz
- Turbo clock – 5.3 GHz
Intel Core i5-12400
Mid-range gamers will find this Intel processor to be the answer to their processor woes. While it isn’t the most potent processor even in the same i5 12th generation lineup, it offers excellent value. Although you can’t overclock it too far (notice the lack of the ‘K’ suffix), some light tinkering will produce amazing results. The processor is fast in both single-core and multi-core threaded performances, beating the competition very easily. Pair this with a proper motherboard and RAM, and you have a powerful gaming rig that is future proof!
- Cores – 6
- Threads – 12
- Base clock – 2.5GHz
- Turbo clock – 4.40GHz
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Intel Core i5-10400F
You don’t need a premium processor if you’re a gamer who enjoys playing games at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Some of the best Intel processors provide an overall value without breaking the bank. The Intel Core i5-10400F does precisely that. You can also use this processor for light editing and content work. It handles simple applications well. Although you can’t expect exceptional performance at this price range, this will be good enough for mid-range gaming for another year (at least).
- Cores – 6
- Threads – 12
- Base clock – 2.90GHz
- Turbo clock – 4.30GHz
Intel Core i3-12100
This is one of the latest budget offerings for gaming by Intel. If a very tight budget restricts you, you can go for this processor with your eyes closed. Moreover, it’s one of the best Intel processors for entry-level gaming. Its single-thread performance is unmatched in this price segment. Furthermore, it uses the latest Alder Lake architecture that powers the premium Intel processors of today. However, if you’re planning to introduce overclocking to get more power out of this bad boy, you’ll fail as this is a locked chip. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that you’ll be happy with the performance on your entry-level gaming rig!
- Cores – 4
- Threads – 8
- Base clock – 3.3GHz
- Turbo clock – 4.3GHz
Thanks to its new Alder Lake series of chipsets, Intel is most likely to regain its ground as the best processor manufacturer. Even if they don’t, you can rest assured that you’re getting some excellent processors by choosing these chipsets. Intel’s reliability will always propel it forward, even if the price can be a tad high sometimes.
Writer, researcher, and avid gamer. Geeks out over postmodern novels and the latest PC games. Usually intends all his puns.