Nowadays, if you want to build a great computer, then find the best CPU for high-end games, perhaps the most important thing to do. The processor acts as the brain of your gaming PC, sending and executing instructions from each hardware in your system. And for PC players, finding the best processor for gaming can dramatically affect performance.
Assemble the computer yourself? See our guide on the best video cards for games.
But how to find the best processor for games? All count the number of cores, clock speeds – a lot of information to understand. If you’re looking for a good single-core performance, Intel processors are probably best for you. However, AMD Ryzen processors provide a return on investment and high-performance multi-core processors that are great for streaming.
Check Our Details Guide about Best Gaming Laptops.
If you are looking for the absolutely best processor on the market now, then you probably look at the Intel Core i9-9900K, but it will cost you hundreds of dollars. If you want to save a little, but want to achieve fantastic gaming performance, AMD Ryzen 5 2600X is the best choice. Even if you have a small budget, the Intel Pentium G4560 will be capable of a lot.
|Model||Users Rating||Processor Speed||Check Latest Price|
|Intel Core i9-9900K||4.6 out of 5 stars||5 GHz||Check Price|
|INTEL CORE I7-9700K||4.6 out of 5 stars||4.9 GHz||Check Price|
|INTEL CORE I7-8700K||4.7 out of 5 stars||4.7 GHz||Check Price|
|INTEL CORE I5-8400||4.7 out of 5 stars||4 GHz||Check Price|
|AMD RYZEN 7 2700X||4.8 out of 5 stars||4.3 GHz||Check Price|
|AMD RYZEN 5 2600X||4.7 out of 5 stars||4.2 GHz||Check Price|
|AMD RYZEN 3 2200G||4.6 out of 5 stars||3.7 GHz||Check Price|
|INTEL PENTIUM GOLD G5400||4.7 out of 5 stars||3.7 GHz||Check Price|
|AMD RYZEN THREADRIPPER 2950X||4.8 out of 5 stars||3.5 GHz||Check Price|
We’ve put together the best gaming processors so you can spend less time shopping and more time gaming.
- 1 2. INTEL CORE I7-9700K
- 2 3. INTEL CORE I7-8700K
- 3 4. INTEL CORE I5-8400
- 4 5. AMD RYZEN 7 2700X
- 5 6. AMD RYZEN 5 2600X
- 6 7. AMD RYZEN 3 2200G
- 7 8. INTEL PENTIUM GOLD G5400
- 8 9. AMD RYZEN THREADRIPPER 2950X
1. Intel Core i9-9900K
THE FASTEST PROCESSOR FOR GAMING, STREAMING AND MORE
Purely for the gameplay, the Core i9-9900K may be too much, if you just do not plan to assemble a supercomputer with a top-notch video card. In general, the Core i9-9900K is considered the best in performance. This is the fastest processor for the LGA1151 platform.
The processor does not have as many cores as in the i9-7980XE or Threadripper 2990WX, but it has the highest clock frequency among all existing processors with excellent performance per core. Put it on a good enthusiast motherboard, and you will most likely see “4.7 GHz” base clock frequencies that can reach 5.0 GHz with lower workloads.
You will need to use your own cooling, which is Intel’s approach to all K-series and X-series processors, and definitely not worth saving. Due to the extra cores, i9-9900K can produce a lot of power and tend to get hotter than the previous generation. Even if you do not plan to overclock, I would not run an air-cooled i9-9900K. I recommend powerful water cooling, such as the NZXT Kraken X62.
9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K desktop processor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 offers powerful performance for gaming, creating and productivity. Thermal solution NOT included in the bo
- Ultra fast for rendering and editing video
- The best clock frequencies among all consumer processors
- Thermal solution NOT included
- Small overclocking options
2. INTEL CORE I7-9700K
EXCELLENT GAMING PERFORMANCE FOR LESS COST
9th Gen Intel Core i7-9700K desktop processor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 offers powerful performance for gaming, creating and productivity. Thermal solution NOT included in the box. ONLY compatible with 300 series chipset based motherboard.
The Intel Core i7-9700K is an interesting step down compared to the i9-9900K. They have the same number of CPU cores, and similar clock frequencies, most Z390 motherboards operate on a chip with a turbo clock frequency of 4–4.7 GHz. In games, it is as effective as the more expensive Core i9, but it is cheaper. This is because for the first time Intel released the Core i7 without multi-threading.
This is a balance between price, performance, and performance. Compared to the Core i7-8700K, it has 33% more cores, which usually directly affects multithreading. Multithreading, as a rule, increases productivity only by 10-15 percent, so this is a net gain. The lack of multithreading also means that the i7-9700K doesn’t heat up as much as the Core i9, so you can get along with good air cooling.
If you are broadcasting live, editing video, or doing any other serious content creation work, switching to 9900K makes sense. But if you are primarily interested in games, then 8-core Coffee Lake with a clock frequency of about 5 GHz would be a super option.
- Excellent gaming performance
- Eight high-speed cores
- No multithreading
- Limited overclocking
3. INTEL CORE I7-8700K
THE PREVIOUS GENERATION IS STILL A GREAT CHOICE.
Outstanding gaming experiences extend beyond personal gameplay to your entire gaming community. Share those experiences by live-streaming or recording, editing, and posting your epic highlights.
Last year’s market leader still boasts excellent performance and can operate at 5 GHz with a good cooler. It is also cheaper than the aforementioned processors, at least for now, and runs on the same motherboards.
There are also a few caveats, for example, the fact that the i7-8700K depends on software and firmware solutions against side-channel attacks, such as Meltdown, Specter, and Foreshadow. You also still need to install your own cooler, and unlike the 9th generation Intel processors, you will not get the TIM (Thermal Interface Material) thermal interface. The use of liquid metal can be a good investment for long-term acceleration, as it provides a potential drop in temperature of 10-20 C.
In terms of overall performance in games, the Core i7-8700K is not much inferior to the above options. And you will see this difference only if you have the best graphics card installed, at least GTX 1080 Ti, with a resolution of 1080p ultra. If you play at 1440p or 4k, your graphics processor will become a bottleneck for almost any modern processor.
- The fastest gaming processor
- Quite a lot of cores for other tasks.
- Maximum overclocking margin
- Cooling required
4. INTEL CORE I5-8400
A PROCESSOR WITH GREAT PERFORMANCE AT A GREAT PRICE.
Intel’s 8th-generation Coffee Lake processor now has 6 cores, with the result that the Core i5-8400 is an excellent processor for games and other tasks. It has a higher clock speed than the previous generation, and in general, corresponds to the performance of the previous generation i7-7700K. As an added bonus, you get a suitable cooler in the box, which would be nice to see as an option for each processor.
The only 9th generation Core i5 is currently the i5-9600K, which in many ways coincides with the i5-8600K. Its frequency is higher and there is an unlocked multiplier, but there is no cooler. Given the price, the i5-8400 is a good compromise, eliminate overclocking and get everything you need in one inexpensive box.
In testing, even with the GTX 1080 Ti, the i9-9900K is only six percent faster in games with a resolution of 1080p. I5-8400 is also still faster than all Ryzen processors, purely for gaming purposes. Of course, with 1440p and higher, the processor is not so good, but the i5-8400 is fast and affordable, and you do not need to think about overclocking to get the most out of the chip. Buy any compatible motherboard and you’re done.
- Excellent game frame rate
- No need to buy a cooler
- No overclocking
- Weak for RTX 2080 Ti
- Much more expensive than AMD 2600
- No multithreading that weakens computing power
5. AMD RYZEN 7 2700X
EIGHT CORES, OVERCLOCKED, EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler. Note that 300-series motherboards may require a BIOS flash to be compatible with Ryzen Desktop 2000-series processors. Maximum Temperature is 85 degree Celsius.
The gaming process nowadays often includes streaming or video capturing, so we believe that AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is the best gaming processor capable of doing everything you need.
This makes it ideal for those who work with programs that can take advantage of multiple kernels, such as video editing software, CAD software, scientific computing, and virtual machine startup. The presence of such a large number of cores means that you can comfortably run streaming software along with the game, without affecting performance.
As for the pure performance in games, the slightly lower clock speeds of the 2700X mean that it cannot compare with the Intel 8350K, 8600K and 8700K counterparts.
It is worth repeating that you will see a difference in performance only at lower resolutions and a high frame rate, that is, in e-sports games. At 60-100 frames per second, the difference is insignificant.
Of course, you can get a higher frame rate in the Intel Core i7-9700K, but at the same time it is more expensive, and only eight streams compared to 16 Ryzen streams. The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X also comes with a decent processor cooler in the kit, which will help you save money when building a PC. If extreme overclocking is not so important for you, then the Ryzen 7 2700 is also a good option and for a little less money.
- Serious multi-threaded performance
- Gaming frame rates are worthy of comparison
- Limited overclocking potential
6. AMD RYZEN 5 2600X
SIX CORES AND EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE AT GOOD PRICE
If you are aiming for good gaming performance, focusing on streaming and another multi-threading usage, but are limited in budget, then AMD Ryzen 5 2600X is an excellent choice. It provides almost the same gaming performance as the more expensive 2700X, thanks to a similar clock. For non-gaming tasks, it is also steadily faster than the i5-8400 processor at a similar price and can be slightly overclocked as a bonus.
As in the case of the Ryzen 7 2700X above, two Ryzen 5 2600X or Ryzen 5 2600 processors can be considered. Both are very similar, especially when overclocked.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that in all AMD Ryzen processors (but not APU) there are 16 PCIe lanes for graphics, plus an additional 4 PCIe lanes for M.2 NVMe slot, and four more lanes connected to the chipset. In some tests, they found that Specter and Meltdown fixes significantly reduced the performance of SSD random I / O on Intel platforms, and AMD was largely unaffected.
- Attractive price for 6 cores / 12 threads
- Almost as fast in games as the 2700X
- All the same, slower than Intel in games
- Modest overclocking potential
7. AMD RYZEN 3 2200G
VEGA 8 GRAPHICS IS THE BEST BUDGET PROCESSOR.
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is the best low end gaming processor suitable for games even on integrated graphics. Thanks to the integrated Radeon ™ Vega 8 video card, with this processor you can easily play modern games with Full HD and a decent frame rate. Some managed to run Overwatch with 4K resolution and “Epic” quality settings with a replay rate of 30 frames per second.
Easily overtakes Intel Pentium Gold G5400 in gaming and non-gaming tasks.
- Awesome price for CPU + GPU
- Fast Vega integrated video card
- Slower than discrete maps
- The slowest “modern” processor
8. INTEL PENTIUM GOLD G5400
BEST SUPER CHEAP GAMING PROCESSOR
Yes, we chose an even cheaper gaming processor, this is the Pentium Gold G5400. For such a low price, you get a chip built on the latest Intel Lake Coffee architecture, and it even includes multithreading. This is a dual-core processor, but with a frequency of 3.7 GHz, therefore, you will not have problems running most games with a mid-range video card, such as Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. With him, you can save money.
- Multithreading allows two cores to work with four threads
- Cooler included improves the offer
- Excellent performance in lightweight workloads
- Locked multiplier prevents overclocking
- No support for AVX / AVX2
9. AMD RYZEN THREADRIPPER 2950X
THE BEST HIGH-END GAMING PROCESSOR FOR DESKTOPS
Have you ever thought that eight processor cores or 64 GB of RAM were not enough? Well, then the High-End Desktop processor (HEDT) may be exactly what you are looking for. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X is a first-class HEDT processor, with twice the number of cores found in most common processors.
Moreover, it also offers four-channel memory support for a total of eight RAM sticks and access to 64 PCIe lanes, which you can use to install multiple video cards and multiple NVMe solid-state drives. Games on it work almost the same as on a traditional processor, and this is one of the cheapest chips among HEDT.
- Reasonable price
- Lots of power packaged in a configuration of 16 cores / 32 threads
- Significantly improved generation performance
- Unlocked overclocking multiplier
- Expensive platform
There is also AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX with 32 cores and 64 threads, which sounds like a dream for semi-professionals and professionals. But the processor comes with a list of caveats. You will need: high-quality motherboard, high-quality power supply and high-quality cooling to get the maximum performance from your investment, about $ 1,617.