If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, the affordable AMD Ryzen 7 7600X is the best pick right now. It’s a strong CPU, fit for gaming and productivity, but it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg — in fact, it has great performance per dollar. However, there’s one pricey catch that comes with upgrading to a Ryzen 7000 processor.
Ryzen 7000 processors all exclusively support DDR5 memory. DDR4 is currently cheaper, and will stay that way for a while, but DDR5 prices are fortunately normalizing now. Still, a bit of the savings that comes with buying this processor will be spent on DDR5 RAM, though that’s not necessarily a compromise.
For one, the AM5 socket (which is what the Ryzen 7000 CPUs utilize) will be supported by AMD for years. This means that when you upgrade this processor in the future, you won’t need to buy a new motherboard. DDR5 memory in and of itself is a massive upgrade as well, so although you’re spending more money, you’re getting a lot more value out of it too.
The Ryzen 5 7600X is a solid processor that will serve you well in most tasks. It only has 6 cores and 12 threads, but it has a high clock frequency that hits up to 5.3 GHz. It’s also very energy efficient, with a TDP of 105W. You can get it on Amazon for $240.