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AMD and Intel both have their strengths. Budget will always be a limiting factor, but your apps will also dictate whether you should focus on cores or core speeds. And don’t forget about power draw and thermals.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X - An Excellent CPU

AMD's Ryzen 5 2600X offers marginal improvements over the 1600X - which might not sound like a vote of confidence, but the fact of the matter is that the 1600X was very good and the 2600X is even better. The most impressive feature is the way that Precision Boost 2 pushes clock speeds close to the limits of the CPU - without any user intervention. This means you get enhanced performance out of the box, but with minimal effort.

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AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD has always done well with its APUs, and the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G are no different. Not only do you get four physical cores from both, they use the same AM4 socket as every other Ryzen processor - meaning there are plenty of motherboard options available. The integrated Vega graphics isn't to be sniffed at, either, with the Ryzen 5 2400G capable of playing esports titles at 1080p resolution. The fact of the matter is these APUs simply offer exceptional value.

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AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

Second-gen Ryzen products offer small but useful improvements over the previous generation. Specifically, the combination of reduced latency, increased clock speed as well as Precision Boost 2 (which gives you over 4GHz straight out of the box) makes for a compelling CPU. With 8 cores and 16 threads you get impressive computational performance, and now that the chip will effectively overclock itself means the user has to do very little to get the most from the 2700X.

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Intel Core i9-9900K

Performance from the i9-9900K is excellent. It's a new 8 core/16 thread chip that keeps clock speed very high (up to 5GHz out of the box), while the IHS is now soldered where Intel previously used TIM. On top of this, Intel has maintained socket compatibility with 300 series motherboards so a new Z390 board is not required. It's an absolute beast of a chip, and while the price tag is outrageous, there's a lot to admire.

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Intel Core i9-9980XE Extreme

Intel 18-core behemoth, the i9-9980XE, isn't much of an upgrade over the previous-gen i9-7980XE - it is clocked slightly higher and has a soldered IHS, but otherwise it isn't a huge leap forward. That being said, 18 Skylake-X cores really deliver the goods in terms of CPU performance and it still uses the X299 platform. It's not really justifiable in terms of 'bang for buck', but it is an absolute beast.

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