Amazon’s Top Ten Best Selling Processors

Amazon has a page where they display their top selling items, updated hourly. One of the types of items you can display are computer processors. I think this is interesting because this data gives you a pretty current snapshot of what is actually selling at one of the largest sellers for computer processors, which lets you get some idea about the overall desktop CPU market.

Figure 1: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 “AF”

At the time of writing, the top twelve processors on this list were all AMD Ryzen processors. I have never seen that sort of dominance by one vendor before. Keep in mind, this list is extremely volatile (as is the pricing). Even so, I expect AMD to continue their dominance until we see some new processors from Intel or we see substantial price reductions on current Intel processors.

Here are the top ten, best-selling desktop processors as of January 6, 2020, with my commentary:

#1 – AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler – YD2600BBAFBOX

This is the 12nm 6C/12T Zen+ processor from 2018, which originally sold for $189.99. This was selling for $119.99 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $109.99, and Newegg listed it for $119.99. At these prices, this is a good value. The special AF release of the Ryzen 5 1600 is a better deal though. We’ll get to that later.

#2 – AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-core, 32-thread Unlocked Desktop Processor, without Cooler

This is the 7nm 16C/32T Zen 2 processor from 2019, which originally sold for $749.99. This was selling for $796.16 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $749.99, and Newegg listed it for $799.99. This is the “top-of-the-line” mainstream AMD desktop processor that has been very hard to find in the United States until just the last few days. Prices are fluctuating pretty wildly on this processor (which does not include a CPU cooler).

#3 – AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler – YD270XBGAFBOX

This is the 12nm 8C/16T Zen+ processor from 2018, which originally sold for $319.99. This was selling for $229.99 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $159.99, and Newegg listed it for $179.99. Amazon’s price was not very competitive on this processor.

#4 – AMD Ryzen 5 1600 65W AM4 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler (YD1600BBAFBOX)

This is actually not the original 14nm 6C/12T Zen processor from 2017, which originally sold for $179.99. Instead, AMD is now producing this older design on the 12nm manufacturing process, which gives it very similar performance to the newer Ryzen 5 2600 and Ryzen 5 2600X. This makes it an incredible deal for $85.00!

This was selling for $85.00 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center does not carry this SKU (maybe they will in the future), and neither does Newegg. You need to be careful that you actually get the refreshed 12nm “AF” part number rather than the original 14nm “AE” part number. You want YD1600BBAFBOX not YD1600BBAEBOX.

#5 – AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler

This is the 7nm 12C/24T Zen 2 processor from 2019, which originally sold for $499.99. This was selling for $493.84 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $479.99, and Newegg listed it for $514.99. This is more affordable mainstream AMD Ryzen 9 desktop processor that was hard to find in the United States until the last month. Prices have started to settle down on this processor (which does include a Wraith Prism CPU cooler). If you have the budget, I would prefer the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X instead of the 3900X.

#6 – AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Processor with Wraith Spire LED Cooler – YD2700BBAFBOX

This is the 12nm 8C/16T Zen+ processor from 2018, which originally sold for $299.99. This was selling for $149.99 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center does not carry this SKU, but Newegg listed it for $179.99. In most cases, I would prefer a Ryzen 7 2700 to a 2700X, unless they were within $10-20 of each other. The 2700X does have a slightly better stock cooler.

#7 – AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler – YD260XBCAFBOX

This is the 12nm 6C/12T Zen+ processor from 2018, which originally sold for $209.99. This was selling for $148.50 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $129.99, and Newegg listed it for $149.99. At these prices, this is an ok value. The special AF release of the Ryzen 5 1600 is a much better deal.

#8 – AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler

This is the 7nm 6C/12T Zen 2 processor from 2019, which originally sold for $199.99. This was selling for $212.97 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $179.99, and Newegg listed it for $194.99. This is more affordable mainstream AMD Ryzen 5 desktop processor that is a better value compared to the more expensive AMD Ryzen 5 3600X.

#9 – AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler

This is the 7nm 6C/12T Zen 2 processor from 2019, which originally sold for $249.99. This was selling for $238.89.15 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $219.99, and Newegg listed it for $239.99. This is more expensive mainstream AMD Ryzen 5 desktop processor that is not really worth the extra money compared to the less expensive AMD Ryzen 5 3600.

This is because in most cases, you can easily overclock the 3600 so that it is just as fast as a 3600X. Despite what you might expect, the 3600X does not usually have any extra overclocking headroom compared to the more affordable 3600. It does has the slightly better Wraith Spire CPU cooler compared to the Wraith Stealth cooler on the 3600.

#10 – AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler

This is the 7nm 8C/16T Zen 2 processor from 2019, which originally sold for $329.99. This was selling for $327.15 on Amazon when I looked. Micro Center listed it at $299.99, and Newegg listed it for $329.99. This is more affordable mainstream AMD Ryzen 7 desktop processor that I really prefer compared to the more expensive AMD Ryzen 7 3800X. The 3700X is very versatile, with good gaming performance, and enough CPU horsepower for streaming and content creation.

My Favorite Choices

The best entry-level choice is the $85.00 6C/12T AMD Ryzen 5 1600 “AF”, which gives you a lot of CPU horsepower for a very modest price, along with a great upgrade path. If you want an affordable 8C/16C 12nm processor, I like the AMD Ryzen 2700 or 2700X (whichever one you can find for less money).

If you want an affordable 6C/12T 7nm Zen 2 processor, the AMD Ryzen 3600 is a great choice. If you want an 8C/16T 7nm Zen 2 processor, the AMD Ryzen 3700X is the true sweet spot. It is great for gaming and for light content creation. The more expensive Ryzen 7 3800X is really not worth the extra money.

Finally, if you need/want more total CPU horsepower for more serious productivity and content creation on a mainstream desktop, I really like the 16C/32T 7nm AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor. It is more expensive than the 12C/24T Ryzen 9 3900X, but it actually performs much better due to better binning.

If you are thinking about buying an AMD mainstream desktop processor, I think you should be picking one from the short list below:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF
  • AMD Ryzen 7 2700
  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Final Words

You have so many choices with AMD Ryzen desktop processors, depending on your workload, desired performance level and budget. All of these processors use the same AM4 socket, and they will all work in a wide range of AM4 motherboards. This gives you a great upgrade story going forward. The upcoming AMD Zen 3 desktop processors are supposed to also work in AM4 socket motherboards.

You can start out with a very affordable 6C/12T AMD Ryzen 5 1600 “AF” in a good quality, but affordable B450 chipset motherboard. You could also use a somewhat more expensive X570 chipset motherboard if you want PCIe 4.0 support and some higher level connectivity features.

Later, you could upgrade to a higher end Ryzen processor, going as high as the Ryzen 9 3950X, even in with good quality B450 motherboard. By the time you might want to do that, prices on newer, higher performance Ryzen processors should be substantially lower than they are now.

Categories AMD, PC HardwareTags , ,

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