When it comes to purchasing or building a gaming PC, it is essential to pick the best gaming CPU for the job. It is common for most gamers to send most of their budget on the GPU and not have enough processing power. The central processing unit is the most critical feature of the computer, and it possesses the second greatest impact on your computer’s gaming performance after the graphics card.
The processor affects everything in your gaming PC from application to OS and gaming performance. Apart from this, it also outlines your platform and motherboard options. Gaming experience can genuinely benefit from more cores, and both Intel and AMD continue to push for higher core counts.
10/20/2018 - Updated controllers for Q4 2018 (November to December 2018)
Current AAA PC games are now utilizing multi-core processors, but future releases are moving towards utilizing even more processor cores, with the industry heading towards 6 and and 8 CPU's. When you're not in game a vast number of applications do correctly utilize all your cores, so it's worth the upgrade if you're on the fence. Additionally, investing in a multi-core processor will help reduce any CPU bottleneck if you plan on running multiple GPU's.
It's worth pointing out that the motherboard and CPU market are typically progressing MUCH slower than the graphics card market in terms of leaps in performance on each update. Meaning, you'll probably end up keeping your motherboard and processor for at least one graphics card update, possible many. Therefore, investing in a high quality chip that will remain useful for a prolonged time. The good thing is that whether you have a low or massive budget, there is a gaming processor that will perfectly suit your needs.
PROS & CONS
The Core i5 models have been gamer’s favorite for a prolonged period as they offer incredible performance at an affordable price. The Intel i5-8600k is indeed the most powerful 8th generation i5 CPU. In comparison to the previous i3 models, the i5 incorporates an upgraded core count. The i5 boasts six physical cores as opposed to four cores that were present in the i3 model. In fact, the core has an upgrade in almost every regard and is the leading valuable mid to high-end gaming CPU.
It has six physical cores with a clocking speed of 3.6 GHz. The chips power consumption is 95W while the cache size is 9 MB. The lithography of the processor is 14nm. The i5-8600K supports dual-channel or single-channel RAM configurations, up to a maximum of about 64GB.
This processor also utilizes the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip which ensures that it has a higher clock rate. Another aspect is that it incorporates the Intel Optane Technology.
The Core i5 is a great gaming CPU offering the best bang for buck. This i5 is currently the best mid-tier gaming CPU. The overclocking speed possessed by the i5-8600K will ensure that you experience amazing moments when playing your favorite games.
PROS & CONS
This monster from Intel is our choice for the premium i7 gaming processor. Just like the other core series from Intel, the i7 model has received an upgrade in its cores. Intel has migrated from four physical and eight logical cores to six physical and twelve logical cores with this beast. Besides, the i7 processors are the only 8th generation of processors to use the hyper-threading technology from Intel.
The CPU has six physical and twelve logical cores, a clocking speed of up to 4.7 GHz, and a cache size of 12 MB. It also boasts lithography of 14nm and power consumption of 95W. The i7-8700K can support up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM in both dual-channel and single channel configurations just like the other series from the 8th generation cores. Additionally, this chip uses the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip with marginally higher clock speed in comparison to the i5-8600K.
The i7-8700K is designed for the demanding user, and will thus leave any gamer fully satisfied. Intel developed this processor in response to AMD becoming competitive again with their Ryzen chip that offered sixteen threads at an affordable price. This is Intel's premium gaming CPU to purchase if you're looking for a high-end chip for the most demanding games.
PROS & CONS
This is the first 8th generation core i3 processor from Intel. The current i3 chip integrates four physical cores as opposed to the previous i3 models that contained dual-core processors and were founded on hyperthreading to match the performance of the quad-core. Intel designed this chip to rival AMD’s Ryzen 3 CPU that overpowered the original generation of i3 processors, and this is evident from the enhanced physical core count. On the whole, the i3-8100 is a fantastic entry to the mid-range processor for gaming.
The i3-8100K has four core count, a clock speed of 3.6Hz, the cache size of 6 MB, a power consumption of 65W and lithography of 14nm. Besides, the chip supports up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM in both dual-channel and single setups. The processor uses the present Intel UHD Graphics 630 which makes it a 4K-capable integrated graphics chip.
You will also find that the CPU integrates the Intel Optane Technology. With this, the processor relies on extra PCIe module to improve HDD performance and help it equal the SSDs. Nevertheless, it is essential to remember that the motherboard and CPU need to support the Optane for it to function.
If you're looking for the leading gaming CPU under $200, get the i3-8100. We think Intel's i3 8100 processor is genuinely the best budget gaming processor 2019 has to offer. But, if you're playing the latest titles, or running multiple GPU's you'll want at least an i5 or preferably an i7 processor.
PROS & CONS
The Ryzen 7 2700X is a high-end gaming processor from the 2nd generation of Ryzen's. It boasts eight cores and sixteen threads, which is the most that a gamer can get in a standard CPU at the moment. Nonetheless, much like the other Ryzen’s 2nd generation, it incorporates slight performance enhancements.
The chip has six physical and sixteen logical cores, lithography of 12 nm, the L2 cache size of 4 MB and L3 cache size of 16 MB. It also integrates a clock speed of 3.7 GHz (4.3GHz with Turbo) and power consumption of 105W. When it comes to RAM support, the 2700X supports up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM just like the cheaper variants. The processor utilizes the AMD SenseMI Technology.
Apart from the 2700X offering incredible gaming performance, it is also great our of the game when it comes to multitasking. The 2700X is the best when it comes to video editing, gaming, and streaming games. The good thing is that the CPU incorporates a prism cooler.
PROS & CONS
The Ryzen 5 2600X is the successor to the previous Ryzen models. It offers a moderate performance enhancement in comparison to the previous model but does not include any innovative and new technology. The most common feature remains the same that was present in its predecessor, six physical and twelve logical cores. With these features, the chip provides twice the thread count compared to its Intel competitor. If you combine this with its high base clock speed, it really is a no brainer why the 2600X is the best budget AMD CPU for gaming.
The 2600X has six physical and twelve logical cores, the L2 cache size of 3 MB, the L3 cache size of 16 MB, lithography of 12nm, and power consumption of 95W as well as clock speed of 3.6 GHz (4.2GHz with Turbo). The chip also supports the DDR4 RAM in both dual-channel and single channel configurations and an ultimate maximum capacity of 64 GB. It also integrates the AMD SenseMI Technology that utilizes SSD to enhance the IO disk performance.
The 2600X has not disappointed in terms of its speed and stability. If you are looking for excellent gaming performance with multiple cores for streaming and out of game productivity, but have a limited budget, the 2600X from AMD is a great choice. The stock clocks provide almost the same gaming performance as the much expensive 2700X.
Selecting the best CPU for your custom gaming PC can be quite a confusing and challenging moment due to the various models in the market, specifications and processor features. Nonetheless, with this guide, you will have an easy time selecting the processor that suits your requirements. Having a good gaming processor is fundamentally important as a gamer since you want the best experience when playing your favorite game. Here are some of the factors to consider.
As a beginner, you are probably wondering which company to buy from when it comes to CPU. Both, AMD and Intel have long dominated the processor industry. Currently, when it comes to gaming processors, Intel wins the battle as it offers processors that offer much better gaming performance. However, if you're on a budget budget, you could go for an AMD chip.
The Intel i3 are designed for gamers who are on a budget. The CPUs are best for the affordable gaming PCs. However, if you are looking forward to playing a demanding game, you may be forced to opt for an i5 processor or Ryzen 5.
Ryzen processors from AMD are the latest generation of CPUs from the company and are fundamentally good gaming processors. They are available in high-end (Ryzen 7), mid-range (Ryzen 5) and cheap (Ryzen 3). When it comes to a purely gaming processor, Intel wins the battle, but these CPUs from AMD are good considering their retailing price.
The Intel i5 processor is typically the perfect choice for gamers who need the best value for money by acquiring a chip that maximizes game performance without overspending. They are seen as the best mid-range processors for modern gaming. There are several models that you can choose from including the i5-8400, i5-8500 and the i5-8600k.
The i7 processors are the high-end market for gamers and are indeed what you should acquire if you need the best processor for gaming for money. Nonetheless, you should only buy this if you have sufficient money to spend. The i7 will enable you to play even the most demanding and sophisticated games.
This is a type of CPU and should be matched with the socket type of your PC’s motherboard. For instance, if you get the AMD Ryzen CPU that contains socket type AM4, you will be needed to acquire an AM4 motherboard as well. The current Intel i7, i5, and i3s all include socket of ‘1151, and you will thus get a motherboard that denotes socket ‘1151’ as well.
The speed at which the CPU runs at is measured in GHz and referred to as the stock speed. For the gaming CPU, it should maintain a high speed, preferably higher than 3.6 GHz.
CPUs possess a different amount of cores and are typically microprocessors within a processor to make the processor run more effectively and multi-task much better. For gaming, the cores are not all that crucial because most games do not utilize many. Therefore, all you need is a gaming CPU that has more than four cores for effectiveness.
Well, it is not a must since most games do not utilize the hyper-threading technology. Having additional threads, cores and hyper-threading technology is essential for more process intensive apps, but not that much when it comes to gaming experience. Thus, you should not worry about the hyper-threading when selecting CPU for gaming.
Processors have different amounts of what is known as cache memory and are typically the memory that stores info that your processor will probably require for convenient and better performance. You should not worry about this as most gaming CPUs possess similar cache size, between 3MB and 12 MB.
We hope this guide helped you find the best CPU for gaming that fits your budget, if you're still on the fence about what chip to buy we would recommend you look at the games you play and see how processor intensive they are.