A guide to CPUs and common misconceptions

What CPU is right for you?

What is the difference between i5-4460, i5-4690, i5-4690k, Xeon 1231 v3, i7-4790k, and i7-5820k? Lets take an in depth look at what CPU is right for you.

New benchmarks here
Here are some benchmarks with these CPUs.

Battlefield 4 1920x1080 Ultra (FPS Higher is better)
I7-5960X - 110
I7-5930K - 99
I7-5820K - 94
I7-4790K - 94
I5-4690K - 83
I5-4460 - 70
FX-9590 - 66
FX-8350 - 62
FX-6350 - 60
FX-6300 - 58
I3-4150 - 50

Crysis 3 1920x1080 Very High (FPS Higher is better)
I7-5960X - 49
I7-5930K - 48
I7-5820K - 48
I7-4790K - 49
I5-4690K - 46
FX-9590 - 36
FX-8350 - 31
FX-6300 - 30
FX-6350 - 32
I3-4150 - 34
I5-4460 - 41

Far Cry 3 1920x1080 Ultra (FPS Higher is better)
I7-5960X - 73
I7-5930K - 69
I7-5820K - 66
I7-4790K - 80
I5-4690K - 73
FX-9590 - 53
FX-8350 - 51
FX-6300 - 45
FX-6350 - 49
I3-4150 - 52
I5-4460 - 59

CineBENCH R11.5 (Higher is better)
I7-5960X - 14.42
I7-5930K - 11.49
I7-5820K - 10.89
I7-4790K - 9.21
FX-9590 - 7.85
FX-8350 - 6.98
I5-4690K - 6.49
I5-4460 - 5.57
FX-6300 - 4.55
FX-6350 - 5.04
I3-4150 - 3.78

x264 HD Encoding (Higher is better)
I7-5960X - 81.1
I7-5930K - 63.3
I7-5820K - 61.5
I7-4790K - 49.3
FX-9590 - 46.4
FX-8350 - 40.2
I5-4460 - 30.6
I5-4690K - 36.8
FX-6300 - 28.2
FX-6350 - 31.4
I3-4150 - 21.1

Premiere Pro (Time in seconds Lower is better)
I7-5960X - 20
I7-5930K - 23
I7-5820K - 25
I7-4790K - 27
I5-4690K - 37
I5-4460 - 44
FX-9590 - 51
FX-8350 - 57
I3-4150 - 67
FX-6350 - 79
FX-6300 - 89

Power Consumption (Wattage Lower is better)
Idle / Load
I7-5960X - 70 / 306
I7-5930K - 70 / 260
I7-5820K - 70 / 251
I7-4790K - 53 / 236
I5-4690K - 53 / 211
FX-9590 - 94 / 288
FX-8350 - 79 / 249
FX-6300 - 76 / 236
FX-6350 - 75 / 240
I3-4150 - 48 / 196
I5-4460 - 51 / 197

Creator of benchmarks: Nicolas11x12TECHX

Note Xeon was not included as it was not considered “mainstream” at the time of these benchmarks. However it would perform very slightly slower than the 4790k. And faster than the 4690k.
All the tests are done as close to apples to apples as possible. Same RAM, Graphics cards, mobo (lga1150, 2011v3, AM3+), HDD, and Power supply.

As you can see from the benchmarks the Intel side of things performs faster in most tests except the i5 looses in a few categories. Also the LGA2011 v3 socket CPUs are intended to be overclocked for gaming uses. As I will mention later the 2011v3 CPUs are meant as more than just gaming CPUs. If you cannot afford the Intel camp processors then the AMD's are the way to go for gaming in some cases. There are some games that will not run with the i3 / G3258 as a dual core because some games demand more than 2 cores to run.

Next off lets crack some myths
Myth 1: A CPU running a 4.7 GHZ with 8 cores is going to kick butt compared to a quad core running at 3.4 GHZ.
Not true. It would be like, if we bought our cars dependent upon RPM and nothing else. Then we would derive the flawed mentality "We have two cars, one which can do 10K RPM and another which can do 9.5K RPM. Therefore car#1 must be best."
Source: The benchmarks above prove it. Take a quad core i5 and put it up against an AMD FX 9590. Regardless of power usage the i5 still is best.

Myth 2: A i7 will help my gaming so much more than a i5 ever will.
Not true. A i7 will help your gaming to an extent. But to be at a 100 dollar plus cost not really.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzpYOHuSfaM and
Check out the benchmarks above its your call if it is worth or not.

Myth 3: Xeon's are for servers and are not for gaming.
Not true. While Intel has built the Xeon lineup for servers and high end workstations one specifically, the Xeon 1231 v3, works great for people not overclocking and wanting something more than just a i5.
Sources: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-4.html

Myth 4: Intel chips are for everyone they clearly out perform AMD CPUs.
Not true once again. If you are on a budget and you cannot afford an i5 a FX-6300 or 860 are both good choices for gaming.
Sources: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-3.html

Myth 5: Bottlenecks are so bad. You should be sent to jail for having a bottlenecked graphics card in your system.
Not entirely true. A “bottleneck” in a system simply means a slow part compared to the rest. If you plan on upgrading your old Core 2 duo and you want to get a GTX 980 Ti and use it in the mean time go ahead. Nothing will hold you back you just will not be able to use all the power of the card. Because your CPU is too slow and cannot keep up with the graphics card.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGdo75gasaQ

Myth 6: PSU's are the least important part in your build.
While PSU's do not actually improve the system like a graphics card does (unless you do have a really poor PSU). It does play a very important role in the computer and you need to be able to trust it to accurately power your system, not catch on fire under load, and most importantly not kill you.
Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXku-gsdyok

Please read some critical and in depth reviews of PSU's before you buy. It can save you in the long run. This CX is a very popular PSU; but is it good?
Corsair CX: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story6&reid=416
EVGA GS: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=424

Myth 7: DDR4 or faster RAM is much better for gaming.
Not really. To an extent faster RAM might help. Once you get to 1866 or 2133 speed you do not see much of an advantage in gaming. Even comparing 1600/CL8 speed to 2400/CL9 you likely will see less than 5% improvement. Same is true with more RAM. Anything from 8-16GB is right for 99.99% of us. 32GB will not help at all not even 1% if you do not currently max your system RAM often. I run multiple virtual machines and sometimes go over 24GB. But even in video editing it performs only 1% better than 16GB. A pretty good demonstration test by LinusTechTips was done proving this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajyzZ-zaq0o).

Myth 8: I can “future proof” a build by getting 32GB of RAM @ 3300 MHZ, 5960x with a custom loop, and a 4 way Titan X SLI.
This build will not help you “future proof.” A good way to “future proof” a gaming rig is to get a i5, Xeon, or i7 (whatever suits your needs [detailed below]) and 8-16GB of RAM with a graphics card that suits your needs (where have we herd that before?). Then building new with the 5000 dollars you saved from dumping on the overkill build when your current system feels slow. Likely the overkill build will last only a year or so more than the budgeted build for any realistic uses.

Myth 9: Water coolers perform much better than air coolers.
This is sometimes true but some prebuilt units like the Corsair H100 and others barely outperform and even fall behind some air coolers like the Noctua NH-D15. Corsair H series are also louder and have more parts that can fail.

Myth 10: AMD FX 9590 is cheaper than Intel i7.
While the chip itself is cheap the cost to build is not cheap.
Source: http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2740188/guide-real-cost-amd-9xxx.html

Another myth video to watch before making decisions:

CPUs and Chipsets

LGA2011v3 & X99
Okay lets get down and dirty starting with the X99 chipset CPUs (Intel's flagship 3 on the 2011 v3 socket). From the benchmarks you can see the X99 CPUs can even perform slightly slower than the 4690k. Well then why buy the X99 if they do not perform like the 1150 socket CPUs you ask? It is due to the amount of lets say “horsepower” onboard. At stock X99 CPUs have nearly the same amount of “horsepower” as the 4690k. To get around this the flagship 3 need to be overclocked to increase said “horsepower.” X99 stock has more “torque” being obviously better in rendering than the LGA1150 i7's. As games are more “horsepower” based than “torque.” It does not really make much sense to get unless you are going to 3 way SLI, be doing rendering more over gaming, or have an insane amount of cash to drop. For buying the 5820 is the best value per dollar and then it is the 5960x. The 5930k hardly offers benefit over the 5820 except native support for four way SLI. You can four way SLI the 5820 but it needs to offer it on the mobo. These CPUs are hyperthreaded. Making the 5820 and 5930 have 6 full cores and 12 “virtual cores.” (2 virtual per full core.)

Next up is the LGA1150 socket CPUs. Unlike the LGA2011v3 having only one chipset, the LGA1150 has multiple. It has primarily two new chipsets (H97 and Z97). If you have a older chipset mobo such as the Z87 or the B81 they will need a BIOS update to hold the new release of Intel CPUs like the 4690k. The difference between the H97 and Z97 is features. The Z97 has overclocking abilities with K series CPUs and the ability to handle SLI. The SLI on these chipsets will be 2x8 or 1x8 2x4 @ PCIe 3.0. A big difference between Z87 and H97 or Z97 is that both 97'(s) offer M.2. support.

Lets go over each one of the CPUs on this socket.
I5-4460 – This CPU is a great one for the value. It is the cheapest of the i5's and great for budget gaming systems. Like stated above it offers better value over a FX chip. It does not offer overclocking features and will work on both H97 and Z97 chipsets. However a Z97 chipset is nearly useless as it cannot overclock but it can SLI.

I5-4690- The 4690 is nearly the same as the 4690k except it cannot overclock. It really is a 4460 with faster clock speed. From my point of view it is only best if you do not intend to overclock and you must have something faster than the 4460 but you are on a tight budget. It is generally only 10 dollars cheaper than the K version.

I5-4690K- This CPU is the best i5. It offers overclocking unlike the 4690. This CPU is the best CPU you can get if you are just gaming and want to overclock. It will work on H97 and other chipsets but it will not be able to overclock.

Hyperthreaded CPUs are generally for more than gaming. If you are gaming and streaming or doing video production work on a budget these are the right CPUs for you. As hyperthreading doubles the number of effective cores.

Xeon 1231 v3- This CPU is very underestimated power horse. It is offered slightly more expensive than the i5 with nearly the same performance as a i7 at stock. The only other difference is that this CPU has no integrated graphics but for a CPU of this power you will have a graphics card in it anyway so it makes no difference there. Best recommended for gaming + editing systems or gaming + streaming.

I7-4790k- The 4790k is a great editing, rendering, and gaming + streaming CPU if you intend to overclock. It has hyperthreading and a integrated graphics but comes in at 80 dollars more than the Xeon just for those features. This CPU is only recommended if you must have CPU specific performance needs. You can invest in a better graphics card and get similar gaming performance with a i5.

Do's of homebuilt systems

Read reviews from other sites such as JonnyGuru. Try to be open minded and take input from as many unbiased sources as possible.
Ask others what they think of your build/parts-list. Ask for criticism and get multiple opinions. Try to micro-scrutinize every part in a build and prove why part A is better than part D for your needs.
Do your own research. (Watch a lot of independent youtube reviews from all kinds of people)
Shop around for parts. Use pcpartpicker.com to guide the building of your PC.
Do get 2x4GB or 2x8GB (LGA1150) [2x4 or 4x4 for LGA2011v3] of RAM over 1x8GB 2x8GB thinking you might upgrade in the future to 4x8GB. It is pointless to have more than 16GB of RAM unless you need it for virtual machines. 32GB is overkill and does your system no benefit over 16 for gaming and VERY little benefit in renders (less than 1/2%-2% faster renders).

Do not's of homebuilt systems

Do not get “overkill” parts. Such as a Pentium G3258 with 32GB of RAM and a 980ti for gaming.
Do not fall for the upgrade blues. (New Intel CPUs get released and you think you MUST upgrade with only a year on a build.)
Do not buy a cheap power supply (Cannot stress this enough).
Get a quality Power Supply: Tier 1 or 2 for gaming / overclocking / editing / any other stressful use of the computer.
Do not believe "I can satisfy my needs for 1000 dollars. If I therefore use the double, 2000 dollars, my needs would be satisfied twice as long and twice as much."

Useful links:
PSU Tier List: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2547993/psu-tier-list.html
Jonny Guru: http://jonnyguru.com/
Toms Charts: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/
Motherboard tier list: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2383150/motherboard-tier-list.html
Intel Mega thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2491286/intel-core-haswell-cpus-megathread-links-faq.html
Intel temp guide: www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1800828/intel-temperature-guide.html

If you have something to add or edit for this guide send me a PM here and I will edit this if the advice seems reasonable. A new one will be made with LGA1151 once enough reviews are made to get a decent sample.