6 Best CPUs For Windows 11 in 2024

By: Editorial Team

Windows 11 has had good reviews since its release on October 5, 2022. From a simple interface that integrates Android apps to significant speed and performance boosts, it has dramatically improved user experiences. However, did you know you can enhance your OS’s performance further by pairing it with the right, high-performance CPU? That’s right.

We will review some of the best CPUs for Windows 11, complete with their features and specifications, to help you enhance your system’s performance. We will also answer commonly asked questions about the best CPUs for Windows 11 and discuss a detailed buying guide for the best purchase. Let’s get started!

Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core, 24-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i9-12900K Gaming Desktop Processor with Integrated Graphics and 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor with Integrated Graphics and 10 (6P+4E) Cores up to 4.9 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
What You Need To Know About The CPUs

Its Zen 3 base architecture enhances its IPS efficiency and performance.

It has Integrated Intel UHD 770 Graphics for enhanced visual performance.

It uses Intel's hybrid architecture, incorporating two core families into a single CPU for smooth task execution.

Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Rating
-
-
-
Position
First Place
Snapshot
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core, 24-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
What You Need To Know About The CPUs

Its Zen 3 base architecture enhances its IPS efficiency and performance.

Prime
Amazon Prime
Rating
-
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
Intel Core i9-12900K Gaming Desktop Processor with Integrated Graphics and 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
What You Need To Know About The CPUs

It has Integrated Intel UHD 770 Graphics for enhanced visual performance.

Prime
Amazon Prime
Rating
-
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor with Integrated Graphics and 10 (6P+4E) Cores up to 4.9 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
What You Need To Know About The CPUs

It uses Intel's hybrid architecture, incorporating two core families into a single CPU for smooth task execution.

Prime
Amazon Prime
Rating
-

Last update on 2024-06-13 at 03:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Best CPUs for Windows 11 Reviewed

When it comes to Windows 11, selecting the ideal CPUs can pose a challenge. You’re looking for processors that are compact enough to integrate seamlessly with your system while still providing ample computing power to meet your requirements. We’ve gathered a list of the top CPUs that blend style, functionality, and efficiency, making them a worthwhile investment for any Windows 11 setup. The recommended CPUs are:


Factors to Consider for the Best CPUs for Windows 11

Consider the following factors when purchasing a  CPU for your Windows 11 for the best results:

Clock Speed

According to the published Windows 11 system requirements, you need a processor that can execute at least one cycle per second (1GHz). However, options with higher core speeds are recommended as they are usually faster and perform highly in single-threaded task execution.

Core and Threads

You should consider the processor’s total cores and threads besides its clock speed when getting a CPU for your Windows 11 device. Remember, the more cores and threads your CPU has, the better it multitasks. If you use your device for various simultaneous tasks or applications, choose a processor with more cores and threads and a slightly lower clock speed.

RAM

Your computer’s processing performance is heavily dependent on its working memory, or what is commonly referred to as the RAM. Therefore, on top of getting a high-performing processor for your device, consider getting a RAM upgrade for enhanced performance.

Cost

Several CPUs are approved for Windows 11, and they are all priced differently. Prepare a budget based on your needs and consider options within your budget range. Note that high-range CPUs are usually costly and thus require a flexible budget. Consider mid-range options such as the supported Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 variants if your budget is tight.

Cache

Although commonly ignored, a CPU’s cache is just as important as most of the features we have discussed. The cache is a relatively small, super-fast memory built directly on the processor that stores frequently referred information, saving your device from fetching it from the main RAM. Although you don’t need massive cache amounts for daily computing, the higher, the better, especially if your device runs on Windows 11 OS.


The Best CPUs for Windows 11


Pros

  • It has a fast and efficient architecture
  • It is excellent for gaming and other intensive tasks
  • It has multiple cores and threads

Cons

  • It requires a third-party cooler

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is one of the most powerful CPUs in the market. It boasts several features and technologies, making it a highly recommended option. First, its base Zen 3 architecture significantly enhances its IPC efficiency and performance compared to previous versions. Instead of 2 core complexes (CCX) per compute die (CCD), each of its  CCDs has one core complex, while the number of cores on each CCX has doubled from four to eight.

It’s also worth noting that this processor has 12 cores, 24 processing threads, 70 MB of cache, and boost clocks of up to 4.8GHz, making it suitable for various tasks, including intensive gaming. Its gaming prowess is further reinforced by its ability to deliver a resounding 100+ FPS performance in several globally-acclaimed games. Besides gaming, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor can be used for other equally intensive tasks, including video rendering, 3D rendering, and software compiling, thanks to its multiple cores and threads and PCle 4.0 support. With a simple BIOS update, this processor can be installed in any AMD 500 series motherboards (X570 and B550) or AM4 platforms, allowing you to configure and customize your rig. Note that this processor can also be unlocked for overclocking, allowing you to boost its performance significantly.


Pros

  • It offers revolutionary performance and multitasking
  • It has improved multi-threaded capacity
  • It has a large overclocking capacity

Cons

  • It has a relatively higher power consumption

The Intel Core i9 12900K processor is equally powerful if you need a good processor for demanding, resource-intensive tasks. Like its predecessor, it has several features worth reviewing. It is powered by Intel’s performance hybrid architecture, allowing users to game and multitask without compromise. It also has integrated Intel UHD 770 Graphics for enhanced visual performance, especially when paired with an equally capable GPU.

This processor should be paired with Intel 600 and 700 series chipset-based motherboards for compatibility purposes. Its LGA-1700 socket also supports installation on the PCB. We must also mention that the provided 30MB of L3 cache memory ensures an enhanced hit rate in a relatively shorter access time for better system performance, further enhanced by the processor’s clock speeds of up to 5.2GHz, multiple cores and threads (16 and 24 respectively) and overclockability. To prioritize and manage workloads, the Intel Core i9 12900K processor uses the Intel Thread Director to sieve and send them to the most suitable core.

Its P-cores handle single and lightly-threaded workloads such as gaming, while the E-cores ensure enhanced multi-threaded performance by minimizing secondary tasks’ interruptions. Additionally, it supports PCle Gen 5 and DDR5 technologies for high-performing memory and graphical components. Thunderbolt 4 and Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6/6E (Gig+) technologies provide faster transfer speeds and peripheral connections.


Pros

  • It offers revolutionary performance and multitasking
  • It has improved multi-threaded capacity
  • It has a large overclocking capacity

Cons

  • It has a relatively higher power consumption

The Intel Core i9 12900K processor is equally powerful if you need a good processor for demanding, resource-intensive tasks. Like its predecessor, it has several features worth reviewing. It is powered by Intel’s performance hybrid architecture, allowing users to game and multitask without compromise. It also has integrated Intel UHD 770 Graphics for enhanced visual performance, especially when paired with an equally capable GPU.

This processor should be paired with Intel 600 and 700 series chipset-based motherboards for compatibility purposes. Its LGA-1700 socket also supports installation on the PCB. We must also mention that the provided 30MB of L3 cache memory ensures an enhanced hit rate in a relatively shorter access time for better system performance, further enhanced by the processor’s clock speeds of up to 5.2GHz, multiple cores and threads (16 and 24 respectively) and overclockability. To prioritize and manage workloads, the Intel Core i9 12900K processor uses the Intel Thread Director to sieve and send them to the most suitable core. Its P-cores handle single and lightly-threaded workloads such as gaming, while the E-cores ensure enhanced multi-threaded performance by minimizing secondary tasks’ interruptions. Additionally, it supports PCle Gen 5 and DDR5 technologies for high-performing memory and graphical components. Thunderbolt 4 and Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6/6E (Gig+) technologies provide faster transfer speeds and peripheral connections.


Pros

  • It offers excellent multi-threaded performance
  • It is built for intensive, heavy-duty tasks
  • It has a powerful architecture

Cons

  • It is costly

The Ryzen Threadripper 3960X is undoubtedly one of the most expensive and powerful processors to pair with a Windows 11 device. Retailing at nearly $1,500 (the price of several highly acclaimed laptops), it packs features that guarantee next-generation performance, especially when paired with powerful memory and graphical components. For example, it has 24 cores and 48 processing threads, making it an excellent processor for serious development, design, and editing tasks. Let’s highlight additional features.

This product has 140MB of on-chip memory, guaranteeing users incredible performance. It can perform several intensive tasks simultaneously, including rendering, streaming, encoding, compiling, creating, and 3D tasks. Its unrivaled AMD-exclusive architecture (the new AMD TRX40 desktop platform) offers enhanced expandability, bleeding-edge efficiency, and next-gen PCle 4.0 connectivity.


Pros

  • It offers value for money
  • It is an excellent gaming processor
  • It guarantees solid productivity and multi-core performance

Cons

  • It has a weak single-core performance

The AMD Ryzen 7 7800XD is an excellent option if you need a processor with guaranteed performance and value for money in a Windows 11-powered gaming device. Despite its comparatively fair price, it packs a range of useful features, which explains why it is one of our highly recommended options.

Its incorporated AMD 3D V-Cache technology offers additional L3 cache, which, combined with its on-top-of-the-chip memory, comes to 104MB, making it a far better model than the AMD Ryzen 7700X (its predecessor), which only has 40MB of cache. It’s also worth noting that it has eight cores and 16 threads and boosts clock speeds of up to 5GHz.

However, despite being one the best mid-range gaming chips, the Ryzen 7 7800XD offers a relatively lower productivity performance compared to options such as the Ryzen 9 5900X.


Pros

  • It is fairly priced
  • It has several connectivity options
  • It comes with robust cooling solutions

Cons

  • It may run hot occasionally

The AMD Ryzen 5 4600G processor is a good option if you need a fairly cheap CPU that can guarantee excellent performance in a Windows 11 device. Like all the other products we have discussed, it has several useful features worth highlighting, such as a Wraith Stealth cooler, six cores, 12 threads, an 11MB cache, and a maximum clock speed of 4.2GHz.

It supports an AM4 CPU socket and has integrated graphics for smooth 1080p gaming. It supports DDR4 memory for enhanced connectivity and has several ports, including M.2 PCle 3.0, AMD Turbo USB 3.2 Gen 1, and 4 SATA 6Gb/s ports. It is compatible with AMD Ryzen 5000, 3000, and 4000 G-series desktop processors.


Conclusion

You need the right CPU to run Windows 11 efficiently. Luckily, we have covered some of the few options that can sustain this powerful OS version successfully. Of the options reviewed, we highly recommend the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X for its amazing features and supported technologies. It has a fast and efficient architecture, 12 cores, and 24 processing threads, making it an excellent processor for intensive gaming, 3D rendering, and software compilation tasks. In second position is the Intel Core i9-12900K, an equally powerful processor for demanding tasks with a high overclocking capacity. It is one of the best options for a processor that can pair with high-performance components such as DDR5 RAMS.

We have also included the Intel Core i5- 12900K if you need an affordable processor for multiple tasks. Despite its relaxed price, it doesn’t compromise performance and can support multiple-task execution easily. Don’t forget to check out the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X, AMD Ryzen 7 7800XD and AMD Ryzen 5 4600G processors as they have equally powerful features that may suit your needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Consider for the Best CPU for my Windows 11?

Although we’ll discuss the factors to consider when buying a CPU for Windows 11 in detail later (in our buying guide), it’s worth mentioning that you should consider your computer’s intended use, overclocking needs, and system compatibility. It would be best to settle on a CPU within your budget range.

What Should I Expect if My CPU is not Compatible with Windows 11?

Non-compatibility between the CPU and OS can cause a range of issues. For example, your device may instantaneously stop working when using an older-generation CPU with Windows 11 due to compatibility or resultant problems. Processors that do not meet specific system requirements may not qualify for upgrades (including security upgrades), making your system prone to malware and virus attacks.

Will Changing My CPU Affect My Window’s Activation Status?

Upgrading your CPU to a higher or newer version shouldn’t affect your Windows activation or license. However, removing or replacing the original motherboard often affects OS activation or license, calling for your Windows 11 copy renewal.

Do I Need More RAM or a High-End CPU for my Windows 11?

Windows 11 has more apps, features, and widgets and requires more memory than previous Windows versions (at least 4 GB RAM). Although it can work with mid-range CPUs, high-end options (post-2016) are highly recommended for enhanced performance and overall computing experience.

Should I Choose an Intel or AMD CPU for my Windows 11 Laptop?

Intel and AMD CPUs can perform excellently when paired with Windows 11 as long as their specifications match the intended usage. For example, choose the latest multi-core CPUs, such as the Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 series, for enhanced multitasking. Scroll to our product review section to see some amazing options.

Why Does My Laptop Need a New Processor to Run Windows 11 Successfully?

Laptops with older-generation CPUs need new processors to run Windows 11 simply because, unlike previous OS generations, Windows 11 has several advanced features and tougher security requirements that only new-generation processors can handle. For example, your device should support Secure Boot and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, features mostly common in laptops with relatively modern CPUs.