Intel revealed what it is calling the “best gaming CPU ever” last week with the Core i9-9900K. That chip is selling for $580, and it debuts October 19. It also doesn’t come with a cooler, so you’ll have to buy one separately. But if what if you want to spend about half that? Well, AMD has your back.
It isn’t the best gaming CPU ever, but the Ryzen 7 2700X is the best that AMD has to offer. It is also excellent for $330. And it comes with its own high-quality cooler. But right now, Amazon is selling the 2700X for $295 with free shipping in the United States. That’s a great deal that just so happens to look even better relative to what Intel is getting ready to launch.
The 2700X is an 8-core 16-thread processor that boosts up to a clock speed of 4.3 GHz. For comparison, the i9-9900K is also an 8-core 16-thread processor with a 5.0 GHz turbo on a single core (and 4.7 GHz across all cores). I don’t doubt that the 9900K is a better gaming CPU than the 2700X. The 8086K already is faster in games, and that has two fewer cores than Intel’s flagship 9th-gen Core CPU. But the 2700X is more than enough for most people in most games.
AMD’s best Ryzen chip kinda defaults into the “best value” category, but that’s misleading. Sure, it’s a great option for the cost conscious, but you shouldn’t feel like you are settling either.
What about tariffs?
I recently wrote that PC component prices were going to start climbing because of import tariffs on Chinese products. So is the price cut on the 2700X an indicator that isn’t happening? Well, no. The trade war should still cause prices to go up soon.
Some major Chinese tariffs went through on October 1, and more kick into effect January 1. But any products that passed through U.S. customs before October 1 do not have to pay that import tax. That means that AMD and its retail partners, like Amazon, have warehouses packed with chips that it can still sell at a profit without raising the prices.
In the case of the Ryzen 7 2700X, Amazon is even dropping the price. This is likely AMD and/or Amazon taking advantage of storage space. And if you’re thinking about building your own PC, I would take advantage of it as well. While I still think the i5-8400 is probably the best bang-for-your-buck CPU, the 2700X really challenges that at $295. And you can’t go wrong with either one if you’re in the $200-to-$300 CPU price range.