The 5 Best LGA 1151 CPUs for 2023: Ranked and Reviewed

best lga 1151 cpus

The 5 Best LGA 1151 CPUs for 2023: Ranked and Reviewed

Key Points

  • The best LGA 1151 CPUs are the Intel Core i9-9900K, Intel Core i7-9700K, Intel Core i5-9600K, Intel Core i5-9400F, and Intel Core i3-9100F.
  • The Intel Core i9-9900K is the best overall CPU with eight cores and 16 processor threads, but it is expensive.
  • The Intel Core i7-9700K is a great runner-up with eight cores and the ability to overclock.
  • The Intel Core i5-9600K is best for single-core performance and overclocking.
  • The Intel Core i5-9400F is a good choice for budget builds with six cores and six threads.

What are the best LGA 1151 CPUs available in 2023? While the LGA 1151 is certainly starting to show its age, there is still plenty of life left in these CPUs. Do be aware, though, that you’ll have to make certain compromises when looking at the Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake processors.

For starters, there really isn’t an option for DDR5 RAM, but thankfully DDR4 is more than enough for modern uses. You’ll still have access to PCI-E lanes to power a modern gaming rig. However, you’ll feel the squeeze in other ways if you aren’t choosing the right components.

#1 Best Overall: Intel Core i9-9900K

Best Overall
Intel Core i9-9900K
  • Clock speed: 3.6 GHz 
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 5.00 GHz
  • Compatible only with motherboards based on Intel 300 Series
  • Smart Cache: 16 MB
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11/29/2023 10:52 pm GMT

Those looking for speed will do well with the Intel Core i9-9900K, which is why it’s our best overall pick. This was the flagship processor of the Coffee Lake architecture, and it is easy to see why. You have eight cores of raw processing power. These are further distributed to 16 processor threads.

Speed isn’t an issue, either, as you’ve got a base clock frequency of 3.6 GHz that goes all the way up to 5 GHz with the Intel Turbo Boost functionality. If there is any complaint that can be leveled at this marvelous processor, it is down to price. You can purchase a brand-new, modern processor for the same cost.

However, it likely isn’t going to boast the same impressive specs. The 9900K is well-suited for gaming and multitasking, especially with applications that support multithreading, and it’s one of the best LGA 1151 CPUs by a wide margin.

The 9900K has great specs and performance.It is extremely expensive for an older CPU.
Still fairly modern for a CPU released in 2018.Only supports DDR4-2666 RAM.

Check out the Intel Core i9-9900K on Amazon.

Best Runner-Up: Intel Core i7-9700K

Best Runner-Up
Intel Core i7-9700K
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Turbo Boost frequency of up to 4.9 GHz
  • Smart Cache: 12 MB
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11/29/2023 10:53 pm GMT

The Intel Core i7-9700K is built for performance but with a much more attractive price tag. You’ve got access to eight cores and eight threads, so it is a bit less powerful than the 9900K. However, you’ve got plenty of speed with a 3.6 GHz base frequency that goes up to 4.9 GHz.

Like all K series Intel CPUs, the 9700K is able to overclock. This is a great option for users looking to eke a little more performance out of their CPUs. Thankfully, since the 9700K is an older CPU, it is well-documented for users looking to embark on a stable overclock. What makes this one of the best LGA 1151 CPUs is the fact that you’re getting close to the 9900K without paying the same cost.

It has a core count on par with the 9900K.The 9700K isn’t as future-proof as the 9900K.
It has plenty of power for multi-threaded applications.It is still fairly expensive for an older CPU.

Check out the Intel Core i7-9700K on Amazon.

Best for Single-Core Performance: Intel Core i5-9600K

Best for Single-Core Performance
Intel Core i5-9600K
  • CPU speed: 3.7 GHz
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Smart Cache: 9 MB
  • Intel Optane Memory Supported
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11/29/2023 11:07 pm GMT

Are you looking for a processor that destroys single-core applications? The Intel Core i5-9600K might be the choice for you. While it lacks the raw grunt of its bigger siblings, the 9600K is certainly a capable processor for the likes of gaming and other applications.

That isn’t to say the 9600K is a slouch; you’ve got six cores and six threads of power, after all. The base clock frequency is an ample 3.7 GHz and you have the ability to go up to 4.7 GHz. As with the previously mentioned CPUs, this is a K model, so you can overclock it.

It is a powerful overclock-ready CPU.The 9600K is rather expensive for an older CPU
It has plenty of power for single-core applications.You only have the option of using slower DDR4 RAM.

Check out the Intel Core i5-9600K on Amazon.

Best for Sleeper Builds: Intel Core i5-9400F

Intel Core i5-9400F
  • CPU speed: 2.9 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 4.10 GHz
  • Compatible with Intel 300 Series Chipsets
  • Smart Cache: 9 MB
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11/29/2023 11:08 pm GMT

The Intel Core i5-9400F is budget-friendly, but powerful. It does lack the ability to overclock that’s seen in the K variants, but there is plenty to enjoy here for gaming purposes. What it does have is six cores and six threads, which makes it a great choice for single-core applications and some multi-threading.

You’ve got a 2.9 GHz base clock, which is on the slower end of things. However, the CPU can reach up to 4.1 GHz when boosted, making it a great fit for gaming. This is a far cheaper processor, which can be a great choice for builders on a budget. When coupled with a modern graphics card, you’ll have plenty of power for gaming bliss.

It has an identical thread and core count to the 9600K.It lacks an integrated graphics card.
It’s more affordable than the 9600K.Some compatible motherboards will need an update before the CPU can be installed.

Check out the Intel Core i5-9400F.

Best for Budget Builds: Intel Core i3-9100F

Best for Budget Builds
Intel Core i3-9100F
  • Clock speed: 3.6 GHz (up to 4.2 GHz)
  • 4 cores, 4 threads
  • Smart Cache: 6 MB
  • TDP: 65W
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11/29/2023 11:32 pm GMT

For users on strict budgets, the Intel Core i3-9100F is the perfect choice. Yes, it does lack the power seen in its more robust counterparts. However, if you’re looking for a workhorse of a CPU that can handle work and play, the 9100F can fit the bill.

You’ve got four cores and threads with a 3.6 GHz base clock. This scales up to an impressive 4.2 GHz boost clock, making for more than enough power when it comes to gaming. You’ll likely bottleneck with certain games, so you’ll want to adjust settings as necessary.

It is a relatively affordable processor.It doesn’t come with an integrated graphics card.
You have four cores, which is great for even a basic workstation.The motherboard may require an update before the processor can be installed.

Check out the Intel Core i3-9100F on Amazon.

The Best LGA 1151 CPUs: What to Know

The LGA 1151 encompassed a wide range of CPUs, with numerous Intel architectures supporting the socket. As such, it is heavily recommended to pursue CPUs from the last generation supported, Coffee Lake. Most of these processors date back to 2018, so they’re modern enough for daily use.

Thread Count 3

Thread count is a major consideration when shopping for a CPU. More cores and threads means you can handle multi-threaded applications with ease. Now, most games are still strictly single-core bound. However, there are numerous applications like Photoshop that benefit from having more cores.

Having a good amount of cores also makes daily tasks like web browsing more of a breeze. When paired with 16GB or more of RAM, you’ve got the makings of a dependable daily driver.

Intended Usage

What sort of computer are you looking to build? Now, most users might be in the market for a gaming PC. However, that isn’t always the case. Before scoping out a new CPU, it helps to understand your own needs and what you expect out of a processor to really make your day-to-day usage work for you.

If you’re looking to build a dependable workstation for the likes of writing or graphic design, you likely don’t need a monster with 16 threads of processing. Yes, it would be nice, but it’s overkill for those purposes.

Overclocking Support

Intel’s processors come in K variants, which support overclocking. Now, not every user is going to benefit from overclocking. However, gamers and benchmark enthusiasts are likely looking for every conceivable way to get more performance out of their rig.

As such, you’ll want to get a K variant if overclocking is in the cards. Make sure you also have adequate cooling and a reputable power supply unit. Having the right elements in place can deliver blazing-fast overclocking that isn’t prone to failure.

Using the Best CPUs for the LGA 1151: What It’s Like

The LGA 1151 is still modern enough that picking good quality components can set you up with a future-proof computer for years to come. The DDR4 RAM standard is still fairly recent and easily found at most online retailers.

If you play your cards right and get good quality storage, like an NVMe drive, you could have a blazing setup for a fraction of the cost. However, do be aware that most of the Intel Coffee Lake processors only support DDR4-2600 RAM, meaning you’ll lose out on the extra speed of later revisions.

Still, any gaming computer running with an LGA 1151 is more than enough to handle modern games. You’ll need a good GPU to go with it, of course. However, you won’t be disappointed in choosing this socket.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the LGA 1151 socket the most modern from Intel?

No, the latest Intel socket is the LGA 1700 standard which was introduced in 2021.

Can an LGA 1151 CPU run Starfield?

Yes, but you’d be best off with a 9900K or 9700K. You’ll need a powerful GPU to match it, as well.

Is there a benefit to using an older CPU?

You can generally find older CPUs for lower prices than their newer counterparts. This isn’t always the case, but you can build a powerful computer for a lower overall cost.

Does every processor come with an integrated graphics processor?

No, some processors have zero video capabilities. Make sure you read the product’s description clearly when picking out a processor.

What is the Ryzen equivalent of the 9900K?

The Ryzen 9 3900X is the closest equivalent AMD has to the 9900K. It does have a slower base clock and boost clock frequency, however.

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