CPU Buying Guide - How to buy the best CPU/Motherboard Combos in 2020

By Mithun Mohandas | Published on 29 Jun 2020
CPU Buying Guide - How to buy the best CPU/Motherboard Combos in 2020
HIGHLIGHTS

Are you looking for the best CPU and Motherboard combo for yourself?

You must go through our extensive CPU/Mobo combo buying guide.

We hope this guide helps you build your next rig with ease.

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Buying a good motherboard is like getting a well-fitting glove, it not only feels great, but the productivity boost attained is well-worth the money. If you are looking for detailed help while choosing the best processor and motherboard under your PC Budget, check out our buying guide. We're taking a look at all the different price points that you'd be looking at for your next PC. 

PC desktop workstation Intel AMD Processor Motherboard CPU mobo buying guide

CPU Motherboard combos for every price

We start from the entry-level segment wherein you can get a CPU and motherboard for as low as Rs 8,500 and go all the way up to Rs 2,40,000 in the workstation segment. With 30 combinations in this list, you are bound to find one or more configurations that fit your needs perfectly. We've also mentioned which combinations have integrated graphics (iGPU) so that you don't need to spend on an additional graphics card. 

Also, we've sorted the entire list based on combined performance in single-threaded as well as multithreaded applications. This performance index is mentioned at the bottom of the column, and a lower number indicates better performance. Which is why the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X combo is the best performing of the entire lot whereas the AMD Athlon 200 GE combination is the least performing one. We hope this guide helps you build your next rig with ease.

Entry-Level 

For folks wanting the bare minimum out of a PC, this is where you'd want to start. All combinations in this section have an iGPU except the Intel Core i3-9100F.

PC desktop workstation Intel 9th Gen Processor Motherboard

Intel Core i3-9100F and GIGABYTE B365M Gaming HD

You can get a cheap graphics card for less than Rs 3000, but that would still drive the costs higher. So you're better off going with the Intel Core-i3 9100. Pick the 9100F only if you plan on getting a mid-range GPU. That way you can save some money on the CPU and spend the savings on a better GPU. Also, check out our top picks for entry-level/budget processors for desktop PCs

Performance Index CPU Cores Threads iGPU Price Motherboard Price Total Price
  ENTRY-LEVEL
30 AMD Athlon 200 GE 2 4 Y 3658 ASUS A320M-K 4878 8536
29 Intel Pentium Gold G5400 2 4 Y 4848 MSI H310M PRO-VDH PLUS 6350 11198
28 AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4 4 Y 7959 ASRock B450M-HDV 5190 13149
27 Intel Core i3-9100F 4 4 N 8509 GIGABYTE B365M Gaming HD 6565 15074
26 Intel core i3-9100 4 4 Y 11093 GIGABYTE B365M Gaming HD 6565 17658

Mid-Range 

Things get a little interesting in the mid-range, especially with the introduction of the new AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X. You'd assume that these processors would be entry-level material, but it turns out that they have enough horsepower to put the Intel Core i7-7700K to shame. So, we had to squeeze them in here.

PC desktop workstation AMD Ryzen MSI Processor Motherboard

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X and MSI B550 Tomahawk

You'll find fewer combinations in this segment with integrated graphics as more people tend to opt for a discrete GPU. It's just the Intel CPUs and the lone Ryzen 5 3400G that have built-in graphics. It would also appear that most Intel combinations are very expensive. The current market rates for the processors are higher than their AMD counterparts and the motherboards are equally pricier. The two together drive up costs too much. You can certainly pair the Intel Core i5-9600K with a B365 motherboard but then what's the point of getting an unlocked CPU? That Z390 board is the cheapest one we could spot that was in stock and it's nearly twice as expensive as the other boards in its vicinity. 

Performance Index CPU Cores Threads iGPU Price Motherboard Price Total Price
  MID-RANGE
25 AMD Ryzen 5 3400G 4 8 Y 13225 ASRock B450M-HDV 5190 18415
24 ADM Ryzen 5 3500 6 6 N 11050 ASRock B450M-HDV 5190 16240
23 Intel Core i5-9400F 6 6 N 13896 ASUS TUF B365M-Plus Gaming 8304 22200
22 Intel Core i5-9400 6 6 Y 17879 MSI MAG B365M Mortar 9725 27604
21 AMD Ryzen 3 3100 4 8 N 8455 GIGABYTE B450M DS3H 7010 15465
20 AMD Ryzen 3 3300X 4 8 N 11030 GIGABYTE B450 Gaming X 8487 19517
19 Intel Core i5-9600K 6 6 Y 21973 ASUS PRIME Z390-P 15403 37376
18 AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 6 12 N 14473 GIGABYTE B450 AORUS M 8920 23393
17 AMD Ryzen 7 2700 8 16 N 19461 MSI B450-A PRO 8750 28211
16 AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6 12 N 17471 MSI X470 Gaming Plus 11360 28831
15 AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6 12 N 21743 GIGABYTE X570 UD 14567 36310
14 Intel Core i5-10600K 6 12 Y 21973 ASUS PRIME Z490M-PLUS 22500 44473

High-End 

When you really want to game with no holds barred and get a good all-rounder machine that's destined to last a couple of years easily, then these are the combinations that you should be looking at.

Desktop high end processor motherboard Intel 9th Gen Gigabyte

Intel 9th Gen Core i9-9900K and GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS ULTRA

Most CPUs here have 8 core / 16 threads and are also really good overclockers. The AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen 7 2700X being an exception since it's from an older generation. AMD made decent improvements to clock speeds with the 3rd Gen Ryzens and it really shows. If it were a purely frequency-based competition, then Intel easily moves ahead, but since core counts are being utilised by a lot more applications, the overall performance of AMD processors leaves Intel behind. Lastly, we can see a similar trend with the prices as we saw in the mid-range segment. Intel combinations tend to be more expensive owing to high CPU and motherboard prices. 

Performance Index CPU Cores Threads iGPU Price Motherboard Price Total Price
  HIGH-END
13 Intel Core i7-9700K 8 8 Y 38775 ASUS PRIME Z390-P 15403 54178
12 Intel Core i7-10700K 8 16 Y 38775 ASUS PRIME Z490M-PLUS 22500 61275
11 AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8 16 N 17800 GIGABYTE X470 AORUS ULTRA Gaming 12980 30780
10 AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8 16 N 29492 MSI X570-A PRO 14326 43818
9 Intel Core i9-9900K 8 16 Y 51500 ASUS Z390-E GAMING 23478 74978
8 AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 8 16 N 32379 GIGABYTE X570 AORUS ELITE 20470 52849
7 Intel Core i9-9900KS 8 16 Y 64000 ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO 25500 89500
6 Intel Core i9-10900K 10 20 Y 51500 ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-F GAMING 34500 86000
5 AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 24 N 44800 ASUS X570-PRO 23626 68426

The newly announced 10th Gen Z490 boards aren't exactly helping their case either.

Workstation 

Digital media professionals who'd like to have a personal workstation at home or at the office will take all the cores that you can throw at them. With the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, they have no reasons to complain.

PC desktop workstation AMD Threadripper Intel Core Extreme Processor Motherboard

Workstation processor and motherboard configurations

These massive core-count processors are just shy of being called servers. Heck, even server processors from two years ago will be embarrassed to see how quickly the consumer side has caught up. None of these processors have integrated graphics simply because no person buying a work-station processor is going to skip on getting a powerful graphics card to match. 

Performance Index CPU Cores Threads iGPU Price Motherboard Price Total Price
  WORKSTATION
4 Intel Core i9-10980XE 18 36 N 90000 GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 7 51499 141499
3 AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16 32 N 68701 MSI X570 ACE 35759 104460
2 AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X 24 48 N 124796 GIGABYTE TRX40 AORUS MASTER 47790 172586
1 AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32 64 N 178333 ASUS ROG ZENITH II EXTREME 62100 240433

Price being no bar, all you need to know is that spending more in this segment saves you time since your workloads will be executed quicker. This way you can take up more projects and increase your revenue. The Intel price gap doesn't seem to be that wide in this segment which is a relief, but there really hasn't been an improvement in core counts for more than two years. 

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Mithun Mohandas

While not dishing out lethal doses of sarcasm, this curious creature can often be found tinkering with tech, playing 'vidya' games or exploring the darkest corners of the Internets. #PCMasterRace https://www.linkedin.com/in/mithunmohandas/

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