AMD managed to get a stronghold on the CPU market last year with the release of its Ryzen 5000 series CPUs based on the Zen 3 architecture. In fact, the lineup easily decimated Intel’s 11th-generation series of CPUs in terms of performance and efficiency and continues to be a part of the best processors for gaming in our books. Intel might have the upper hand with its newly introduced 12th-gen Alder Lake chips, but there is no doubt that AMD’s offering is still an excellent choice if you are planning to invest in a new PC.
Speaking of which, here we have a selection of some of the best processors that Team Red has to offer in 2022 for consumers looking to build a new PC or invest in a powerful laptop.
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Most powerful AMD Ryzen CPU on the market
Why should you buy this: It’s the highest specced AMD Ryzen desktop processor.
Who’s it for: Content creators and professionals looking for core CPU performance.
Why we picked the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X:
Sitting on top of the tier is the Ryzen 9 5950X which is a powerhouse and an over-powered chip for most users. It comes with 16 cores and 32 threads that can boost up to 4.9GHz, along with a whopping 72MB of combined L2 and L3 cache. As is the case with most high-end components, the 5950X’s power is clear from the specs, but it takes a little more digging to see its performance benefit in real-world use. It might offer a marginal benefit over the 5900X while running CPU-intensive applications, however, the 5950X shines when it comes to multithreaded performance. In tasks that require a lot of cores, such as hardware encryption and 3D rendering, the 5950X aces the charts and shoots far ahead of the 5900X. Tasks that use a dominant core will see less of a benefit compared to the 5900X.
As for gaming, while the 5950X can show slight improvements in certain titles, most games won’t be able to take advantage of the processor’s full horsepower. Even in CPU-intensive titles like Hitman 2 and Microsoft Flight Simulator, the 5950X is overkill. It’s a highly capable gaming CPU, topping benchmarks alongside all of the Ryzen 5000 processors. Thus, it is worth noting that this processor is just not worth the extra cost if you’re primarily going to use your PC for gaming.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Best overall AMD processor for gaming
Why should you buy this: It’s a great value-for-money processor for PC gaming.
Who’s it for: Gamers looking to build new or upgrade their PC.
Why we picked the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X:
Priced at around $230, the Ryzen 5 5600X is our pick for the best overall processor for gaming. While it’s one of the cheapest processors out of AMD’s current Ryzen 5000 lineup, the 5600X is squarely targeting the mainstream. For the money, you get six cores and 12 threads, a base clock of 3.7GHz, and a boost clock of 4.6GHz. This processor comes with 35MB of combined L2 and L3 cache, which is just 1MB less than the 5800X, which is a $350 CPU. The CPU uses AMD’s Zen 3 architecture, improving instructions per clock (IPC) and memory management. The IPC improvements show clearly in limitedly threaded tasks like gaming. The 5600X can keep up with processors that cost twice as much, sitting near and occasionally passing the 5800X, 5900X, and even some options from Intel. If all you’re interested in is gaming, the 5600X is the perfect processor. By comparison, higher-end processors don’t offer anywhere near the kind of performance improvements to justify the added cost.
The 5600X starts to show some weakness in productivity. Although still topping the pack in single-threaded performance, the 5600X falls behind the last-gen 3700X and the newly launched Intel i7-12700K in single-threaded as well as multi-threaded benchmarks. Theis a very impressive processor because of and despite its price.
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
Best Ryzen CPU with integrated graphics
Why should you buy this: It has the best integrated graphics performance of any desktop CPU.
Who’s it for: Casual gamers who don’t wish to invest in a dedicated graphics card.
Why we picked the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G:
If you still haven’t got your hands on a graphics card, your best bet is a chip with integrated graphics. The good thing is that such processors are easily available. The Ryzen 7 5700G is currently AMD’s best desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) featuring its powerful Zen 3 architecture with Vega-based graphics. Based on the same 7nm process, the CPU includes 8 cores and 16 threads running at a base frequency of 3.8GHz with a boost frequency of 4.6GHz. At the same time, it manages to maintain a fairly low TDP of 65W. As for integrated graphics, it is considered to be the best in class, though the Vega architecture is definitely showing its age. It features a total of eight compute units, 512 GCN cores, and clock speeds of up to 2GHz.
Other notable features of the 5700G include 16MB of L3 cache and support for DDR4-3200 memory. AMD also bundles its Wraith Stealth cooler, which is a great value addition, even though most aftermarket coolers offer better thermal performance. Sadly, there is no PCIe 4.0 support, which means you cannot experience the sheer speeds offered by some of the fastest NVMe solid-state drives. Priced around $300, the Ryzen 7 5700G isn’t cheap, but if you don’t wish to invest in a dedicated graphics card any time soon, this is actually a solid deal.
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
Most powerful AMD mobile processor
Why should you buy this: It’s a fantastic performing mobile processor with excellent battery life.
Who’s it for: Gamers, content creators, and professionals looking for a powerful mobile chipset.
Why we picked the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX:
AMD announced the Ryzen 6000-series processors for notebooks at the start of 2022, and even though there is no desktop counterpart yet, it is an important line of CPUs for notebooks this year. Featuring the new Zen 3+ architecture which includes TSMC’s new 6nm process node along with higher clock speeds and RDNA2 integrated graphics, these processors are not only powerful for productivity and entry-level gaming, but they are also quite efficient. The lineup is led by the Ryzen 9 6980HX, but as of now, the highest performing mobile chipsets that prospective buyers can get their hands on are the 6900HX and the 6900HS. Both come with a similar configuration including 8 cores, 16 threads, base clock speeds of 3.3GHz, and boost clock speeds of 4.9GHz. The only difference is that the 6900HX is an unlocked chip, which means it is capable of overclocking and has a higher TDP of 45W compared to 35W on the 6900HS. The update to RDNA 2 integrated graphics also means that there is potential for improved graphics performance compared to the older Vega series. According to AMD, RDNA 2 brings 12 compute units with faster clock speeds, wider memory bandwidth, and a larger L2 cache.
Additionally, there is support for PCIe Gen 4, USB 4, Wi-Fi 6e, and DDR5 memory. While the support for the new memory standard does sound good, it is important to note that DDR5 is quite expensive and faces limited availability at the time of writing. Currently, the only two laptops that are on sale with the new Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors are the new Razer Blade 14 and the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
Best entry-level CPU with integrated graphics
Why should you buy this: It’s the most affordable AMD APU.
Who’s it for: Gamers looking for a value-driven CPU with integrated graphics.
Why we picked the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G:
If you asked us for the best AMD CPU with integrated graphics on a budget, we would suggest the Ryzen 3 3200G or the Ryzen 5 3400G. However, the chipset shortage has had a significant impact on the pricing of older AMD APUs. Thankfully, AMD launched the Ryzen 5 5600G in 2021, solving a huge problem for PC builders. The chip features the same Zen 3 architecture as seen on other AMD Ryzen 5000 processors, along with 6 cores, 12 threads, and a base clock speed of 3.9GHz that can boost up to 4.4GHz. Like the 5700G, the 5600G also features 16MB of L3 cache, a 65W TDP, and comes bundled with an air cooler. As mentioned before, the integrated Vega GPU is not the fastest, but it gets the job done. It is clocked at 1.9GHz and features 448 stream processors. When it comes to gaming, AMD says that the 5600G is capable of 79 frames per second (fps) in Civilization VI, 33 fps in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and 98 fps in Fortnite, all at 1080p with low settings.
At an additional $90, you can bump up to the Ryzen 7 5700G, which will offer you more cores and threads and a slightly faster-integrated GPU. However, if you are on a tight budget, this is your best bet.
AMD Athlon 3000G
Entry-level AMD processor
Why should you buy this: It’s super cheap despite offering decent performance.
Who’s it for: PC users who looking for an ultra-budget CPU.
Why we picked the AMD Athlon 3000G:
For a very basic and ultra-budget build, the AMD Athlon 3000G is a well-rounded CPU for under $100. It’s a dual-core processor with a base clock speed of 3.5GHz, and it’s the first Athlon CPU that’s unlocked, so you can squeeze a little extra performance out of it with overclocking. If you don’t, it remains a pretty efficient CPU too, with a TDP of just 35W, and with the bundled cooler, you won’t necessarily have to invest in an aftermarket solution. It also comes with integrated Vega graphics which allows for light gaming like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and* Rainbow Six: Siege* at medium settings and 720p resolution. Don’t expect the integrated graphics to run games at 1080p outside of the most lightweight of esports and indie games.
The Athlon 3000G is selling for about $70, which is a great value, and it can fit on most AM4 socket-based motherboards. However, it is best to check the compatibility, as some high-end boards do not support the Athlon series. The only downside of this processor is that Intel offers way more competitive chips at this price point with a higher core count and threads.