Five processors you shouldn�t buy, and ten that you should

The mainstream consumer processor market is going through a golden age. Thanks to the fierce war being waged by AMD and Intel, it is possible to find a wide variety of processors with varying levels of performance and price they offer, in general, interesting value in most cases.

Needless to say, this is very positive. That Intel and AMD are competing in such an evenly matched way ends up producing a price war with constant adjustments, which in the end benefits the consumer. It doesn’t matter if you are an Intel fan or if you prefer AMD, in the end, the important thing is that you will be able to get a good processor from your favorite brand at a very attractive price.

Without that competition between the two, the situation would be very different. We have already gone through different stages in which one or the other has had a situation of more or less clear generational superiority, and this in the end has made that the prices of their processors skyrocketed. Remember, for example, what happened with the Athlon 64 X2 before the arrival of the Core 2 Duo, and what Intel did after the arrival of the Core 2 Duo, or what happened recently with the Ryzen 5000.

That’s why it’s not good for a company to achieve a very marked victory for one or several generations It is better for the consumer if there is competitionand this is not limited to the processor sector, but also applies to the graphics card sector.

A few days ago we shared with you a special guide where we chose three graphics cards that were not worth buying, and looked at six alternatives that were. Today we have decided to give shape to an article with the same approach, but focused on processors. We will see five models that are not worth buying, and ten alternatives that are a good choice. As always, if you have any questions you can leave them in the comments and we will help you solve them.

Five processors that are not a good buy

Pentium Gold G7400

Five processors you shouldn't buy, and ten alternatives you should

This processor is based on the Golden Cove architecture, which means it falls into the Alder Lake-S generation. It positions itself as a cost-effective chip and fits in the low end, although it does not occupy the bottom rung, as that is reserved for Celeron processors, which have a lower configuration than Pentium processors, as they lack HyperThreading.

Why is it a processor to avoid?

The Pentium Gold G7400 offers excellent single-threaded performance thanks to its Golden Cove architecture, but it is configured with two cores and four threads. Intel has not included high-efficiency cores on this chip, so we have high single-threaded performance but very limited multithreaded performancewhich will be very noticeable in games and applications that need more than four threads to work properly.

Do not get me wrong, the Pentium Gold G7400 is not a bad processor in itselfbut for specs and price clashes directly with other more interesting models which are able to offer a much more balanced value. This is one of those processors that can offer excellent performance in certain tasks, but loses all sense when we see that we can buy far superior alternatives for the same price.

Even even if you don’t plan to use it for gamingthe Pentium Gold G7400 is a bad investment considering the alternatives we can find in its price range, so forget it and take a better look at the alternative recommendations we are going to leave you below.

Recommended alternatives:Â the best alternative is the Core i3-10105Fa chip that costs almost the same as the Pentium Gold G7400 (87.83 euros), and has 4 cores and 8 threads. Its IPC is lower, but it doubles the number of cores and threads of the former, and is a much more balanced, versatile solution with a longer lifetime. If you want to make the leap to Alder Lake-S, it is better to go directly for the Core i3-12100F.

AMD Ryzen 5 5500

Five processors you shouldn't buy, and ten alternatives you should

It has been one of the most recent releases from AMD, but also one of the worst the Sunnyvale company has made. This chip uses the Zen 3 architecture, but has a different design than the Ryzen 5 5600, as it comes with 16 MB of L3 cache instead of 32 MB of L3 cachewhich causes its performance to be considerably reduced.

Why is it a processor to avoid?

I already told you in the previous paragraph, because it is a  “trimmed” processor that is not up to the level of what its nomenclature indicates. The Ryzen 5 5500 is a last generation processor that has 6 cores and 12 threads, but that limitation at the cache level significantly affects its performance in certain applicationsand is especially marked in games, where it loses out even to the Core i3-12100F, a processor that is much cheaper.

On this subject we already talked about at the time in this article, where we could confirm thanks to the analysis of TomÂ’s Hardware that the Ryzen 5 5500 is 5.2% slower than the Core i3-12100F in games, and that costs only 112.78 euros, while the AMD chip is priced at 179.76 euros. In synthetic applications it performs better thanks to its higher number of cores and threads, but even if what we need is that, multithreaded performance, there are much more interesting options for less money.

If AMD had adjusted the price of the Ryzen 5 5500 a bit better, this would have been a much more interesting option, and it wouldn’t be on this list, but for 180 euros does not make any senseespecially considering all that we can buy for less money.

Recommended alternatives one of the best processors we can buy as an alternative, for price-performance value, is the Intel Core i5-10400Fespecially now that it is available in a refurbished version (“perfect” condition) for only 126.25 euros. It has 6 cores and 12 threads, and offers slightly lower single-threaded performance. If we want something more powerful, the Intel Core i5-12400F is a far superior option, and only costs 194.14 euros, ie, is only 14 euros more. If you are looking for AMD, it would be better to get a Ryzen 5 5600.

Intel Core i9 11900K

Five processors you shouldn't buy, and ten alternatives you should

It was one of Intel’s flagship processors when it debuted the Cypress Cove architecture, an adaptation of Willow Cove to the 14 nm process that certainly, pushed that node to the limit. It was a transitional move on Intel’s part, i.e., a strategy with which the chip giant rushed that node while it finished polishing its next big release, Alder Lake-S.

Why is it a processor to avoid?

At the time, I had the opportunity to review the Intel Core i9-11900K, and I made it clear that it was a processor with lights and shadows that fell short of beating the Ryzen 7 5800X. That reality has not changed, and the problem is that this is one of many processors from previous generations that has not come down substantially in pricewith all that this implies in terms of price-performance value.

The Intel Core i9-11900K is a chip that features 8 cores and 16 threads, and is priced at €459.93. For that money, we can find much more powerful, state-of-the-art solutionsand much more interesting, so it does not really make any sense, not even if we want to upgrade a platform with LGA1200 socket, since in that case it would be much more sensible to look for a Core i7-11700Fwhich has the same number of cores and threads and costs less money.

In terms of performance, it is true that the Intel Core i9-11900K is still one of the 8-core processors most powerful that we can currently find, but the problem is that, as we have said, there are already much more powerful, and much more interesting, options available.

Recommended alternatives if we want to aim for excellent performance and spend less money, the Intel Core i5-12600KF is a great option, as it offers a much higher IPC and has 6 high-performance cores, 4 high-efficiency cores and a total of 16 threads. We can get it for 294.18 Euro. If we want to upgrade an LGA1200 platform, the Core i7-11700F would be a much more balanced option, since it has 8 cores and 16 threads and costs 304.89 euros.

Ryzen 7 3800X

Five processors you shouldn't buy, and ten alternatives you should

It’s one of those processors that’s hard to understand, since its price tag has remained in the 300 euro range, even despite the arrival of more powerful and cheaper alternatives. This chip uses the Zen 2 architecture, which means that its IPC is clearly lower than that of Alder Lake-S, and also Zen 3.

Why is it a processor to avoid?

The Ryzen 7 3800X has an 8-core, 16-thread configuration, which means it is capable of delivering good performance in multi-threaded environments. It also has a good IPC thanks to its Zen 2 architecture, but in everyday applications, and gaming, it performs significantly worse than other cheaper processorssuch as the Ryzen 5 5600X, and also lags far behind the Core i5-12600KF.

Both of these alternatives are less expensive than the Ryzen 7 3800X, and the Ryzen 5 5600X can be used without problems on an AM4 motherboardso there is nothing to justify that the former is still being marketed at such a high price, especially now that we can find much more attractive processors in price-performance ratio.

If you want to upgrade your rig and you have an AM4 motherboard don’t look at the Ryzen 7 3800X, it is not a good investment unless you can buy it for 200 eurosat most. If you find it for 260 or 300 euros, better go for the Ryzen 5 5600X.

Recommended alternatives the Ryzen 5 5600X is an excellent choice now that you can buy it for 251,24 euros. It performs a bit worse in multithreading because it has 6 cores and 12 threads, but it makes up for it with a much higher IPC. On the Intel side, the best option would be a Core i5-12600KF which, as we said before, can be purchased for 294.18 euros.

AMD Ryzen 3 4100

Five processors you shouldn't buy, and ten alternatives you should

The Ryzen 3 4100 is emerging as one of those low-end processors that comes late, and that does not fit directly into the gap it tries to fill. We could define this processor as an improved version of the Ryzen 3 3100, but in reality it is quite the oppositeas I will explain below.

Why is it a processor to avoid?

Well, because it is a step backwards compared to the Ryzen 3 3100, and because it has an absurd price for what it offers. The Ryzen 3 4100 uses the Zen 2 architecture and has 4 cores and 8 threads, which a priori seems to make it an interesting option in the low end, but the problem comes when we look at the amount of L3 cache it integrates it has only 4 MBwhile the Ryzen 3 3100 came with 16 MB of L3.

That huge reduction in L3 cache affects the performance of the processor. If we add to this its price, 109.90 euros, we realize instantly that there are much more attractive optionsand with a much better price-performance value. For example, the Core i3-10105F performs better and costs less (87.83 euros), and for a little more than the Ryzen 3 4100 we could get the Core i3-12100F, which costs 112.78 euros.

Buying the Ryzen 3 4100 is not a good investment. With this price of 109.90 euros it is certainly not one of the processors with the worst price-performance value in its range For only three euros more we could buy the Core i3-12100Fa chip that gives a good performance upgrade.

Recommended alternatives:Â we have already seen them in the previous paragraphs, but here is a simplified summary: the Core i3-10105F if we want to spend less than 90 euros, and the Core i3-12100F if we want to move in the same budget range (with respect to the cost of the Ryzen 3 4100). AMD does not have any alternatives that are really worth it.

Endnotes: what are the best value-for-money processors?

Five processors you shouldn't buy, and ten alternatives you should

It is a good question, and the truth is that it depends on the money we want to spend and the use we are going to give. If we do not want to spend more than 90 euros, the Intel Core i3-10105F is the best choice, hands down. It remains a very capable processor, even in gaming, and for 87.83 euros it costs it is unrivaled.

If we can between 100 and 150 euros, we have very interesting options, such as the Intel Core i3-12100Fwhich offers fantastic performance for 112.78 euros, and the Core i5-10400F, which has a lower IPC but performs better in multithreading, thanks to its 6 cores and 12 threads.

In case we can afford to spend up to 200 euros, the Core i5-12400F is the best buy we can make. If we go to the 250 euro range, the Ryzen 5 5600X is now an excellent choice, as after its latest price drop it has remained at a very interesting level, and can be ours for 251.24 euros.

Reaching the 300 euro line, the Intel Core i5-12600KF is the absolute winner, as it offers exceptional performance thanks to its 10 cores (6 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores) and 16 threads, and costs only 294.18 euros. It is a better choice than the Ryzen 7 5800X, its closest equivalent, in terms of performance per euro invested.

For a normal user, it does not make sense to invest more than 300 euros in a processoras you will not notice a palpable performance improvement in games or everyday applications. However, if you are going to use the computer to work with demanding applications, it would be advisable to look for processors with higher multithreading capabilities.

In price-performance ratio the Intel Core i7-12700F offers fantastic value, as it has 8 high-performance cores, 4 high-efficiency cores and 20 threads. It is priced at 358.98 euros. Above it is the Ryzen 9 5900Xwhich has 12 cores and 24 threads, and is able to offer superior performance, although on the downside it is more expensive, costing 436.59 euros.

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