Without a new architecture or improved processor node on its near-term horizon, the only real way Intel can stay competitive with AMD at this point is on price. And at just $299 at Best Buy, Intel’s eight-core i7-9700K is a sweet early Black Friday CPU deal that’s tough to ignore.
This CPU is still our pick for the best gaming CPU, and Best Buy is selling it for about $20 less than any previous price we see on PCParkPicker. If you’re gaming at high resolutions, your CPU doesn’t matter as much. But at 1080p, this chip delivers the best frame rates we tested to date. That makes it a good fit in particular if you have a high-refresh monitor and you’re looking to squeeze every frame possible from your graphics card.
Note that the Core i7-9700K lacks hyperthreading, so the eight physical cores here are all that’s available for multitasking. So if you do a lot of video editing or other highly threaded tasks along with gaming, something like an AMD Ryzen 3600 (with six cores and 12 threads) might be a better bet. But if gaming is your primary concern, this is the best CPU you can buy --at the lowest price we’ve seen yet.
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After a rough start with the Mattel Aquarius as a child, Matt built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last 15 years covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper, PCMag and Digital Trends.