The processor, or central processing unit (CPU), is the core of your computer. Whether you’re upgrading a gaming machine or building a computer from the ground up, it’s important to choose the right CPU for your needs. Intel’s Core i7 processors are some of the most popular. While slightly more expensive than the brand’s Core i5 line, Core i7 processors deliver on their higher price tag with wider capabilities and faster base clock speeds. Great for gamers, media editors, hardcore multitaskers and scientific work, Core i7 CPUs also have a larger on-board memory to improve efficiency when launching applications or executing repetitive tasks. With your needs (and budget) in mind, read below for our picks from the Core i7 lineup.
Best Overall: Intel Core i7-8700K
The backbone of Intel’s 8th-generation Core i7 lineup, the 8700K is the smart choice for users who want optimum performance and the ability to do everything and run anything. This CPU has six cores and 12 threads, two more cores than its 7th-generation predecessor, and a base clock speed of 3.7GHz. Intel’s Turbo Boost technology bumps that up to 4.7GHz on a single core, delivering first-rate functionality across the board. Gamers will get great results on 1080p displays and support for two graphics cards. The 8700K can also handle intense multitasking, so if you’re the kind of user that wants to edit video while creating a spreadsheet and also streaming 4K video, this may be the processor for you. As a bonus to already exemplary hardware, the 8700K is unlocked for overclocking and ready to push the CPU to its limits.