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Best CPU for Gaming in

When shopping for the best gaming CPU, you'll want to balance performance and features with your PC budget. Our tips and picks below will help you choose the best CPU for gaming. You can also see how all of these processors stack up in our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy. But for detailed help on picking the best processor for your gaming rig, you can check out our CPU Buying Guide. And if you're on the fence about which CPU company to go with, our AMD vs. Intel feature dives deep and comes up with a winner.

AMD's Ryzen 7 G and Ryzen 5 G APUs came to market recently, shaking up the entry-level graphics scene. We found that the duo has the fastest integrated GPU on the market, offering nearly twice the performance of Intel's integrated graphics. The Ryzen G series is now the uncontested champ for extreme budget gaming, small form factor, and HTPC rigs. The G could also slot in as a temporary solution for enthusiasts that can't find a graphics card at reasonable pricing during these times of severe graphics cards shortages.

However, the Ryzen 5 G, which now joins our list of Best CPUs for Gaming, is the best pick for that task. The $ Ryzen 5 G's iGPU performance lands within 4% of the $ Ryzen 7 G but for 30% less cash, making it the best value APU for gaming on the market. We also recently tested the Ryzen 3 G, but that chip remains OEM-exclusive, meaning that you can't buy it at retail. 

At launch, AMD's Zen 3-powered Ryzen processors took the lead as the fastest gaming CPUs on the market, but Intel's Rocket Lake chips tightened the race and actually took the lead in the mid-range, as you can see with the Core i

Our AMD Zen 3 Ryzen article has all the details on AMD's new CPUs, but you can check our full lineup of detailed reviews of each model, like the Ryzen 9 X and Ryzen 9 X, Ryzen 7 X, and Ryzen 5 X for the detailed rundown.

Intel's Rocket Lake processors have arrived, too, as you can see in our Core iK and Core iK, Core i and Core iK reviews. Rocket Lake comes with Intel's first new architecture in the last six years, albeit with the caveat that the company still uses the 14nm process, and the chips top out at eight cores. 

Intel has its Alder Lake processors waiting in the wings for later this year, portending even bigger shakeups to our list of best CPUs for gaming, especially given the extremely promising early test results we've seen crop up.

AMD also has its new CPUs with 3D V-Cache headed to production later this year. Those chips will bring up to 15% more gaming performance courtesy of up to an almost-unthinkable MB of L3 cache bolted onto a souped-up Zen 3 processor. So as you can imagine, it won't be long before we have the full scoop on performance.  

Best CPUs for Gaming at a glance (more info below):

Overall Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 5 X
Alternate: Intel Core iK

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 9 X
Alternate: AMD Ryzen 7 X

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 9 X

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i

Budget Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 3 X

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming:

AMD Ryzen 5 G

Choosing the Best Gaming CPU for You

For a list of all processors by performance, check out our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy for CPU comparisons backed by processor benchmarks. We also maintain a list of best CPUs for workstations, for those who frequently tackle high-end content creation, or other tasks that benefit from high core counts. Higher-end chips benefit the most from the best thermal paste, so check out our guide if you're shopping for a new processor. But if you're after the best gaming CPU, you're in the right place.

If your main goal is gaming, you of course can't forget about the graphics card. Getting the best possible gaming CPU won't help you much if your GPU is under-powered and/or out of date. So be sure to check out Best Graphics Cards page, as well as our GPU Benchmarks Hierarchy to make sure you have the right card for the level of gaming you're looking to achieve.      

CPU Gaming Benchmarks

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We rank all the Intel and AMD processors based on our in-depth CPU benchmarks. You can see some of those numbers in the charts above, including overclocked performance results (marked as PBO for AMD processors). 

This group of results comprises only the chips that have passed through our newest test suite, while the tables in our CPU benchmark hierarchy include rankings based on past CPU benchmarks, and also include breakdowns of single- and multi-threaded performance across a broad spate of processors. Finally, the pricing in the charts above represents MSRPs. Given the current state of chip shortages, you likely won't find many of these chips at these prices at retail.

Quick Shopping Tips

When choosing a CPU in , consider the following:

  • You can't lose with AMD or Intel: We recently pointed out that AMD makes better CPUs overall these days in our AMD vs. Intel feature. But so long as you’re considering current-generation parts, the performance debate is basically a wash, particularly when it comes to gaming. Some of the most-expensive mainstream Intel processors do slightly better on gaming, and AMD handles tasks like video editing quicker (thanks largely to extra cores and threads). 
  • For gaming, clock speed is more important than the number of cores: Higher CPU clock speeds translate to snappier performance in simple, common tasks such as gaming, while more cores will help you get through time-consuming workloads faster. In the end, the fastest CPUs of any family of processors have the highest clock speeds. 
  • Budget for a full system: Don't pair a strong CPU with weak storage, RAM and graphics.
  • Overclocking isn’t for everyone: If you want to just get to gaming, it might make more sense to spend $$60 more and buy a higher-end chip, rather than spending money on a higher-end cooler.

Best Gaming CPUs for

1. AMD Ryzen 5 X

Overall Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 6 / 12

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+Strong gaming performance+Strong in single- and multi-threaded workloads+Relatively easy to cool+PCIe +Bundled cooler+Power efficiency+Works with existing series motherboards

Reasons to avoid

-Higher gen-on-gen pricing

The AMD Ryzen 5 X takes the top spot in the gaming PC market with a solid blend of Intel-beating performance in both gaming and application workloads. The six-core thread chip lands at $, a $50 price hike over its previous-gen counterpart, but brings more than enough extra gaming and application performance to justify the premium. The Ryzen 5 X even beats the Intel Core iK at gaming, which is an incredible feat given its price point. Not to mention that it's the most power-efficient desktop PC processor we've ever tested. 

AMD's Zen 3 microarchitecture results in a stunning 19% increase in IPC, which floats all boats in terms of performance in gaming, single-threaded, and multi-threaded applications. In fact, the chip generally matches the gaming performance of its more expensive sibling, the $ Ryzen 7 X. That makes the X an incredibly well-rounded chip that can handle any type of gaming, from competitive-class performance with high refresh rate monitors to streaming, while also serving up more than enough performance for day-to-day application workloads.    

The Ryzen 5 X has a GHz base and GHz boost clock, but with the right cooling and motherboard, you can expect higher short-term boosts. The chip also has a 65W TDP rating, meaning it runs exceptionally cool and quiet given its capabilities (the previous-gen model was 95W). Existing AMD owners with a series motherboard will breathe a sigh of relief as the X drops right into existing series motherboards. You can also drop the chips right into series motherboards. If you need a new motherboard to support the chip, both and series motherboards are plentiful and relatively affordable, with the B lineup offering the best overall value for this class of chip. 

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 X Review

Intel Core iK

Overall Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Rocket Lake

Socket: LGA

Cores/Threads: 6 / 12

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: W

Reasons to buy

+Competitive price-to-performance ratio+Solid gaming performance+Excellent performance in threaded applications+Snappy single-threaded performance+Overclockable

Reasons to avoid

-No bundled cooler-Comparatively high power consumption

At $, Intel's speedy Core iK doesn't claim outright benchmark supremacy over the Ryzen 5 X. Still, you probably won't notice the relatively slight differences in gaming when you pair the chip with a mid-range GPU or play at heightened fidelity settings.

The Core iK is incredibly competitive in both gaming and multi-threaded work and comes with a friendly price tag. Also, keep your eye out for the $ version, the Core iKF, which comes without integrated graphics. If you plan to use a discrete GPU, the KF model is your chip, as it is functionally the same as the standard model but comes at an absolute steal at $ That is if you can't find a Ryzen 5 X in stock, of course.

The K boosts to a peak of GHz on two cores and can maintain a GHz all-core frequency. The chip drops readily into either Z or series motherboards and comes with an unlocked multiplier, meaning you are free to overclock. In fact, after tuning, the K matches the Ryzen 5 X in gaming. It also supports PCIe for the graphics card and a single M.2 slot.

The catch? The K comes with a W PL1 (power Limit 1) rating, the same as the previous-gen K, but has a W PL2, a whopping 69W increase compared to the previous W limit. That means you'll need a capable cooler to deal with the extra heat. Intel's K-series chips don't come with a cooler, so you'll have to budget one in if you pick the K and also be willing to overlook its comparatively high power consumption.

Read: Intel Core iK Review

2. AMD Ryzen 9 X

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 16/32

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: W

Reasons to buy

+Class-leading 16 cores & 32 threads+Overclockable+Higher boost frequencies+Reasonable price-per-core+Power efficiency+PCIe Gen

Reasons to avoid

-Requires beefy cooling-No bundled cooler-Higher gen-on-gen pricing-No integrated graphics

High end desktop processors have long offered the ultimate in performance, as long as you were willing to pay the price. Aside from high MSRPs, the chips also require expensive accommodations, like beefy motherboards and the added cost of fully populating quad-channel memory controllers. Add in the inevitable trade-offs, like reduced performance in lightly-threaded applications and games, and any cost-conscious users who could benefit from the threaded horsepower of a HEDT chip just settle for mainstream offerings.

AMD's Ryzen 9 X, with 16 cores and 32 threads, expands on its predecessors' mission of bringing HEDT-class performance to mainstream motherboards, lowering the bar for entry. The X carries a $ price tag, but that’s downright affordable compared to competing HEDT processors that don't offer the same class of performance.

We generally don't recommend HEDT processors for enthusiasts that are only interested in gaming. Gamers are best served by mainstream processors (with fewer cores and higher clocks) that are often faster in games; the Ryzen 9 X also falls into the same category - AMD's lesser series models are a better value for gamers. However, if you're after a chip and platform that can do serious work seriously fast, but still be nimble enough to deliver high-refresh gameplay at the end of the day, the Ryzen 9 X fits the bill like no other CPU before it.

Read: AMD Ryzen 9 X Review

AMD Ryzen 7 X

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 8 / 16

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: W

Reasons to buy

+Strong gaming performance+Solid single- and multi-threaded performance+IPC gain, boost frequencies+Power efficiency+Overclockable+PCIe Gen4 support+/series compatible

Reasons to avoid

-Price-No bundled cooler-No integrated graphics

The Ryzen 7 X provides a great blend of both gaming and application performance, but our initial concerns with the chip centered around shortage-induced pricing concerns. The Ryzen 7 X has been reliably in stock for nearly a month now and retails for $25 less than the official $ suggested pricing. That reduction goes a long way to addressing our pricing concerns.

The Ryzen 7 X offers the same level of gaming performance as the Ryzen 5 X. If gaming is your primary intention, the Ryzen 5 X is a much better value and remains our top pick for gaming. However, if you're looking for more of an all-rounder that offers a bit more grunt power for applications, the Ryzen 7 X is your chip.

The Ryzen 5 X's suggested pricing lands at a $50 premium over the competing K, but it has sold for ~$25 below that mark for the last month, and it's available now. This chip consumes much less power than the K, resulting in more forgiving cooling requirements and the ability to run the chip on less expensive motherboards that don't require the full-fledged power circuitry needed to extract the best performance from the K. Both of these factors reduce the X's overall platform costs. Additionally, you can step up to or core Ryzen models in the future with and series motherboards.

Read: AMD Ryzen 7 X Review

3. AMD Ryzen 9 X

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 12/24

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+Support for PCIe +Unlocked multiplier+Compatible with series motherboards+Excellent gaming performance +Excellent single- and multi-threaded performance

Reasons to avoid

-No bundled cooler-Higher gen-on-gen pricing-No integrated graphics

If you’re truly only concerned about the best gaming CPU and basic productivity tasks, you should go with the Ryzen 5 X and save yourself some money. But if you’re looking for the uncontested fastest gaming chip on the market, or thinking of getting into game streaming, occasionally edit video, or just like the idea of having more threads available when you need them, AMD’s Ryzen 9 X is an incredible value.

The core thread Ryzen 9 X is rated for a GHz base and GHz boost, but we clocked it in at GHz during our own testing. The X offers the ultimate in gaming performance - it is the uncontested gaming chip on the market, but it is a bit overkill if gaming is all you do. However, if you feel the need for speed in productivity workloads, this chip's 12 cores will chew through those workloads with aplomb. 

There’s also support for PCIe and overclockability to consider. The Ryzen 9 X drops into existing series and series motherboards. You'll need to bring your own cooler, and the bigger the better - cooling definitely has an impact on performance with the higher-end Ryzen processors. However, if you're looking at the no-compromise chip for gaming, this is your chip.

Read:AMD Ryzen 9 X Review

4. Intel Core i

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Rocket Lake

Socket: LGA

Cores/Threads: 6/12

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+Solid gaming and application performance+PCIe +Bundled cooler+Memory overclocking

Reasons to avoid

-Power consumption

The Core i is the best budget chip on the market, largely because AMD's only competing chip comes in the form of the two-year-old Ryzen 5 that can't compete with the more modern In gaming, the $ Core i delivers a blowout victory over the Ryzen 5 that often retails for $ or more. In fact, you can pick up the graphics-less Core iF for $, which is a steal given this level of gaming performance. (Remember, the F will perform the same as the non-F model, but you lose QuickSync.) 

Taken as a whole, the Core i has a better blend of performance throughout our full suite of application tests, too. The 's large lead in single-threaded work is impressive, and its only deficiencies in threaded work come when it is topped with its stock cooler. The roughly matches the in threaded work with a better cooler, even with the power limits strictly enforced, while removing those limits gives the uncontested lead.

The Core i supports the PCIe interface. Additionally, B-series motherboards, which make the best pairing with this chip, support both memory overclocking and lifting the power limits, both of which yield huge dividends with this chip while also giving enthusiasts room to tinker.  You'll have to overlook the higher power consumption if you go with the Core i, especially if you remove the power limits. Intel's stock cooler is also largely worthless for enthusiasts, so you should budget for a better cooler. 

 Read: Intel Core i Review

5. AMD Ryzen 3 X

Budget Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 2

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 4/8

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+Low pricing+Great gaming performance+Solder TIM+Overclocking ceiling+PCIe interface+Power efficient

Reasons to avoid

-Lackluster bundle cooler

The Ryzen 3 X is a hard chip to find because it is simply such a great deal. But if you do manage to nab one anywhere near its $ MSRP, it's impossible to beat at its price point. The chip unlocks a new level of performance for budget gamers with four cores and eight threads that can push low- to mid-range graphics cards to their fullest. This new processor wields the Zen 2 architecture paired with the 7nm process to push performance to new heights while enabling new features for low-end processors, like access to the speedy PCIe interface. The X's four cores tick at a GHz clock rate and boost to GHz, providing snappy performance in lightly threaded applications, like games.

AMD includes a bundled Wraith Spire cooler with the processor. Still, you might consider budgeting in a better low-end cooler to unlock the full performance, particularly if you are overclocking. Speaking of which, the Ryzen 3 X can overclock to the highest all-core frequencies we've seen with a Ryzen series processor, making it a great chip for enthusiasts. Unlike AMD's other current-gen Ryzen 3 processors, you'll need to pair this processor with a discrete GPU, but the low price point leaves extra room in the budget for a more capable graphics card.

You can stick with the value theme and drop this capable chip into existing X of B motherboards, but you'll lose access to the PCIe interface in exchange for a lower price point. Better yet, AMD has its new B motherboards on offer. These new motherboards support the PCIe interface but provide lower entry-level pricing that's a better fit for this class of processor.

Read: AMD Ryzen 3 X Review

6. AMD Ryzen 5 G

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 6/12

Base Frequency: GHz

Top Boost Frequency: GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+Stellar price-to-performance ratio+Faster Zen 3 CPU cores+Passable p, solid p+Excellent power consumption and efficiency+Great overclocking headroom+Bundled cooler+Compatible with some AM4 motherboards

Reasons to avoid

-PCIe connectivity

The Ryzen 5 G comes to market during the worst GPU shortage in history, so many users will upgrade to this chip and use its potent integrated graphics for gaming until GPU pricing improves. The Ryzen 5 G lives up to that bill, too, stepping into the arena as the new value champ for APUs, which are chips that come with strong enough integrated graphics that they don't require a discrete GPU for light gaming, albeit at lowered quality settings.

At $, the Ryzen 5 G gives you 96% of the gaming performance on integrated graphics than its more expensive sibling, the $ Ryzen 7 G, but for 30% less cash. That makes it the best value  APU on the market. As long as you're willing to sacrifice fidelity and resolution, and keep your expectations in check, the Ryzen 5 G's Vega graphics have surprisingly good performance in gaming. The G's Vega graphics served up comparatively great x gaming across numerous titles, but options become more restricted at p. Of course, you can get away with p gaming, but you'll need to severely limit the fidelity settings with most titles.

With eight cores and 16 threads that operate at a GHz base and boost up to GHz, the Ryzen 5 G also offers solid performance for its price point in standard desktop PC applications. The chip also comes with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler, sweetening the value prop, and drops into existing series and some series motherboards, though support on the latter will vary by vendor.

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 G Review

If your budget is tight and you're looking to build a system for modest gaming, you should check out our Best Cheap CPUs feature. Some of those chips can deliver passable gaming performance without a graphics card, and their prices start at just $55 (£40).

Deals on the Best CPUs

Whether you're buying one of the best CPUs we listed above or one that didn't quite make the cut, you may find some savings by checking our list of coupon codes, especially our lists of Newegg promo codes and Micro Center coupons.

Sours: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpus,html

Best CPUs for Gaming: October

In our series of Best CPU guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended Gaming CPUs list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing. Numbers in graphs reflect MSRP.

CPU Market Overview, October

As we approach the holiday season, we continue to be in a period between processor launches. Nonetheless, there are two main processor lines to talk about.

Stock of both AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s 11th Gen Rocket Lake processors seems to be healthy, with almost all models now up for sale around MSRP. Find the right processor at the right time, and you may spot a good price or discount, however as stock comes in and out, there are times when a $50 premium might be on the cards for the best processors.

Best CPUs for Gaming October

Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we've got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews.

AnandTech Gaming CPU Recommendations
October
(Prices correct at time of writing)
SegmentRecommendation
The Future ProofAMD Ryzen 7 X (8C)$
The Smart Option for TodayIntel Core iKF (6C)$
Budget-No-ObjectRyzen 9 X (16C)$
For Everything ElseGet a Console
On The HorizonIntel Alder Lake
AMD V-Cache
To see our Best CPUs for Workstations Guide, follow this link:
https://www.anandtech.com/show//best-cpus-for-workstations

The majority of our recommendations aim to hit the performance/price curve just right, with a side nod to power consumption as well.

You can find benchmark results of all of our CPUs tested in our benchmark database:

AnandTech Bench

The Future Proof Smart Money

AMD Ryzen 7 X (8-core, $)

Regardless of the current graphics situation right now, a significant question on all system builders’ minds is if what they buy will last into the future, whether that’s gaming at p or all the way up to 4K with high refresh rates. The best thing about the gaming market is that as you push higher and higher resolutions, the CPU matters less and less, but ultimately it still matters enough to get some minimum performance.

There is also often a discussion about how many cores make sense for gaming – depending on who you talk to, it’s either 4-core, 6-core, or 8-core, or even more, but as always the answer is not always as clear cut as that. Is that processor being suggested meant to only cater for this year, or next as well? Both what you’re playing now and predicting the requirements of future games is tough.

Most modern games can easily chew through four cores, and take advantage of six. When we’re getting up to that level, it also matters about single-core performance too, and so trying to build in some headroom with what you can buy today obviously matters. This is why we’re recommending the Ryzen 7 X.

It has eight high-performance Zen 3 cores, peaking around GHz and all-core around GHz depending on your cooling and settings. It has more than enough cores for today’s games, some headroom for the future, and the single-core performance is mighty fast. Users looking for some more grunt for non-gaming workloads that can chew through cores can spend an extra $ and get an extra four cores, especially if they want to couple gaming with streaming on the same system, however for most the Ryzen 7 X is a good spot for a future-proof system. There is also some room for minor overclocking, if the lifespan needs a little more.

After this, you’ll be looking at a DDR5 build anyway, and in we should see all the wrinkles smoothed out of that market.

The Smart Options for Today

Intel Core iKF (6c/12t $ Newegg)

If the budget doesn’t stretch as far as the $ processor suggested, then stepping back to something more comfortable for today’s workloads brings us to the Core iKF, currently available for $ There’s going to be some extra spend for a cooler as these chips can run warm, but with six high-performance Rocket Lake cores it will blast through any game available today, at high settings, as well as most of next year as well.

The Core i5 could also be used for streaming, if you’re willing to knock down some quality pegs perhaps, but that also depends on the title. Almost every gamer would be happy with the Core iKF sitting in their build, with a potential upgrade to a higher performance Core i9 later down the line, depending on how the market turns with the launch of next-generation Intel processors later this year. In terms of price/performance, the Core iK is a smart choice for today.

The Budget-No-Object Gaming CPU

Ryzen 9 X (16c, $)

Regardless of your personal budget, there is always going to be another user with $6k burning a hole in their pocket ready to splash out on the best system available. At this price point there’s already a big GPU purchase coming, and so the rest of the system has to match, and it has to be the best. Some users might be inclined to go down the high-end desktop route, such as Threadripper, which is great if you need the PCIe lanes. However we’re still waiting for Zen 3 based Threadripper to appear, and we don’t have a release date – so to that end, we’re recommending the Ryzen 9 X as the budget-no-object gaming CPU.

With 16 cores running peak over 5 GHz (it’s technically rated for GHz, but our review sample did MHz), and an all-core frequency around GHz for only watts, the Ryzen 9 will chew any workload going its way, whether that’s gaming or anything else. A CPU of this caliber should be sufficient for a gaming build for the next three years easily, if not more, and the only limit you might come up against is the cost of the GPU you need to buy for it.

Right now, watching a number of journalists that follow prices a lot more closely than we do, anecdotally I’m seeing a considerable number of R9 X+RTX from people who can afford the best, and want the best from their gaming setup. At the end of the day, running at 4K and Hz, the Ryzen 9 might not be any better than a good Core i7 in frame rates, but it gives the space for users to do anything else they want while also playing those games.

For Everything Else

Upgrade what you have, or get a console, if you can

Unfortunately the market is still in shambles when it comes to graphics. Couple the manufacturing issues with the most recent shipping issues, and it’s hard to tell just how many graphics cards are currently sitting in container ships off the coast of California. Users are either holding onto their graphics cards and upgrading everything around them, or are looking to pre-built machines that offer reasonable value to which this guide would be useless anyway.

But if you already have a machine, that’s in reasonable shape, it might be cheaper to hold on to what you have, for now. For those with an older Haswell or Skylake system, perhaps going for the better CPU and selling on your old one is a minor enough upgrade to make a system feel better, and if that nets some extra performance, that could translate into your gaming. It won’t be earth-shattering, but there’s no point plumbing for a new LGA or AM4 system right now only to be left with a mid-range CPU/GPU combination, especially for anyone looking to build brand new for under $ A good $ system is likely to end up with an 8-core Ryzen APU and no discrete graphics, while waiting for another $ for that graphics card.

For everyone else, the days of buying $ gaming systems is pretty much gone. In this instance, if you can find a console, that’s our recommendation. Until this global situation with the semiconductor shortages, raw material prices, and shipping issues solves itself, we might never return to $ gaming systems ever again, especially as developers want to put more and more features into their titles.

On The Horizon: Alder Lake and AMD V-Cache

With Intel launching Rocket Lake at the beginning of the year, and AMD stock returning with the launch of the G APUs, we’re still a month out from either company launching something substantial.

On Intel’s side, at the beginning of the year, Intel teased its next-generation Alder Lake platform, which uses 8 high-performance cores and 8 efficiency cores. Intel said it would launch later in , but didn’t say what date. Intel has said that it is gunning for laptops and desktops, and given a recent presentation to OEM partners, we suspect that actually the desktop is coming first. Intel showed off a desktop-like Alder Lake system in a demonstration at CES, however Intel often uses desktop demonstration units to show off laptop processors as well. There’s also the question around DDR4 vs DDR5, and whether Intel should wait and make Alder Lake a DDR5-only platform on the desktop, or if we will have a mish-mash of DDR4 and DDR5 supported motherboards.


Intel's Alder Lake Demo system from CES

For AMD, we were teased with its new V-Cache technology at Computex in June. This stacked silicon technique allows AMD to add 64 MB of L3 cache per chiplet, allowing for a total of MB on a Ryzen 9 X equivalent. AMD confirmed that it will be launching V-Cache enabled processors on Zen 3 silicon, but also at the same time saying that Zen 4 will be coming out in I fully suspect that we’ll see Zen 3+VCache in production around the end of , with launch in the early part of on the current AM4 platform. Then a fully upgraded AM5 platform for Zen 4 at the end of next year.

If we look at time frames:

AMD Ryzen (Zen): March
AMD Ryzen (Zen+): October (+13mo)
AMD Ryzen (Zen2): July (+15mo)
AMD Ryzen (Zen3): November (+16 mo)
AMD Ryzen XT/ (Zen3+V-Cache): Expected Q1 ?
AMD Ryzen / (Zen4): Expected Q4 ?

Those last two entries are subject to speculation – AMD hasn’t confirmed any names or branding quite yet, and timeframes are our best estimates. On top of all this, we are waiting for Zen 3 based Threadripper to come to the market, which we thought would happen a couple of months ago, but we’re still waiting. While that’s not a gaming product, it’s still desired in some segments of the market for rendering and game development.

One recent idea that might put this AMD timescale into doubt are the recent leaks of AMD server CPUs with V-Cache, which have been coined ‘Milan-X’. We’re seeing leaks about Milan-X today, but nothing regarding Ryzen with V-Cache, which might suggest that AMD is focusing the V-Cache technology on server CPUs first. If that’s the case, there might be a delay to the desktop versions. Just something to think about, for those waiting for V-Cache hardware to hit the market.

The AnandTech CPU Coverage

Our big CPU reviews for the last 12 months have covered all the launches so far, and are well worth a read.

Sours: https://www.anandtech.com/show//best-cpus
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Best CPU for Gaming Gaming Processors to Max Out Your FPS

It's not unusual to begin the search for a great gaming processor for a high-end gaming PC after finding the best graphics cards. It’s not totally unreasonable to prioritize the GPU, as that component ultimately determines which quality settings and resolution you’ll be able to run your games at. But, you can't throw all your time and money into choosing your GPU only to skimp on a CPU. After all, your processor is arguably as important as it dictates how well the rest of your gaming PC runs, and a CPU that's too weak can bottleneck your system, preventing your GPU from even running at its full capacity.

The processor isn’t just known as the ‘central processing unit’ for kicks, it’s in charge of how quickly your whole computer operates from the system memory to the SSDs holding your games – which is why it’s all so important to pick the best gaming CPU for your rig. Unlike graphics cards you’ll likely be swapping in every other generation, the best gaming processors can last for years, so be sure you’re making the right choice you won’t regret in the long term.

Although the market for CPUs boils down to Intel and AMD, each company has myriad offerings, and the market is always changing rapidly. The confusing model numbers don't help much either. To help you figure it all out, here's our rundown of the best CPUs for every type of PC gamer. If you're browsing in the UK, click here to find out where you can find the best CPU for gaming.

TL;DR – These are the Best CPUs for Gaming

1. AMD Ryzen 5 X

Best CPU for Gaming

AMD Ryzen 5 X
Cores: 6 ● Threads: 12 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● L3 Cache: 32MB ● TDP: 65W

Equal parts fast, affordable, and easy to cool, the Ryzen 5 X is a brilliant addition to just about any PC parts list. This processor packs in six cores with multi-threading, so it’s got enough muscle to handle most games and even keep some background streaming action happening. It’ll especially shine in machines that are targeting higher resolution gameplay like p and 4K, where more of the burden is put on the graphics card, but it can still muster some strong performance if you’re going for high-fps gameplay at p.

The processor runs at GHz but can boost up to GHz, and it boasts a solid 32MB of L3 cache to maintain consistently smooth performance through everyday operation. For most gamers, this processor will likely be more than enough to keep you satisfied. And, adding to its value, it only runs at 65 watts and comes with its own cooler to keep those temperatures in check.

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2. Intel Core i

Best Budget CPU for Gaming

Intel Core i
Cores: 6 ● Threads: 12 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics ● Intel Smart Cache: 12MB ● TDP: 65WThe CPU and GPU shortage of the past year may be making it hard to get your hands on AMD and Nvidia parts, but Intel's latest round of CPUs are not only available but actually priced right. You can get the Intel Core i for MSRP, which makes its six cores rather attractive right now.

This CPU has enough might to handle the average gamers needs and can definitely hold up if you're in a GPU-bound scenario. Better still, if you're having trouble getting your hands on a new graphics card, this chip's onboard graphics will let you get your computer up and running even without dedicated graphics. You may even have some luck with light gaming on the integrated Intel UHD Graphics

3. AMD Ryzen 5 G

Best Ultra Cheap CPU for Gaming

AMD Ryzen 5 G
Cores: 6 ● Threads: 12 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● Graphics: Radeon Vega 7 Graphics ● L3 Cache: 4MB ● TDP: 65W

The AMD Ryzen 5 G is your one-stop shop for affordable PC gaming. This processor comes in at just $, yet it’s packing all the processing power and graphics power you need to get up and running for games. That’s because this is an APU that bundles a CPU and GPU onto the same chip.

You’ll get six cores and twelve threads that run at a GHz base clock, easily handling most everyday tasks you throw at them. Meanwhile, the seven Radeon Graphics cores can muster some modest p gaming performance. All of that comes in a 65W power budget that’ll be easy to keep cool for sustained performance.

4. AMD Ryzen 9 X

Best High-End CPU for Gaming

AMD Ryzen 9 X
Cores: 12 ● Threads: 24 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● L3 Cache: 64MB ● TDP: WIt's – who still wants a high-end CPU with a paltry core count in the single digits? With the Ryzen 9 X, you can scoot right into the double digits with 12 cores and 24 threads. This CPU will blast through whatever work you throw at it so you can move right along to gaming. It's unlikely you'll find a game that this CPU can't handle with ease, even if you're playing at p to push the processor to its limits while gaming at high frame rates.

This processor also nets you access to PCIe speeds on X and B motherboards, so you can take advantage of the incredible speeds of PCIe SSDs or high-bandwidth add-in cards. Despite its power, the Ryzen 9 X only has a W TDP, an impressive efficiency AMD has managed to eke out of its 7nm design.

5. Intel Core iK

Best Midrange CPU for Gaming

Intel Core iK
Cores: 6 ● Threads: 12 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics ● Intel Smart Cache: 12MB ● TDP: WIf you don't want to bet the performance of your gaming rig on a budget CPU, the Intel Core iK can meet you in the middle. This CPU costs less than $, and for now, it's actually available at MSRP. This chip also comes with integrated graphics that can help you get your next PC build set up even if you don't have the graphics card yet.

With six cores and 12 threads capable of running at up to GHz, you should be able to get plenty of performance out of this processor. And, if you're finding the CPU is holding you back, you can try to eke even more power out of it as it is an overclockable model. Just make sure you get an adequate CPU cooler if you plan to push the overclocks.

6. AMD Ryzen 7 G

Best APU for Gaming

AMD Ryzen 7 G

Cores: 8 ● Threads: 16 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● Graphics: Radeon Vega 8 Graphics ● L3 Cache: 16MB ● TDP: 65W

If you saw the Ryzen 5 G and liked the sound of it but wanted to ensure you’d get more power, the AMD Ryzen 7 G is the APU for you. Though this one stays at the same 65W TDP as its smaller sibling, AMD has packed in eight cores with multi-threading, and the processor can hit boost clocks up to GHz.

This chip also comes with a little extra oomph in the graphics department thanks to an extra graphics core, bringing the total to eight Radeon Graphics cores. And, where the Rzyen 5 G’s graphics cores run at MHz, the Ryzen 7 G’s graphics cores run at 2,MHz.

7. AMD Ryzen 9 X

Best CPU for Gaming Video Editing

AMD Ryzen 9 X

Cores: 16 ● Threads: 32 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● L3 Cache: 64MB ● TDP: W

When AMD first introduced its Zen architecture, you would have had to turn to its massive Threadripper processors to get a core/thread chip. Now, that's officially mainstream – or enthusiast anyway. The Ryzen 9 X delivers that incredible core count for well under $1, Plus, it keeps those cores fed with information thanks to a hefty 64MB L3 cache.

With this many cores, you'll have no problem recording and streaming your gameplay. And, when it comes to editing, the Ryzen 9 X won't miss a beat. Since the CPU supports PCIe , you'll also be able to take advantage of the fastest SSDs on the market to make loading projects and scrubbing through footage as quick as ever. You won't even need an exotic cooler for this chip, as it only has a W TDP.

8. AMD Ryzen Threadripper X

Best High-End Desktop Processor for Gaming

AMD Ryzen Threadripper X
AMD Ryzen Threadripper X
Cores: 24 ● Threads: 48 ● Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● L3 Cache: 32MB ● TDP: WHave you ever thought that eight CPU cores or 64GB of RAM just wasn’t enough? Well, then a High-End Desktop (HEDT) processor might be just what you’re looking for. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper X is a prime HEDT processor that comes with triple the number of cores found on even what most would call high-end CPUs.

What’s more, it also offers quad-channel memory support for a total of eight sticks of RAM (including ECC) and access to an incredible 88 PCIe lanes, which you can use to install multi-GPU setups and the fastest NVMe SSDs ever made. It also runs games nearly as well as a traditional, mainstream processor and it’s one of the cheaper chips in the HEDT space.

9. AMD Ryzen Threadripper X

Best Streaming Gaming Processor

 AMD Ryzen Threadripper X
AMD Ryzen Threadripper X
Cores: 64 ● Threads:Base Clock: GHz ● Boost Clock: GHz ● L3 Cache: MB ● TDP: WWhile most modern processors have between six and eight cores and call it a day, AMD threw everything at the wall to make the Ryzen Threadripper X a core CPU meant for consumers.

It’s incredibly high core count and astronomic thread count make this processor a rendering juggernaut for video production. This CPU won’t miss a step even if you suddenly decide you want to start streaming or rendering a video in the middle of playing a game.

Where to Get the Best CPU for Gaming in the UK

What's Next for Gaming CPUs

AMD has made a huge splash with its Ryzen CPUs, and they’ve just continued to get better with each generation. With the Ryzen Series, they’re as strong as ever. AMD’s graphics department has also been playing catch up with Nvidia and getting within striking distance. Now, AMD is introducing the latest meeting point of those two product segments with the latest Ryzen Series APUs, which combine AMD’s processing cores with integrated graphics.

These will be coming in the form of the mid-range Ryzen 5 G and the higher-end Ryzen 7 G. Both are set to hit the market later this year on August 5 with the Ryzen 5 G coming in at $ and the Ryzen 7 G at $

For PC builders on a budget, these could be very promising products. Both chips have a TDP of just 65W, making it easy to build a low-power PC around them. And, with their integrated graphics, they can help you get gaming while avoiding the graphics card shortage that has plagued the market for the better part of a year now. For perspective, AMD boasts the Ryzen 7 G averaging 78fps at p in Rogue Company with graphics set to High. So, these could be a solid bet for esports fans.

What to Look in for a CPU for Gaming

Below we've broken down the two types of processors you’ll find online or on store shelves, and some of the key specs you should look for in a gaming processor.

When looking for a gaming CPU, you’ll probably come across two types of processors: mainstream and High-End Desktop (HEDT). Mainstream processors are what you’ll primarily find on store shelves and online catalogs, and these typically include Intel’s Core i3, i5, i7 and, more recently, i9 products as well as AMD Ryzen 3, 5, and 7-series chips.

HEDT processors are less prevalent and are easy enough to spot. All Intel HEDT CPUs come with an ‘X’ or ‘XE’ suffix at the end of their model names, meanwhile, AMD HEDT chips all fall under the Ryzen Threadripper brand.

\What’s the difference between a mainstream processor and HEDT chip? Mainstream processors typically only support dual-channel memory – for a maximum of four DIMMs up to 64GB – and, thus far, a maximum of 24 PCIe lanes, which enable high-speed connections to graphics cards, NVMe solid-state drives, and Thunderbolt 3 ports. HEDT processors, on the other hand, are physically larger to make room for more cores, while bringing memory support up to quad-channel – up to eight sticks for a total of GB of RAM – and a maximum of 64 PCIe lanes.

So, if you have the money and the desire to build the ultimate gaming PC, HEDT is the way to go. But that’ll probably be overkill for most users, so a mainstream processor should be what most users need.

Most users should aim for at least a quad-core processor

The next thing you should be mindful of is how many cores a processor has. Cores are essentially the part of the CPU that receives instructions to perform calculations or actions, so the more cores you have the more you can do. Most entry-level processors should have two to four cores, four to six cores on mid-range chips, and at least six or eight cores on the highest-end CPUs.

How many cores do you need for gaming? Most users should aim for at least a quad-core processor like the AMD Ryzen 5 G or the hexa-core Intel Core i Most modern games should run well, but if you’re playing anything with a high character count or an abundance of in-game physics—i.e. anything from the real-time strategy genre—you might see frame rates improve with a hexa- or octa-core processor.

Processor threads are far less important for gaming, but they help with multi-tasking and multi-threaded workloads. You’ll often see a number of threads right next to cores on the spec sheet of a CPU. Usually, the number of threads will be twice as high as the core count and they basically act as schedulers, telling the CPU core what to do next so that there’s no downtime in between tasks.

This process is known as Hyper-threading on Intel’s platform and multi-threading on AMD-powered systems. Despite the different names, they achieve the same goal, whether that be making sure your next song streams in the background or your video renders as quickly as possible.

And that’s everything you need to know about processors for now, but we’ll be updating this list again soon enough. has already been a plenty interesting as AMD has finally introduced the world’s first 7nm Ryzen 3rd Generation processors—with a core mainstream processor still on the way—meanwhile, Intel is poised to introduce 10nm Ice Lake CPUs by the end of the year as well.

Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

Sours: https://www.ign.com/articles/the-best-cpus-for-gaming
What's The Best GAMING Processor In 2021?

The best CPU for gaming in powerful processors for your next rig

The best CPU for gaming has one very important job above all your other PC components, such as the best graphics card for gaming and best RAM for gaming, which is to act as your computer's beating heart (and brain) to fulfill just about any task you can ask of it. 

When considering the best CPU for gaming, there are two major forces in the processor world, AMD Ryzen, and Intel Core, who have been locked in an arms race seemingly since time began. Regardless of the manufacturer, when it comes to gaming on PC, you need to ensure that your chipset is fast enough to keep up with the demand of modern games. That comes down to factors such as core count, clock speed, and hyperthreading. 

Don't be fooled into thinking that you need the absolute bleeding edge of processors in order to have one of the best CPUs for gaming. Indeed, while having more cores and threads is going to be useful for all manner of tasks (such as video rendering and streaming), the standard nowadays is 6-core with 8 threads, which is more than enough for even the most CPU-intensive titles on the market. 

As a frame of reference, the newest processor generation from each company is the AMD Ryzen series and Intel Core 11th generation. However, you definitely don't need the newest chipsets in order to game confidently (a processor will typically be upgraded every years). We personally recommend going after a high-end previous generation CPU and then spending that extra money on a new graphics card, as an older GPU is going to bottleneck your system far more than a year or two old chipset will. 

1. AMD Ryzen 5 x

The best overall CPU for gaming

Specifications

Cores: 6-core (12 threads)

Base clock speed: GHz

Max clock speed (Turbo): GHz

Reasons to buy

+Outperforms 10th-gen Intel chipsets +Holds its own against 11th-gen i5 +Competitively priced 

Reasons to avoid

-It's still mid-tier for the line

Want the best CPU for gaming? According to benchmarks, the x fits the bill nicely. It's a remarkable feat of engineering - in terms of pure gaming performance, it outshines all of the 10th-generation Intel Core line, as well as holding its own well against the i and ik. Because they're the processor's direct competition (and because Intel's ruled the roost for a long time), that's pretty significant.

This success comes down to how effectively AMD has managed to optimize their chipsets for modern gaming performance, with that mantra being the sole intention of these processors out of the gate. 

The long and short of it? For the asking price, you can't get any better processor for gaming in

2. AMD Ryzen 9 x

The best high-end CPU for gaming

Specifications

Cores: core (24 threads)

Base clock speed: GHz

Max clock speed: GHz

Reasons to buy

+Unparalleled single-core performance +A powerhouse for gaming+Low power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-Overclocking doesn't scale well

With its staggering core (24 threads) architecture, it's no surprise that this Ryzen processor is an absolute beast for just about any task put in front of it - especially high-end gaming in 4K at exceedingly high frame rates (when paired with a capable graphics card, of course). 

With that said, if you're only interested in a processor from a raw gaming perspective, then the x is absolute overkill. Indeed, how this chipset handles everything else - such as video rendering/encoding in high resolutions - tips it over the edge. 

If you're in the creative field and need a real workhorse that can effortlessly game as well (and you've got the money), there's no doubt that this is the one to get. In terms of speed, it's the best CPU for gaming. 

3. Intel Core iK

The best current-gen Intel processor for gaming

Specifications

Cores: 6 Core (12 Threads)

Base clock speed: GHz

Max clock speed: GHz

Reasons to buy

+Similar performance for gaming with i7 +Affordable for a 6-core (12 thread) CPU +Holds its own against Ryzen 5 models

Reasons to avoid

-Harder to find than other 11th gen i5s 

Gaming in Quad HD (p) in high refresh rates or 4K60 on PC doesn't need to be crazily expensive, and you can sure save a few bucks by opting for a just-as-capable 11th-gen i5 as opposed to an i7. Or an i9 monster, for that matter. The higher clock speed on the iK means it can hold its own effectively against Ryzen alternatives and some of the 11th generation i7 on CPUs (on a base level) from a purely gaming perspective as well. 

That's to say nothing of the overclocking potential afforded by said-higher clock speed, with the potential of being able to be dialled up all the way to GHz. If you're after a faster-than-light setup for gaming at a competitive price, there isn't much better from Rocket Lake's revisions for the money. 

4. Intel Core iK

Rock solid gaming performance for a great price

Specifications

Cores: 8 Core (8 Threads)

Base clock speed : GHz

Max clock speed : GHz

Reasons to buy

+Fast performance +Lifespan of at least 4 - 5 years +Still high-end in

Reasons to avoid

-No hyperthreading 

We've personally sworn by the ik since its introduction, having used it in one of our own recent desktop builds. At the same time, one of our current laptops, a Razer Blade 15 Base, also utilizes a 6-core mobile version of the chipset (H), and it's absolutely bulletproof. 

The best thing about the k is not only its availability on the market but also its price in ; it's a significant amount cheaper - and easier to find - than the current 11th generation. And although Intel opted not to pursue hyperthreading with this particular batch of processors (instead preferring to bump the core count up), that still results in faster gaming performance in some instances than its 10th-gen rival. 

In terms of raw performance, it's not going to be the CPU which bottlenecks - or restricts - your system's full potential either. That will instead be factors such as limited RAM and a low-end graphics card. Basically, it's a great foundation on which to build your rig.

5. AMD Ryzen 9 X

The once insurmountable becomes more obtainable

Specifications

Cores: 12

Threads: 24

Base Clock: GHz

Boost Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes, though PBO is better

L3 Cache: 64MB

TDP: W

PCIe lanes: 16

Reasons to buy

+Great gaming performance+Brilliant for non-gaming requirements+Good cooler included

Reasons to avoid

-Limited overclocking

Bursting out of the latest crop of AMD's biggest and best processors, this third-generation CPU has quickly become one of our favorites. While it may not be the blisteringly fastest of all gaming-focused CPUs, it's right up there when optimized properly and with the right settings and resolutions ticked. Outside of gaming, it's pretty much the fastest, however, which is an excellent bonus.

The Ryzen 9 X demands a robust price tag but the cost still bags you a good cooler (Wraith Prism) and you get 50 percent more cores and threads. This means that there's an excellent extra boost in performance on busy workloads away from gaming like 3D rendering and video editing.

 However, if you're only worried about gaming - and that's likely given you're on this page - the trade-off you have to endure (around an 8 percent slower gaming performance according to our friends at PC Gamer) only demonstrates itself and makes itself known on lower settings and a lower resolution with the fastest GPU available (RTX Ti).

This kind of difference may well only be of concern if you're a pro gamer aiming for the stratospheric realms of cfps at lower quality, however, for everyone else, this is a fine CPU that will deliver excellent performance.

6. Intel Core i9 K

The best high-end Intel CPU for gaming

Specifications

Cores: 10

Threads: 20

Base Clock: GHz

Turbo Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes, GHz typical

L3 Cache: 20MB

TDP: 95W

PCIe lanes: 16

Reasons to buy

+Supreme performance+Can be overclocked

Reasons to avoid

-Pretty expensive-Needs a Z motherboard

If one is being ruthlessly realistic and honest, then the i9 K will be far and away too much for most people and most builds but for those chasing the best. 

A small downside is that you'll need a Z motherboard to go with this processor - though you might well know this if you're considering one of these beasts, and some effort and attention to cooling and a very capable power source will be most welcome. 

Pure performance, power, and capability are here in abundance, and this will probably see you right for a good long while (you'd hope so with the price of admission).

7. AMD Ryzen 7 X

An excellent mid-range gaming CPU

Specifications

Cores: 8

Threads: 16

Base Clock: GHz

Turbo Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes, GHz

L3 Cache: 32MB

TDP: 65W

PCIe lanes: 16

Reasons to buy

+Brilliant performance to value ratio+Solid cooler included+Excellent multi-use CPU

Reasons to avoid

-Limited overclocking

Slightly in the shadow of its bigger brother the X, the Ryzen 7 X is still brilliant. It is basically as fast in games and still offers all the other benefits of AMD's Zen 2 architecture - some of which might become useful during the coming years. 

The X is a sensible choice, considering its price tag, you bag an extra Wraith Prism cooler with an 8-core/thread CPU. Compared to a close Intel rival - Intel's iK - our friends at PC Gamer tell us that it's about 9 percent slower in gaming performance, though this is only visible again at those lower settings with a mega GPU like an RTX Ti.

 If you go for an appropriate graphics card companion like AMD's RX XT, the difference will be basically negligible and meaningless. For other demanding tasks and applications like 3D rendering and video editing, you'll receive a nice boost of 18 percent, so all of that combines to make a seriously good package.

 Purely for gaming, you might pass on the X, but taking everything into account and its value for money, it is definitely one of the best CPUs you can buy right now.


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Sours: https://www.gamesradar.com/best-cpu-for-gaming-pc/

Processor gaming amd best

The best CPU for gaming in

The best CPU for gaming is actually a component you can buy today. After an extended period where you couldn't buy the processor you might want, it's generally possible to get your pick of the bunch. There have even been actual deals on some of the top CPUs too. Shocking, I know.

Every chip on this list has been tested through our intense CPU benchmarking suite on our PC Gamer test rig. This includes 3D and video rendering workloads as well and, most importantly, gaming performance.  

Right now, our favorite CPU is the Ryzen 9 X, along with much of AMD's current impressive Zen 3 chips, which give you the best performance and pricing combined. The release of Intel's Rocket Lake chips means we've got a bunch of CPUs of varying quality, with its flagship Core i9 K being a bit of an expensive letdown whereas the less powerful Core i5 K is the best value we've seen for Intel CPUs. But we've got another new generation of Intel chips on the way, with Alder Lake potentially capable of shaking off AMD's grip on the high end of the best CPU list.

Make sure you check ourbest gaming motherboard list if you are planning to do a brand new build.

The best CPU for gaming

1. AMD Ryzen 9 X

The best CPU for gaming right now

Specifications

Cores: 12

Threads: 24

Base Clock: GHz

Boost Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes

L3 Cache: 64 MB

TDP: W

PCIe lanes: 20

Reasons to buy

+The best CPU for gaming+Awesome performance throughout+Fast and efficient architecture

Reasons to avoid

-Needs a proper 3rd-party cooler

AMD's Zen architecture has improved with each generation, but the fact that AMD managed to knock out a 19 percent IPC improvement with Zen 3 is nothing short of staggering. The key takeaway for us as gamers is that this improvement means that AMD can now stand toe to toe with Intel when it comes to gaming. Honestly, there's so little between these two now that anyone claiming otherwise is delusional. 

Whatever resolution you are gaming at, this processor can handle it and keep your graphics card of choice fed with many juicy frames. The fact that this is a core, thread monster means that it can cope with anything else you throw at it as well. So if you have dreams of 3D rendering, video editing, or any other serious tasks, you'll know that you have the raw grunt to handle it. The fact that it won't hold you back when gaming makes it even sweeter. 

The only real downside is the pricing and the dropping of the Wraith cooler—don't forget to factor in when you buy. You do get what you pay for, though, and this is a phenomenal chip for gaming and anything else you might want to do. 

If you're in the market for absolute power, you could step up to the Ryzen 9 X, which gives you 16 cores and 32 threads. However, it costs $ more, and for gaming purposes and even most content creation chores, the X is more than sufficient.

Read our full AMD Ryzen 9 X review.

2. Intel Core i5 K

Intel's best gaming CPU is a great value proposition

Specifications

Cores: 6

Threads: 12

Base clock: GHz

Turbo clock: GHz (single core)

Overclocking: Yes, GHz typical all-core

L3 cache: 12 MB

TDP: W

PCIe lanes: 20

Reasons to buy

+Undercuts X on price+High-end gaming performance+Solid multithreading chops

Reasons to avoid

-iGPU is still quite weak

The Core i5 K is my favorite chip of the new Rocket Lake generation, which marks a nostalgic return to the old days of Intel CPU launches. The top processor was always a decent halo product, but the i5 was where the price/performance metrics really sold a new generation. Okay, with the K being a frustrating chip, maybe it's not a total return to the old days, but the K is still an outstanding six-core, thread gaming processor.

It's also incredibly affordable too, with a price tag well underneath the Ryzen 5 X and performance figures that have it trading blows with AMD's otherwise excellent Zen 3 chip. The Cypress Cove 14nm backport may have made it relatively power-hungry, but that doesn't stop it from being a great gaming CPU and one that delivers a lot of processor silicon for not a lot of cash.

And PCIe support on Intel series motherboards. Though that is of dubious benefit at the moment as our testing has not so far gone well with supported PCIe SSDs. That will hopefully change, but even so, this is still one of the best cheap gaming CPUs around.

Read our full Intel Core i5 K review.

3. AMD Ryzen 5 X

AMD's top affordable, and available, Zen 3 CPU today

Specifications

Cores: 6

Threads: 12

Base Clock: GHz

Boost Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes

L3 Cache: 32 MB

TDP: 65 W

PCIe lanes: 20

Reasons to buy

+Awesome gaming performance+Great value for money+Decent overclocking potential+Wraith Stealth included

Reasons to avoid

-$50 more than X X came with a better cooler

When it comes to gaming, everything that's great about the X rings true for this more affordable Zen 3 chip as well. There's nothing between any of the Ryzen chips in games, which means you'll hit the same frame rates with this chip as you will our number one pick. Which is incredible when you think about it—top-tier performance from the most affordable Zen 3 CPU? We'll say yes to that every single day.

This does have half the core count of that top chip, rolling in as it does with six cores and 12 threads. However, this is only an issue with those more serious workloads, which is more than sufficient for more reasonable stuff. You could argue that gaming could go beyond the threads we have here, but there's no evidence that is the case so far, and that's even though the next-gen consoles are rocking 8-cores and threads. 

The Ryzen 5 X also bucks the Ryzen family's trend by shipping with a Wraith Stealth cooler, so you don't have to drop extra money on a third-party chiller. You don't need to, but if you do, you'll hit higher clocks for longer and also open up the wonderful world of overclocking, which could make it worthwhile. This is a decent little overclocker, and while it won't affect gaming much, it'll help in other areas nicely.

Read our full AMD Ryzen 5 X review.

4. Intel Core i5 F

A great budget-friendly option for Intel builds

Specifications

Cores: 6

Threads: 12

Base Clock: GHz

Turbo Clock: GHz

Overclocking: No

L3 Cache: 12 MB

TDP: 65 W

PCIe lanes: 16

Reasons to buy

+Affordable mid-range performance+Cooler included in box

Reasons to avoid

-Doesn't support overclocking

The Core i5 F is a surprisingly exciting option. It's slightly faster than the previous-gen Core i5 , but that F-suffix means it ditches the Intel integrated graphics completely. That's not a problem for gamers unless you want to use QuickSync, although Nvidia's NVENC is arguably better anyway. Overall, it's an excellent budget-friendly choice that doesn't cost much more than a Core i3 part.

There are other compromises, like the locked multiplier—no overclocking here. But you can save money and grab an H motherboard. At least you get a cooler in the box, something we'd like to see as an option with every CPU. Most boards will happily run the F at GHz, so don't worry about the low base clock.

While the i5 F may not be as fast as other CPUs in multithreaded tests, in our gaming suite, it's tied with AMD's last-gen X. Future games may start to push beyond its 6-core capabilities, but probably not before you're ready for an upgrade. Right now, the i5 F is plenty fast and extremely affordable.

5. AMD Ryzen 7 X

A great mid-range chip for serious work and gaming

Specifications

Cores: 8

Threads: 16

Base Clock: GHz

Boost Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes

L3 Cache: 32 MB

TDP: W

PCIe lanes: 20

Reasons to buy

+The same great Zen 3 architecture+Awesome gaming performance+PCIe support

Reasons to avoid

-Can fall behind Intel in gaming at this price

If the Intel Core i7 doesn't exist in a world, this would be an incredible chip and would have made it into our top three recommendations, no sweat. It's excellent for gaming, producing the exact figures that can be seen for the X and X. Still, it also appears to hit the sweet spot in configuration terms, with its eight cores and 16 threads surely seeing it right for the future, seeing as that is what the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 are rocking. 

Unfortunately for AMD, Intel does exist, and the blue company's Core i7 K matches this in plenty of the more critical metrics but has this chip beat in one significant way—value for money. This is faster in serious tasks, and if that's what you've got an eye on, then buy this and don't give it a second thought. But if you're mainly looking at gaming, Intel does pretty much the same but costs less. And that's hard for AMD to get away from. 

Competition aside, this is still Zen 3 strutting its stuff, and it does that impressively well. Throw in the support for PCIe as well, and this is a forward-looking chip that will last you for years. 

Read the full AMD Ryzen 5 X review.

6. Intel Core i9 K

The Comet Lake flagship is still a powerful option

Specifications

Cores: 10

Threads: 20

Base Clock: GHz

Turbo Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes, GHz typical

L3 Cache: 20 MB

TDP: 95 W

PCIe lanes: 16

Reasons to buy

+High performance gaming+Overclocking potential

Reasons to avoid

-Older Comet Lake architecture

Intel's top Comet Lake gaming chip, the Core i9 K, lost a lot of what made it special with the release of Zen 3. When the K was unveiled, it came with the reassurance that it was the world's fastest gaming processor, but that's not a claim it can hold on to anymore, with plenty of games handing wins to AMD's Ryzen X. It's still a cracking gaming chip, don't get us wrong, but it traded on being the very best, and once that went, it lost a lot of its shine.

What hasn't overshadowed it is Intel's latest release. The Rocket Lake i9 K is almost as powerful overall, but it's more expensive and still misses out on the multi-threaded side.

The K is still overkilled for most cases, apart from possibly at the very high-end and for serious workloads; AMD chips make more sense, but there's still a bizarre charm to this CPU. You probably don't need it, but if you build a machine around it, you know it won't be this chip that's holding you back.

The Core i9 K is the first time Intel has squeezed ten processing cores into its mainstream lineup. Given it's capable of hitting GHz (however briefly), it represents an impressive outing for the 14nm technology Intel has been tied to for so long. Gaming still benefits from high clock speeds, which still delivers; it doesn't make much sense given the competition.

You'll need to invest in a Z motherboard to go along with this chip and some serious cooling (a decent PSU wouldn't go amiss either). Don't be fooled by that reasonable 95W TDP, as it'll push way beyond that, especially if you're thinking of exploring its overclocking chops. 

Read the full Intel Core i9 K review.

7. AMD Ryzen 7 G

The best chip with integrated graphics

Specifications

Cores: 8

Threads: 16

Base Clock: GHz

Turbo Clock: GHz

Overclocking: Yes, GHz typical

L3 Cache: 16 MB

TDP: 65 W

PCIe lanes: 16

Reasons to buy

+The best Integrated GPU+Excellent thermals and power consumption+Strong all round performance

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks PCIe Needs fast memory to be at its best-Expensive for an APU

AMD's APUs are the best processors to drop into your rig if you're not going to use a discrete graphics card, but still want a modicum of gaming performance out of your system. And the AMD Ryzen 7 G is the best of the latest Zen 3 based chips to deliver that.
Unlike previous APU offerings from AMD, the Ryzen 7 G is far more of a jack-of-all-trades chip because we are talking about an eight-core Zen 3 CPU component with 16 threads and a powerful Vega-based GPU to back it up. That makes this a chip that's almost up there with the best of the Ryzen series CPUs in processing power, but with the graphical grunt to deliver p gaming on low settings in some seriously demanding titles.

In a GPU drought, that makes the G a tantalizing APU as it will get your new gaming PC up and running. At the same time, you wait for discrete graphics cards to be available and without compromising too heavily on your system performance in the meantime.

The issue is that, as the G is a monolithic design rather than chiplet, there are some performance differences compared to the standard Ryzen 7 X, a straight eight-core, thread CPU without graphics. It also lacks PCIe support to run the fastest SSDs and demands high-speed memory to make the most of its GPU power. But it's still an excellent all-around AMD processor and a handy option when graphics cards are still so rare.

Read our complete AMD Ryzen 7 G review.

Best gaming PC | Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse
Best gaming chair | Best VR headset | Best graphics cards 

The best CPU for gaming FAQ

How do you test CPUs?

While gaming resolutions run from p to 4K, we largely test at p. This will show the most significant difference in gaming performance you're likely to see and pushes the CPU into the spotlight instead of the GPU—an Nvidia GeForce RTX Ti, in our case.

We've also used high-end G.Skill Trident Z and Flare X DDR CL14 memory on all modern platforms, in either 2x 8GB or 4x 8GB configurations. Again, this is to eliminate any potential bottlenecks and let the CPUs reach their maximum performance. Liquid cooling was used on all CPUs, though for stock performance, we saw zero difference between that and the box coolers on those parts that included cooling.

The motherboards used in testing include the MSI MEG Z Godlike for Intel LGA, MSI MEG X Godlike, and Gigabyte X Aorus Master for third-gen Ryzen and MSI X Gaming M7 for first and second-gen Ryzen CPUs. AMD's APUs were tested on an MSI BI Pro AC motherboard, as we needed something with video ports. For the HEDT platforms (not that we recommend those any longer for gaming purposes—or most other tasks), we used an Asus X Extreme Encore for Intel LGA, Asus ROG Zenith Extreme for TR4, and Zenith II Extreme for TRX

AMD CPU reviews:

Intel CPU reviews:

What motherboard is right for my CPU?

The latest AMD Ryzen CPUs still use the AM4 socket and are only compatible with X, B, and A motherboards (oh, and B and X motherboards). 

Whereas Intel's Comet Lake chips use the LGA socket, Rocket Lake has introduced new series boards. Unless you're desperate for the still slightly awkward Intel PCIe solution which the latest Intel chips offer, go with either a Z or cheaper B motherboard at this point for Intel. 

Is Intel or AMD better?

This is a rather loaded question. Right now, the consensus is that AMD has superior CPU technology, with its chiplet design allowing it to produce processors with far higher core counts at prices and thermal levels that Intel cannot match.

However, Intel has historically been better for gaming workloads, with an all-important advantage in single-core performance and instructions-per-clock (IPC). That has slowly been eroded by AMD's subsequent Zen architectures, to the point where there is little difference between them in gaming terms.

The other point to make is that most games are GPU-limited, which means the graphics card is the limiting factor in terms of performance, and you would likely see the same essential frame rates with either CPU manufacturer when a discrete graphics card is used.

Should I overclock my CPU?

The honest answer is: no. Overclocking your processor is not necessarily the risky move it once was, but equally, the benefits of doing so have drastically dropped in recent times. When we're talking about gaming performance, having a slightly higher clocked CPU can make a bit of a difference, but arguably your graphics card will be the part that limits the speed of your system.

There is also the point that overclocked CPUs create more heat, require more intensive and expensive cooling solutions, need those coolers to work harder, and are, therefore, often louder.

For us, overclocking your CPU to gain real-world performance benefits is not something we'd recommend most PC gamers do.

Jargon buster

Caching - A small segment of high-speed memory dedicated to storing and executing frequently used commands/instructions to speed up software execution. CPUs contain caches designated as Level 1, 2, and 3, with L1 being the fastest and smallest and L3 being the slowest and largest.

Core - Modern CPUs can contain anywhere from two to 70+ cores (in supercomputers), though CPUs housed in most consumer machines will generally carry between four and eight, with AMD's latest CPUs sporting up to 16 cores.

Clock speed - The speed at which a CPU can execute instructions, measured in hertz. A processor with a GHz clock speed can process billion instructions a second. Clock speed is one of the most critical factors for determining performance in games and workload functions.

Heat sink - A cooling solution for PCs that utilize fans or liquid cooling (active) or aluminum radiators (passive) that rely on convection to regulate a component's temperature.

Hyper-Threading (SMT) - Intel terminology for a tech that allows a processor to handle two sets of instructions 'threads' simultaneously. AMD and other CPU vendors call this SMT, Simultaneous Multi-Threading.

Socket type LGA (Land Grid Array), PGA (Pin Grid Array), or BGA (Ball Grid Array) - The way a CPU interfaces with the socket on a motherboard. LGA is used on Intel sockets with pins as part of the socket. AMD's AM4 solution, PGA, has the processors' pins, which fit into holes on the socket. AMD's Threadripper CPUs also use LGA sockets. A BGA socket is when the processor is permanently soldered to the motherboard, typically on a laptop.

TDP - Thermal design power, the maximum amount of heat a system or chip can produce that the attendant cooling system is designed to deal with under workload. This term can apply to PCs as a whole, GPUs, CPUs, or nearly any other performance component that generates heat and is in large part an indicator of how much power a part draws.

Thread - A thread refers to a series of CPU instructions for a specific program. Older CPUs and SMT disabled run one thread per core, but most modern AMD and Intel CPUs can simultaneously run two threads, sharing some resources (e.g., cache). 

Turbo Boost - Intel technology that allows processors to run at higher clock speeds under demanding loads. AMD also supports turbo or boost clocks, and we use the terms interchangeably regardless of CPU vendor.

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.

Sours: https://www.pcgamer.com/best-cpu-for-gaming/
What's The Best GAMING Processor In 2021?

Best processors the best CPUs for your PC from Intel and AMD

Let one of the best processors of do the heavy lifting whether for gaming, video editing, or multi-tasking at work. Sure, lesser chips might see you through the most basic tasks, but it’s only their most powerful and efficient counterparts that can really handle your more demanding computing needs (and stay cool under pressure).

As your computer’s brain, a CPU is responsible for executing all its commands, tasks and processes. So, going for a mediocre one and hoping for the best, especially if you expect it to perform intensive tasks, isn’t going to cut it – no matter if you’re building a new PC or upgrading your current one. And, thanks to Intel and AMD still battling it out in the CPU arena, we have a lot more excellent options at more affordable prices.

With chips like the Comet Lake-S and the Ryzen more powerful and more affordable than ever before, you no longer have to settle for less or the second best if you’re on a budget. To make it easier for you to choose, we found the best processors on the market for playing the best PC games, getting through your creative workloads, and more.

What's the best processor for gaming?

One of the best processors on the market today, the AMD Ryzen 7 X, combines excellent single-core performance and a massively improved multi-core one with its low power consumption and a fairly approachable price. And, it’s a strong option for gaming.

Scratch that: it’s arguably the best processor for gaming. It even beats out the Intel Core iK in Total War: Three Kingdoms, a game optimized for Intel hardware, by 7%. Based on AMD’s 7nm manufacturing process, its Core Die (CCD) design allows for one Core Complex per die. That means every Ryzen 7 X’s CCX has 8 cores, each of which direct access to 32MB of L3 cache, resulting in a breathtaking gaming performance.

Best CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 X

Best CPU for high-end gaming

Specifications

Cores: 12

Threads: 24

Base clock: GHz

Boost clock: GHz

L3 cache: 64MB

TDP: W

Reasons to buy

+Amazing performance+A new single-core champion+Same power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-Price went up-No included cooler

The AMD Ryzen 9 X brings the biggest gen-on-gen jump in a single performance in years, making it a terrific upgrade. This latest release from AMD is not just a stronger processor across the board. It’s also an incredibly powerful processor for gaming and creative work full stop. The fact that you won’t need a new motherboard is just a nice perk.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 X

Best high-end CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 X

A mainstream CPU moonlights as an HEDT processor

Specifications

Cores: 16

Threads: 32

Base clock: GHz

Boost clock: GHz

L3 cache: 64MB

TDP: W

Reasons to buy

+Performance powerhouse+Cheaper than HEDT+PCIe

Reasons to avoid

-Needs extra cooling-Limited gaming advantage

The highest tier in the Ryzen series is the performance powerhouse you’re looking for, if you want something for heavily threaded computer work. Besides high-end gaming, the Ryzen 9 also blasts through processing tasks. It’s expensive, but for a mainstream processor that can go toe-to-toe with HEDT processors, that’s hardly a surprise. And, it’s also well worth the price, if you need its level of performance. Just remember that it may take a bit to keep cool so be sure to follow AMD’s guidance.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 X

Best mid-range CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 X

Top performance on a budget

Specifications

Cores: 6

Threads: 12

Base clock: GHz

Boost clock: GHz

L3 cache: 32MB

TDP: 95W

Reasons to buy

+Excellent performance+Affordable+Includes a cooler

Reasons to avoid

-Still 6-cores

With more threads than the Intel Core iK, this mid-range graphics card delivers impressive multi-threading performance. However, the AMD Ryzen 5 X doesn’t just stop there: it takes that budget-minded stage of performance to a new level, with its increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance and a higher clock speed while staying at the same price point. It also stays competitive in even the most intense single-threaded applications.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 X

Best entry-level CPU: AMD Ryzen 3

PC gaming just got cheaper

Specifications

Cores: 4

Threads: 8

Base clock: GHz

Boost clock: GHz

L3 cache: 16MB

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+Excellent performance+Affordable+Doesn't suck up much power

Reasons to avoid

-Not as fast as the X-May bottleneck high-end GPUs

Budget-minded consumers who missed out on all the 3rd-generation Ryzen excitement the first time will appreciate AMD’s latest attempt in the entry-level sphere. There’s no denying that the AMD Ryzen 3 is appealingly cheap, but it does so without compromising on performance. In fact, this chip delivers a performance that could almost rival that of processors double its price, without sucking up much power. And, it’s an excellent choice for budget gamers who are looking for something that can handle p gaming.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3

Best gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 X

Ryzen to the top

Specifications

Cores: 8

Threads: 16

Base clock: GHz

Boost clock: GHz

L3 cache: 32MB

TDP: W

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-processors

Now discussing:

With a glass of tincture, I relaxed a little. Karpo suggested walking naked so that the tan would lie evenly, he took off his swimming trunks, Kamran was looking at him. Too. I gave up too, and then we drank some more.



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