When building a custom PC, especially on the consumer side, the processor is typically second or third down the list of priorities, behind graphics, storage or specific motherboard features depending on the use case. A lot of choosing a processor starts with the budget, if there is a preference for one brand or the other, or if the performance is similar enough that the money saved on a cheaper model can be spent elsewhere. By contrast, when it comes to workstations or enterprise situations, it helps to have an accurate profile of the intended workflow in order to choose which platform is needed, how much memory or how many expansion cards will be used, and if the software can prioritize cores over frequency or vice versa.

In our CPU Guide for Q1 2016, well consider certain environments and budgets and give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our Benchmark Database where possible.
Best CPUs: Q1 2016