Virtualization is a tool many people use to power up some software or use applications only available on a different OS. In this article, we will check which the best CPU for the task is right now. In fact, we will also list the top-rated alternatives, all ranked so you can choose properly.
Maybe you are in a hurry. In that case, it is enough to know that the most reliable CPU for virtualization right now is the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X because of its number of physical cores and raw power. Right behind it, we believe the new Intel Core i9-12900K can also be an excellent addition to your system.
Best Cpu For Virtualization: Quick Comparison
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU Processor
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X CPU
Intel Core i9-10900K Procrssor
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor
Top Rated Virtualization Processors 2023: Reviews
1. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor
AMD keeps using the successful design of chiplets, this case with three die physically implemented on the PCB.
The two main ones contain the processing cores, which are called CCD (Core Chiplet Dies).
This processor has 12 physical cores, which means 24 processing threads.
The working frequency was one of the main novelties when this processor was first released, with a base of 3.7 GHz, and a maximum boost frequency up to 4.8 GHz.
The stock frequency on all cores is a steady 4.6 GHz, quite an achievement with such a number of cores.
For virtualization, the Ryzen 9 5900X is the best cost-benefit you will find given the high number of cores. This will provide you with excellent performance in the same price range as the best Intel Core processors (which don’t have so many physical cores).
- Insane amount of cores
- Great power efficiency
- Overclocking it is easy and brings impressive results
- No stock cooler included
2. Intel Core i9-12900K CPU Processor
Best Intel CPU For Virtualization
The long-awaited Alder Lake architecture with which Intel intends to regain the throne as the best processor for gaming and multitasking is finally here.
And the truth is that it will be so, because while waiting for what AMD brings to Zen 4, this Intel Core i9-12900K will be a brutal CPU in every way, surpassing the Ryzen 9 5950X for the first time in gaming performance and raw processing.
However, we are not confident enough to put this as the best for virtualization because of the number of cores.
It counts with 8 physical cores only (but up to 16 threads).
However, you can still be very safe that this is one of the best Intel processors that support virtualization.
The L3 cache memory has 30 MB. This cache is shared between the 16 cores present and the on-chip graphics processor, through a bidirectional ring.
The base frequency is 3.2 GHz, but when booster it can reach 5.1 GHz, which is an expressive increase.
For practical purposes, Intel has achieved power and transistor density comparable to 7nm nodes from TSMC or Samsung. Without a doubt, the wait has been worth it, because it is a very well-done lithography optimization job.
- Many features for efficient overclocking
- Impressive benchmarks
- Latest Intel Core release
- Expensive since it has just been released
3. Ryzen 7 5800X Processor
Runner Up Ryzen CPU For Virtualization
The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X’s main architecture is the Zen 3 Vermeer, which continues to use TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process.
However, the goal of this iteration is to improve the lithography through the use of a DUV (Deep Ultraviolet) process.
When compared to the previous generation, consumption goes up by 10% and transistor density by 20%.
This allows for faster clock speeds and a significant increase in IPC of up to 19%.
This CPU presents 8 physical and 16 logical cores. Processes and threads run in SMT mode.
In this case, significant changes have been made to the internal architecture in order to simplify it and improve communication between the various computational elements.
The L3 cache is now shared equally among all 8 cores for a total of 32 MB. In the previous generation, there were two CCXs, each with four cores and 16 MB of shared memory, which limited usability and hampered communication.
The L2 cache has 512 KB for each core individually, and the L1 cache has 64 KB per core divided into 32 KB L1I and 32 KB L1D.
- Low TDP
- Great overclocking performance
- Single-core performance is impressive
- Low power efficiency
4. Intel Core i9-10900K CPU
Great Raw Power Intel CPU For Virtualization
In this processor, you will find a single large rectangular silicon, housing a total of 10 physical and 20 logical cores (using HyperThreading multi-thread technology).
It is not only about doubling threads, but also about increasing frequencies in a remarkable way in order to increase the CPI of 14 nm.
For the Intel Core i9-10900K and its KF version, we find a base frequency of 3.70 GHz across all cores, going up to 4.9 GHz with Turbo Boost.
To this is added the new Turbo Boost 3.0 specification to reach 5.3 GHz in one core for each row of silicon (that is, the processor can experience 5.3 GHz bursts in the two best cores).
Another novelty that showed up in the 9th generation was the TDP that amounts to 125W when supporting overclocking in its cores.
It not only happens in this model but also in the i5 and i7, raising all the K specifications to this high TDP.
You can lower it to 95, although not to 65 like the base models. The maximum admissible temperature (T-junction) will be 100ºC, which will be reached if you do not have a strong heatsink such as a double block or a 240 or 360 mm liquid/AIO cooling system.
- 10 physical cores
- Impressive performance in both single and multi-thread use
- Great overclocking capacities
- Compatible motherboards are expensive
5. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Desktop Processor
Best Budget CPU For Virtualization
This model has 6 physical and 12 logical cores.
The frequencies are not going to be as high as the 5600X variant, but reach a nice 4.4 GHz boost at maximum performance.
Customers report that the CPU does indeed rise to 4.4 GHz on all cores at the same time, which is good news for its performance in stock configuration.
The specified base frequency is 3.9 GHz, in this case, 200 MHz higher than the 5600X to ensure a fairly high base performance.
You can see the monolithic architecture implemented in this characteristic AMD APU for its integrated graphics chips.
This time it counts with only one CCD (Core Chiplet Die) block, which simultaneously integrates the CPU cores, the integrated graphics, and the Infinity Fabric bus together with the North Bridge.
There are even empty spaces inside the Die, something that already happened in the 4000G series when expanding its interior space to take more advantage of the size of the processor.
This modular format makes the 5600G and 5700G almost the same physically as the 4000G Zen2 APUs since in a CCD we will find 8 cores of both CPU and GPU.
The manufacturer deactivates the appropriate cores to create the different models. In this way, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G has 6 of 8 active cores generating a TDP of 65W. Up to 15% improvement in IPC in single-thread to Zen 2 and more than 100% compared to 3400G Zen + in multi-thread.
If you want the cheapest CPU possible for virtualization, especially CPU virtualization gaming, then this model will be great for you.
- Great cost-benefit
- Best performance compared to Intel models on same price range
- Wraith Stealth cooler included
- Integrated graphics are a bit lackluster
AMD vs Intel Virtualization
Since virtualization depends on the number of cores available, AMD is ahead on the matter. Recent AMD Ryzen CPUs have been released with an insane amount of physical cores, while Intel Core models ship with generally up to 8 or 10 cores.
If we compare CPUs in the same price range, a Ryzen CPU has more physical cores, which makes AMD a step ahead in cost-benefit.
CPU For Virtualization FAQ
Is Virtualization Good For CPU?
If you want to know whether it will damage your CPU, it probably won’t. After all, virtualization is only possible when the manufacturer has included the capacity on your device.
What Does CPU Virtualization Do?
Virtualization allows you to create a virtual machine on top of the physical one you are already running. A virtual machine is useful for running a second OS. If you are running Windows and want to run some Linux distro for whatever reason, virtualization will help. Software like Virtualbox helps accomplish that goal.
Other people use virtualization to power their gaming experience too.
How Many Cores Do I Need For Virtualization?
Between 4 and 6 cores should be enough for most virtualization purposes. It depends whether you want to run a second or even multiple virtual machines or if you are looking for more raw power for some specific software.
A simple rule of thumb is that if you are looking for more raw power for some software, 4 cores will be good enough. Now, heavy virtualization will require you to buy a hexa-core CPU (and even more if you can).
Do All CPUs Support Virtualization?
All of the recent Ryzen and Intel Core processors support it. Intel and AMD use different technologies to achieve this goal, and even among different models of each brand, the name of the technology will change.
When you are buying a new CPU for virtualization, you need to learn which AMD or Intel virtualization technology it employs so that you know how to activate it and what it allows you to do.
Is Ryzen 5 Good For Virtualization?
It does. You can safely buy any of the Ryzen 5 CPUs if you want to play around with a virtual machine. As you can imagine, the top-notch models will have slightly better performance.
Is i5 Good For Virtualization?
The Intel Core i5 can be good enough, surely. However, i5 doesn’t offer as many cores as some Ryzen 5 models or the Core i7 and i9.
Final Thoughts About the Best CPU For Virtualization on the Market
So there you have it – the top rated processors for virtualization that money can buy in 2023. Just to sum it up if you want nothing but the best go for the highly rated AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU because of its number of physical cores and pure raw power.
The honorable second place belongs to the Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor. Thanks for reading and see you in the next article!