What are the best LGA (Land Grid Array) 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, PC Tech’s top picks for the best LGA 1150 CPUs are:
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 can 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.
- You’ve got great thermal overhead for overclocking and tinkering.
- It is still quite expensive for an older CPU.
- The 4790K is quite power-hungry.
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 several years.
- It is almost functionally identical to the 4790K.
- The 4790 can be found for considerably lower prices than the K variant.
- It has a lower maximum clock frequency.
- There aren’t any options for tweaking CPU performance.
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.
- The 4770 comes with four cores and eight processor threads.
- It has a low boosted clock frequency.
- It can be prone to bottlenecking GPUs on newer games.
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 it supports 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 more than capable of handling modern games.
- It is quite expensive for an older CPU.
- The clock speeds are considerably lower compared to the comparably priced i7-4790K.
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.
- The overall price of the i5-4690 is fairly reasonable in 2023.
- It isn’t future-proof by any means; newer games are citing it as a minimum requirement.
- The 4590 isn’t a great fit for multi-threaded applications.
To conclude, the most important consideration in picking one of the best LGA 1150 CPUs is 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.
Written and includes input from online sources