On one hand, where CPUs with multiple cores are ruling the market, the benefits of having a CPU with powerful single-core performance cannot be ruled out. Yes, some applications still rely on a single core/thread to work efficiently.
Both Intel and AMD are 1 on 1 in the battle of CPUs. Intel CPUs have been our favorite when it comes to handling single-threaded applications. However, this doesn’t mean that we are ruling out the power of AMD at this point.
We are going through the era where most applications are using multiple cores to some level. But still, most parts of them need more clock speed on a single core/thread. If you are buying a CPU for photo editing or music production, then you need to look out for a processor with more GHz on a single core.
Top 5 Best CPUs with Single-Core Performance
So let’s review some of the top-rated CPUs with excellent single-core performance when it comes to music production, content writing, or photo editing.
1. Intel Core i9-9900K CPU | Best Overall Single-Core/Thread Performer
Core/Threads: 8/12 Socket: LGA 1151 Max Speed: 5.0 GHz
Intel’s 9th generation processors have proven to be excellent for all kinds of activities. Whether it is gaming, content creation, video or music editing, 8-cores/12-threads clocked at 3.6 GHz deliver exceptional performance. Core i9-9900K comes with a turbo boost up to 5 GHz, 16 MB Cache.
With a base speed of 3.6 GHz, this CPU can easily handle applications that demand more clock speed on a single core. With 16 MB Cache, you will see faster and improved performance in all areas. On top of all, it comes with built-in UHD 630 graphics to edit your photos and videos right away.
It uses less power than the previous generations, and this means you can use any affordable CPU cooler with this CPU. You can overclock every single core to 4.7 GHz without any problem.
2. Intel Core i9-10900X | Fastest CPU for Single Core Applications
Core/Threads: 10/20 Socket: LGA 2066 Max Speed: 4.7 GHz
The 10th generation of Core i9 packs the most powerful processor from Intel yet. With 10 cores and 20 threads, Core i9-10900X has no match when it comes to CPUs for editing 4K videos, producing music, or multitasking. Every single core on this CPU is clocked at 3.7 GHz with a capacity to overclock up to 4.7 GHz.
It is a CPU that Intel claims is designed for content creation and freelancing due to its excellent single-core performance. With Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology, you can move to a higher clock speed up to 4.7 GHz on every core. This gives you more edge in editing and rendering videos and any other related tasks.
Now, almost ten core and twenty threads are more than enough to handle both light and heavy applications like Lightroom, Adobe After Effects, etc. No doubt, it’s an ideal CPU for single-threaded performance if you do not care about the budget. However, there are many CPUs from AMD that cost less and perform the same.
3. AMD Ryzen 5 3600X | Affordable Processor with Single-Threaded Performance
Core/Threads: 6/12 Socket: AM4 Max Speed: 4.4 GHz
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is one of the best processors with an amazing single-core performance out there in the market. 3600X outperforms many of Intel’s mainstream chips like the Intel Core i5-9600K. It might be a good option for you if you want a higher clock speed at less price.
For more extended performance, you can overclock all of the six cores up to 4.4 GHz. But we don’t think so if you will ever need to do that. Even at a base speed of 3.8 GHz on each core, you can get the most out of your applications that depend on single-threaded performance.
4. Intel Core i5-10600K | Best CPU for Single Core/Thread Programs
Core/Threads: 6/12 Socket: LGA 1200 Max Speed: 4.5 GHz
You might have heard about Intel’s Hyper-threading technology. Well, the Intel Core i5-10600K is one of those processors that is crowned for this premium feature. This means you will witness superb fast performance when dealing with single-threaded applications.
With the base clock at 4.1 GHz, it is one of the fastest processors with single-core performance on our list. Moreover, you can give more juice to each core by enabling Turbo Boost. However, with six cores and 12 threads clocked at 4.1 GHz, you won’t need any further tweaks to do.
Apart from being a hyper-threaded jewel of Intel, i5-10600K excels in applications like gaming and video editing that rely on multiple cores. The only thing we really don’t like about this CPU is that it is compatible with LGA 1200 socket. So, this might need you to spend more bucks while replacing your old LGA 1151 socket.
5. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X | CPU for Single Threaded Apps
Core/Threads: 8/16 Socket: AM4 Max Speed: 4.4 GHz
We cannot let the Intel CPUs take the full credit for being the most incredible single-core processors. Therefore we thought of introducing you to the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. With 8 cores and 16 threads, this might not be the best CPU as compared to the mainstream processor from Intel, but it still holds more space on our list.
This might be your most favorite CPU if you are buying it for video editing or rendering. Moreover, this processor supports PCIe 4.0 to get the most out of your graphics performance. By overclocking each core up to 4.4 GHz, you will see more burst on single-core performance.
However, you might need the right pair of ram with Ryzen 3700X to see a considerable boost in performance. It uses less power, so the AMD Wraith Prism Cooler that comes in the box will be more than enough for you to edit and render your videos.
Ryzen 7 3700X is unbeatable when it comes to content creation, coding, video editing, and even gaming. It knocks out most of the Intel processors with similar specs.
Which CPU is best When it Comes to Single-Core/Threaded Apps?
By reviewing and testing all of the products on our list, we found Intel to be the most efficient in dealing with single-core applications. The reason behind this is the Turbo Boost or Hyper-Threading technology that comes with the Intel CPUs.
Although overclocking might be an excellent option to get higher clock speeds on every single-core, but that is something that might benefit you for gaming only. For light-threaded apps, Turbo Boost or Hyper-threading enabled CPUs are the most recommended options at the time.
Intel is known for making best single-core performance CPUs with Turbo Boost, and Hyper-threading enabled out of the box. AMD CPUs are also capable of handling single-core application, but they lack Turbo Boost.
Well, this is the quite trickiest part that we often encounter when purchasing CPUs for single-threaded programs. Without any doubt, you can get your hands on Intel Core i5-10600K that has Hyper-threading enabled right out of the box. In case, you are an AMD lover, then go for AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.