Best LGA 1151 CPUs – 2021 Guide

Austin
| Last Updated: April 14, 2021

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The importance of a Central Processing Unit (CPU) in computers is only comparable to the vitality of a human brain. Without one, our body has no direction or purpose – and a computer is equally pointless without a CPU.

Just as a healthy brain allows us to think quickly and clearly, a more advanced CPU increases the performance of your entire PC.

The LGA 1151 socket, also called H4, is a type of CPU socket. It has two distinct versions that are each compatible with a large selection of advanced processors – but some are better than others.

Read on for our complete guide to the best LGA 1151 CPUs on the market today.

Our Top Picks for LGA 1151 CPUs

  • CPU of 3.7GHz
  • Six cores/threads
  • Easy to install
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  • Max frequency 3.6GHz
  • Content creators
  • Fantastic battery life
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  • Best for the Money
  • Storage of 512GB
  • Two channel support
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Comparison of the Best LGA 1151 CPUs

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Highlighted by a CPU speed of 3.7GHz
  • With six cores and six threads for optimal performance
  • Beginner friendly design for easy installation
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  • With a maximum frequency of 3.6GHz
  • Perfect for content creators and designers
  • Offering a fantastic battery life
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  • Best for the Money
  • Offering a total storage of 512 gigabytes
  • With a memory support of two DDR4-2400 channels
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  • Best LGA 1151 CPU For Gaming
  • Highlighted by a CPU power of 5 GHz
  • Featuring 8 cores and 16 threads for fast performance
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  • Fastest LGA 1151 CPU
  • With a max thermal design power of 95W
  • Highlighted by a hyper threading platform
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What Makes a Great LGA 1151 CPU? 

The type of CPU you pick for your computer will determine its speed and efficiency. Below we discuss five important factors you want to consider while shopping for an LGA 1151 CPU.

Processor Core Numbers

You should consider finding a processor with at least four cores. If you can afford a CPU with threads double the number of cores it would even be better for multitasking and heavy workloads.

Remember, for an average gaming PC, single-core performance would serve just fine.

Consider the IGP

A good Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) guarantees quality picture resolution and good motion. Good CPUs come with at least Intel UHD Graphics 610 and Intel HD Graphics 630. You should also consider a clock speed of at least 3.6GHz. However, a good gaming rig requires a dedicated graphics card (GPU) for the best gaming performance.

CPU Turbo Frequency

A good LGA 1151 CPU has a high-operation speed. This is important to prevent the system from overheating. A base clock speed of about 3.6GHz with a boosting capability should serve well for either gaming or multitasking.

Power and Thermal

For intense uses like gaming and other productivity tasks, consider a CPU with high wattage of between 54 and 90 watts. This way, your system will run cool and consume less electricity while still offering great performance.

Cache Memory

The larger the cache memory the better. A 6 MB memory and above is desirable. Bigger cache storage means your software will be able to shift data fast without having to go back to the computers' main memory from time to time to retrieve information. 

Review of the Best LGA 1151 CPUs 

Having identified factors you need to pay attention to while shopping for an LGA 1151 CPU, let's now review the five best LGA 1151 CPUs across different categories.

Best Overall:
Intel Core i5-9600K

Intel Core i5-9600K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.6 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W

PROS

  • Easy to install hence saves you time and effort
  • Up to 9MB cache memory for enhanced data transfer speed
  • Overclocking ability of the single-core turbo from 4.6GHz to over 5.2GHz
  • Offers great single-core performance suitable for gaming and other productivity tasks
  • Has integrated graphics modules for prolonged battery life and reduced heat generation

CONS

  • Lacks Intel Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Stock cooler not included in the package

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who have used this intel CPU report high speeds with a cool running system even with intense gaming applications.  The physical 6 core and 6 threads for single-core performance make perfect sense if you're not multitasking.

With a base speed of 3.7GHz and 4.6GHz boost, Intel Core i5-9600K proved to be the best mid-range gaming CPU.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Intel Core i5-9000k with Coffee Lake architecture fell in our list as the best overall CPU because of the below outstanding features.

  • It offers integrated graphics-Intel UHD Graphics 630 also offered by I9 9900K and I7 9700K at an affordable price.

  • Intel Core i5-9600k uses high-bandwidth DDR4 RAM and Intel Clear Video HD Technology to offer a great gaming experience. 

  • It has a turbo boost technology 2.0 frequency 4.6GHz which can be overclocked further to 5.2GHz. 

  • We found the 9MB cache memory to enhance the gaming speed even further and also reduce the overheating of the system.

Bottom Line

For purely gaming purposes if you are not looking to perform other tasks like video editing, Intel Core i5-960K would be the best pick.

You can be guaranteed a great gaming experience at a relatively affordable price. However, keep in mind that you'll need an aftermarket cooler since it doesn't come bundled in the package.

Runner-up:
Intel Core i5 6500 

Intel Core i5 6500 3.20 GHz Quad Core Skylake Desktop Processor, Socket LGA 1151, 6MB Cache

PROS

  • Has 4 cores and 4 threads for great single-core performance
  • Less power consumption at 65watts thermal design power (TDP)
  • Offers a 3-year warranty you don't need to worry about unaddressed factory defects
  • Comes with 64GB of maximum CPU memory and also supports 2 core DDR4 memory
  • Comes with integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 and 24 Execution Units clocked at 350-1050MHz

CONS

  • No hyper-threading technology
  • Doesn't include a cooling fan in the package

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers say Intel core i5-6500 is good for gaming and work but operates a little slower compared to comparative models like Intel Core i5-9600k. The CPU is the best choice for beginners/new gamers. 

It, however, also makes a good pick for light browsing needs and other productivity tasks.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Although a little slower compared to the Intel Core i5-9600K model, this intel processor stands out in several areas like:

  • Turbo boost technology of 2.0 and 3.6GHz turbo speed.

  • Up to 6MB of cache memory.

  • Single-core performance with 4 cores and 4 threads.

  • Intel HD Graphics of 530.

Bottom Line

All single-core performance is a great choice for gaming. To get the most out of this 6th Generation CPU, restrict it to either your gaming needs or just basic browsing.

At 4 cores and 4 threads, it's understandable why it may report slow operation when multitasking.

Best for the Money:
Intel Core i3-9100F

Intel Core i3-9100F Desktop Processor 4 Core Up to 4.2 GHz without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 65W

PROS

  • Comes bundled with a stock cooler
  • Well priced for gamers on a budget
  • 64Watts TDP and ability to support 64GB RAM
  • Single-core performance for a great gaming experience
  • Has cache memory of 6MB for improved data transfer speed

CONS

  • Quad-core chip
  • No integrated graphics and will need a dedicated card

What Recent Buyers Report

The CPU delivered just fine when used for strictly gaming purposes and did not overheat after many hours of gaming.

Why it Stands Out to Us

At 4 cores and 4 threads and offering, the single-core performance sounds more outdated. However, the Intel Core i3-9100F still managed to stand out in a few areas including:

  • 4 cores and 4 threads that offer great single-core performance when not multitasking.

  • Ease to set up a gaming system at a very low budget.

  • Overclockability as a result of the core clock speed with 3.6GHz (base) and 5GHz(boost).

  • Comes bundled with a stock cooler no worries about overheating.

  • Low power consumption.

Bottom Line

Intel Core i3-9100F makes a good choice for a gamer on a budget. This CPU will live up to expectations when used solely for gaming. It's capable of running for long without overheating, thanks to the stock cooler included in the package.

Best LGA 1151 CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i9-9900K

Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W

PROS

  • Offers the best speed across all consumer CPUs
  • Good for intense gaming requirements and video editing
  • 8 cores and 16 threads for great hyper-threading operation
  • Up to 16MB cache memory for a further enhanced data transfer speed
  • Up to 630 UHD Integrated graphics for cool running and power efficiency

CONS

  • Has little space for overclocking
  • Requires a powerful cooler to stabilize the overheating

What Recent Buyers Report

Users report immense satisfaction with Intel core i9-9900K as a gaming beast with top-notch performance. The high speed and awesome performance was enough turn-on even though it runs hot without overclocking.

Intel Core i9-9900K is also good at multitasking and can be clocked easily to 5MHz on all its cores.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Intel Core i9-9900k is the best gaming and multitasking CPU for several good reasons.

  • The CPU offers 1080P and 1440P with 4k resolution gaming.

  • Comes with solder thermal interface materials.

  • Intel Core i9-9900K CPU is overclockable with a base speed of 3.5GHz and 5GHz boost.

  • 8 cores and 16 threads make it the best in this category for hyper-threading.

  • Intel Core i9-9900k also boasts a higher integrated graphics of UHD 630.

Bottom Line

In the 9th Generation of Intel, Intel Core i9-9900K is the most powerful CPU. Apart from the only drawback, which is overheating, the CPU is a performer and would be great for YouTubers, designers, casual browsers, video editing, and even intense gaming.

If you can afford it, this is the go-to CPU. But of course, you want to consider other compatibility factors like which intel motherboard to use on.

Fastest LGA 1151 CPU:
Intel Pentium Processor

Intel BX80662G4400 Pentium Processor G4400 3.3 GHz FCLGA1151

PROS

  • Scalable memory to allow multitasking
  • A great choice for general builds or tasks
  • The package includes an OEM heatsink from Intel
  • Takes very little time of about 10 minutes to install
  • Has integrated graphics for reduced power consumption and cool running

CONS

  • Very low cache memory
  • Not suitable for laptop applications

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users commend this CPU for its cool-running even when exposed to intense gaming applications. It also offers clear picture resolutions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Although Intel Pentium G4400 has the lowest cache memory in this review it still emerged to be the fastest LGA 1151 for some good reasons.

  • The CPU comes with a fan and heatsink to ensure your PC is running cool even at heavy workloads.

  • This CPU is capable of multitasking without overheating or any struggles.

  • Highly scalable to bigger memory sizes.

  • Intel Pentium has a base clock speed of 3.3 GHz with 2 processing cores and threads.

Bottom Line

Intel Pentium G4400 would be a suitable choice for those seeking 64-bit workplace computing or for use in servers. 

If you are looking to physically or virtually boost your pc, then Intel Pentium G4400 is a great choice. It also makes a great gaming CPU and produces very little heat.

Are All CPUs The Same?

As of 2020, there are only two CPU manufacturers, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel. The two companies manufacture CPUs with incompatible features. Within each of the two brands are many different CPU models with varied features. Some of the features that set these CPUs apart include:

  • Pin arrangement and numbers

  • Chipset compatibility

  • Overclocking capability

  • Memory compatibility

  • Speed

For example, the Intel Core i5-9600k CPU is a single-core performance CPU with 6 cores and 6 threads. In terms of multitasking, it can't compete with Intel Core i9-9900K of 8 cores and 16 threads even though both are LGA 1151 CPUs.

Photo credit: makeuseof.com

What is an LGA 1151 Best For? 

LGA 1151 CPUs are good at different tasks depending on the model you select. Intel strives to produce high-end processors for multiple use cases. Below are some of the tasks LGA 1151 CPUs are best for.

Gaming

LGA 1151 CPUs have specs more geared towards gaming needs, with most CPUs offering single-core performance with room for overclocking for enhanced speeds.

Other CPUs like Intel Core I9-9900K are great for both gaming and other multitasks.

Video Editing

Video editing can take a toll on your CPU. LGA 1151 processors are made to handle intense editing operations without feeling the fatigue. Integrated graphics are great for power efficiency and cool operation.

Additionally, Hyper-threading technology in some LGA 1151 CPUs also makes it possible to run other programs simultaneously without straining the system.

Basic Browsing and Other Productivity Tasks

Of course, computers are not made exclusively for fun. LGA 1151 also makes for a good CPU for basic browsing and other productivity tasks like office work, which is why some LGA CPUs like Intel Core i5-6500 have low cores of about 4 for less intense tasks.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying 

Shopping for the right CPU can be an uphill task if you are not sure about what to look out for. Here are the top three aspects you might need to consider.

Intended Purpose of the CPU

Determine what you are getting a CPU for. Is it for basic browsing and sending emails? Or are you shopping for a CPU for high-end use like video editing and other demanding tasks like immersive gaming?

The former will not need a powerful CPU to execute tasks. For gaming and other multitasking needs, you'll need a high-end CPU with more cores and threads.

Intel or AMD

Until 2020 there were only two players in CPU manufacturing: Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

While Intel CPUs offer great single-core performance suitable for gaming enthusiasts, AMD competes closely by compensating with more cores in their chips.

Despite the close competition from these two manufacturers, they both offer great processors. It all narrows down to other factors like price and other personal preferences.

Right CPU for the Right Socket

As we've seen, different LGA 1151 CPUs come with varied specifications in terms of pin-count. Before buying a CPU, pay keen attention to the compatibility of the motherboard pin count and CPU sockets.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) CPUs have pins on the CPU and sockets on the motherboard, the opposite is true with Intel CPUs.

Note: Just because a CPU fits into a socket on a motherboard does not mean it will be compatible.

LGA 1151 CPUs: How Do They Compare?

LGA CPUs come in a variety of models, some with identical features and differences as well. Let's see how they compare.

AM4 vs 1151

Similarities

Both AM4 and 1151 support DDR4 RAM.

Differences

  • AM4 is a microprocessor from ADM while 1151 CPU is from Intel.

  • AM4 will allow an upgrade without replacing the motherboard, while Intels' 1151 gets upgraded with a different socket type.

  • AM4 comes with 1331 pin slots while 1151 has 1,151 pin sockets. 

Photo credit: wccftech.com

LGA1150 vs 1151 CPU

Similarities

Both are Intel processors.

Differences

  • LGA 1150 sockets support DDR3 RAM while 1151 CPU supports both DDR3 and DDR4 RAMS.

  • LGA 1150 has 1,150 pin sockets while 1151 CPU has 1,151 pin sockets.

FCLGA 1151 vs LGA 1151

FCLGA 1151 and LGA 1151 are the same. FCLGA is the complete name of 'LGA 1151 CPUs'. The acronym means Flip-Chip Land Grid Array.

Intel might have chosen to use the three-letter acronym 'LGA' which sounds easy to consumers.

LGA 1151 vs 300 Series

The LGA 1151 sockets were changed for the 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs that come with Intel 300 series chipsets. 300 series only supports are not compatible with SkyLake and Kaby Lake. They only support the Coffee Lake family.

LGA 1151 vs 1155

Similarities

Both CPUs are made by Intel.

Differences

  • LGA 1151 has 1,151 contact pins while 1155 has 1,155 contact pins.

  • LGA 1151 supports DDR4, DDR3, and DDR3L while 1155 only supports DDR3 memory.

  • LGA 1151 is the successor 1150 while 1156 is the predecessor of 1155.

  • LGA 1151 is from SkyLake, Coffee Lake, and Kaby Lake processors while 1155 is from Haswell, Haswell-WS, and Broadwell processors.

Intel Core i5-9600K

Installing an LGA 1151 CPU

The procedure for installing both AMD and Intel CPUs is simple and follows the same steps, although Intel CPUs have pins on the motherboard while AMD CPUs have pins on the CPU and sockets on the motherboard.

Below are steps for the successful installation of a CPU:

  1. Locate the CPU socket on the motherboard and pull retention arms just beside the CPU socket to access the socket region. Intel has a socket cover but for AMD CPUs, the socket cover is absent. 

  2. Pull out the CPU from its package and take note of the arrows to establish which way to properly align the CPU.

  3. Lower the CPU into the sockets with zero insertion force.

  4. Close down the lid by fixing the retention arm back in position.

  5. Apply thermal compound on top of the CPU where it's going to attach to the fan.

  6. Align the fan with the four holes in the corners and press down each at a time with a little force.

  7. Plug in the fan and power the system up. The position of the sticker on the fan should not matter.

  8. Your CPU is now successfully installed and ready to work.

Be sure to watch the video below for a more elaborate insight into the installation process we've just described.

Conclusion

With the many different CPUs from LGA1151 available to choose from, all your computer needs are catered to. For those looking to strictly use their machines for gaming, single-core performance CPUs are available.

For multitaskers who need to perform high-end gaming while still carrying out demanding tasks like video editing, there are CPUs like Intel Core i5-9900k that will effortlessly serve you. You'll fit in given the wide range of CPUs to choose from. It is upon you to identify what will best work for you at your budget. 

Recap - Best LGA 1151 CPUs

Need a reminder of the three best LGA 1151 CPUs? Here they are:

  1.  Intel Core i5-9600K
  2.  Intel Core i5 6500
  3.  Intel Core i3-9100F

People Also Ask

There are several LGA 1151 CPUs and other related models to choose from. This can create confusion for either first-time buyers or those looking to upgrade. In this section, we will explore some common questions users ask about LGA CPUs. 

Does LGA 1151 Support DDR4?

Most Haswell-based processors have mobos with Intel's H7, Z87, and Z97 chipsets. This makes LGA 1151 CPUs compatible with DDR4 RAMS. 

What CPU Cooler Can I Put on LGA 1151?

Some LGA 1151 CPUs don't come with a stock cooler in the package. You'll need to get an aftermarket cooler for your CPU. To choose the right cooler, pay attention to the CPUs' TDP. 

TDP means Thermal Design Power, which is measured in watts and is the amount of heat that a CPU dissipates. Get a cooler size that corresponds to the TDP wattage.

Photo credit: rockpapershotgun.com

Can LGA 1151 Fit In LGA 1150?

LGA 1151 has 1,151 contacts while LGA 1150 has 1,150 contacts. There is a difference of one extra pin and therefore one will not fit in the other. 

But it is important to note that, even though one CPU socket might fit on a different pin, there would be compatibility issues and it might not work.

How Many Contacts Does the LGA 1151 Have?

Most Intel CPUs follow a similar naming pattern. For example, the LGA 1150 CPU means that the CPU has 1,150 socket pins on the CPU. The same would apply to LGA 1151, which means the CPU has 1,151 contacts. 

This naming system does not apply to AMD CPUs.

Which CPU Families Use Socket LGA 1151?

LGA 1151 also referred to as H4 is a broader family of Intel's compatible microprocessors sockets divided into two different versions: Intel's Kaby Lake and SkyLake CPUs, and Coffee Lake CPUs.

Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.