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8 Best CPU For Gaming [Hands-On Tested]

Our team has tested a bunch of different processors to bring you a detailed guide going over the Best CPUs For Gaming, ranging from entry-level to high-end.

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Processors have seen huge growth over the last couple of years. With both Intel and AMD continuously competing for the top spot, an incredible amount of gaming CPUs seems to have flooded the market. The sheer volume of processors available has made searching for a new one that meets the requirements of the games you play an intricate task that requires a lot of research. Thankfully, this guide covers exactly that, as I tested a variety of CPUs ranging from entry-level to high-end to bring you my Top 8 CPUs for gaming.

  • Why you can trust Tech4Gamers: Our round-ups feature products that are based on dedicated hands-on testing by our team of experienced hardware experts. Find out more about how we test.

Our Best CPU Gaming Picks – compared to each other in different categories:

CPU
Intel Core i5-13600K
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
Intel Core i7-14700KF
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
Looks
Intel Core i5-13600K Desktop Processor 14 (6 P-cores + 8 E-cores) with Integrated Graphics - Unlocked
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-14700KF New Gaming Desktop Processor 20 cores (8 P-cores + 12 E-cores) - Unlocked
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D 8-Core, 16-Thread Desktop Processor
Award
Best Overall CPU For Gaming
Best Overall AMD CPU For Gaming
Best High-End Intel CPU For Gaming
Best High-End AMD CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Solid Performance, Balanced feature set
Low TDP, Performance, Value For Money
Exceptional Gaming Performance, Good Price-to-Performance Ratio
Excellent performance, Utilizes AMD's 3D V-Cache technology, Efficient
What We Disliked
Higher power consumption, Slightly higher price
Nothing Significant
High Temperatures and Power Draw
Lack of DDR4 memory support
Socket
LGA 1700
AM5
LGA 1700
AM5
Cores
14 (6+8)
6
20 (8+12)
8
Threads
20
12
28
16
Base Clock
2.6, 3.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
4.7 GHz
2.5 GHz, 3.4 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
4.2GHz
Boost Clock
3.9, 5.1 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
5.2 GHz
4.3 GHz, 5.5GHz (Efficient, Performance)
5.0GHz
L2 Cache
20MB
6MB
28MB
8MB
TDP
125W, 181W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
105W
125W, 253W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
120W
CPU
Intel Core i5-13600K
Looks
Intel Core i5-13600K Desktop Processor 14 (6 P-cores + 8 E-cores) with Integrated Graphics - Unlocked
Award
Best Overall CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Solid Performance, Balanced feature set
What We Disliked
Higher power consumption, Slightly higher price
Socket
LGA 1700
Cores
14 (6+8)
Threads
20
Base Clock
2.6, 3.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
Boost Clock
3.9, 5.1 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
L2 Cache
20MB
TDP
125W, 181W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
Looks
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Award
Best Overall AMD CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Low TDP, Performance, Value For Money
What We Disliked
Nothing Significant
Socket
AM5
Cores
6
Threads
12
Base Clock
4.7 GHz
Boost Clock
5.2 GHz
L2 Cache
6MB
TDP
105W
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
Intel Core i7-14700KF
Looks
Intel® Core™ i7-14700KF New Gaming Desktop Processor 20 cores (8 P-cores + 12 E-cores) - Unlocked
Award
Best High-End Intel CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Exceptional Gaming Performance, Good Price-to-Performance Ratio
What We Disliked
High Temperatures and Power Draw
Socket
LGA 1700
Cores
20 (8+12)
Threads
28
Base Clock
2.5 GHz, 3.4 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
Boost Clock
4.3 GHz, 5.5GHz (Efficient, Performance)
L2 Cache
28MB
TDP
125W, 253W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
Looks
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D 8-Core, 16-Thread Desktop Processor
Award
Best High-End AMD CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Excellent performance, Utilizes AMD's 3D V-Cache technology, Efficient
What We Disliked
Lack of DDR4 memory support
Socket
AM5
Cores
8
Threads
16
Base Clock
4.2GHz
Boost Clock
5.0GHz
L2 Cache
8MB
TDP
120W
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
Intel Core i5-13400F
Intel Core i3-12100F
Ryzen 5 5600
Looks
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel i5-13400F Desktop Processor 10 cores (6 P-cores + 4 E-cores) 20MB Cache, up to 4.6 GHz
Intel® Core™ 12th Gen i3-12100F desktop processor, featuring PCIe Gen 5.0 & 4.0 support, DDR5 and DDR4 support. Discrete graphics required.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
Award
Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators
Best Value CPU For Gaming
Best Budget CPU For Gaming
Best Entry-Level CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Outstanding gaming performance, Perfect for content creators, Future proof
Phenomenal price-to-performance ratio, Lower TDP, Great value
Lower MSRP, Decent performance
Great entry-level pick, Reasonable Price
What We Disliked
Expensive
Nothing significant
No E-Cores, Lack of Integrated graphics
No Onboard Graphics
Socket
AM5
LGA 1700
LGA 1700
AM4
Cores
16
10 (6+4)
4 (4+0)
6
Threads
32
16
8
12
Base Clock
4.5 GHz
1.8 GHz, 2.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
3.3 GHz (Performance)
3.5GHz
Boost Clock
5.7 GHz
3.3 GHz, 4.6 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
4.3 GHz (Performance)
4.4GHz
L2 Cache
16MB
9.5MB
5MB
3MB
TDP
170W
65W, 154W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
58W, 89W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
65W
CPU
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
Looks
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Award
Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators
What We Liked
Outstanding gaming performance, Perfect for content creators, Future proof
What We Disliked
Expensive
Socket
AM5
Cores
16
Threads
32
Base Clock
4.5 GHz
Boost Clock
5.7 GHz
L2 Cache
16MB
TDP
170W
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
Intel Core i5-13400F
Looks
Intel i5-13400F Desktop Processor 10 cores (6 P-cores + 4 E-cores) 20MB Cache, up to 4.6 GHz
Award
Best Value CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Phenomenal price-to-performance ratio, Lower TDP, Great value
What We Disliked
Nothing significant
Socket
LGA 1700
Cores
10 (6+4)
Threads
16
Base Clock
1.8 GHz, 2.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
Boost Clock
3.3 GHz, 4.6 GHz (Efficient, Performance)
L2 Cache
9.5MB
TDP
65W, 154W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
Intel Core i3-12100F
Looks
Intel® Core™ 12th Gen i3-12100F desktop processor, featuring PCIe Gen 5.0 & 4.0 support, DDR5 and DDR4 support. Discrete graphics required.
Award
Best Budget CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Lower MSRP, Decent performance
What We Disliked
No E-Cores, Lack of Integrated graphics
Socket
LGA 1700
Cores
4 (4+0)
Threads
8
Base Clock
3.3 GHz (Performance)
Boost Clock
4.3 GHz (Performance)
L2 Cache
5MB
TDP
58W, 89W (Base, Maximum Turbo)
Amazon
Newegg
CPU
Ryzen 5 5600
Looks
AMD Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
Award
Best Entry-Level CPU For Gaming
What We Liked
Great entry-level pick, Reasonable Price
What We Disliked
No Onboard Graphics
Socket
AM4
Cores
6
Threads
12
Base Clock
3.5GHz
Boost Clock
4.4GHz
L2 Cache
3MB
TDP
65W
Amazon
Newegg

If you’re a streamer, then check out our similar guide:

Best CPUs For Gaming

Here are the Best CPUs For Gaming:

  1. Best Overall Intel CPU: Intel Core i5-13600K
  2. Best Overall AMD CPU For Gaming: AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
  3. Best High-End Intel CPU For Gaming: AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
  4. Best High-End AMD CPU For Gaming: Intel Core i7-14700KF
  5. Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
  6. Best Value CPU For Gaming: Intel Core i5-13400
  7. Best Budget CPU For Gaming: Intel Core i3-12100F
  8. Best Entry-Level CPU For Gaming: AMD Ryzen 5 5600

Intel Core i5-13600K

Best Overall Intel CPU For Gaming

Best Overall Intel CPU For Gaming
Intel Core i5-13600K

Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 14 (6+8) | Threads: 20 | Base Clock: 2.6, 3.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance) | Boost Clock: 3.9, 5.1 GHz (Efficient, Performance) | L2 Cache: 20MB | TDP: 125W, 181W (Base, Maximum Turbo)

Pros

  • Solid Performance
  • Balanced feature set

Cons

  • Nothing Significant

Performance: With an incredible core count of 14 cores and 20 threads, this flagship 13th gen Core i5 is a powerhouse. Intel has also cranked its P-core turbo frequency to 5.1GHz, and added more L3 (24MB) and L2 (20MB) cache. These improvements meant an average of 190 FPS in my 1080P (high preset) gaming tests.

Cooling: The Core i5-13600K’s power consumption numbers are certainly not ordinary: a 125-watt base power and 181-watt turbo power rating. I tested the CPU with a 240mm AIO cooler (Arctic Liquid Freezer II), and I would recommend you also get a decent 240mm liquid cooler, too, or a good air cooler.

Future-Proofing: Thanks to its impressive set of specifications, the Core i5-13600K will be good for years to come. Moreover, it offers the latest and greatest in connectivity: PCIe 5.0, DDR5, Thunderbolt 4, and much more! Lastly, the LGA1700 platform is expected to support Intel’s upcoming 15th generation CPUs, too.

In my review, I showered praise on the Core i5-13600K, saying: 

“The Intel Core i5-13600K stands out as the best value gaming CPU in the market. It delivers impressive gaming performance while also excelling in overall tasks, making it a compelling choice.”

Buy It If

Here is a snap of the CPU from our review:

✅ You’re seeking versatility for GPUs: The Core i5-13600K is incredibly versatile in its ability to pair well with various graphics cards thanks to its balanced performance.

✅ Balanced performance is needed: If you want both impressive multi-core performance and single-core performance, this is the CPU for you.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You want the most efficiency: While the overall performance and value is exceptional, the CPU still requires top-notch cooling.

What Makes It The Best Overall Gaming CPU?

Its exceptional flexibility as a processor allows it to cater to multiple workloads without completely shattering the bank, making it my choice for the Best Overall Intel CPU For Gaming.

Performance: 9/10 Value: 8/10
Features: 9.5/10 Future Proofing: 9/10

AMD Ryzen 5 7600X

Best Overall AMD CPU For Gaming

Best Overall AMD CPU For Gaming
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X

Socket: AM5 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Clock: 4.7 GHz | Boost Clock: 5.3 GHz | L2 Cache: 6MB | TDP: 105W

Pros

  • Impressive 65W Low TDP
  • Great Gaming Performance
  • Value For Money

Cons

  • Nothing Significant

Performance: First off, you get 6 cores and 12 threads, along with impressive base and boost clock speeds at 4.7 GHz and 5.2 GHz. And, while it does not have 3D-stacked L3 cache, there’s still plenty of it (32MB). Paired with the RTX 3090, this CPU managed an average of 210 FPS in my 1080P ultra gaming tests.

Cooling: With an increased set of clock speeds compared to the non-X chip, the Ryzen 5 7600X boasts a 105W TDP rating. As such, a decent air cooler (like the Noctua NH-U12A will do the job). If you’re looking to overclock, consider a more powerful air cooler, or a 240mm AIO cooler.

Future Proofing: AMD plans to support the AM5 platform up till 2025, which means you’ll be able to upgrade at least two more generations without needed a new motherboard. And, just like the i5-13600K, you get the latest I/O, including DDR5 (up to 5200MHz), PCIe 5.0, and WiFi 6E.

Buy It If

Ryzen 5 7600X
Ryzen 5 7600X

✅ You want a good price-to-performance CPU: The Ryzen 5 7600X excels in gaming performance and has a fairly decent price tag to go with it.

Don’t Buy It If:

❌You want to stick to the DDR4 platform: Getting the 7600X means you’ll have to spend extra for DDR5. Sure, the performance jump is worth it, but it is an extra cost that you should consider.

What Makes It The Best Overall AMD CPU?

At peak performance, the Ryzen 5 7600X will be clocking around the 5.1 GHz ballpark, which is a really good figure. Furthermore, its TDP is low enough that you can use the stock cooler it comes with. For all of these reasons, the Ryzen 5 7600X is the best overall AMD CPU you can purchase for gaming.

Performance: 9/10 Value: 8.5/10
Features: 9/10 Future Proofing: 9/10

Intel Core i7-14700KF

Best High-End Intel CPU For Gaming

Best High-End Intel CPU For Gaming
Intel Core i7-13700K

Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 20 (8+12) | Threads: 28 | Base Clock: 2.5 GHz, 3.4 GHz (Efficient, Performance) | Boost Clock: 4.3 GHz, 5.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance) | L2 Cache: 28MB | TDP: 125W, 253W (Base, Maximum Turbo)

Pros

  • Exceptional Gaming Performance
  • Good Price-to-Performance Ratio

Cons

  • High Temperatures
  • High Power Draw

Performance: The Core i7-14700KF is one of my top choices for testing other components like GPUs, and CPU coolers, thanks to its stellar performance. It rocks 8 P-cores (up to 4.3 GHz) plus 12 E-cores (up to 5.5 GHz), and managed an average of 165 FPS in my 1440P gaming tests while paired with the AMD RX 6900 XT.

Cooling: With such high performance comes high temperatures, and the i7-14700KF is not known for its thermal efficiency, with a base TDP of 125W which ramps up all the way to 253W. To get most of it, I would recommend a high-end air cooler (like the Noctua NH-D15S), or a liquid cooler (like the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer III 360).

Future Proofing: For comfortable high-end gaming at any resolution, the Core i7-14700KF will support you for years to come, with a solid 20 cores. Of course, you have all the latest I/O and top-notch DDR5 memory speeds and the convenience to upgrade to the Core i9-14900KF, if the need arises in the future.

Here’s how Sameed Hussain, our processor expert and hardware tester, described the Core i7-14700KF after his testing:

The Core i7-14700KF delivers a compelling upgrade for content creators and multi-taskers. Its additional E-cores and higher boost clocks translate to significant performance gains in demanding workloads compared to the previous generation.

WARNING: The Core i7-14700KF does not have integrated graphics, so troubleshooting without a dedicated GPU is not possible.

Buy It If:

Here is the 14700KF in before our testing:

✅ You’re seeking high-end gaming performance: The Core i7-14700KF nails AAA titles at all resolutions, making it an excellent choice for FPS gaming.

Don’t Buy It If:

❌ You want a more power-efficient CPU: With the boost power rating shooting up to 253W, the CPU is quite a power hog, and needs good cooling, too.

What Makes It The Best High-End Intel CPU?

Intel released many processors under its Raptor Lake lineup. However, none of them have such a good balance of exceptional performance and pricing as the Core i7-14700KF. For the hardcore gamers out there, the i7-14700KF is truly the sweet spot, and that’s why we have picked it as the Best High-End Intel CPU.

Performance: 9.5/10 Value: 8/10
Features: 9.5/10 Future Proofing: 9.5/10

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D

Best High-End AMD CPU For Gaming

Best High-End AMD CPU For Gaming
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D

Socket: AM5 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Clock: 4.2 GHz | Boost Clock: 5.0 GHz | L2 Cache: 8MB | TDP: 120W

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Utilizes AMD’s 3D V-Cache technology
  • Efficient

Cons

  • Lacks productivity performance

Performance: The 7800X3D rocks a base clock speed of 4.2 GHz and a boost clock speed of 5.0 GHz, with 8 cores (and 16 threads). Its most impressive feature, though, is of course, the 96MB of 3D-stacked L3 cache. I paired it with the RTX 4090, and managed 160 average FPS in 1080P gaming (with ray tracing).

Cooling: Compared to the 7950X’s 170W, its TDP rating is a fairly efficient 120 watts. To dissipate this heat, I would recommend a capable air cooler, or if you’re into liquid cooling, a 240mm or 280mm AIO cooler will be adequate. I tested it with a 240mm cooler, and the CPU peaked at just 79°C in gaming.

Future Proofing: Its 8 cores and 16 threads are still enough for literally any gaming title, plus you have a massive 96MB of L3 cache which boosts gaming performance by a mile. You won’t need to upgrade the CPU for a long time, but if you feel the need, you’ll be able to upgrade to a newer-gen CPU on the same AM5 platform.

Buy It If

Take a look at the Ryzen 7 7800X3D from our testing:

✅ You prioritize gaming performance: The Ryzen 7 7800X3D demonstrates incredible performance in real-world tasks, especially when it comes to gaming.

✅ Energy efficiency matters to you: On top of its excellent performance, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is also extremely energy efficient.

Don’t Buy It If

❌ You also need high productivity performance: There is no doubt that the Ryzen 7 7800X3D absolutely nails all kinds of AAA games, but if you also want top-tier productivity performance, the CPU does not perform equally well in productivity tasks.

What Makes It The Best High-End Gaming CPU?

In many cases, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D blows the flagship Ryzen 9 7950X out of the water. In fact, when we tested it against Intel’s flagship, the Core i9-13900K, we found that the 7800X3D was just 7.4% behind in average FPS while staying 78% more power efficient. Because of the Ryzen 7 7800X3D’s insane gaming performance, we have awarded it the Best High-End AMD CPU For Gaming.

Performance: 10/10 Value: 7.5/10
Features: 9/10 Future Proofing: 10/10

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators

Ryzen 9 7950X - Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators
Ryzen 9 7950X

Socket: AM5 | Cores: 16 | Threads: 32 | Base Clock: 4.5 GHz | Boost Clock: 5.7 GHz | L2 Cache: 16MB | TDP: 170W

Pros

  • Outstanding gaming performance
  • Perfect for content creators
  • Future proof

Cons

  • Expensive

Performance: Equipped with 16 cores (4.5 GHz base, 5.7GHz boost) and 24 threads, the Ryzen 9 7950X not only has more than enough cores for gaming, but plenty for heavy rendering, too. In my 1080P gaming tests with the RTX 4090 and ray-tracing enabled, I recorded 145 FPS on average with this chip.

Cooling: Of course, the tremendous uplift in performance has ultimately resulted in a massive increase in TDP, at 170W. You will have to pair it with a beefy CPU Cooler to get the most out of it, and our team has recommended the Noctua NH-D15S as the best overall cooler to pair with it.

Future Proofing: With an impressive 16 cores and 64MB of L3 cache, the Ryzen 9 7950X has enough to handle anything you throw at it, and will continue to do so for years. And, just like the remaining Ryzen 7000 CPUs in this list, AM5 support being extended up to 2025 will benefit this chip, too. 

Buy It If

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

✅ You prioritize both gaming and productivity: With 8 cores and 16 threads, plus a wealth of cache and great clock speeds, it’s a solid choice for gaming content creators.

Don’t Buy It If

❌ Price is a concern: The Ryzen 9 7950X comes in at an extremely high price point, which is expected given that it is a flagship CPU.

What Makes It The Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators?

Benefitting from AMD’s 3D-V Cache Technology, the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is a phenomenal pick for gamers who also like to indulge in content creation. It has been crowned as the Best CPU For Gaming Content Creators by me for its unparalleled performance in every scenario.

Performance: 10/10 Value: 7/10
Features: 9/10 Future Proofing: 10/10

Intel Core i5-13400F

Best Value CPU For Gaming

Intel Core i5-13400 - Best Value CPU For Gaming
Intel Core i5-13400

Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 10 (6+4) | Threads: 16 | Base Clock: 1.8 GHz, 2.5 GHz (Efficient, Performance) | Boost Clock: 3.3 GHz, 4.6 GHz (Efficient, Performance) | L2 Cache: 9.5MB | TDP: 65W, 154W (Base, Maximum Turbo)

Pros

  • Phenomenal price-to-performance ratio
  • Lower TDP
  • Great value

Cons

  • Nothing significant

Performance: The i5-13400F features a 10-core and 16-thread design, including 4 E-cores for great efficiency. Its P-cores clock 4.6GHz at base, and an astounding 5.6GHz at boost, and it also houses 9.5MB of L2 cache. I paired the RTX 3060 with it for a killer 1080P ultra combo, and my gaming tests showed an average FPS of around 80.

Cooling: Intel’s use of 4 E-cores means it managed to keep the base TDP of the i5-13400F at 65W. But, it is rated with a maximum turbo power of 154W, which is fairly high; Nonetheless, it will only be drawing that much power if thermal headroom is available. If you want the CPU to hit these limits, consider a decent 240mm AIO.

Future Proofing: Packing 10 cores and pushing superb boost frequencies, the Core i5-13400F is certainly not playing around, despite being a mid-range CPU. For 1080P gaming, you should be good to go with this for years, with some optimized graphics settings here and there. Plus, you can upgrade to a newer gen if needed.

PRO TIP: Make sure to invest in a good cooler if you want the CPU to run at its boost frequencies through Multicore Enhancement, and running at its full potential.

Buy It If

Core i5-13400F
Core i5-13400

✅ You want the best bang for your buck: The Core i5-13400F offers impressive performance with its 10 cores and 16 threads, rivaling higher-end processors at a lower price point.

Don’t Buy It If

❌ You want less power consumption: It has a significantly higher turbo power rating than its predecessor, and in general it is quite high for a mid-range CPU.

What Makes It The Best Value Gaming CPU?

While the Core i5-13400F might not be the cheapest processor in its lineup, it takes the crown as the Best Value CPU For Gaming thanks to its unmatched price-to-performance ratio.

Performance: 8.5/10 Value: 10/10
Features: 9.5/10 Future Proofing: 8.5/10

Intel Core i3-12100F

Best Budget CPU For Gaming

Intel Core i3-12100F - Best Budget CPU For Gaming
Intel Core i3-12100F

Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 4 (4+0) | Threads: 8 | Base Clock: 3.3 GHz (Performance) | Boost Clock: 4.3 GHz (Performance) | L2 Cache: 5MB | TDP: 58W, 89W (Base, Maximum Turbo)

Pros

  • Lower MSRP
  • Decent performance

Cons

  • No E-Cores
  • Lack of Integrated graphics

Performance: The Core i3-12100F sees upgrades in every department other than core counts (4C, 8T). It clocks a modest 3.3 GHz at base, going as high as 4.3 GHz, and has 12MB of L3 cache. I paired it with with Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Super, and in 1080P ultra gaming, I saw a 60+ FPS average in all but a couple of titles.

Cooling: Intel includes a stock cooler with the CPU, which was enough to run it at base power (58 watts) in my testing. Its maximum turbo power rating is not very high (89 watts) and you can easily unlock its full potential with a cheap-ish air cooler, like the Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo.

Future Proofing: Performance-wise, the i3-12100F does not offer a lot of future-proofing value, but should be good for 1080P for at least a few years with some optimizations. It does, however, provide an excellent upgrade path with the LGA1700 platform, and supports DDR5 memory, PCIe 5.0, and WiFi 6E.

Editor`s Note
Image

The Core i3-12100F is just another addition to Intel’s fantastic lineup of budget-oriented CPUs, offering 1080P excellence while coming in at under $100.

– Nauman Siddique

Buy It If

✅ You’re budget-conscious: If you want an affordable option to enter PC gaming without overspending, the Core i3-12100F is an excellent choice.

Don’t Buy It If

❌ You need integrated graphics: If you rely on onboard graphics for your setup, you will have to seek other options.

What Makes It The Best Budget Gaming CPU?

While some people are off-put by the “i3” branding, it proves to be a compelling option, especially considering its ability to perform well in modern games. The Core i3-12100F’s lower price point alone has earned it the spot as the Best Budget CPU For Gaming.

Performance: 8/10 Value: 9/10
Features: 9/10 Future Proofing: 8/10

Ryzen 5 5600

Best Entry-Level CPU For Gaming

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 - Best Entry-Level CPU For Gaming
AMD Ryzen 5 5600

Socket: AM4 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Clock: 3.5 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4 GHz | L2 Cache: 3MB | TDP: 65W

Pros

  • Great entry-level pick
  • Reasonable Price

Cons

  • No Onboard Graphics

Performance: Based on the older Zen 3 architecture, Ryzen 5 5600 arrives with 6 cores and 12 threads (3.5 GHz, 4.4 GHz boost), plus 32MB of L3 cache. With the occasional help of DLSS and tuned-down settings, it managed 60+ FPS in most titles in my 1080P testing, when paired with the GTX 1660 Super.

Cooling: The Ryzen 5 5600 is rated a modest 65 watts and if you don’t plan to overclock, I would recommend you to stick with the included Wraith Stealth cooler. For overclocking, a good aftermarket air cooler, like the Deepcool AK620, would do the job.

Future Proofing: You have the options of upgrading to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D down the line, but that’s pretty much it. If you want the next-gen I/O (PCIe 5.0, DDR5 memory, and other goodies), you will eventually have to upgrade. So, I would recommend you to carefully consider your options in this regard.

PRO TIP: With a budget CPU like the Ryzen 5 5600, the key is to balance graphics settings, and using DLSS/FSR, to get the best possible FPS.

Buy It If

✅ Value is a priority: This is one of the best CPUs for budget-oriented gamers.

Don’t Buy It If

❌ You’re seeking high-end performance: Gaming potential is rather limited, but that’s understandable given the price.

What Makes It The Entry-Level Gaming CPU?

Pairing the Ryzen 5 5600 with a mid-range CPU essentially guarantees commendable gaming performance. Combine that with its incredible value proposition, and you get the Best Entry-Level CPU For Gaming.

Performance: 8/10 Value: 8/10
Features: 8/10 Future Proofing: 8/10

Comparison Table

Here’s how my selections compare to each other in key specifications:

Best CPUs For GamingNo. of coresNo. of threadsBase frequency (GHz)(Full-power cores)Boost frequency (Full-power cores)Total L2 cache (MB)Total L3 cache (MB)Base TDP (W)
Intel Core i5-13600K14203.55.12024125
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X6124.7 5.2 632105
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D8164.25.0896120
Intel Core i7-14700KF20283.45.52833125
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X16324.55.71664170
Intel Core i5-13400F10162.54.69.52065
Intel Core i3-12100F483.34.351258
AMD Ryzen 5 56006123.54.433265

CPU Gaming Benchmarks

To back our claims and prove that our recommended Best CPUs for Gaming are indeed the best, we tested them against each other and other CPUs in several games at 1080p and 1440p resolution. Furthermore, we also ran a bunch of productivity tests. Here are our results:

Important CPU Key Terms

If you’re often confused by the technical jargon revolving around CPUs, here are the key terms to look out for:

  • Core: The individual part of a CPU that executes instructions like arithmetic and logical operations.
  • Threads: Virtual processing units within a CPU core that allow for parallel processing of tasks.
  • Base Clock Speed: The minimum clock speed at which a CPU operates under normal conditions.
  • Boost Clock Speed: The maximum clock speed at which a CPU operates when there is a demand for more processing power.
  • TDP: The measure of the amount of heat a CPU generates under normal operating conditions.
  • Cache: A small amount of high-speed memory located on the CPU that stores frequently accessed data for quick access.
  • Socket: The physical interface on a motherboard that a CPU fits into, allowing it to communicate with other components and peripherals. Different CPUs require different socket types, so it is important to choose a compatible CPU for a given socket.

How To Choose The Best CPU For Gaming

When it comes to choosing the best CPU for gaming, there are many factors that need to be considered. Let’s go over a few of them briefly:

  • Budget: A CPU is one of the most important components of your gaming rig, and it is the last thing you should cheap out on. Therefore, it is necessary that you outline exactly how much you can spend on a processor and then seek options that fall within your budget. Similarly, we look for value in a CPU: a high-performing CPU wouldn’t make our list if its performance-per-dollar is low.
  • Performance: You also need to factor in the kind of performance you want from your rig. When we selected the best CPUs for gaming, we scrutinized them heavily on their performance. This includes benchmarking different processors using a plethora of testing software and games. 
  • Thermal Efficiency and Power Consumption: Whenever you’re buying a CPU, you always need to look into its thermal and power efficiency, which includes its TDP rating. To select the best CPUs for gaming, we tested their power consumption at both peak and idle loads. Furthermore, we also tested their thermal efficiency. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which CPU is the fastest for gaming?

We crowned the Ryzen 7 7800X3D the fastest CPU for gaming thanks to its higher L3 cache and excellent core specifications.

Is Intel or AMD better?

While there is not a clear winner between the two, AMD does have the upper hand when it comes to gaming performance.

Which gaming CPU is the best for budget?

The Intel Core i3-12100F is the best budget CPU for gaming. It has 4 cores and 8 threads with a base clock speed of 3.3GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.3GHz.

Which CPU is best for 1440p Gaming?

CPUs like the Core i5-13600K and Ryzen 7 7700 are good for 1440p gaming. You can also go for the Ryzen 7 7800X3D or the Core i7-14700KF if you want to build a high-end 1440p gaming rig.

Recent Updates


  • March 23, 2024: Few text and grammar changes to improve readability. Minor product changes: The Ryzen 5 7600 was replaced by its “X” variant, as we found that it offers a better price-to-performance ratio after testing. Furthermore, the Core i5-13400 was replaced by its “F” variant as it offers the same performance for less price.
  • February 27, 2024: The Core i7-13700K was replaced by the Core i7-14700KF as the latter offers better performance while coming in at less MSRP.

 

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