Once upon a time I wrote for AnandTech. Well, I had a brief stint covering one product. But what drove me to the site was Anand’s love of deep dives into hardware. As a tinkerer myself I’ve been a big fan of the site, and it continues to be a mainstay for me.

So when it comes to a question of what’s the best CPU to get for a new rig, I trust AnandTech. Even with new AMD announcing new Zen 3 chips next week, chances are the picks for a CPU will only have better pricing. Which is to say that while you’re building a brand new gaming desktop, the CPU isn’t the most critical element. Especially if you’ve got a budget to consider.

While both Intel and AMD have good chips to consider, at every turn AT recommends AMD, even though the closest equivalent Intel CPU is pricier. The Ryzen 5 3600X, a 6-core 3.8GHz Zen 2 chip, is no joke at $209. The older model was recently upgraded to the 3600 XT, yet this chip is barely a year old and still on an AM4 socket.

AT lists the 3600X as the winner for best CPU in both the $1500 and $1000 bracket. It wins over Intel’s i5-10400 thanks to a higher base clock speed (3.8 vs 2.9GHz), PCIe 4.0 support, and more motherboard options. At a $30 premium, the Ryzen is just more future proof than Intel.

Even at the lower end $700 and $500 builds, AT points to the Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 5 3400G, respectively. All of these AMD chips are critically acclaimed, well priced, and powerful. We’ll be building our own Ryzen-based rig soon; I’ve been looking forward to it. Would you go with Intel or AMD?