One of the most important metric you can use to gauge the performance of a CPU is through its single-core performance. Hence, the purpose of this article is to list CPUs with best single core performance and to give you a brief idea regarding what it is.
Single-core performance is generally a score that is determined by running the CPUs through popular benchmark software such as the Cinebench or Passmark.
Single-core performance is not a specification that is provided by Intel or AMD. Instead, it is determined by industry leading third party benchmarking software.
The single-core performance of a CPU, as the name suggests, determines how powerful each individual core of a certain CPU is compared to the rest in the market. Higher single-core performance often means a better CPU design and architecture.
When determining who leads the CPU race between Intel vs AMD, the single core performance of the flagship CPU is taken into consideration.
List of CPUs with Best Single Core Performance
The following table lists the CPUs with the highest single-core performance.
The benchmark I will use is the Cinebench R23. I have taken the results from the CPU-Monkey.com
Take 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 OVERALL score of the CPU which takes into consideration both the single and multi-core performance.
|CPU||Cinebench R23 Scores|
|AMD Ryzen 9 7950X||2205|
|Intel Core i9 12900KS||2082|
|AMD Ryzen 9 7900X||2044|
|AMD Ryzen 7 7700X||2010|
|Intel Core i9 12900K||1997|
|Intel Core i9 12900||1988|
|AMD Ryzen 5 7600X||1981|
|Intel Core i7 12700K||1939|
|Intel Core i9 12950HX||1927|
|Intel Core i5 12600K||1918|
|Intel Core i9 12900H||1917|
|Intel Core i7-12700||1862|
|Intel Core i7 12700H||1806|
|Intel Core i5 12500||1804|
|Intel Core i9 11900K||1686|
|AMD Ryzen 9 6980HS||1669|
|AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX||1662|
|Intel Core i3 12100||1658|
|AMD Ryzen 9 5950X||1644|
|AMD Ryzen 9 5900X||1636|
|Intel Core i9 11900||1630|
|Intel Core i5 12400||1623|
|AMD Ryzen 9 5900||1622|
|AMD Ryzen 7 5800X||1619|
|AMD Ryzen 7 6800U||1617|
Currently, AMD Ryzen 9 7950X takes the crown for being the CPU with the best Single Core performance.
However, with an MSRP of $700, this industry grade CPU isn’t the best for average Joe. Instead, the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X seem like the best option for commercial users.
What is Single-Core Performance and Why is it Important?
Basically, single-core performance of a CPU is a measure of how efficient each individual core is for the fetch-decode-execute cycle.
Each core of a CPU is essentially an independent unit capable of running the fetch-decode-execute cycle. So each core is basically a CPU in itself and capable of running a given task.
The more cores you have, the more tasks you can run. So a CPU with 2 cores can run 2 tasks at the same time, whereas a CPU with 16 cores can run 16 tasks at the same time.
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 here is that many tasks do not make USE of the multiple cores. in fact, there are many tasks that are still single-core dependent.
Some of the tasks that are still highly single core dependent include:
- The actual designing and editing process in the workarea of a software
Often people believe that majority of the designing and editing software use multiple cores. The fact is that while the rendering processes does use multiple cores, the actual designing such as the 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 great benefits from a CPU’s single core performance. While over time many games, particularly the AAA games, have evolved to use upto 8 cores, majority of the tasks of a game a still single-core based.
Generally, the popular online titles such as the Rocket League, League of Legends, Minecraft etc. need dual core CPUs at best.
|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 do need at least 4 cores for optimal frame rates. But a majority of the games do not need more than 6 cores to work at the best performance levels.
Hence, having over the top number of cores such as 16 cores, 32 cores or 64 cores wouldn’t help your game perform better.
Also Read: How Many Cores Do Games Need?
Intel vs AMD Single Core Performance – Whose Winning?
Intel and AMD are often caught in a cat-and-mouse chase when it comes to 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 on.
Hence, there is no set winner when it comes to Intel vs AMD single-core performance race. It all depends upon what generation of the CPUs are looking into.
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 Intel Core i7 11700K vs the Intel core i7 12700K. Despite both of them having the same clock speed, the Core i7 12700K has a much higher single-core performance as compared to its older counterpart.
This goes to prove that clock speed ONLY matters if you are comparing CPUs within the same generation.
Also Read: Difference Between Intel Celeron vs i7
The purpose of this article was to list CPUs with best single core performance. This list will be updated over time.
Generally, though, in order 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 later being expensive and workstation grade – all because the Ryzen 5 7600X belongs to a newer generation.