What are the best LGA 1155 CPUs? The LGA 1155 was originally released as a spec in 2011 and encompasses two of Intel’s most beloved microarchitectures, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge. While these CPUs have aged considerably since the release, they are still more than enough for today’s workloads.
If you’re in the market for a more budget-oriented build, going with the LGA 1155 is still viable. Do keep in mind you’ll have to be willing to make significant compromises, especially in regard to gaming. So, here are our top picks for the best LGA 1155 CPUs:
- Best Overall: Intel Core i7-3770K
- Best for Steady Performance: Intel Core i7-3770
- Best for Focused Work: Intel Core i5-3570
- Best for Budget Gaming: Intel Core i5-2500
- Best for a First Build: Intel Core i3-2120
#1 Best Overall: Intel Core i7-3770K
For its day, the Intel Core i7-3770K was a hard CPU to beat. It had threads to spare, with four cores and eight processing threads. It also comes with support for 32GB of DDR3 RAM. The LGA 1155 socket only supports DDR3 RAM, but older systems can do fine with ample amounts of memory.
However, if you’re looking for a CPU with quite a bit of performance left in it, the 3700K is a solid choice. It might not handle newer games well, especially when you consider that CPUs are released with DDR5 support now. Gaming rigs and budget workstations will do well, provided you choose the right components.
|The 3770K has great thermal headroom for overclocking and is less prone to throttling.||The 3770K is still rather expensive, despite its age.|
|Despite its age, it is still energy-efficient with a TDP of 77 watts.||Heavier workloads can cause the CPU to heat up quickly, so you’ll need great cooling.|
Check out the Intel Core i7-3770K on Amazon.
Best for Steady Performance: Intel Core i7-3770
The Intel Core i7-3770 is functionally identical to the 3770K in terms of maximum performance. There are a few notable differences, however. It has less thermal headroom, meaning it’s more prone to throttling without adequate cooling. The 3700 also has a slower clock speed of 3.4 GHz.
If you’re looking for a more affordable workstation build, the 3770 is a fine choice. It may not be an ideal fit for gaming in 2023, but it can certainly handle the likes of word processing and data entry. Like the 3700K, it comes with support for up to 32GB of RAM, as well as an 8MB L3 cache.
|Has great performance for its price, with four cores and eight threads of processing power.||This CPU is more prone to thermal throttling under intense workloads.|
|The 3770 can be found at a cheaper price than the 3770K.|
Check out the Intel Core i7-3770 on Amazon.
Best for Focused Work: Intel Core i5-3570
The Intel Core i5-3570 was one of the mid-range CPUs to beat in its day. It is a quad-core processor with up to four processing threads. This doesn’t translate to multi-threaded performance excellence, but it does excel with single-core applications.
The 3570 isn’t great for multi-tasking by any means. You’ll definitely experience slowdowns and other hiccups when hopping between resource-intensive applications. However, for a single-focused workload, the 3570 does well. It was one of the best LGA 1155 CPUs at the time of its release, being a fantastic choice for mid-range builds. The 3570 can still handle more modern games, but you’ll definitely feel the RAM restrictions.
|The 3570 is great for single-thread processing.||The 3570 doesn’t excel at multi-threaded operations.|
|This quad-core processor can still handle more modern games.||Intel’s built-in GPU is quite anemic when compared to the 3770 and 3770K.|
Check out the Intel Core i5-3570 on Amazon.
Best for Budget Gaming: Intel Core i5-2500
The Intel Core i5-2500 is an older choice, but still relevant in many capacities. Like its younger sibling, the 3570, the 2500 is a quad-core processor. You’ve got four processing threads, but the CPU is better at single-threaded performance instead of multi-threaded workloads.
The 2500 was one of the best LGA 1155 CPUs at the time of its release, working quite well in contemporary mid-range gaming builds. In 2023, the i5-2500 still has plenty of power left for modern games, provided the minimum requirements support the CPU.
|The i5-2500 can be found for very reasonable prices.||It isn’t terribly energy-efficient and is prone to producing excess heat.|
|The four cores still handle more modern games when paired with a capable GPU.||The i5-2500 has poor performance for multi-threaded applications.|
Check out the Intel Core i5-2500 on Amazon.
Best for a First Build: Intel Core i3-2120
The final CPU on the list is not the best at anything necessarily. The Intel Core i3-2120 was a budget entry at the time of its release but still can handle modern tasks. It doesn’t feature the Intel Turbo Boost seen in the previously mentioned i7 and i5 processors. However, it is a solid CPU, which would do quite well as the centerpiece of someone’s first build.
Given the overall price of compatible components, the i3-2120 could serve as a great CPU for someone learning to build a PC for the first time. What makes this one of the best LGA 1155 CPUs is the constant and reliable performance. It can also handle newer games quite well, provided the minimum requirements don’t call for a quad-core processor.
|The i3-2120 can be found for very reasonable prices, making it ideal for budget builds.||Modern games need quad-core processors as a minimum requirement now.|
|Gaming shouldn’t be much of an issue with the 3.3 GHz clock speed.||There is no Turbo Boost functionality, which limits overall performance.|
Check out the Intel Core i3-2120 on Amazon.
Picking the Best LGA 1155 CPU: What to Know
The LGA 1155 is a socket that is well over a decade old at this point. As such, there are a number of compromises and concerns you’ll have to carry when contemplating a build.
A CPU is a paperweight without a compatible motherboard. You can still find LGA 1155 motherboards for sale, but the odds of finding new old stock devices are exceedingly rare. That said, you may have to resort to ordering a second-hand motherboard for your build.
Motherboards can be temperamental, especially with age. When purchasing a motherboard, you’ll want to check that it doesn’t have leaking or burned-out capacitors. Other things to keep in mind are damage to the CPU socket itself, as well as the condition of the PCI-E and RAM slots.
The LGA 1155 is an older socket, and most hardware you’ll find is going to be older by default. DDR3 RAM can be still found for sale and is the only real recourse you have for memory. The LGA 1151 was the first socket with support for DDR4 RAM, which is far easier to acquire.
The LGA 1155’s PCI-E standard is also considerably slower. The fastest supported PCI-E version in 2011 was 3.0, which is two full generations of tech behind. You can still use more modern GPUs with this PCI-E standard, but it isn’t taking full advantage of the performance of the peripheral.
More Recent CPUs
There is no getting around it, but you’re likely better off with a more modern CPU. The LGA 1155 socket does have some life left in it after a decade of use. However, you can generally find more modern CPUs for the same cost.
Opting for a newer CPU gives you access to better-supported motherboards, more modern RAM standards, and higher PCI-E versions. Building an LGA 1155 computer in 2023 is more of a challenge and novelty than a viable low-cost solution for your computing needs.
Using the Best LGA 1155 CPU: What It’s Like
Using an LGA 1155 CPU more than a decade after its release is an exercise in compromise. While something like the Intel i7-3770K can certainly handle work and gaming, it will have its limits. Despite being the top CPU of its day, the 3770K is held back by slower RAM.
Computing has largely moved on from Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge. But, both CPU generations still have some utility left, even if they are largely at end-of-life viability.
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