Getting the best CPU for gaming was an easy task when Intel was the only go-to brand. However, AMD’s entry into the mix now brings more options to the table.
This competition makes it easy for gaming enthusiasts who want to revamp their gaming rigs with the best CPU.
But wait. With the entry of AMD into the bandwagon, does it bring any special chipsets? Or should you stick to the renowned CPU giant- Intel?
This decision may be a little bit daunting to make if you don’t know what to look for. Fret not though. That’s why we are here.
What you’ll find in this article
Our best CPU for gaming guide brings you processors that have die-hard gamers in mind. We’ve scoured the market for the latest offerings in this department. We also have a few hard to beat chipsets from other generations that are worth looking into.
If you are new to these computer gaming accessories, perhaps our guide to the best CPU is the best place to start.
This guide brings everything that you need to know before hitting the market. You’ll also find a few additional thoughts and tips if you want to do more than gaming.
Top 10 Best CPU for gaming 2020 Reviews
1 Intel BX80684I58400 Core i5- 8400 Processor – Best CPU for budget gaming
6 cores at a great value
The i8400 tops our recommendations of the best CPU for gamers on budget. Intel released this processor as the answer to AMD’s Ryzen processor challenge last summer.
As a show of might, the Core i7 and the i5 processors come with 6 cores each. Mind you, this is the first time that we are experiencing 6 cores in the i5 series. As such, this CPU might offer gamers a pretty good value for their bucks.
Even better, we expect the Intel BX80684I58400 Core i5-8400 Processor to outdo the i7-7700k in most titles and applications. Compliments to the two extra cores.
This feature also means that the Coffee Lake-based i5s will now replace the Core i7s of the last generation.
What you’ll also like with this processor is that it won’t be a bottleneck even when backstopping a top-of-the-range GPU.
The Intel 8400 processor brings you six cores. This core count is equal to the Core i5 8600K which is way pricier.
Although the i5 8400k does not offer hyperthreading, its 6 cores make it a favorable option for most gamers. This higher-than-average core count also means that you’ll be able to play most of the latest games with more confidence.
Lowest clockspeeds- performance?
The most notable feature with the Intel i5 8400 processor is that it features Intel’s lowest base frequency. At 2.8 GHz, this is, hands down, the lowest clock rate among Coffee Lake-based processors.
How does its low clock rate affect its performance?
Well, at a glance, this clock rate does not seem to promise much. However, remember that this CPU flaunts Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. This means that the processor will have higher frequencies within particular parameters.
This feature means that the i5 8400 will be notably faster in scenarios that use all the cores. In fact, several benchmarks prove that this processor is a tad bit more aggressive compared to the Core i5 7400 cores.
Worth noting here is that this processor uses the LGA 1151 socket. This means that it might not be compatible with most 200-series motherboards.
As such, you might have to upgrade to a 300-series motherboard. This might be a little bit inconveniencing especially in terms of cost. But the good news is that you’ll also be benefiting from new features anyway.
If you are not in so much hurry though, I would recommend you to wait for the release of Intel’s H- and B-series chipsets any time from now.
On the same note, do know that this processor does not allow overclocking. So, if you are looking for a model that you can stretch its performance, consider our other recommendations.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
2 AMD YD1700BBAEBOX Ryzen 7 1700 Processor – Best CPU for Overclockers
The Ryzen 7 1700 comes as an answer to gaming enthusiasts who want a processor that gives room for overclocking. This is among the most affordable gaming CPUs you can get from AMD.
With our experience with processors, this is also the best bargain that you can get for a chipset with 8 cores 16 threads of insanely impressive processing power.
It sits rightfully below the Ryzen 7 1700x and the seemingly overpriced Ryzen 7 1800x. Its slightly lower clockspeed and incredible overclocking potential give the x-toting models a good run for their money.
Is it worth going for?
High Overclocking potential
One thing that makes the Ryzen 7 1700 the best CPU here is its big room for performance improvement. At 3 GHz, this processor sits just below the Ryzen 7 1700x and the 1800x that features 3.4 GHz and 3.6 GHz respectively.
There’s no reason for worrying though. You could actually stretch these stoke clockspeeds to upwards of 3.7 GHz. This feature means that the Ryzen 7 1700 will push way beyond its frequency limitation even with all its cores occupied.
Let’s talk performance
This processor’ slightly lower-than-average clockspeeds highly suggests that this is not the best CPU for gaming yet. However, the ability to push the miserly clockspeeds higher plus its multi-threads give you impressive performance speeds for those lower frame rates.
Incredible temperature regulation
Besides beating the Intel i5- 8400 Processor above in terms of clockspeeds and overclocking, the Ryzen 7 1700 also has the upper hand in terms of temperature regulation. This lower-caste chip uses the Wraith Spire LED cooler – AMD’s latest technology in cooling solutions.
Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)
3 Intel Pentium BX80677G4560G G4560 – Budget Intel CPU for gaming
For the diehard fans of Intel, the G4560 is among several other processors that you can go for without going over the top in terms of price.
This is the best CPU for gamers who are looking for a cheap processor for their basic gaming rig. The good news here is that it does not compromise all the modern features to keep its price at a minimum. Again, you’ll not only be saving money, your rig’s power requirements will be on the lower end too.
Hands down, the main reason why we recommend the G4560 is its asking price. This is a dual core processor with a processor speed of 3.5 GHz. Although its processor count makes it the underdog in comparison to our other recommendations, its price is the best bargain you could get for a starter chip.
On the upside, this processor’s low performance means that you can pair it with any low-end motherboard without problems. Again, this CPU might work pretty well with any sub $200 GPU such as the RX560 and GTX 1050.
How does it perform?
Well, the G4560 isn’t the fastest processor on the planet. But it still offers 3.5 GHz clockspeeds and hyper-threading which is cool for a processor at its price.
You will be losing out on Optane Memory and AVX instruction support among other superior features with top-level processors. Fortunately, these features don’t affect its gaming performance that much.
Its clockspeeds and hyper-thread mean that you can still enjoy any current game. This allows you to save for other slightly powerful yet affordable options such as the Intel Core i5-7600K and Core i7-7700K.
Our Rating: (4.8 / 5)
4 AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Processor
AMD continues its persistence in challenging Intel by offering high-end CPUs at a budget-friendly cost for the average gamers.
The AMD Ryzen 2400G and the 2200G are the latest additions to the Raven Ridge chips family. They might be a superior choice if your tight budget won’t allow you to splurge on a splashy GPU.
The 2400G is the best CPU, in our opinion, seeing that it has clear leads in almost every aspect. It has a higher base clock, double threads, higher GPU clock max, and more core counts.
Built-In Radeon Vega RX 11 Graphics
One thing that makes the Ryzen 2400G the best CPU for players on a budget is its built-in graphics chip. This is an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).
The built-in graphics chip means that you won’t have to spend more on a discrete GPU. This feature might be good news especially if you are just building a gaming rig and don’t have lots of money to spend.
How does it perform?
As its specs reveal, the Ryzen 2400 is not a monstrously powerful CPU for the most demanding tasks. However, its 3.6 GHz base clockspeeds with a maximum boost of up to 3.9 GHz and 8 threads make its performance rather impressive.
Admittedly, this processor isn’t an ace with the 1080p gaming frame rates. But knock that to around 720p, and you’ll experience genuine gaming performance from GTA V, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman, Doom, and other titles within this bracket.
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
5 Intel Core i7-8700K- best CPU with 6 cores
Features – what’s new here?
The Intel Core i7 8700k is an upgrade of its elder sibling, the i7 8700. This newer model brings 2 addition cores without expanding its size by a single millimeter. It uses the Z370 platform (not new) and gets support from a dual-channel memory.
In addition, this processor has 40 available PCle lanes of which 16 go to the CPU. The rest connect to the processor via a single DMI 3.0 connection.
This feature means that you will be able to use up to 2 graphics cards. Another alternative is to employ one GPU and boost its potential with 2 NVMe SSDs.
The Intel Core i7 8700k might be the best CPU for you if you are feeling ready to take on some of the latest core-demanding releases.
Notably, you might have to blow a good wad of cash for it. But that’s because you are taking a huge leap from the too common quad-core to a hexa core mainstream processor.
More scores = improved performance?
The i7 8700K brings total war to the high benchmark Ryzen 7 1700 that boasts 8 cores (find its review above). Its 6 hyper-threaded cores with 2MB of cache each offer enthusiast gamers and builders up to 12 threads.
Again, it features base clockspeeds of 3.7 GHz. The ‘K’ in its name alludes that it is nicely overclockable. This stretches it to an impressive 4.7 GHz. This ranks it highly among the best CPU for the most demanding tasks.
If you are moving from a low-end processor, then you should see a huge improvement in terms of higher frame rates. This means that you might be able to take on most of the latest titles that require Full HD.
While the i7 8700k proves the best CPU in its category, do know that it does not ship with a cooler. Fortunately, it stays cool most of the time thanks to the Thermaltake triple-radiator. However, you may want to purchase an all-in-one cooler if you plan to overclock it down the road.
Secondly, remember that this new generation requires a whole new motherboard.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
6 Intel Core i3-8350K Processor- best CPU for overclockers on budget
This sub-$200 processor is yet another one of the best CPU for gamers on a tight budget. Honestly, this one does not promise beastly performance, especially with the most demanding titles. However, if you are building a gaming system for games on lower settings, this one might be the best CPU for the bill.
The i3-8350K is the latest in its category and brings lots of changes and an impressive value for money.
As you probably know, previous i3 processors feature 2 hyper-threaded cores. But this new release brings 4 physicals cores with no hyper-threading. This is a good feature in that you’ll now be able to sail through most of the tasks that previous K-series Coffee Lake models won’t.
Well, I don’t actually mean that this will double its performance speed. However, this boost in core counts takes it right below the Kaby Lake-based i5 processors.
Additional caches too
Besides it extra physical cores, the Intel Core i3-8350K also brings 5 additional caches. It takes the bar from the conventional L3 to 8MB. For comparison purposes, the i3 7350K has 4MB while the Core i5 (Kaby Lake) has only 6MB.
The good news?
The best part is that you get it at the same price as a dual-core CPU. And there’s more to this.
Ships with UHD Graphics 630
The fact that this processor does ship with the UHD Graphics 630 is also quite impressive. This feature adds it to the list of the best CPU with more value for low-end players.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
7 AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Processor
In case you find the Intel i3-8350K Processor above a little bit not compelling, AMD has another super impressive alternative.
A quick glance reveals that the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 is ready to go where 8350k won’t. It takes every aspect a notch higher (except the cores) but retains its asking price at a consumer-friendly space.
What makes it the best CPU for the money?
The most eye-catching highlight of the AMD Ryzen 4 1400 processor is that it comes with a discrete thermal solution. Worth of mention, this is the major issue that plagues the 8350K. As such, if you don’t want to spend on a separate cooler, Zen has a solution for you with this CPU.
This processor uses a quad-core chip. Unlike our recommendation above, this one features SMT enabling 8 threads. Its 3.2 GHz processor speed sits slightly lower than that of the 8350k. Luckily, you have the freedom to overclock it to upwards of 3.4 GHz and squeeze a little more performance.
No overheating issues
The major problem with most high-powered CPUs is the accumulation of heat. This can be quite a biggie feature when running complex games and video editing programs.
To offer you good value for each gaming buck, AMD includes the Wraith Stealth cooling solution in the package. Albeit a little bit compact than the cooler with pricier processors, this one has an efficient cylindrical heatsink.
The heatsink uses radially projecting fins and a large fan. Uniquely, this fan has been optimized for low noise and is more than enough for this CPU’s 65W TDP.
Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)
8 Intel Core i5-7500 7th Gen Core Processor
Our intense search for the best CPU for gaming this year brings the Intel Core i5-7500 into the picture. It is another great option for gamers who want a little bit more without spending a huge chunk of change.
Scanning through the specs sheet, the Core i5 7500 seems a pretty simple-to-use processor. It does not allow overclocking but there’s a way to do it.
One of the best CPU at its price, the 7500 features a base frequency of 3.4 GHz. However, you can take this as high as 3.8 GHz for a little more power.
As a Core i5 model, this is among the best CPU that offer 4 physical cores and 4 threads. It has zero hyperthreading though. Its L3 cache maxes at 6MB and it’s quite energy efficient at around 65W. The good thing with this power reduction is that it also makes it easy to keep the processor cool.
What will you like about it?
I bet the most impressive feature of this processor is the HD630 graphics that it comes with. These graphics will allow you to tackle less demanding tasks at low-to-medium settings with lots of ease.
Another definite advantage that you get with 7th gen CPUs is high-level support for hardware and incredibly faster memory modules.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
9 AMD FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Processor
With the New-CPU conveyor belt churning out new models non-stop, I bet the last thing that you’d expect here is a 4-year old processor. But that’s exactly what we have next for you.
As its high star rating alludes, the AMD FX-8350 FX-series processor is among the best CPU for the price. This unit is way cheaper than most Intel processors within its price range but almost as powerful.
What features does it bring?
Firstly, this processor brings 8 physical cores that run at base clockspeeds of 4 GHz. Impressively, this speed naturally stretches to 4.2 GHz to offer you a little more power for your games.
Unlike the Intel Core i5-7500 7th Gen Core Processor above, you won’t get a graphics card with this purchase. However, its decent price tag means that you might be able to add a reliable GPU to the cart as well.
Comparing it with its immediate rival, the Core i5, the FX-8350 seems to offer quite a good performance without breaking the bank.
Sure, the i5 and i7 are pretty neat gamers in terms of performance. But considering its price, the AMD FX-8350 seems a decent performer as well. Its asking price actually allows you to pair it with a top-of-the-game graphics card.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
10 Intel Boxed Core I5-6400 Processor
Our last recommendation in our best CPU reviews isn’t the least in any way whatsoever. It’s an interesting, lightweight prospect that sits squarely in the middleweight division.
It features Intel’s latest Skylake architecture and boasts the 14nm manufacturing process. This mid-range processer competes favorably with the i7 6700k but costs way less.
What does it bring to the table?
Hands down, this is the best CPU that any budget-conscious gamer would get from i5. Amazingly, it still offers most of the impressive features that other high-end i5s have. You get 4 cores, 6MB of L3 cache, and 1MB of L2 cache.
The Intel Core i5 6400 has considerably lower clockspeeds at 2.5 GHz. luckily, it has Turbo boost that allows you to boost its 2 cores to an impressive 3.3 GHz.
There’s more to this.
This processor has another impressive feature; low power consumption. Unlike several K-edition models, the Core i5-6400 eats 65W. This modest power demand means that this processor will be just fine with the Intel stock cooler.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Best CPU for Gaming Buying Guide
Fitting your gaming PC with the best CPU is paramount especially if you are a hardcore 4K fragger. The processor is essentially your computer’s brain to creating and maintaining a virtual environment.
It controls everything that your computer does from behemoth tasks like playing games and rendering video. It also makes it easy for your pc to carry out undemanding activities including launching a web browser and typing.
Unfortunately, with so many components out there claiming to be the best CPU, picking just one for gaming pc can be quite intimidating. There’s also a great chance of picking the wrong bit.
Pick an overpowered model and you’ll be draining your account for features that you won’t even use. On the other hand, go for a low-end chipset and you won’t be able to enjoy the latest gaming titles.
So, what matters when buying the best CPU for super-fast gaming?
If you are upgrading your gaming pc after some years, you will come across hundreds or even thousands of processors. But one easy way to whittle down your options will be to make a choice between Intel and AMD.
If you are buying a new pc, you will realize that several brands including Lenovo use either of these processors. That should tell you one thing: both of them could bring something to your gaming equation.
Ultimately, there isn’t anything like ‘’best’’ when comparing these 2 brands. Although AMD is relatively new in this arena, it has proved to be of worth in different aspects. Sure, we know of die-hard gamers who are switching to this new brand.
On the other hand, Intel boasts years of experience in computer accessories. This hard-to-beat giant continues to offer some of the best CPU for gaming.
In fact, if you are ambiguous and don’t feel confident to pick the best CPU, I’d highly recommend you to go with Intel. But we are here to diminish that confusion.
Value for your buck
When comparing CPUs from these 2 brands, one sure-fire way of narrowing down your options is by determining the cost. We all want a brand that offers the best bang for our buck in regards to performance and reliability.
Luckily, both brands offer these components across the price spectrum.
It all boils down to how much you are willing to part with. However, do know that price tags have a significant impact on other vital fronts such as speed, performance, and flexibility. Essentially, it all boils down to what is in your mix of preference.
If you are looking for an upgrade that you won’t have to sell a kidney for, AMD has your back. This brand has some of the best CPU processors that are cost-effective for budget gamers and students. Its low-end chipsets might also fit the bill if you want a reliable processor for straightforward computing needs.
You may ask…
‘’Does the low-cost affect performance?’’
Well, I don’t expect you to compare a 30-buck processor to a 2-grand behemoth in regard to performance. All in all, low-end AMD processors have a reputation for being strong and speedy enough for their cost.
They undercut Intel’s low-end price tags by up to 10% while giving up just a little in regard to performance.
For comparison, its dual-core A-Series, or AMD Sempron and Athlon dual-core processors fall within the 30-dollar ballpark. Interestingly, they compete favorably with several low-end Intel chips including the G3930 dual-core which is around 10 bucks pricier.
Mind you, this price difference remains this way as you climb the rungs of the performance ladder. AMD tends to eat a smaller portion of your wallet in each category.
But here is what makes AMD the best CPU for gaming for gamers on a budget.
You can ‘overclock’ the chips for higher speeds and robust and more vibrant graphics. Even better, AMD chips come in multi-core setups to allow multithreaded performance. We will talk more about overclocking later in this article.
If you want a chip with a little bit more give in terms of performance, then Intel might have a good choice for your gaming needs.
Intel processors shine in regards to lightning speed, top-notch graphics, and incredible capability. Unfortunately, you may have to pay a little bit more for its low-end chipsets in comparison to AMD’s low-end chips.
In addition to this, do know that most Intel processors don’t offer much room in terms of flexibility. But the good thing is that they still remain hard to beat in regard to outright power.
As a final thought?
Your choice between these 2 brands basically boils down to your budget and what you are looking for. If you are looking for an affordable and highly flexible module, I bet ADM makes a good bet for you.
On the other hand, if you want to remain at the top of the game without having to add some juice to the processor, Intel might have the best CPU for you.
Which is the best brand for gaming?
Intel and AMD differ in terms of processor-graphics integration. Intel CPUs have onboard (aka on-die) integrated graphics. This means that the graphic is built into the CPU chip.
The major problem with on-die graphics is that they don’t hold a candle to processors with stand-alone graphics chips.
AMD processors don’t offer on-die graphics solutions either. Rather, the Radeon graphics and processor cores are usually in a single chip known as an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Performance-wise, this integration makes the best CPU than Intel’s onboard graphics.
However, if you are serious about your gaming rig, the best idea is to go for an add-in graphics card or a discrete GPU. These 2 might make the initial cost significantly higher. But they are hard to beat in terms of performance and lightning speed.
The difference between Intel and AMD CPU processors isn’t so pronounced. The best AMD CPUs shine in gaming scenarios and applications which require multiple threads and multiple core settings.
We can’t say the same about Intel. However, this processor giant always has the upper hand in titles that require restricted thread settings.
Worth noting is that although most of the latest games are multi-threaded, very rarely will they demand over 4 threads. This means that a high core count is not always a benchmark for the best performer.
Despite of Ryzen’s Optimizations, Intel processors reign supreme compliments to their strong processing capabilities. However, if you are operating on a tight budget, AMD offers chips with a great gaming value.
Does it allow overclocking?
Put in layman’s terms, overclocking means tweaking a component to make it perform at a higher specification than what the manufacturer rates it for.
Why is this important?
This feature is good since you can purchase a low-end processor and upgrade it for higher performance. You could boost its performance by up to 25% without the increased cost.
For instance, if you are on a limited budget, you could buy a processor such as the AMD 2500+ and overclock it to offer a higher processing speed that equals that of the AMD 3000+ which is notably pricier. That sounds great, right?
But there’s a catch with this.
Firstly, it voids any warranty from the manufacturer. This is because the processor won’t be running within the manufacturer’s specifications.
Secondly, if you don’t do it the right way, overclocking may destroy your best CPU or shorten is lifespan. You could also end up with a damaged motherboard and system memory (at worst). Therefore, you need to do it correctly right off the bat.
Can you overclock any processor?
Not all CPUs allow you to overclock their performance. Most processors feature ‘locked’ multipliers which thwart any efforts of tweaking the cores for higher performance.
However, both Intel and AMD have certain models that accept overclocking. Better enough, some processors ship with a guide on how to squeeze extra power without damaging it.
If you are hunting for the best CPU that allows overclocking, AMD has several affordable models that fit the bill. Most of Intel’s low-end processors don’t allow it though. But this is possible with most of its high-end units.
How many CPU cores for gaming?
Simply put, the core count determines the number of tasks that the CPU can handle simultaneously without crashing.
Traditional single-core processors weren’t meant for multi-tasking. Rather, these CPUs would switch to high priority task.
But this changed since the AMD and Intel came up with their multi-core Athlon and Pentium processors respectively. Today, the market is choking with high core counts ranging from 4 to 16 which is AMD’s latest.
But this brings us to the question, how many cores make the best CPU for gaming in 2018?
Essentially, a dual-core CPU will do just fine if it’s HyperThreaded to deliver four threads of power. However, going over four threads can quickly diminish the performance.
If you pull the trigger and get a processor with 4 physical cores, you might start to enjoy better performance. The thing is that most of the latest games take advantage of the high core count with the latest CPUs.
Although getting a higher core count is highly recommendable, 4 physical cores seem a sweet spot for most games.
Again, higher cores are crazily expensive yet they bring minimal performance improvements. This is especially true with most Intel processors.
Well, this is a little bit personal. The best CPU for you depends on how much you want to spend and how complex your gaming rig is.
Both Intel and AMD offer numerous options on both sides of the price spectrum. The price mainly depends on the processor’s specifications of certain key aspects including the core count.
All in all, flagship mainstream processors feature the highest price tags. You might want to consider one of these if you want the best CPU for the beefiest graphics cards.
Several i7 and Ryzen 7 processors currently offer the best CPU models for gamers who want more for their bucks. If you want to enjoy optimum gaming experience, I would suggest going for Intel’s Coffee and Kaby Lake processors.
For the budget-conscious gamers who want to stream and do intense multi-tasking, AMD’s Ryzen 7 Series might be a great place to start your search.
There’s more to this.
Don’t get carried away by the best CPU processors that come at high-end prices though. Irrespective of the cost of the processor, ensure that GPU and CPU match. For instance, you won’t enjoy the ultimate performance of the high-end GTX 1080 if you plan to couple it with a low-end, quad-core AMD processor.
Picking a GPU for your gaming rig is a relatively easier task than picking the best CPU. But our best CPU for gaming reviews list should put you in the right direction.
Which model do you perceive to be the best CPU for your games? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments space below.