With so many processor models to choose between and - for many people - the question of whether to save some cash and put it towards a faster graphics card, it can be tough to figure out which is the right CPU for you.
Hopefully you already know whether you want to go down the AMD or Intel route, but even if you're still deciding that, the deals you'll find below may help you narrow down that choice.
If you're upgrading an existing CPU and keeping your motherboard, you'll need to know which processors will work in your current motherboard. In some cases you might have to upgrade your motherboard and other components because they just aren't compatible with modern CPUs. If that sounds like a daunting task it might make more sense to buy a whole PC.
How to choose the best CPU
As mentioned already, the motherboard must support the CPU you wish to use, so be careful to purchase a compatible motherboard or buy a CPU that fits your current board.
The general rule of thumb is that Intel processors are superior for single core performance, whereas AMD processors tend to be better value while also having more cores than the equivalent price Intel chip. This is a generalisation and there are exceptions to this rule, as ever. For more details, see Intel vs AMD.
Activities such as gaming tend to use up to 4 cores, so there's little point in buying a 16-core chip: you may as well go for a 4-, 6- or 8-core chip and put the money you saved into a graphics card. That's why a Ryzen 5 3600X is a very good choice at the moment.
However, if you’re content creating, video editing or doing rendering tasks, you're better off with a greater number of slower cores, over fewer, faster ones.
1. AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Now: £188 (£61.99 off)
This is a great processor if you're building a gaming PC, and it comes with the Wraith Spire cooler in the box.
2. AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Now: £111 (£63.99 off)
This second-gen Ryzen chip has six cores and 12 threads. It comes with a Wraith Stealth CPU cooler and is great value at this price.
3. Intel Core i5-9600K
Now: £194.97 (£83.22 off)
The i5-9600K is the very top of Intel's 9th generation i5 range and so is considered the ideal CPU for gaming enthusiasts who are seeking that idea price/performance ratio.
Featuring six super-fast cores, which is more than enough to deal with any modern title for the next few years at least, the 9600K is an excellent choice. Many people won't see the additional benefits from an i7 if they're not content creating or doing excessive multi-tasking, so if you're looking for the best processor for gaming this i5 is certainly a contender.
4. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £157.97 (£142 off)
The Ryzen 7 2700X is AMD's answer to the Intel 8700k. And it's substantially cheaper than Intel's offering, and also comes with a competent air cooler in the box and performs well.
This CPU features more cores and threads at a slower clock speed than the 8700k but you'll be hard pressed to noticed a difference when gaming.
If you're putting together a PC, or just focusing on gaming, the 2700X is a great choice and is much closer in performance to the 8700k than the price suggests.
5. AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
Now: £325 (£74.99 off)
The Ryzen 7 3800X has 8 Cores and 16 threads with a 4.5 GHz Boost, 3.9 GHz base clock, 36 MB total cache and 105 Watts TDP. It's a formidable CPU for creatives, if slightly overkill for gamers.
6. AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Now: £122 (£52.99 off)
This processor has 6 cores and 12 threads (the same as Intel's 8700K) with slightly slower clock-speeds at a much lower price. When you take into account the excellent air-cooler that AMD includes in the box with all its performance CPUs, this is a fantastic option.
7. Intel Core i7-9700K
Now: £333.29 (£21.42 off)
The i7-9700k is the second most powerful processor for Intel's 9th generation consumer range just under the i9-9900k but much more affordable.
This isn't the best deal we've ever seen for it, but it's the lowest price at the moment.