The Best CPU For Gaming

Choosing the correct best CPU for gaming is a crucial task if you are planning to upgrade your gaming rig. Even though Intel best CPU for gaming products have maintained a tight grip on the high-end/hardcore gaming rigs, AMD’s Ryzen lineup have proven themselves to be quite competent, and are even capable of outpacing Intel in certain areas.

Best Choice

AMD Ryzen 5 2600

Monster of a Budget CPU

More performance per dollar, more cores, more threads.


Best processor for gaming option for anyone looking to up their game.

Premium

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X


Faster and Better best gaming CPU.

Residing at the top of AMD’s consumer best CPU for gaming lineup.


Able to go toe-to-toe with even the best of Intel’s offerings.

Best Value

Intel Core i3-8350K


Best processor for gaming

Quite the monster for lower-end builds.


Yes, this is an unlocked, overclockable low-end best gaming CPU from Intel.

Although people don’t realize this, the best CPU for gaming handles a significant portion of the load in gaming. Physics calculations, computations in multiplayer matches, etc. are the responsibility of the best CPU for gaming. Understandably, an inferior best CPU for gaming will negatively affect your gaming experience.


I have split the best CPU for gaming into 3 segments:


  1. High-end best gaming CPU: These best CPU for gaming can whizz through gaming CPU intensive tasks rather quickly. If you pair them with the right GPU, you are assured of blistering frame rates at high screen resolutions. In addition to gaming, if you want your best CPU for gaming to handle load intensive tasks like 3D rendering or video encoding, these processors are the ones to buy. Budgets are usually upwards of $400.
  2. Mid-range: Although this best processor for gaming isn't blazing fast, they can handle most games without being a bottleneck for high-end GPUs. However, best gaming CPU-intensive tasks such as video encoding will take relatively longer on these chips. Budgets are usually between $200-400.
  3. Entry-level: This best processor for gaming just provides the bare minimum computation speed to handle games. Playing games with all graphical eye-candy turned on, is a rare occurrence, and an impossible feat when running newer game releases. Budgets are usually lower than $200.

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Intel Core i7-9700K
  • Number of Cores: 8
  • Number of Threads: 8
  • L3 Cache Memory: 12MB
  • TDP: 95W
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 4.9GHz
Check Price on Amazon.com
Intel Core i5-6600K
  • Number of Cores: 4
  • Number of Threads: 4
  • L3 Cache Memory: 6MB
  • TDP: 91W
  • Base Clock: 3.5GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 3.9GHz
Check Price on Amazon.com
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
  • Number of Cores: 4
  • Number of Threads: 8
  • L3 Cache Memory: 4MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 3.9GHz
Check Price on Amazon.com
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
  • Number of Cores: 4
  • Number of Threads: 4
  • L3 Cache Memory: 4MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • Base Clock: 3.5GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 3.7GHz
Check Price on Amazon.com
Intel Core i3-8100
  • Number of Cores: 4
  • Number of Threads: 4
  • L3 Cache Memory: 6MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: N/A
Check Price on Amazon.com

Top High-End CPUs For Gaming

If you want the absolute best in gaming performance, the High-End best CPU for gaming is for you. All the best CPU for gaming deliver astounding performance and can handle any task you throw at them. Even though the recent lack of competition has allowed Intel to price some of these best gaming CPUs ridiculously high, the significantly cheaper chips from AMD should bring down prices across the product lineup of Intel as well.

Moreover, many of these best CPU for gaming can withstand significant overclocking, when paired with the right cooling system. However, this does require a decent motherboard that allows users to fine-tune base level operations.

A word of advice: do not attempt this if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing. If done incorrectly, it can cause system instability and even permanent damage to your pricey hardware.

Paired with high-end GPUs, these CPUs will provide an excellent gaming experience. Furthermore, this best CPU for gaming will also come in handy for those who wish to perform processor-intensive tasks, such as 3D rendering with RayTrace/V-Ray/Maxwell and video encoding, among others.

Note: I have not considered the $1000 Intel best processor for gaming on my list, as, in my opinion, the cost to benefit (performance increase) ratio they offer is abysmal.

1

AMD RYZEN 7 2700X
gaming ​CPU

The Ryzen 7 2700X, residing at the top of AMD’s consumer CPU lineup, is amazing. While it does not have as many cores on tap as its bigger Threadripper brethren, it also isn’t nearly as expensive, bulky, the motherboards are cheaper, and it’s—hear me out—faster and better for gaming. Although it may have fewer cores, having faster per-core clock performance is essential in most modern video games, which are unable to take advantage of the extra cores.


The 2700X is able to go toe-to-toe with even the best of Intel’s offerings, and when it comes to having more cores and threads available for other tasks like streaming, the 2700X shines both in its price, and its performance. Whether you want to play an all-night game session, or rock your game live on streaming platforms like Twitch, Mixer or YouTube, the 2700X is the best of AMD’s offerings. The 8 cores and 16 threads will give you more than enough headroom to do most anything you’d like to do, all while not breaking the bank.


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 8
  • Number of Threads – 16
  • L3 Cache Memory – 16 MB
  • TDP – 105W
  • Base Clock – 3.7 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 4.3 GHz

​2

​Best gaming CPU

AMD RYZEN 7 2700

The Ryzen 7 2700 is not a very interesting product, and that may be its biggest selling point. To be more specific, it’s very similar to the 2700X, while having lower clock speeds, a lower TDP, and it comes out of the box with an inferior cooler. However, it still contains the same number of cores and threads, it still has 16 MB is L3 cache, and is also unlocked, meaning you can overclock it.


The 2700 is, even on modest hardware, easily overclockable to near 2700X performance, even with the cool that comes with it. If you’re not into overclocking, or you’re just looking to save a few dollars, then this chip is still perfectly fine. AMD’s intent with offering X and non-X variants of their CPU lineup is to give consumers options, and that’s exactly what the 2700 is: a great option if you’re not looking to go quite all the way. It’s still incredible for multitasking, for gaming, and for every gaming CPU-intensive task you can throw at it. It’s just a cheaper step down from its bigger brother.


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 8
  • Number of Threads – 16
  • L3 Cache Memory – 16 MB
  • TDP – 65W
  • Base Clock – 3.2 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 4.1 GHz

​3

​Best processor for gaming
 Intel Core i7-9700K

Intel took an interesting step when introducing the i7-9700K. Upon the release of Skylake several years ago, their flagship CPU, the i7-6700K, dominated all of the charts. It features 4 cores and 8 threads. One revision later, and we were granted the i7-7700K. A 5-15% jump in performance, depending on the task. It, too, featured 4 cores and 8 threads. Then, we saw a slightly larger leap as the i7-8700K landed, bringing 6 cores and 12 threads to Intel’s mainstream platform for the first time. 6 cores and beyond were available, but only on Intel’s enthusiast X platform, like X99.


However, their latest refresh, the i7-9700k, is… a bit different. See, they bumped the cores again, from 6 to 8. However, they omitted hyperthreading, instead locking it behind the i9-9900K. This would be seen as a normal move, were it not that the standard was to have the X600K contain no hyperthreading, and the X700K variant to have it. With their latest platform, Intel has decided to shift their lineup a bit.


That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This best gaming CPU is far more than equal to the sum of its parts. Running significantly cooler than the CPU above it, and shredding in both games and benchmarks, the i7-9700K does not pull any punches. Even novice overclockers are able to get this chip up to 5GHz+, and it’s among the fastest on the market when it comes to raw gaming performance.


While it may not be the best for everything, when it comes to gaming, it’s hard to beat the i7-9700K. If you need raw horsepower, here it is.


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 8
  • Number of Threads – 8
  • L3 Cache Memory – 12 MB
  • TDP – 95W
  • Base Clock – 3.6 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 4.9 GHz

4

Intel Core i7-6850K

One of Intel’s top-performers in the Skylake release of 2016, the Core i7-6850K is not a cheap processor by any means. However, it still holds its own against later releases by Intel as well as most of the AMD Ryzen best gaming CPU models.


Even though the price is a huge negative for this Intel chip, individuals who already have high-end Intel chipset based motherboards and need a better performer than the 7700K might prefer this best processor for gaming than the cheaper AMD best CPU for gaming.


Tech specs:


  • Number of Cores – 6
  • Number of Threads – 12
  • L3 Cache Memory – 15 MB
  • TDP – 140W
  • Base Clock – 3.6 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 4.0 GHz

Top Mid-range CPUs

Although in this category we find best CPU for gaming in the mid-range, they still pack the proverbial punch.

Don’t expect them to whizz through CPU-intensive tasks like the high-end best CPU for gaming models. However, they do pretty well on the gaming front. Pair them with a decent (mid-range to high) GPU and other hardware, and you can be assured of a pleasant gaming experience in most games with the mid-range best CPU for gaming.

As these best CPU for gaming name suggests, they don’t offer astounding performance, but they get the job done. In one word, I would describe them as ‘decent.’

1

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X

If you’ve been paying close attention to the rest of this article, then you’re likely to understand exactly what the Ryzen 5 2600X by AMD represents. It’s a higher-clocked version of the 2600, with a higher TDP. If you’re uninterested in overclocking, or just want the fastest chip you can purchase in a given bracket, then it’s easy to recommend the 2600X. However, if you’re comfortable doing a little bit of personal tweaking, and intend to pair your CPU with an aftermarket cooler, then it might be more worth your money to look into the 2600, as overclocking it will close the performance gap between these two.


Again, I would like to reiterate that this is a great CPU. AMD has muddied the water a bit when it comes to intra-product lineups though, as the difference between the 2600 and 2600X can be made up through simple overclocking. If you want the fastest 6 core, 12 thread chip that AMD offers, though, then this will be an excellent buy!


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 6
  • Number of Threads – 12
  • L3 Cache Memory – 16 MB
  • TDP – 95W
  • Base Clock – 3.6 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 4.2 GHz

2

AMD Ryzen 5 2600

The R5 2600 by AMD is an absolute monster of a budget CPU. With 6 cores and 12 threads at your disposal, and coming in at well under $200, this is an awesome budget option for anyone looking to up their game, while also being able to live stream. AMD has almost completely wiped out Intel’s comparable i5 lineup of CPUs, by offering more performance per dollar, more cores, more threads, and also by allowing all of their CPUs to be overclocked.


Whether you’re looking to overclock this chip to match the performance of the 2600X and save a few dollars, or you just want some of the best raw compute performance on the market at this price point, then the R5 2600 is going to be your best friend.


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 6
  • Number of Threads – 12
  • L3 Cache Memory – 16 MB
  • TDP – 65W
  • Base Clock – 3.4 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 3.9 GHz

3

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G is the older sibling to the 2200G, which means it has SMT, or Simultaneous Multi-Threading. This is the same technology that Intel uses for hyperthreading.

 

Both this CPU and the 2200G are APUs, or Accelerated Processing Units. These are processors which include onboard accelerated graphics, similar to Intel’s Integrated Graphics, but typically with much higher performance.  It will still struggle to perform well with the latest and greatest titles, but the extra compute units (compared to the 2200G below) will offer a better gaming experience.


Having SMT will also have a noticeable impact on performance in games and other multithreaded applications, making this an excellent budget chip not only for gamers, but also for video editors, 3D modelers, photo editors, and anybody else who works in CPU-intensive areas.


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 4
  • Number of Threads – 8
  • L3 Cache Memory – 4 MB
  • TDP – 65W
  • Base Clock – 3.6 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 3.9 GHz

4

Intel Core i5-6600K

Similarly to the inclusion of the i7-6850K, the i5-6600K is not new. This may be seen as a negative to some, but many people have yet to update to a more modern CPU socket, and will also be looking for upgrades without having to upgrade their motherboard as well.

 

While this chip is rather pricey given its specs, Intel has stood as the king of IPC, meaning that it will be able to easily outperform AMD’s similar offerings on paper, and would be a nice upgrade for anyone still on Intel’s Skylake lineup.


It offers a decent performance and has 4 physical cores, albeit, without hyperthreading.


Most games should run reasonably well on this best gaming CPU, with only a few (if any) requiring graphics settings adjustments for more fluidity.


Tech specs:


  • Number of Cores – 4
  • Number of Threads – 4
  • L3 Cache Memory – 6 MB
  • TDP – 91W
  • Base Clock – 3.5 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 3.9 GHz

Top Entry-level Processors

Don’t expect these best processor for gaming to work magic; you should be prepared to make graphic settings adjustments as needed for newer game titles. They will usually take ages for processor intensive tasks that flourish with higher clock speeds, cores, and threads.

However, if paired with a mid-level GPU, they should allow you to enjoy most games at playable frame rates. Nonetheless, you might encounter frequent frame drops and inferior performance in multiplayer games with a high number of calculations involved (first person shooters for example).

1

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Ah, yes, the 2200G. What an awesome best gaming CPU!


The Ryzen 3 2200G and 2400G are what are known as “APUs”. These are best processor for gaming with dedicated graphics cores on them, allowing for light gameplay. While Intel has also included integrated graphics, AMD has always been a step ahead. This is cemented by the fact that Intel has actually worked with AMD’s Radeon Graphics division to develop onboard graphics for their own CPUs.

 

The 2200G features 4 cores and 4 threads, 8 Vega compute cores, and a fantastic price tag for any budget builder. Furthermore, its low TDP and modest stock cooler mean you can expect not only quiet operation, but also low heat output. The Vega compute cores, while unable to handle high-definition gaming in the latest and greatest titles, are still able to tackle Esports titles, older titles, and even newer games, assuming their settings are adjusted. All of this, without even needing a dedicated graphics card.


If you’re looking to create an affordable gaming PC for indie titles and modest AAA game performance, or are looking to snag a great CPU+GPU combo for a media streaming PC, the 2200G is an absolute steal. Like the rest of AMD’s CPU lineup, they can also be overclocked, assuming you have a B450 or X470 motherboard.


This chip is awesome, and for the price, this best gaming CPU is outright incredible!


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 4
  • Number of Threads – 4
  • L3 Cache Memory – 4 MB
  • TDP – 65W
  • Base Clock – 3.5 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – 3.7 GHz

2

Intel i3-8350K

The i3-8350K best gaming CPU by Intel is like a shopping cart. Except this shopping cart has a small engine mounted to it, and for some reason a bucket racing seat on the inside.

 

A funny analogy aside, the i3-8350K is fascinating. Intel has, for the longest time, wore the IPC crowd over their rival AMD, and this has proven to be true even into the latest generation of best processor for gaming between the two companies. AMD has fought to make up for this discrepancy through more cores and threads, but raw IPC can be hard to beat, especially at a budget. The i3-8350K is a reflection of that. Oh, and notice the K? Yes, this is an unlocked, overclockable low-end CPU from Intel. Talk about the benefits of competition!


With only 4 cores and no hyperthreading onboard, this CPU isn’t going to crush any benchmarks. However, Intel’s high IPC, combined with the ability to overclock this chip, makes it quite the monster for lower-end builds. If you’re not looking to do much in the way of multitasking, and are instead just looking for an awesome, fast chip, then the i3-8350K, while an oddity, would be an excellent choice!


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 4
  • Number of Threads – 4
  • L3 Cache Memory – 8 MB
  • TDP – 91W
  • Base Clock – 4.0 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – N/A

3

Intel Core i3-8100

Intel’s i3 lineup has never been exceptional, though they do serve an important role in the consumer CPU market. In recent years, that has started to change. The i3-8100 is very comparable to AMD’s Ryzen 5 2200G, in that it has 4 cores, 4 threads, low heat output, and operates quietly. It’s also budget-friendly, which is a nice bonus add.

 

The CPU itself isn’t going to top the charts, nor will it herald in a new generation of compute performance, but it also isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg. The main differentiator between this and the i3-8350K is the 8350K’s ability to be overclocked. However, overclocking requires a specific line of motherboard, and the i3-8100 orients itself more as a budget CPU, wherein one would not be expected to buy a premium motherboard which supports overclocking.

 

If you’re looking for a good, entry-level CPU with decent performance, quiet and cool operation, and don’t want to hurt your wallet, then this is an awesome product for you!


Tech Specs:


  • Number of Cores – 4
  • Number of Threads – 4
  • L3 Cache Memory – 6 MB
  • TDP – 65W
  • Base Clock – 3.6 GHz
  • Turbo Clock – N/A
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Wrap-up

I am aware that I might be coming off as an AMD fanboy by now, but I have no ulterior motives here. Although AMD has always brought out cheaper products (Bulldozer, Piledriver, etc.), until recently, they were inferior to Intel’s entire lineup. However, since AMD finally seems to have gotten their act together, launching competitive best processor for gaming after many long years, I hope to see a market that inspires innovation – not one that sees drab, timed releases, which offer only marginal improvements over the last generation. I only aim to deliver the best CPU for gaming.


Once you’ve upped your best processor for gaming, consider upgrading your chair game! Check out some of our gaming chair reviews below!



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