Skip to main content

This $179 Intel Core i5 CPU is way better than buying an older Core i7

Don't bother with the i7-9700K when the cheaper Core i5-10600K is just as quick

Amazon US has some pretty decent CPU deals for Prime Day this year, but not all of them are as good value as they might first appear. Nabbing the Intel Core i7-9700K for $260 might seem like a great discount compared to its usual price of $317, for example, but when the just-as-fast Core i5-10600K can be had for just $179 today, would-be upgraders would be much better off choosing the latter if you're looking for a great CPU on the cheap.

Seriously, if you're going to spend $259 on any processor this Amazon Prime Day, then make it the identically priced Intel Core i7-10700K instead, as this gets you even more power for the same amount of money as its 9700K predecessor. Even better, if you've already got a graphics card to go with it, then you can save even more money by opting for the Core i7-10700KF instead, which is down to $239 today. This is exactly the same processor as the regular 10700K - the F just means it doesn't come with any integrated graphics - hence the need to pair it with a graphics card when you stick inside a PC.

For my money, though, the best value CPU deal this Prime Day is definitely the Core i5-10600K. In my Intel Core i5-10600K review benchmarking tests, its everyday desktop performance was a smidge faster than the 9700K, despite having two fewer cores, and its gaming speeds were right up there as well, holding its own against its eight-core cousin. It's also much better value for money than the similarly discounted Core i5-9600KF as well, which is currently down to $152.

Of course, since the Core i5-10600K uses Intel's new LGA 1200 socket, you'll need to pair it with an appropriate motherboard before you start using it, as it won't fit in older LGA 1151 boards. Luckily, there are some good motherboard deals taking place as well this Prime Day, and the best ones I've found for the Core i5-10600K are as follows:

Technically, these 500-series boards have been designed for Intel's even newer family of 11th Gen Rocket Lake CPUs, but the good news is that they're backwards compatible with all of Intel's 10th Comet Lake CPUs. The first is an entry-level Asus Prime B560M-A micro-ATX board, which $22 off right now and is nice and compact and features all the modern basics, including USB-C ports and two M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs. The second one, meanwhile, is a more upmarket board that's full ATX sized and currently $40 off. This one gives you three M.2 ports for NVMe SSDs and more USB ports, but no USB-C ones unfortunately. Whether that's a deal breaker for you depends on how many USB-C devices you've got waiting to get plugged into your PC, of course, so if all your external drives and PC peripherals are still USB Type-A bits, then there's no reason not to go for it.

Just beware of some of the CPU and motherboard combo deals floating around at the moment, as some of these have stupidly paired older motherboards with incompatible processors. Whatever you do, make sure you don't get that Core i7 and MSI Z390 combo, because that particular CPU doesn't fit in that mobo socket.

For more Amazon Prime Day and non-Amazon Prime Day PC gaming deals, be sure to keep an eye on our hardware deals homepage, as well as our Amazon Prime Day deals hub for all the latest prices and discounts.

Read this next