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Best LGA1151 CPUs/Processors For 2023

LGA 1151 is an old but gold socket, it houses Intel 8th and 9th generation processors, and they’re still heavily used even to this day.

You can find a variety of processors that the LGA 1151 socket supports, you can find processors for gamers, workstations, and even some light computing. So, there’s a lot of variety, and we’ll ensure that we provide you with the most up to date information.

It’s important that you follow through carefully, some of these processors have certain advantages and disadvantages which completely change their application, we don’t want you picking up a processor that can’t handle your needs.

My favorite processor on this list would have to be the I9 9900K, it’s gone down in price, so fairly affordable, and I’m certain it’s one of the best performing LGA 1151 processors on the market.

Are you in a rush? No worries, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite LGA 1151 Processors Below!

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Best LGA 1151 CPUs

Here you can find the top-tier CPUs for the LGA 1151 socket. Typically you’ll be pairing these CPUs with a decent motherboard since they’re high performance and are generally overclocked. These CPUs are great for heavy workloads such as gaming and video editing. Intel CPUs tend to lean towards single-core performance which benefits you immensely in video games. Although they’re powerful when it comes to single-core workloads, they do offer decent multi-core performance with high-end processors since they have a decent number of physical cores.

Intel I9 9900K/KS | Most Powerful Gaming Processor

Best gaming LGA1151 CPU I9 9900K/KS

Specifications

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.6 GHz(base), 5 GHz(boost)
  • Cores: 8(cores), 16(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Coffee Lake Refresh
  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Max Memory Support: 128 GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • TDP: 95W

Reasons To Buy

  • Best gaming CPU
  • Great single core performance
  • Works on Z370 motherboards
  • 5GHz core peak for single-threaded applications
  • Come with integrated graphics
  • Great overclockability

Reasons To Avoid

  • No stock cooler

Review

In terms of raw performance, the I9 9900K is the best performing LGA 1151 CPU, so you will often see this processor in high end workstations. Also, the I9 9900K has the single core performance to take your gaming experience to the next level.

Out of the box, it can reach 5GHz, this is a good sign for gamers, this is because single-core performance is greatly sought after as it allows for easier computation on the GPUs part(less of a bottleneck).

If I was to recommend the I9 9900K to someone, I’d only recommend it to people that really needs it’s multicore performance. While single-core performance is important, the I9 9900K mainly shines with it’s ability to utilize hyperthreading.

A gamer is better suited using the I7 9700K, this is because the single-core performance is pretty similar, and overclocking can fix any differences. Additionally, gamers do not require the multicore power of the I9 9900K most of the time.

Its closest Ryzen competitor is the Ryzen 9 3900x which has 12 cores and 24 threads at a very similar price to the 9900K. On paper it looks like going for the Ryzen 9 3900x makes perfect sense, but for gaming, the I9 9900K is still king. The Ryzen 9 3900x excels where multiple cores can be utilized effectively.

Feature-wise, it comes with decent integrated graphics (Intel UHD Graphics 630) which can be used if you’re not considering using a dedicated GPU. Unfortunately, it does not come with a stock cooler, and since this chip can run hot, you’ll need a decent aftermarket cooler.

The only biggest downside to the I9 9900K is it’s age, you can pick up better processors now that the I9 9900K is getting outdated. But if you’re content with getting the I9 9900K, then I’d say the only downside is that it doesn’t come with a stock cooler.

Intel I7 9700K/KF | Great Gaming Alternative

best gaming LGA1151 CPU i7 9700k/kF

Specifications

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.6 GHz(base), 4.9 GHz(boost)
  • Cores: 8(cores), 8(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Coffee Lake Refresh
  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Max Memory Support: 128 GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • TDP: 95W

Reasons To Buy

  • Great single-core performance
  • 9700KF is cheaper for the same performance
  • Decent thermals
  • Great overclockability

Reasons To Avoid

  • No hyperthreading
  • No stock cooler

Review

The I7 9700K on paper seems like the best gaming processor, this is because it’s cheaper than the I9 counterpart, and it has similar single-core performance. Sure it can’t reach 5GHz out of the box, but that’s nothing since the I7 9700K can easily be overclocked.

I really wouldn’t recommend the I7 9700K to anyone that has the intentions of using their computer as a workstation, and perform tasks such as video editing or 3D modelling. This is simply because the I7 9700K lacks in multicore performance, it lacks hyperthreading.

Its closest Ryzen competitor is the Ryzen 9 3900x which has 12 cores and 24 threads at a very similar price to the 9900K. On paper it looks like going for the Ryzen 9 3900x makes perfect sense, but for gaming, the I9 9900K is still king. The Ryzen 9 3900x excels where multiple cores can be utilized effectively.

Many gamers that are fans of traditional I7s will find themselves picking up the I9 9900K because it actually features hyperthreading which the I7 9700K should’ve featured, this is why the I9 9900K is superior to the I7 9700K. Also, the boost core clock speed of the 9900K reaches 5GHz at stock whereas you’ll have to overclock the I7 9700K.

The multicore performance is superior to the I7 9700K because of hyperthreading, this opens many doors such as streaming, and video editing.

There are two downsides I can quickly think of after using the I7 9700K. Comparing it to pervious I7s, it’s a shame to see that it doesn’t have it’s traditional hyperthreading feature, and it also doesn’t come with a stock cooler.

Mid-Tier LGA 1151 CPUs

With the CPUs in this tier, you can put together a decent mid-tier build that you can game and do other tasks on. They’re usually cheaper than the top-tier CPUs, but this comes at the cost of performance. They usually have fewer cores and or lower clock speeds, than the top processors resulting in slightly worst processing speeds. The CPUs in this tier range from $150-220.

Intel I5 9600K/KF | Best Budget Gaming Processor

Best budget LGA1151 CPU Intel i5 9600k/kf

Specifications

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.7 GHz(base), 4.6 GHz(boost)
  • Cores: 6(cores), 6(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Coffee Lake Refresh
  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Max Memory Support: 128 GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • TDP: 95W

Reasons To Buy

  • Best gaming CPU
  • Great single core performance
  • Works on Z370 motherboards
  • 5GHz core peak for single-threaded applications
  • Come with integrated graphics
  • Great overclockability

Reasons To Avoid

  • No stock cooler

Review

I5’s are always regarded as the best budget gaming processor, this is because they’re significantly cheaper than their I7 counterparts, and often has comparable single-core performance. With gamers, you will often see I5 builds competing closely with I7 builds in terms of FPS output.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend the I5 9600K to anyone looking to build a workstation which will handle heavy computational tasks, this is simply due to the I5 9600K lacking in multicore performance, and arguably single-core performance.

Its closest AMD competitor is the Ryzen 5 2600x and they’re nearly identical in performance. The I5 9600K still excels in video games because it has stronger single-core speed, that’s why Intel is better if you only want to game. If you’re interested in performing multiple tasks, then Ryzen is the way to go.

Intel’s I5 9600K features the same integrated graphics the I9 9900K & I7 9700K has which is the Intel UHD Graphics 630. If you’re not going to be running a dedicated graphics card then the integrated graphics is always there to be utilized. There is no stock cooler that comes with the I5 9600K, so you’ll need to pick up an aftermarket cooler.

The I5 9600K is for gamers that are looking for a decent mid-tier processor for their build, so you’ll find this processor popular among many budget seekers. The single-core performance is decent being able to handle most graphics cards without bottlenecking them. Due to this fact, this processor can be a great choice if you’re going to be gaming at 1080-1440P.

The biggest disadvantage I can quickly think of that the I5 9600K has is the fact it doesn’t come with a stock cooler. With budget builds which the I5 tends to target sometimes, stock coolers are generally seen as a huge bonus, this is because you can save money on a cooler, and invest the money into getting better parts.

Intel I5 9400F | Best Beginner Processor

Best budget LGA1151 CPU 9400f

Specifications

  • Core Clock Speed: 2.9 GHz(base), 4.1 GHz(boost)
  • Cores: 6(cores), 6(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Coffee Lake Refresh
  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Max Memory Support: 128 GB
  • Integrated Graphics: None
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • TDP: 65W

Reasons To Buy

  • Best gaming CPU
  • Great single core performance
  • Works on Z370 motherboards
  • 5GHz core peak for single-threaded applications
  • Come with integrated graphics
  • Great overclockability

Reasons To Avoid

  • No stock cooler

Review

Right off the bat, the best application I can think of that the I5 9400F can be used for is extreme budget gaming, and regular computing. Single-core wise, the I5 9400F isn’t anything great, but it should be enough to handle most games at 1080P.

I definitely will not be using the I5 9400F for workstations, the lack of hyperthreading is detrimental to heavily multithreaded applications such as video editing, 3D modelling, and streaming.

In terms of regular computing like browsing, and simple word processing, the I5 9400F should handle these tasks no problem. 6 cores and 6 threads really isn’t bad for a budget CPU, hexa cores are still heavily used nowadays.

It is a 6 core 6 thread processor that is perfect if you’re specifically using it for gaming. It’s AMD competitor which is the Ryzen 5 2600 is beaten by the 9400F in single-core speed, but if you’re going to multitask, then Ryzen is the way. This is a great entry processor for newly inspired PC gamers that do not want to break their bank to game.

The I5 9400F does not come with integrated graphics, so you’ll for sure need a dedicated graphics card with this system. If you don’t know already, you shouldn’t pair this processor with a super-powerful graphics card, you’ll severely bottleneck the GPU, a nice low-mid tier GPU should do. The 9400F is, in fact, a locked processor so you cannot push the limit by overclocking the CPU.

Much like the I3 9100F, the processor is heavily limited by the clock speed and the core count, this means the I5 9400F is best suited for applications that do not utilize multiple cores. Such applications are gaming because a lot of games are not coded to utilize more than one core.

Best Budget-Tier LGA 1151 CPUs

Here you can find extremely cheap processors that you can use to put together a low budget PC. Usually, these processors are used for budget gaming PCs because they have decent single-core performance. You probably shouldn’t use these processors if you’re handing heavily multithreaded tasks since these processors don’t support SMT/Hyperthreading.

Intel I3 9100F | Best Affordable LGA 1151 CPU

Specifications

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.6 GHz(base), 4.2 GHz(boost)
  • Cores: 4(cores), 4(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Coffee Lake Refresh
  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Max Memory Support: 128 GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • TDP: 95W

Reasons To Buy

  • Best gaming CPU
  • Great single core performance
  • Works on Z370 motherboards
  • 5GHz core peak for single-threaded applications
  • Come with integrated graphics
  • Great overclockability

Reasons To Avoid

  • No stock cooler

Review

The I3 9100F is an extremely budget CPU, you can pick it up for much less than $100, so it’s pretty easy to put together a low-budget gaming system with this processor. It has 4 cores and 4 threads clocked in at 3.6 GHz base and 4.2 GHz boost. Still, you have decent single-core performance, but 4 cores is a bit outdated in 2020. The processor is cool if you’re going for a strict gaming system since it will struggle with multi-threaded dependent tasks.

A Quad-core processor sounds like it’ll be slow in 2020, but it’s pretty responsive processing traditional computing tasks like browsing the web. It just happens that Ryzen is more multi-tasking friendly, so if you’re interested in streaming, or video editing, go Ryzen, Intel processors are known for manufacturing the best gaming processors on the market.

Feature-wise, it does not come with integrated graphics so you’ll need a dedicated card, but it does come with a stock cooler you can use. This is great to know because since this processor pleases budget builds, you don’t need to increase your budget by purchasing an aftermarket cooler

We recommend the I3 9300F be picked up for a very specific reason and that is to just game at a budget. We don’t recommend purchasing the I3 9100F if you’re building a mid-top tier gaming PC despite the single core performance being quite decent at 4.2GHz.

We don’t recommend this processor for top-tier builds because of its limitations on a multi-core level, quad-core processors aren’t that good when it comes to running certain games which require multiple cores. And it can be a pain if you want to perform tasks such as video editing or streaming, besides that, this processor is quite good at budget gaming

Quick CPU Buyer’s Guide

Picking the right processor is a difficult task, this is because there are a lot of things to consider, so we’re going to make it easy with this short buyer’s guide. Here we’re going to discuss the most important aspects of a processor whether you’re going to be streaming, gaming, or video editing.

The key aspects we would like to go over are single-core performance and why it’s important for gamers, multicore performance, and why it’s important for streamers and video editors. By the end of this guide, you will know exactly how to pick the right processor for your needs.

Also, we’re going to the benefits of overclocking and the negative consequences that come with it. In general, overclocking should be available with most Ryzen processors, and a certain number of Intel processors. Intel ‘K’ processors typically come unlocked which means they’re ready for overclocking.

Single-Core Performance

When we’re talking about single-core performance, we’re mainly referring to how fast a single-core is able to process information. Single-core performance is often gauged by the clock speed of the processor. A processor’s clock speed defines how fast each core will run individually, so if you have a clock speed of 4GHz, each core will run at 4GHz.

GHz refers to how many clock cycles a core can do per second usually in the billions. If your clock speed is 4GHz, then each core will cycle 4 billion times per second. While this is the main method of understanding single-core performance, it can often be misleading. The single-core performance also relies on IPC or instructions per clock cycle, once you understand single-core performance, you can pick the right CPU for gaming.

IPC will refer to how much work your processor can do per clock cycle, so take two CPUs with the same clock speed, the one with the highest IPC will essentially run faster. IPC should not be neglected, it’s a reflection of the processor’s architecture, and architectures are improved with each CPU generation. This is why you should never purchase an old CPU that has a high clock speed, they will often be outperformed by new CPUs with lower clock speeds.

Multi-Core Performance

Alongside the clock speed, there is also multi-core performance as you can guess, it mainly relies on how many cores the CPU has. The more cores a CPU has, the faster the CPU will perform mainly with multithreaded tasks. As for games, they don’t really benefit from multiple cores.

Multicore processors will often come with threads with double the number of cores, so you can have a 6 core 12 thread processor. When a CPU has SMT or Hyperthreading capabilities, the multicore performance will be vastly greater than a CPU without such capabilities. It’s often said hyperthreaded processors will perform 30% better in multithreaded applications.

Multicore performance is great for applications such as video editing, streaming(software encoding), and 3D Modelling. Most applications nowadays are parallelized which means they can benefit from multiple cores, but games are notoriously hard to parallelize.

Overclocking Capabilities

Overclocking is a great way to improve the processor’s performance across the board, you’re essentially pushing the CPU past its rated limits. Although pushing a CPU past its limits seems unsafe, it’s actually safe if you know what you’re doing. Ryzen processors are mostly unlocked with some expectations, and Intel ‘K’ processors are all unlocked.

When you want to overclock, head over to the BIOS so you can manually increase the clock speed modifier. It’s important to increase this value slowly so you don’t run into instability issues, slow increments also allow you to find the true limit of your CPU. Once you reach the limit, you can stop there or choose to increase the voltages, this can decrease the CPUs lifespan.

Before you overclock your CPU, it’s important to make sure you have sufficient cooling in place, this will prevent your CPU from thermal throttling. CPUs can run fine as long as they don’t exceed 80C, going past here will result in throttling or even system shutdowns. A decent AIO cooler or a beefy air cooler should be enough for overclocking.

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