Buying a CPU can be a confusing experience as there is so much choice, so making sure you purchase one that suits your needs can be tricky. The good news is that we have found the best CPU deals so you don't have to.
Before you buy anything, the first step is to find out if the CPU will work in your current motherboard. If you want the latest Core i7, you might have to upgrade your motherboard and other components, so it can be a daunting task. For some people, it might make more sense to buy a whole PC.
If you're building your own, just make sure you're spending the right amount on the CPU and are leaving enough room in the budget for a good graphics card, assuming you want to play games, that is.
How to choose the best CPU
Your first choice will be between AMD and Intel, and that will depend largely on the motherboard. As mentioned, the motherboard must support the chip 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: £229.97 (£20.02 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. Intel Core i7-9700k
Now: £374.96 (£35.02 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.
At this price, this chip is a good deal and you're going to struggle to find it elsewhere for less.
3. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Now: £191.99 (£138 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.
4. AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Now: £119.97 (£55.02 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.
5. AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Now: £132.97 (£87.02 off)
AMD's answer to Intel's top of the range i5, the 2600x offers incredible value, especially at this price.
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.