Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

This hierarchy was originally based on the average performance each CPU achieved in our test suite. We have since incorporated new game data into our criteria, but it should be known that any specific title will likely perform differently depending on its unique programming. Some games, for example, will be severely graphics subsystem-limited, while others may react positively to more CPU cores, larger amounts of on-die cache or even a specific architecture. We don't have access to every CPU on the market, so some of the placements are based on the results similar models deliver. Indeed, this hierarchy chart is useful as a general guideline, but certainly not as a one-size-fits-all CPU comparison resource. For that, we recommend you check out our CPU Performance Charts.

Perhaps you noticed that we split the former top tier in half, moving a handful of quad-module AMD CPUs up in the process. Recognizing that a lot of older platforms are going to be paired with graphics subsystems multiple generations old, we wanted to define the top of our range to encourage balance between host processing and complementary GPUs. At this point, anyone with a Sandy Bridge-based Core i7 would realize a gain from stepping up to Kaby Lake or Broadwell-E, for example. And putting AMD's top FX CPUs next to a handful of Core i7s and those older Core i5s represents an upgrade to their status.


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Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy Chart

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Core i7-3770, -3770K, -3820, -3930K, -3960X, -3970X, -4770, -4771, -4790, -4770K, -4790K, -4820K, -4930K, -4960X, -5775C, -5820K, 5930K, -5960X, -6700K, -6700, -7700K, -7700, -6800K, -6850K, -6900K, -6950X
Core i5-7600K, -7600, -7500, -7400, -6600K, -6600, -6500, -5675C, -4690K, 4670K, -4590, -4670, -4570, -4460, -4440, -4430, -3570K, -3570, -3550

Core i7-2600, -2600K, -2700K, -965, -975 Extreme, -980X Extreme, -990X Extreme
Core i5-3470, -3450P, -3450, -3350P, -3330, 2550K, -2500K, -2500, -2450P, -2400, -2380P, -2320, -2310, -2300

FX-9590, 9370, 8370, 8350, 8320, 8300, 8150
Core i7-980, -970, -960
Core i7-870, -875K
Core i3-7350K, -7320, -7300, -7100, -4360, -4350, -4340, -4170, -4160, -4150, -4130, -3250, -3245, -3240, -3225, -3220, -3210, -2100, -2105, -2120, -2125, -2130

Pentium G4620, G4600, G4560
FX-6350, 4350
Phenom II X6 1100T BE, 1090T BE
Phenom II X4 Black Edition 980, 975

Core i7-860, -920, -930, -940, -950
Core i5-3220T, -750, -760, -2405S, -2400S
Core 2 Extreme QX9775, QX9770, QX9650
Core 2 Quad Q9650

FX-8120, 8320e, 8370e, 6200, 6300, 4170, 4300
Phenom II X6 1075T
Phenom II X4 Black Edition 970, 965, 955
A10-6800K, 6790K, 6700, 5800K, -5700, -7700K, -7800, -7850K, 7870K
A8-3850, -3870K, -5600K, 6600K, -7600, -7650K
Athlon X4 651K, 645, 641, 640, 740, 750K, 860K

Core 2 Extreme QX6850, QX6800
Core 2 Quad Q9550, Q9450, Q9400
Core i5-650, -655K, -660, -661, -670, -680
Core i3-2100T, -2120T

FX-6100, -4100, -4130
Phenom II X6 1055T, 1045T
Phenom II X4 945, 940, 920
Phenom II X3 Black Edition 720, 740
A8-5500, 6500
A6-3650, -3670K, -7400K
Athlon II X4 635, 630

Core 2 Extreme QX6700
Core 2 Quad Q6700, Q9300, Q8400, Q6600, Q8300
Core 2 Duo E8600, E8500, E8400, E7600
Core i3 -530, -540, -550
Pentium G3470, G3460, G3450, G3440, G3430, G3420, G3260, G3258, G3250, G3220, G3420, G3430, G2130, G2120, G2020, G2010, G870, G860, G850, G840, G645, G640, G630

Phenom II X4 910, 910e, 810
Athlon II X4 620, 631
Athlon II X3 460
Core 2 Extreme X6800
Core 2 Quad Q8200
Core 2 Duo E8300, E8200, E8190, E7500, E7400, E6850, E6750
Pentium G620
Celeron G1630, G1620, G1610, G555, G550, G540, G530

Phenom II X4 905e, 805
Phenom II X3 710, 705e
Phenom II X2 565 BE, 560 BE, 555 BE, 550 BE, 545
Phenom X4 9950
Athlon II X3 455, 450, 445, 440, 435, 425
Core 2 Duo E7200, E6550, E7300, E6540, E6700
Pentium Dual-Core E5700, E5800, E6300, E6500, E6600, E6700
Pentium G9650

Phenom X4 9850, 9750, 9650, 9600
Phenom X3 8850, 8750
Athlon II X2 265, 260, 255, 370K
A4-7300, 6400K, 6300, 5400K, 5300, 4400, 4000, 3400, 3300
Athlon 64 X2 6400+
Core 2 Duo E4700, E4600, E6600, E4500, E6420
Pentium Dual-Core E5400, E5300, E5200, G620T
Phenom X4 9500, 9550, 9450e, 9350e
Phenom X3 8650, 8600, 8550, 8450e, 8450, 8400, 8250e
Athlon II X2 240, 245, 250
Athlon X2 7850, 7750
Athlon 64 X2 6000+, 5600+
Core 2 Duo E4400, E4300, E6400, E6320
Celeron E3300
Phenom X4 9150e, 9100e
Athlon X2 7550, 7450, 5050e, 4850e/b
Athlon 64 X2 5400+, 5200+, 5000+, 4800+
Core 2 Duo E5500, E6300
Pentium Dual-Core E2220, E2200, E2210
Celeron E3200
Athlon X2 6550, 6500, 4450e/b,
Athlon X2 4600+, 4400+, 4200+, BE-2400
Pentium Dual-Core E2180
Celeron E1600, G440
Athlon 64 X2 4000+, 3800+
Athlon X2 4050e, BE-2300
Pentium Dual-Core E2160, E2140
Celeron E1500, E1400, E1200

Currently, our hierarchy consists of 13 total tiers. The bottom half of the chart is largely outdated; you'll notice those CPUs dragging down performance in the latest games, regardless of the graphics card installed in your PC. If you own a CPU in that range, an upgrade could really take your gaming experience to another level.

Really, it's the top five tiers or so that remain viable. And in that top half of the chart, an upgrade is typically worthwhile if it's a least a couple of tiers higher. Otherwise, there's just not enough improvement to warrant the expense of a fresh CPU, motherboard and memory (not to mention the graphics card and storage solution you'd be considering as well).

MORE: How To Build A PC

MORE:Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

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  • boratYOYOYO
    Where is i5 6400 and i3 6100 6300 ? :sadface:
  • Queinty
    Yes, where are they? I particularly would like to know where the i5 6400 would sit.
  • jakjawagon
    I have doubts about this chart. Sandy Bridge i3s in the same tier as 6 core Westmere i7s seems unlikely. I know Sandy Bridge was a big improvement, but it can't compensate for three times as many cores.
  • ryannoelcarroll
    where would the amd A8-6410
  • ryannoelcarroll
    where would the amd A8-6410 go*