List of CPUs With Best Single Core Performance (+ Compared)

One of the most important metrics you can use to gauge the performance of CPUs is their single-core performance. Hence, the purpose of this article is to list CPUs with the best single-core performance and to give you a brief idea of what it is.

Single-core performance is generally determined by running the CPU through popular benchmark software such as Cinebench or Passmark.

Single-core performance is not a specification that Intel or AMD provides. Instead, it is determined by industry-leading third-party benchmarking software.

As the name suggests, the single-core performance of a CPU determines how powerful each core of a specific CPU is compared to the rest in the market. Higher single-core performance often means a better CPU design and architecture.

The flagship CPU’s single-core performance determines who leads the CPU race between Intel vs. AMD.

List of CPUs with the Best Single Core Performance

The following table lists CPUs with the highest single-core performance.

The benchmark I will use is the Cinebench R23. I have taken the results from

Note that Cinebench R23 is the latest iteration of the Cinebench benchmark as it improves on the older R20 and the R15 versions.

You can also use Passmark, but Passmark is often used to determine the CPU’s OVERALL score, which considers both the single and multi-core performance.

CPUCinebench R23 Scores
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X2205
Intel Core i9 12900KS2082
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X2044
AMD Ryzen 7 7700X2010
Intel Core i9 12900K1997
Intel Core i9 129001988
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X1981
Intel Core i7 12700K1939
Intel Core i9 12950HX1927
Intel Core i5 12600K1918
Intel Core i9 12900H1917
Intel Core i7-127001862
Intel Core i7 12700H1806
Intel Core i5 125001804
Intel Core i9 11900K1686
AMD Ryzen 9 6980HS1669
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX1662
Intel Core i3 121001658
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X1644
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X1636
Intel Core i9 119001630
Intel Core i5 124001623
AMD Ryzen 9 59001622
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X1619
AMD Ryzen 7 6800U1617

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is the CPU with the best Single Core performance.

However, with an MSRP of $700, this industry-grade CPU isn’t the best for the average Joe. Instead, the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X seem the best option for commercial users.

What is Single-Core Performance and Why is it Important?

CPUs with best single core performance
AMD Ryzen 7000 series CPUs take the crown for best single-core performance. Source: AMD

The single-core performance of a CPU is a measure of how efficient each core is for the fetch-decode-execute cycle.

Each CPU core is an independent unit capable of running the fetch-decode-execute cycle. So each core is a CPU capable of running a given task.

The more cores you have, the more tasks you can run. So a CPU with two cores can run two tasks simultaneously, whereas a CPU with 16 cores can run 16 errands simultaneously.

If each core is a worker, then single-core performance defines how much muscle each worker has to lift things.

The more cores you have, the more parallel processing you have essentially.

However, the catch is that many tasks do not use multiple cores. Many tasks are still single-core dependent.

Some of the tasks that are still highly single-core dependent include:

  • Gaming
  • The actual designing and editing process in the work area of a software

Often people believe that most designing and editing software use multiple cores. The fact is that while the rendering processes do use multiple cores, the actual designing, such as drawing in AutoCAD or sculpting in Blender, is highly single-core based.

Live preview of your video footage in Adobe Premiere Pro and adding effects in Adobe After Effects are all single-core-based tasks.

Does Gaming Benefit from Single Core Performance?

Yes, gaming is one of the primary areas that sees excellent benefits from a CPU’s single-core performance. While many games, particularly the AAA games, have evolved to use up to 8 cores, most of the tasks of a game are still single-core based.

Generally, popular online titles such as Rocket League, League of Legends, Minecraft, etc., need dual-core CPUs at best.

  Minimum Requirements Recommended Requirements
Minecraft Intel Core i3-3210 (2 Cores / 4 Threads) Intel Core i5-4690 (4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Roblox Single Core Single Core
Rocket League 2.5 GHz Dual Core 3.0+ GHz Quad Core
Fortnite Intel Core i3-3225 (2 Cores / 4 Threads) Intel Core i5-7300U (2 Cores / 4 Threads)
CS: GO Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2 Core / 2 Threads)  
League of Legends 3.0 GHz 3.0 GHz Dual Core

Whereas the latest AAA titles need at least four cores for optimal frame rates. But most games do not need more than six cores to work at the best performance levels.

Hence, having an over-the-top number of cores, such as 16 cores, 32 cores, or 64 cores, wouldn’t help your game perform better. 

Halo Infinite Core count benchmark
Halo Infinite Core Count Requirement benchmark. halo Infinite requires 4core/4threads to work optimally. Source: DSOGaming

Also Read: How Many Cores Do Games Need?

Intel vs. AMD Single Core Performance – Who is Winning?

Intel and AMD are often caught in a cat-and-mouse chase regarding CPU performance.

At the moment, AMD is winning the single-core performance race with its Ryzen 7000 series CPUs. However, the Intel 13th generation Core is set to beat it.

We can see this trend continuing.

Hence, there is no set winner for the Intel vs. AMD single-core performance race. It all depends upon what generation of the CPUs are looking into.

Also Read: Can You Upgrade CPU Without Changing the Motherboard?

Does Clock Speed Affect Single-Core Performance?

That depends upon the generation you are looking into.

If you take CPUs from the same generation, i.e., Intel 12th Gen or AMD 7000 series, then yes, you will notice that CPUs with higher clock speeds have higher single-core performance.

However, if you take cross-generational analysis, then this observation will not hold.

Take, for instance, the single-core performance of the Intel Core i7 11700K vs. the Intel core i7 12700K. Despite having the same clock speed, the Core i7 12700K has a much higher single-core performance than its older counterpart.

i7 11700K vs 12700K single core R23

This proves that clock speed ONLY matters if you compare CPUs within the same generation.

Also Read: Difference Between Intel Celeron vs. i7

Final Words

The purpose of this article was to list CPUs with the best single-core performance. This list will be updated over time.

Generally, though, to get the best single-core performance from a CPU, you should look toward acquiring a CPU from the latest generation possible. 

You can see from the single-core performance list above that even an AMD Ryzen 5 7600X beats the much more expensive Intel Core i9 12950HX in terms of single-core performance, despite the latter being expensive and workstation-grade – all because the Ryzen 5 7600X belongs to a newer generation.


1. Can a CPU with high single-core performance also perform well in multi-threaded applications?

CPUs with high single-core performance can perform well in multi-threaded applications, but the number of cores and the efficiency of the architecture also play a significant role.

Multi-threaded applications can benefit from having multiple cores, allowing them to execute multiple tasks simultaneously. However, in situations where a single core is still doing most of the work, a CPU with high single-core performance will provide better performance.

2. What factors besides single-core performance should I consider when choosing a CPU for my system?

Other factors to consider when choosing a CPU include the number of cores and threads, clock speed, power consumption, socket type, and compatibility with the motherboard and other system components.

Additionally, factors such as the workload you’ll be using your computer for, your budget, and the availability of the CPU in your region may also play a role in your decision.

3. What advancements in CPU technology are being made to improve single-core performance in the future?

One of the most promising developments in CPU technology for improving single-core performance is the use of 3D stacking.

This involves stacking multiple layers of transistors on top of each other, allowing for more efficient communication between them and reducing the distance that signals have to travel. Other advancements include improvements in manufacturing processes, such as smaller transistor sizes, and new architectures that allow for more efficient processing of instructions.

Additionally, there is ongoing research into new materials and technologies that could enable even greater improvements in single-core performance in the future.

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