Best CPU for Gaming (2020)

When building a new gaming PC it is essential not to over look the processor and to pick the best CPU for gaming, after countless hours of research we feel the Intel Core i5 9600K for budget gamers, and the Intel Core i7 9700k for power users.

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Top Pick
Intel Core i5-8600K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.3 GHz unlocked LGA 1151 300 Series 95W
Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Intel Core i3-9100F Desktop Processor 4 Core Up to 4.2 GHz Without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 65W
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler - YD260XBCAFBOX
Title
Intel Core i5-9600K
Intel Core i7-8700K
Intel Core i3-9100F
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Prime
Clock Speed
3.6/4.3 GHz
3.7/4.7 GHz
3.6/4.2 GHz
3.7/4.3 GHz
3.6/4.2 GHz
Core/Thread Count
6/6
6/12
4/4
8/16
6/12
Top Pick
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Intel Core i5-8600K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.3 GHz unlocked LGA 1151 300 Series 95W
Title
Intel Core i5-9600K
Prime
Clock Speed
3.6/4.3 GHz
Core/Thread Count
6/6
Image
Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Title
Intel Core i7-8700K
Prime
Clock Speed
3.7/4.7 GHz
Core/Thread Count
6/12
Image
Intel Core i3-9100F Desktop Processor 4 Core Up to 4.2 GHz Without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 65W
Title
Intel Core i3-9100F
Prime
Clock Speed
3.6/4.2 GHz
Core/Thread Count
4/4
Image
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX
Title
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Prime
Clock Speed
3.7/4.3 GHz
Core/Thread Count
8/16
Image
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler - YD260XBCAFBOX
Title
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Prime
Clock Speed
3.6/4.2 GHz
Core/Thread Count
6/12

Best Intel CPU for Gaming

The Core i5 models have been gamer’s favorite for a prolonged period as they offer incredible performance at an affordable price, this CPU offers the best bang for buck.

Pros:
  • Low heat
  • 6 Cores + Internal GPU
  • Good benchmark performance
Cons:
  • Fairly ​expensive
  • No hyper-threading (HT)
  • Lack of cores (modern games are using more CPU cores)

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 9th 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.

Specifications

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 i5-9600K 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.

Conclusion

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.

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Best i7 For Gaming

This monster from Intel is our choice for the premium i7 gaming processor, if you want the best – we recommend this CPU.

Pros:
  • Good overclocker
  • HT (​12 logical core)
  • 6 Cores
Cons:
  • Expensive for the performance gain
  • Needs an aftermarket coolers
  • Buy better thermal paste

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 to the number of processocores. 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.

Specifications

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.

Conclusion

The i7-8700K is designed for the demanding user, and we recommend buying the best thermal paste for this chip, especially if you are thinking about overclocking. 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.

Best i3 Gaming CPU

Grab the Intel i3 9100F a great 4 core gaming CPU without the built in Intel GPU, but we think it’s fair to assume you’re going to spend the money you’re saving here on a new GPU, right?

Pros:
  • 4 Cores
  • Great value
  • Low power consumption
Cons:
  • Not great for OC
  • No built-in Intel GPU (who cares?)
  • No Hyper-threading (HT)

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.

Specifications

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.

Conclusion

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.

Best AMD CPU for Gamers

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.

Pros:
  • 8 Cores/16 Threads Unlocked (ready to OC)
  • Best multcore performance
  • Comes with a decent stock cooler
Cons:
  • Perfromance lags behind Intel in some areas
  • No intergrated GPU
  • Thirsty! uses a lot of power

Apart from the 2700X offering incredible gaming performance, it is also a great performer out of the game, when it comes to video editing, gaming, and streaming games the 2700X kills it, and it comes with a decent stock cooler… what more can you ask for?

Specifications

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.

Conclusion

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.

Budget AMD Gaming CPU

The Ryzon 5 2600X is a great CPU for gaming, offering the best for buck for AMD fans.

Pros:
  • ​The cheapest 6-core and 12-thread CPU
  • ​Exceptional value for money
  • Comes with a decent stock H/S and Fan
Cons:
  • No intergrated GPU
  • Uses more power then Intel
  • Again, lags in some areas when compared with Intel

The Ryzen 5 2600X offers a moderate performance enhancement in comparison to the previous model. The specification remains the same as its predecessor, six physical and twelve logical cores. At this price point, the chip offers 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.

​Specifications

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.

Conclusion

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.

This depends greatly on your setup. In short grab an Intel Core i7 8700K if you’re running 2 GPU’s or more and an Intel Core i5 8600K if you’re not… An i7 will also have an edge in games that use multiple core well (these are typically multiple player games). If you’re on a budget and a fan of team blues chips, grab the Intel Core i3 9100F. And if you love an underdog, check out AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X or the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X if you’re after the best AMD bang for buck.

Let me know what gaming processors you guys are using and drop us your best Overclocks and benchmarks scores on Twitter! – GLHF 🙂

Editor & reviewer of gear from iOS control pad’s to high-end PC gaming hardware. He’s been gaming since the 1980s and mostly plays CS GO & Overwatch.