cpu buying guide 2020

CPU Buying Guide 2020 – Techspin covers Intel vs AMD

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Finishing a review on the performance we saw on our last episode, the Z490 Ace review, we had some questions- not about the board, the board was good. Instead it’s about the classic Intel vs AMD question, and that’s what we’ll answer in this CPU Buying Guide 2020.

Also for Intel we saw something rendering 1080p versus 4K content in Premiere, something a lot of people are getting into as an alternate or even primary stream of income. Today we’ll do a CPU buying guide, with motherboard chipset recommendations, then get into some benchmarks.

So Intel vs AMD, what should you pick? Everyone has YOUR favorite team you cheer on, the decade long underdog AMD coming out with a CPU that doesn’t just try to compete with, but actually beats Intel CPUs on many benchmarks. In addition, many board manufacturers offer AMD level board at a few dollars less than their Intel counterpart.

CPU Buying Guide 2020 – Techspin covers Intel vs AMD

For me personally, my first computer was an AMD since Intel was out of my budget at the time, and then my next one, too. It wasn’t until I got to Asia and escaped the Canadian economy that I got an Intel i7, and at the time, Intel’s performance for price… was justified.

INTEL vs AMD- Techspin CPU Buying Guide 2020

But now Intel is having to directly compete with AMD, and no sir, they aren’t playing fair, pulling some underhanded s#it like this, link below, with the launch of their Core i9 10980XE, designed to beat AMD release data to YouTube so they didn’t need to compete with their results. Intel’s behavior is PATHETIC – Core i9 10980XE Review

Also for Intel, up to their last 9th gen CPU line, they previously allowed consumers to overclock their ram to the max the motherboard would support in BIOS, but suddenly for their lower tiers this has now been locked off. What the…? This won’t necessarily affect you unless you bought a ram kit recently, but… this is a dick move. C’mon guys, really? The related Intel article is below. Would you like to know more? Does Intel WANT people to hate them??

CPU Buying Guide 2020: Motherboards

Today we’ll give you a quick reference on motherboards for both AMD and Intel, as at Techspin, our focus is on what’s best for the consumer. No matter what you decide, if you grab a motherboard or CPU through our affiliate links below it does help us out here, so thanks for your support.
And keep up with our latest releases and occasional contests by following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all at techspinreview.


AMD Ryzen: CPU Buying Guide 2020

So first, a buying guide, then we’ll get onto benchmarks, and this time we’ll start with AMD. AMD has a few different chipsets that will support the new Ryzen 3000 chipset, and we recommend a B550 or X570 current gen chipset for your motherboard. We don’t recommend the X470, B450 or older as they use a PCIe 3.0 base with PCIe -2- for I/O connections to devices like usb and sata, limiting speed.

For both B550 and X570, you get PCIe 4.0×16 for PCIe/ M.2/ DDR4 with AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI support, and Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSDs and USB 3.2 Gen 2. The difference for B550 is the PCIe 3.0 link to usb and sata which limit USB quantity and speeds depending on the manufacturer, though the matured VRM designs often match their higher end X570 counterparts, starting around 110 to 120 dollars.

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CPU Buying Guide 2020: AMD X570 motherboards

X570 motherboards offer top end connectivity due to PCIe 4.0×4 link used for the subsystems, and its’ the best platform for a Ryzen9 3900 or 3950X CPU, for productivity and rendering, or ultra-quality gaming or streaming setups. If you want the best speed, we recommend the X570 platform for AMD, boards starting for 150 to 170 bucks.

Onto the current AMD CPU lineup. Using Cinebench R20 as a starting point, the Ryzen7 3700X goes for 285 dollars at time of publication, scoring 4867 points. The Ryzen9 3900X achieves a high bar of 7021 points, that for a currently 430 dollar CPU is actually more points per dollar spent, one of the first we’ve seen while doing reviews.

Because PCIe 4.0 carries twice as much bandwidth, it’s very attractive if you’re considering an AMD Threadripper, delivering great performance without having to pay a premium that top of the line CPU and motherboards carry. The 3950X handles up to 128 gigs of RAM at 3200 megahertz, far more than most content creators will need.

The top-end desktop 3950X at 690 bucks scores 9180 points in R20, which is 2000 points up from the 3900X. It also runs COOLER than the 3900X, by almost 10 degrees, with better power consumption, really amazing. Obviously Cinebench isn’t the definitive test, especially as it heavily benefits from more cores, something you won’t notice typing in Word or surfing in Chrome, though if you’re doing intensive CPU tasks, you will notice the difference here.

We actually covered a great X570 board, check the link for that here. And usually we recommend a beefy cooling solution for top end chipsets, but with the Ryzen 9 series 3900 and 3950 you can actually get away with a 240 AIO liquid cooler solution if your primary focus isn’t constant rendering. For more focused use, a 360 will see your Ryzen dumping heat very quickly with no issues. Other reviewers report overclocking results were also great.


CPU Buying Guide 2020 – Intel 10th Gen

Continuing with our Intel vs AMD battle, let’s move on to Intel, they actually have 4 chipsets to work their new 10th gen CPUs, and none of the previous 100, 200 or 300 series will work as they’re incompatible with the new CPU Socket LGA-1200. If you want to overclock at all, get the Z490 chipset as Intel’s locked out overclocking and high-end memory overclocking on lower boards. If you choose an h410, b460 or h470, DDR4 frequency is capped for i7 to i9 chips to 2933, and i3 to i5 to 2666 megahertz.

What’s the difference between all the different lines? The H410 is bare bones with no overclocking, just 2 DDR4 slots, only 6 PCIe 3.0 lanes, no RAID, no USB3.2 Gen2, just 4 USB 3.2 Gen1, no Optane, Smart Sound support or integrated wireless, up to 2 displays supported.

B460 still has no overclocking support, but increases to 4 DDR4 slots, now has 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes; adds RAID, Optane and Smart Sound support; increases to 8x USB Gen1 ports and 3 displays. It still has no USB 3.2 Gen2 or wireless.

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The H470 still no overclocking, now with 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes, adding 4 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, and integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6. These motherboards start around the 120 to 140 dollar mark. Finally the Z490 chipset supports overclocking, increases PCIe 3.0 lanes to 24; also USB 3.2 Gen2 goes to 6 ports, and 10 ports for Gen1. With Wi-fi 6, the Z490 is the only chipset that supports SLI, and these boards start around 160 to 190 bucks.

Onto Intel’s 10th gen CPU lineup, and we’re looking at the i5-10400, the i7-10700K and the i9-10900K. We’re not choosing the F versions because they lack the onboard graphics chip, and with it gone, it also takes away Quicksync, important for streaming, encoding and it shows a difference in Premiere, too.

Starting with i5-10400 it goes for 182 US getting on the board with 3187 points in R20. Next we have the i7-10700K for 310 bucks, and at 4985 it gets a 45 percent increase for 40 percent higher or 128 dollar cost. This edges out the previous generation flagship 9900K by a bit, and coming in cheaper, it’s not a bad deal.


And our i9-10900K does 6394 points for 470 US, a 33 percent performance gain over the 10700 for 35 percent or 160 bucks more. It’s nice to see this 10th generation of Intel chips scale price fairly linearly with performance.

We tested out the 10900K for our last episode, link up here, and what Intel got right is that the thermals at stock are very well controlled while still delivering a 6394 in R20 at stock. When you overclock this chip to 5.1 gigahertz with a decent 360 mil AIO cooler like this MSI Coreliquid 360R, thanks MSI for lending us one for testing, you get an improved result of 6578 points.

Considering our 9900K did 4810 stock and 4869 at 5 gigahertz, the 10900 improves on the 9900K in every benchmark, shaving a full minute off in Blender’s BMW, a surprising 4 minutes off in Classroom, all for just about 560 us dollars.


CPU Buying Guide 2020 – 1080p/4K render weirdness

If you’re working with Premiere, we saw something funky with 1080p vs 4K content, with CUDA off, our previous 2 minute 26 second test file on our 9900K originally finished at 5 minutes 07 seconds, today that render takes 5 minutes 15, the Intel security bug fixes evidently take a tiny hit on speed, if it’s something else let me know in the comments. The 10900 fresh install does 5 minutes 16, actually a hair slower, and this is rendered with Premiere CC 2019. 2020 adds 15 seconds to the render.

However doing 4K content, we’re using exactly 10 minutes of our MSI GM30 Mouse video, renders 13 minutes 29 seconds with a 9900K, and 12 minutes 25 seconds with the 10900K, with CUDA off and using the H.264 YouTube 2160p preset. That’s a minute faster, not bad in our Intel vs AMD showdown.


For HEVC or H265 encoding, we tried both at default match source settings, as well as with the 4KUHD preset, the 9900K ran 20 06 default and 25 35 using 4KUHD, the 10900K turning in 16 15 default and 19 34 with the 4KUHD preset. If you know what’s going on here under the hood, I’d be interested to know.

CPU Buying Guide 2020: The Showdown

Here’s our Intel VS AMD showdown, again, Cinebench isn’t a definitive ranking, just an easy way to compare performance quickly between CPUs and tiers. So starting at the low end, the i5-10400 at 182 does 3187 in R20, facing off against the Ryzen5 3600X at 210 for 3698 marks. PPD is Performance Per Dollar, and that’s matched here, AMD by a hair.

The Ryzen7 3700X at 285 gives us 4867 points, versus the i7-10700K at 310 us finishing with 4985 points, PPD favors AMD here at both 25 dollars less and more value for dollars spent at 17.1. The flagship i9-10900K at 470 gets 6394 points with a PPD of 13.6, against the Ryzen9 3900X at 430 USD and 7021 marks, a delta of 2.7 points per dollar, so AMD claims this top tier hands down.


Finally the AMD 16 core flagship 3950X at 690 bucks drops an astounding 9180 points in R20, even beating Intel’s own 16 core 9960X at around 1150 usd, which comes in at 8275 points. Not only that, the 3950X runs COOLER than the 3900X by almost 10 degress, and with better power consumption. Really amazing.

By the way the Ryzen7 3700X is neck-and-neck with Intel’s i9-9900K at 440, saving 155 bucks for the same performance. Jeesh, that Intel CPU dropped 130 dollars from when we first bought it too. Buyer’s remorse…

One point to mention is that is that the X570 chipset for AMD requires active cooling for the PCIe 4.0, this may be a consideration for some, but remember less than a decade ago we had those whiny Northbridge fans? Sometimes you need active cooling. Anyways no matter what team you cheer, our mission is to bring you the information so you can make informed decisions. Though… it’s pretty clear if you want top level performance AMD is the choice for the near future.


CPU Buying Guide 2020 – Gaming? A new GPU!

If you have an older PC and a tight budget, gaming shows the most improvement from only a graphics card update, our recommendation would be a GTX1660 Super for 1440p gaming will run 230 to 240 bucks, an RTX 2060 Super for great 1440p or entry 4K gaming will run about 410 bucks, and we saw some great sales on the great 4K gaming RTX 2070 Super at 530 right now, but usually around the 700 to 750 mark for price.
EDIT: Get a RTX 3000 series card.

We’ll need to get some Radeon cards in for testing for our next Intel vs AMD video, though for this point we still stand by our previous research into which GPU is best for rendering and gaming, hopefully we can do an update around the new year.

If you want to know when we drop that video, we’re on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all at techspinreview. And there’s links below if you decide to grab a new motherboard, you can support the channel by using our affiliate links to buy, it’ll help us out here, with no extra cost to you.

Thanks go to MSI whose test setup for our overclocking guide made extended testing and comparisons in this Intel vs AMD video possible, something we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, and inspired this video.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your rig, are you going with Intel or AMD, and what’s your deciding factor? We want to hear your thoughts and questions, down in the comments. We really depend on your support, so please take a second to hit Like, subscribe, and the bell. We check the comments and try to respond to most, so if you have a question or if we missed something, please tell us down below. And let us know what you’d like to see next!

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Rick Novlesky

Rick balances his work for Techspin writing, shooting and production with equal parts of sleep deprivation and coffee intake.