June 22, 2024

Mid Designer

Breakaway from the pack

The 6 best processors for designers in May 2023

Choosing the best processor for your next computer can be daunting, what with AMD and Intel rolling out new chips every few months. And that’s without factoring the specifics of finding a processor that works best for graphic design, 3D rendering or web development. The good news is that we’re here to help you cut through all that noise. 

Whether you’re trying to update components in your current workstation or investing in a new computer altogether, the processors on this list will help you make that crucial decision (if the latter is the case, explore our list of the best computers for graphic design or the best laptops for designers). First, let’s take a quick look at the specs to look out for when buying a processor. 

The best processors to buy right now

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Best processors: AMD Ryzen 9 3900x

(Image credit: Ryzen)

01. AMD Ryzen 9 3900x

The best mainstream processor


Base Clock: 3.8GHz

Boost Clock: 4.6GHz

Cores: 12

Threads: 24

L3 Cache: 64MB

Reasons to buy


12 Cores in mainstream CPU


PCIe 4.0 support

Reasons to avoid

Single Core performance just okay


The recent arrival of the AMD 3rd-generation Ryzen and with it, the flagship Ryzen 3900x, put enthusiasts on notice. Processors with 12 cores have typically only been available in HEDT (high-end desktops). While this chip is currently one of the most expensive mainstream chip on the market, it’s also the only one to offer 12 cores and 24 threads, a significant jump from the 8 cores from the previous generation.

It also comes with a hefty base clock of 3.8GHz, making this a fantastic option four those who need some serious power four rendering and graphic design, as well as gaming. And while its single core performance is still slightly behind Intel’s, it still has more power than you’ll need.

The Ryzen 3900x also supports PCIe 4.0, which doubles the bandwidth over PCIe 3.0. Most mainstream devices such as SSDs and graphics cards currently use PCIe 3.0 so this is an exciting feature four future upgrades.

Best processors: Intel i9-9900K

(Image credit: Intel)

02. Intel i9-9900K

Best processor for content creation and gaming


Base Clock: 3.6GHz

Boost Clock: : 5GHz

Cores: : 8

Threads: : 16

L3 Cache: : 16MB

Reasons to buy


Incredibly fast


Amazing overclock capabilities

Reasons to avoid


Minor improvements over previous generation

While Intel’s new flagship is among the most expensive mainstream processors available, it more than delivers as Intel’s first 8-core, 16-thread chip. The Intel Core i9-9900K is blazing fast with a 3.6GHz base clock, which can be overclocked to an incredible 5GHz. This is simply as good as you can get four single core performance.

This makes the i9-9900K ideal for gamers or anyone who needs amazing single core performance. However, despite the lower core count compared to AMD’s flagship, it still has more than enough juice to handle intensive tasks like video editing and rendering as well.

It is in some ways a minor improvement over the 8th-generation flagship i7-8700K, offering only slightly better single core performance on average. However, once you factor in the ability to boost to 5GHz and the extra cores, you’re looking at the perfect chip four anyone who wants to balance out workstation power and gaming prowess.

best processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

(Image credit: AMD)

03. AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Fast, affordable and versatile


Base clock: 3.5GHz

Boost clock: 4.7GHz

Cores: 16

Threads: 32

L3 cache: 64MB

Reasons to buy


Usually faster than Intel


Far cheaper than rival

Reasons to avoid

Fewer PCle lanes

No quad-channel memory