Gaming is something that makes us forget the worries of the future and past, making us live in the present and enjoy it. The gaming industry is bigger than movies, music, and TV shows combined, and it is growing at a rapid speed. So, if you’re a PC gamer, you’re always looking for the best hardware for your gaming rig to help it perform well in both single-player and multiplayer games. Because in the end, it’s the frame rates that matter and could end up helping you get better kill streaks.
Today, we are going to find the best CPU that can be used for gaming. Besides this, we are also going to look at which CPU features are worth your money and which ones are just a gimmick for your usage.
Why Having a Top of the Line CPU Isn’t Worth Spending Money for Gaming?
When you are looking to purchase the next CPU for your gaming computer, there are two main factors that you need to think about in the world of high-end processors such as AMD and Intel. These two companies have locked their horns since the start of the computational era. But when it comes to finding the best suit for your gaming machine, the manufacturer’s name doesn’t matter. What you need to know is that the chipset that you are buying is fast enough to handle multiple tasks at a given point. On the other hand, it must not pack so much power that half of it remains idle when you are putting a full load on it—so finding the balance between the processing speed and the money you are paying for it is key.
There is no need to buy a top-of-the-line CPU that comes with 16-core or 32-core processors to have the best gaming experience. Sure, with more cores and threads, you will be able to perform more tasks like video rendering and streaming. But this will again leave your CPU with ample idle cores. As a result, even if you are thinking about streaming your gameplay live, you only need six to eight-core CPUs at max. This is more than enough to think about how fast and efficient the CPU cores have now become. Also, most of the games are not CPU-intensive. We have done a case study of multiple AAA titles, so make sure you read that blog to find out how CPU performance impacts the game you play.
Things to Consider When Buying a CPU
Given below are the factors you should consider when making a purchase for the gaming CPU.
1. What Games are you Playing?
This is something a lot of people don’t consider when buying a CPU, but you need to think about the games that you are going to play with the new CPU. If you are not playing intense AAA titles, then you can go with a quad-core configuration CPU and save tons of money. The saved money can be used to buy the other components that make the gaming experience better.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking of building a video editing machine where you can edit the video of your gameplay with ease, then using an 8-core processor can come in quite handy. Most AAA titles aren’t able to use the full power potential of more than 4 cores. So, spending money on more cores just for playing video games is not a sensible option.
2. How Much Money Do you Want to Spend?
Money is always a big thing to consider when you are making a purchase that gives you so many options. Whether you are buying a pre-built or building one of your own, the more money you spend, the better performance you can expect from the processor.
Even if you have tons of money lying around, still spending it on finding the top-of-the-line processor isn’t something you should be doing when building a gaming PC. A medium-spec CPU will be the best option for you in all gaming scenarios, and the money that you saved on purchasing a mid-tier CPU can be used to buy a high-end graphic card and high-frequency RAM.
3. Choosing Intel vs. AMD
Yes, we said, choosing between Intel and AMD doesn’t matter, but that is only from the performance perspective. When it comes to finding the right motherboard, you need to know beforehand which company’s CPU you are going to use. There are minute differences between the two. With Intel, you need to pay a bit extra to get a top-spec CPU processor that comes with 10 or more cores. In the case of AMD, you are getting more cores at a lower cost. But the single-core performance of AMD doesn’t match up with Intel’s single core. The AMD chips are able to narrow down the performance difference with their multi-core results.
Speaking of gaming performance, both Intel and AMD have shown a mixed bag of performance. When compared to team red’s equivalents, Intel’s latest alder lake CPU lineup provides a 15% performance boost. But with the latest generation of CPUs coming from AMD, we believe it does have something up its sleeves. As of writing this blog, Intel is preferable both for mid-tier and high-tier CPUs. In the end, both of these manufacturers are able to handle all the AAA titles that you throw at them with ease. Make sure you have a good graphics card, and then you don’t have to worry about any bottlenecks from the CPU end.
4. Do you Need to Overclock the CPU?
With overlocking, a user is able to turn up the speed of the processor. This will result in more performance per core. But overclocking is something that isn’t necessary for most people. Even if you are playing a game at 4K 60fps and recording it at the same time, modern-day CPUs will have no issue providing the performance to keep things running silky smooth. On the other hand, if your work involves graphics designing and 3D rendering, then overclocking can come in handy. In these special cases, being able to extract more power from the CPU for a limited amount of time is a better option than getting your hands on a much more expensive CPU.
Keep in mind that if you are going to overclock the CPU, then you also need to spend more on overall cooling hardware to keep the temperature inside the cabinet under control. Because overclocking CPUs tend to release more heat, which is hard to dissipate with normal air-cooling hardware. In some cases, you might need to go with water clocks, which are tedious and expensive at the same time.
Top 7 Best CPU for Gaming
So you now have a better understanding of what your games require from the CPU, and you can determine which CPU is best for you. We’ve compiled a list of CPUs from both teams, red and blue, to help you choose the best CPU for your system..
1. Intel’s Core I9 12900K
The 12th generation processors from Intel are a treat to have, and when you have the top-of-the-line Core i9, you can expect to perform almost any CPU-heavy task without making the CPU sweat even a little bit. This rocket lake processor has amazing single-core clock speeds. So even those applications that don’t support multi-core functionality can finish up their processing in a short time.
As we said earlier, the Alder Lake of Intel is going to disrupt the CPU industry, and AMD has to find the answer to it, or it will be a race over for them at the starting line. You don’t need Intel’s Core i9, but if you want to go all out and build a system that has the best of the best, you do. Then the core i9 has to be in the CPU socket of the motherboard.
2. Intel Core i5 11600K
Now let’s come to a more reasonable choice for gamers. The 11th generation Intel Core i5 processor is the only one that allows gamers to play games in quad HD and 4K 60fps settings without blowing a big hole in their bank account. The 11th generation Intel’s core i5 is as capable as the Intel core i7 from the previous generation. Also, it can hold its ground against the mid-tier Ryzen alternative.
One thing to know here is that with the Intel Core i5 from 11th gen, there is no potential overclocking available because it already runs at the maximum potential and at a much higher clock speed than average CPUs in this price range. The clock speed of the Core i5 is 4.90 GHz.
3. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Now it’s time for team red to shine with its Ryzen 9 series. This CPU series will give users the best gaming experience from AMD. It has 12 cores and 24 threads, so multitasking is more efficient and faster than ever—this CPU from AMD ticks all the boxes that you need from a CPU. Without a doubt, it is a well-balanced CPU that takes care of both high-end gaming and productivity.
4. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
There is a very small difference between the Ryzen 5 series lineup. So if you go with the top-end model of the Ryzen 5000 series chipset. Thus, if we compare the Ryzen 9 from 5000 series with Ryzen 5, the difference is 4-5% in total frame rate. The 5900X does have half the core count and threads. But this will not cause any problem for gaming. The six cores are more than sufficient for almost every game available in the market. The next-gen consoles that are using AMD processors have eight cores and a 12 threads CPU inside.
Apart from this, when a user buys Ryzen 5600X, they are getting Wraith Stealth Cooler which is somewhat a respectable cooler to put on a CPU and will have a user save money from buying any additional cooler for the CPU. On the other hand, if you do purchase a 3rd party CPU cooler, then the Ryzen 5 series can be overclocked and run at higher clock speeds.
5. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
You might have got the idea here, and this is the third processor from the team red in our list. The AMD series CPUs are the best bang for the buck. That’s why we have lined them up for you. This Ryzen 7 is more of a productive workflow CPU than a gaming one. But still, it has a high-end multi-threaded computational unit and gives you better gaming performance than the core i5 and AMD Ryzen 5 series. It is also pretty nicely priced, and it drastically improves the performance per core count from its predecessor, which is the 2700X.
On the other hand, it requires less power to run. So, all in all, it’s a great package and should be a better alternative to Intel’s 8-core processors. You can game on this CPU, and when we say it, we mean it. This CPU can handle 4K at 120FPS with ease. The AMD series is known for being overclockable, and the same goes for the Ryzen 7. You can boost the clock speed up to 4.5 GHz by tweaking the settings in the BIOS.
6. Intel Core i7 11700K
The Core i7 is something that requires no introduction in the gaming world. Prior to AMD’s dominance with the 5000 series, high-end battle stations used Core i7 CPUs.One of the best things about the Core i7 is the availability in the market and the discount offers that you can find on them in this semiconductor shortage era. It packs so much raw performance that you don’t have to worry about the bottlenecks at all. In the end, it is a great foundation for building a workstation or gaming system in a budget-friendly way.
7. AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
Last on our list is another entry from the Ryzen 7 series, but this one has respectable integrated graphics, which allows you to play games on medium to low settings at 60 FPS. With this CPU, you can play games like PUBG, Counter-Strike, Minecraft, DOOM, and others at a bearable framerate. As a result, even without a dedicated graphics card, one can enjoy playing games on their system. It provides users with all-around performance along with excellent thermal and power consumption.
The eight-core Zen 3 CPU has 16 threads and one of the best integrated Vega graphics. One thing you need to know before putting it in your online shopping cart is that this Ryzen 7 series doesn’t support PCIe 4.0, which is needed for using the latest SSDs. Still, without a doubt, it is an all-around CPU and a good alternative for a graphics card till the dedicated ones haven’t been secured by the user.
Finding the best CPU for gaming is a fun and rewarding experience as a whole, but if you don’t have the proper knowledge, it can become challenging in no time. Now that we have shown you some of the best CPU picks for gaming in 2021, we think you are good to go with building the dream gaming machine for yourself.
In the end, it boils down to you, depending on your personal needs and how much you are willing to spend on the CPU purchase in the whole budget. If money is not a problem for you, then Intel’s core i9 is the one you should choose. Apart from this, the Ryzen 5 series is a bang for the buck, so our second recommendation is the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X.