What are the best LGA 1150 CPUs you can purchase today? The LGA 1150 has had a remarkably long service life, with its supported CPUs still being perfectly usable a decade after release. While these CPUs aren’t going to give you top-shelf performance, there is plenty of fight left in them for modern tasks.
The benefit of going with an older CPU is that you can complete an entire build for a fraction of the price of sourcing new components. So, after looking at numerous options, our top picks for the best LGA 1150 CPUs are:
- Best Overall: Intel Core i7-4790K
- Best Runner-Up: Intel Core i7-4790
- Best for Budget Builds: Intel Core i7-4770
- Best for Sleeper Builds: Intel Xeon E3-1231V3B
- Best for Single-Core Performance: Intel Core i5-4690
#1 Best Overall: Intel Core i7-4790K
The Intel Core i7-4790K was the flagship CPU of the Haswell generation. You’ve got four operational cores and eight processing threads at play. The CPU itself supported DDR3 RAM, with a maximum of 32 GB supported.
For gaming, the 4790K still has quite a bit of bite left in it. Modern games run just fine with a supported GPU. You might not be maxing out the likes of Starfield, but there are plenty of other modern choices that run like a dream. The 4790K has plenty of thermal headroom and has the ability to overclock. When paired with a compatible motherboard and ample cooling, this CPU is more than up to most modern tasks.
|The 4790K still has great performance and can handle newer games.||It is still quite expensive for an older CPU.|
|You’ve got great thermal overhead for overclocking and tinkering.||The 4790K is quite power-hungry.|
Check out the Intel Core i7-4790K on Amazon.
Best Runner-Up: Intel Core i7-4790
The Intel Core i7-4790 is functionally identical to the 4790K in most regards. It loses out on the ability to overclock, but you still have access to the same speedy four cores and eight threads of processing power. It is a little slower than the 4790K, with a maximum clock frequency of 4.0 GHz compared to the base speed of 4.4 GHz on the k variant.
That said, you’ve got plenty to enjoy with the i7-4790. It does quite well with modern games, especially if you’ve maxed out the RAM and have a modern GPU. It does falter a bit with the likes of AI applications, especially when run natively. That is to be expected; the i7-4790 predates most popular AI frameworks by a number of years.
|It is almost functionally identical to the 4790K.||It has a lower maximum clock frequency.|
|The 4790 can be found for considerably lower prices than the K variant.||There aren’t any options for tweaking CPU performance.|
Check out the Intel Core i7-4790 on Amazon.
Best for Budget Builds: Intel Core i7-4770
Intel’s i7-4770 is a great choice for builders on a budget. You can routinely find the i7-4770 for cheaper prices than the more deluxe 4790K and 4790. That said, you still have access to four relatively fast cores and eight threads of processing power.
The maximum clock frequency tops out at 3.9 GHz, even when factoring in Intel’s Turbo Boost. The i7-4770 will falter occasionally with more modern games. When paired with a modern GPU, it has more than enough power to handle most tasks but can bottleneck with CPU-bound games.
|It can be found for under $100 regularly.||It has a low boosted clock frequency.|
|The 4770 comes with four cores and eight processor threads.||It can be prone to bottlenecking GPUs on newer games.|
Check out the Intel Core i7-4770 on Amazon.
Best for Sleeper Builds: Intel Xeon E3-1231V3B
The Intel Xeon E3-1231V3B is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. While the Xeon line is particularly focused on the likes of workstations and servers, they can be leveraged into some fun use cases for your average user.
The Xeon E3-1231V3B has a particular edge because of its support of expanded instruction sets. As this was an enterprise-grade CPU it comes with support for the likes of SSE4.1, SSE 4.2, and AVX2. You can still use this for modern gaming, but it will more than ably handle more robust audio and video uses.
It does have a lower maximum frequency than the previously mentioned CPUs, with a maximum speed of 3.8 GHz. However, if you’re looking to build a PC that can work and play with the best of them, it is hard to beat.
|The Xeon comes with support for more advanced instruction sets.||It is quite expensive for an older CPU.|
|It is more than capable of handling modern games.||The clock speeds are considerably lower compared to the comparably priced i7-4790K.|
Check out the Intel Xeon E3-1231V3B on Amazon.
Best for Single-Core Performance: Intel Core i5-4690
If you’re looking for blazing single-core performance, the Intel Core i5-4690 has you covered. This is the first and only CPU on this list that lacks eight processing threads. Instead, you’re left with just four cores and four threads.
Now, in 2023, the i5-4690 is going to be a poor partner for multi-threaded applications. However, when taking a look at processes and games that heavily lean on a single core, there is plenty to enjoy. The 4690 is a great CPU for gaming, especially when paired with a newer GPU.
You’ll have a less than enjoyable time when using this processor for multi-threaded tasks like AI training or video rendering. However, if you’re just looking to game, the i5-4690 is a great choice.
|It has great single-core performance.||It isn’t future-proof by any means; newer games are citing it as a minimum requirement.|
|The overall price of the i5-4690 is fairly reasonable in 2023.||The 4590 isn’t a great fit for multi-threaded applications.|
Check out the Intel Core i5-4690 on Amazon.
Picking the Best LGA 1150 CPUs: What to Know
Cores and Threads
The most important consideration in picking one of the best LGA 1150 CPUs is really just down to the cores and threads available. In 2023, cores and threads are crucial for most intensive computing tasks. At the bare minimum when looking at an LGA 1150 CPU, you’ll want to make sure it has at least four cores.
This will give you more than enough power to handle most tasks. When paired with the maximum amount of RAM and a decent GPU, gaming should be a breeze. These are older CPUs, so you’ll need to temper your expectations.
Users have expressed displeasure with using something like the i7-4790K with training AI models locally, as you’ll find with Stable Diffusion. More demanding tasks that require cutting-edge hardware will definitely expose the age of these CPUs.
The LGA 1150 socket was initially released in 2013. As you can imagine, the most relevant components are no longer being made. You can still readily find them second-hand or as new in some very rare instances.
If purchasing second-hand you’ll want to check each component meticulously. You’ll definitely want to purchase from a retailer with return support, like Amazon. Motherboards can be prone to leaking or damaged caps.
The CPUs themselves can also be prone to damage. You’ll want to check the pins on the motherboard as well as the pin holes on the CPU itself. A lot can go wrong when building a PC, especially when you’re using older components.
Should you just use modern hardware? Well, modern hardware doesn’t come with the headaches and pitfalls you might expect when dealing with older tech. However, newer hardware can also be considerably more expensive.
The most modern component you’ll likely need is a GPU. Funnily enough, the GPU will likely be the most expensive part of the build aside from the power supply. You absolutely should be buying a new PSU. PSUs experience the most wear and tear of any system, and a decade-old unit won’t have much utility.
Using the Best LGA 1150 CPUs: What It’s Like
Most of the CPUs covered in this guide are more than capable of doing tasks at an acceptable speed. Using one of the best LGA 1150 CPUs covered is like using any other desktop processor. You’ll have a fine time handling web browsing and word processing, as an example.
When paired with a good GPU, gaming should be just fine as well. Modern games are still citing older CPUs as usable, like the recently released Baldur’s Gate 3. You’ll have plenty of room for gaming for a few more years.
If you’re choosing something like the i7-4790K, you’ve got a bit more extra time. Flagship processors age far better than their mid to low-range counterparts.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Pawarun Chitchirachan/Shutterstock.com.