The Fastest Computer Processors in 2020

The lockdowns that have forced millions around the globe to stay at home (and thus work from home), have greatly sped up the process of digital transformation among companies in every industry. More and more businesses are making the shift toward an online work environment, and while it offers unprecedented levels of flexibility and comfort at every level, it’s not without new challenges and requirements,
writes Oliver Taylor.
 

For instance, if you run a business that conducts the majority of its operations remotely (that is, online, via computer), you cannot expect to get by on budget equipment. Well, technically you can, but the losses caused by equipment malfunction may cost your business more money than you have saved when you purchased a cheaper technology. 
 

Take our advice: you’re going to want to be well-equipped. If you want to make sure that everything runs smoothly, you owe it to yourself to acquire the best equipment on the market, which will guarantee speed and reliability. However, it isn’t always simple to figure out what’s the right technology to buy, especially if you’re not familiar with all the details and specifics…There seems to be only two brands of processor- Intel and AMD, but both feature a wide range of products, and it isn’t easy to pinpoint which ones are the best, unless you’re in the know. 
 

You will need a good processor for your business computer, but how do you know which one to pick? Which processors are better - Intel or AMD? How many cores does a modern processor need and does more always mean faster? Should you choose a processor only by its frequency, or are there other characteristics that you should pay attention to? When it comes to buying a processor, there are many questions to consider...
 

Therefore, we have researched and picked the best options for powerful processors on the market in 2020. Read on to find out more about the most powerful units you could buy, whether in Intel or AMD. 
 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PROCESSOR

Now, the first step is to decide which company you’re going to choose, so how do you pick the processor manufacturer that’s right for you? It would seem very easy to do this, since there are only two companies to pick from: Intel and AMD. But while it is red or blue, it isn’t necessarily black or white, since both manufacturers have their pros and cons. Intel has been the leader in sales by a significant margin for a very long time, as it used to have more modern production technologies, a higher performance of flagship models, better deals and good advertising. However, with the release of Ryzen processors, AMD has greatly strengthened its position and recently came to dominate in almost every price category! 
 

Fans and critics of both manufacturers have spent years filling thousands of forums, blogs and comment sections on the Internet with phrases like ”Intel makes the best processors” or ”AMD is still better”, but you shouldn’t simply take someone’s word for it when choosing a processor...The best way to find out who’s right and who’s wrong is mainly through the comparison of test results and current prices.
 

Keep in mind: the most important thing in a processor is not the number of cores, but its full performance. Nonetheless, you can still view cores as a general guideline to what your processor can handle. To get an overall view of what each type of processor is best suited for, consider the following…2 core processors are exclusively for office work and browsing the Internet. 4 core processors are used in widespread and inexpensive personal computers. 6 core processors are found in medium and powerful gaming computers; 8 cores - in high-end gaming computers. Finally, 10 core processors, or higher, power specialised computers used by businesses that require very demanding software (e.g. videographers, 3D animators, etc.)

It is worth noting that it makes no sense to buy powerful processors for simple tasks like browsing the web or answering emails, since in comparison with cheaper models, the increase in system speed will be insignificant, and the full potential of the processor will never be put to use. However, if your machine will serve as the centre of operations for several other computers in your office, then yes, by all means, make sure that you have the best equipment money can buy!
 

Now, the frequency is not the only deciding factor in the matter. For example, the dual-core Intel Celeron G3900 and J1800 operate at similar frequencies, but the former is almost 4 times faster than the latter according to the test results, because the processor speed depends on other details as well. If you’d like to know for sure, the best indicator of a particular processor’s actual performance would be the benchmark results.
 

If we analyse the results of processor performance tests and current prices, we can conclude that at this point in time (end of 2020), the highest ratio of performance to price is contested between the latest AMD Ryzen series and Intel 9-10th generation processors.
 

AMD RYZEN 5000

With their new product, AMD has officially unveiled the Ryzen 5000 series of processors to the eager audience of computer enthusiasts. As announced, all devices are based on its Zen 3 system. The manufacturer also decided to increase the number of cores and threads in its models. The flagship Ryzen 9 5950X processor is 16-core and 32-thread, while the Ryzen 5 5600X has 6 cores and 12 threads, just like the highly popular Ryzen 5 3600X.
 

The latest series of AMD Ryzen products have brought numerous improvements to the Zen 3 architecture. The company initially decided to change the clusters, which currently consist of eight cores instead of four, as was the case before. Each of them has access to 32MB of L3 Cache. The purpose of the changes made by manufacturers was to reduce the number of delays in the exchange of data between the elements of the microcircuit, which proved to have a direct impact on improving the performance of the processor.
 

AMD also announced that their latest series of processors have experienced a whopping 19% increase in IPC (i.e. inter-process communication). This is currently the biggest leap between two generations of Ryzen processors. Such a remarkable result was achieved thanks to: the optimisation of the frontend, better loading and storage of data, branch prediction and cache bootstrapping. Zen 3 also gives you a performance-per-watt improvement, which is 2.4x higher in recent processor series than older models.
 

As an alternative, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, AMD Ryzen 9 3900, as well as a slightly more modest but much cheaper AMD Ryzen 7 3800X and AMD Ryzen 7 3700X - are also very fast processors for powerful business operations and specialised computers that provide maximum performance at a fairly reasonable price.
 

INTEL i9 10900K

Intel launched its 9th Generation Comet Lake processors about two years ago and is now shipping 10th Gen Comet Lake processors. These are the company’s latest innovations, which it revealed after the release of the super successful AMD Ryzen 3000 in 2019. Intel clearly has clearly taken the threat from its competitor quite seriously - it has revised the entire line of Core chips, and also launched new motherboards based on the Z490 chipset. 
 

If you want the absolute best processor available on the market right now, then the Core i9 10900K is the one for you. Of course, in the vast majority of cases, the Intel Core i9-10900K is an overkill, unless you’re planning an extreme build with a flagship graphics card, or a central computer to service several other machines. However, for those who wish to get the optimal power, the Core i9-10900K is currently the fastest Intel processor.
 

The Intel Core i9-10900K is also the company’s first mainstream processor with 10 cores and 20 threads. Considering its ability to operate at 5.3GHz, it delivers impressive performance for 14nm technology. Games still rely on high clock speeds, and this processor puts it above all others.
 

The Intel Core i9-10900K has a power rating of 95W, but it will often be exceeded under load. Therefore, it is recommended to purchase a separate liquid cooler capable of dissipating more than 200W of heat, such as the NZXT Kraken X62.
 

Alternatively, if you’re not looking to dish out close to $500 USD, your best bet would be the Intel Core i7-10700K - which is one of the best processors among the more affordable ones. You will experience less performance than on a much more expensive Intel Core i9 processor, however the difference is not that big, and if your operation doesn’t require as much computing power, it won’t be as noticeable.   EG