When looking for the finest CPU for gaming, you will want to strike a balance between performance and features while also keeping your PC budget in mind. In addition, you can examine how all of these CPUs compare against one another in our CPU Benchmarks hierarchy.
Even if it is merely to allow you to spend more money on other things like SSDs, better motherboards, and more RAM in the future assuming the silicon crisis ever ends achieving good value for money is critical to your computer’s overall performance. The ability to save a few bucks here and there on the key components may result in a much improved overall gaming PC.
But if you are tight on budget, then you must consider this buying guide where we will discuss the best CPU for gaming. So let’s begin!
Best CPU For Gaming 2021
These are the best gaming CPU that are worth your money:
1. Intel Core i5 12600K: Overall The Best Gaming CPU
Intel’s 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs represent a significant return to form for the company. When it was initially unveiled, its underlying hybrid architecture was seen as a risky bet, with its combination of high-performance and energy-efficient cores not immediately apparent as adding much to the desktop experience.
Fortunately, it was a bet that has certainly paid off, since the gaming performance provided by Intel’s most recent CPUs is nothing short of spectacular in comparison. In the world of gaming, the Core i5 12600K is the standout CPU since it not only provides excellent gaming performance across the board but also does it at a price that will not leave you in tears.
Not only does it exceed the similarly priced 5600X in almost every game, but it even outperforms the $750 Ryzen 9 5950X in several tests. The fact that it outperforms the Core i9 11900K is simply the frosting on the cake. Not too shabby for a $320 mid-range processor.
Since this is a new platform, you will need to get a new motherboard as well as new memory while you are at it—Alder Lake supports both DDR5 and DDR4 memory. That means the initial outlay is a little more than you had anticipated, but the performance is well worth it, and it is not a power-sucking beast, so you will not have to spend a lot of money on a specialised cooler to get the most out of it.
Key Features Of This Best Intel CPU For Gaming:
- Fast speed
- Efficient Alder Lake chip
- Low power usage
- Great performance
2. Intel Core i9 12900K: Exquisite CPU For Gaming PC
Though no one can dispute the fact that the Core i5 12600K is the best processor available at a reasonable price, the fact that Intel’s top chip is ranked second may come as a surprise to some. According to this logic, the overwhelming majority of gamers should go for the Core i5, with the second slot reserved for those who want even more performance.
It is the perfect chip for developing a high-end PC that will be used not just for high-end 4K gaming but also for more serious hobbies like 3D rendering and video editing. It is a powerhouse, without a doubt, but one that requires a system constructed around it to perform at its peak you will need a powerful power supply to get the most performance from it, and a significant cooler would not hurt either.
Additionally, the fact that there is a significant amount of overclocking headroom will enable you to take it to a whole new level of performance. When it comes to gaming performance, this is the fastest processor on the market by a wide margin, according to the benchmarks.
Only a few additional frames per second are gained above our top pick, and you must pay a hefty premium for the privilege of doing so. Even if you are purchasing a CPU in the ‘enthusiast’-class, you should keep an eye out for the best overall value for your money.
Major Highlights Of This Best Gaming CPU 2020:
- Incredible single-threaded performance
- Multi-threaded ability
- Great UI
- Provides high-end gaming
3. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Overall The Best AMD CPU For Gaming
In terms of performance in games, there is no difference between any of the Ryzen 5000 processors, which means you will get the same frame rates with this chip as you would with the more costly Ryzen 9 5900X. When you stop to think about it, this is incredible: top-tier performance from the cheapest Zen 3 CPU?
That is something we will say yes to daily. This processor has half the core count of the 5900X, and it comes in with six cores and 12 threads, which is half the difference between the two processors. The fact is that this is only a problem for individuals with more substantial workloads; otherwise, there is more than enough time to do more acceptable things.
However, even if the next-generation consoles will feature eight cores and sixteen threads, it is not certain whether gaming would benefit from a higher number of threads than what we have here at the moment. Aside from that, the Ryzen 5 5600X defies the Ryzen 5000 family’s trend by delivering with a Wraith Stealth cooling, which eliminates the need to spend additional money on a third-party cooler.
You do not need to do so, but if you do, you will be able to run at higher clock speeds for a longer period and will also have access to the great world of overclocking, which may make it worthwhile. This is a good small overclocker, and although it will not make much of a difference in gaming, it will make a significant difference in other areas.
Why We Love This Good CPU For Gaming:
- Awesome gaming performance
- Strong value for money
- Decent overclocking performance
- Stealth included
4. Intel Core i5-11400: Best Gaming CPU 2021 With Great Graphics
The Core i5-11400 is the greatest budget processor on the market, owing in large part to the fact that AMD’s sole rival chip is the two-year-old Ryzen 5 3600, which cannot match with the 11400’s more current design. In the game industry, the $182 In comparison to the Ryzen 5 3600, which typically sells for $200 or more, the Core i5-11400 wins by an overwhelming margin.
The Core i5-11400F, which does not have graphics, is available for $157, which is a bargain considering its high level of gaming performance. Taken as a whole, the Core i5-11400 offers a more consistent combination of performance throughout our whole battery of application tests as well.
The 11400 has a significant advantage in single-threaded work, and its sole shortcomings in threaded work occur when the machine is topped with its standard cooler, which is not ideal. Even with the power limitations firmly enforced, the 11400 can compete with the 3600 in threaded work if equipped with a better cooler, however eliminating the power constraints puts the 11400 in an unassailable lead.
The PCIe 4.0 interface is supported by the Core i5-11400 processor. Additionally, B-series motherboards, which are the ideal match for this CPU, permit both memory overclocking and raising the power limitations, both of which pay big rewards with this chip while also allowing enthusiasts to mess about with the configuration.
Intel’s default cooling is also generally ineffective for enthusiasts, so you should plan to spend more money on a more capable cooler.
Major Features Of This Best CPU For Gaming 2021:
- Bundled cooler
- Memory overclocking
- Solid gaming performance
- Application performance
5. Intel Core i5 10400F: Best Budget Gaming CPU Among Intel Builds
The Core i5 10400F processor is an unexpected and compelling alternative. Although it is somewhat quicker than the previous-generation Core i5 9400, the F suffix indicates that it does away with the Intel integrated graphics altogether. That is not an issue for gamers unless they wish to utilise QuickSync, in which case Nvidia’s NVENC is arguably superior.
To summarise: It is an outstanding low-cost alternative to a Core i3 processor that is not much more expensive. There are additional concessions, such as the fixed multiplier, which means no overclocking is allowed. However, you may save money by purchasing an H470 motherboard.
The CPU comes with a cooler, which is something we would want to see as an option with every CPU in the future. Most motherboards are capable of running the 10400F at 3.9GHz, thus do not be concerned about the low base clock speed. While the i5 10400F may not be as quick as other CPUs in multithreaded testing, it is on par with AMD’s last-generation 3900X in our gaming suite, according to our tests.
Future games may begin to strain the limits of the 6-core processor, but it is unlikely that you will be forced to upgrade before you are ready. For the time being, the i5 10400F is both highly fast and extremely economical.
Key Features Of This Great CPU For Gaming:
- Mid-range performance
- Affordable pricing
- Cooler included
- Good clock speed
6. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X: Best Gaming CPU Providing Good CPU Temp While Gaming
The Ryzen 3 3300X is a difficult chip to come by since it is such a good value for the money. However, if you manage to get one for less than its $120 MSRP, it is hard to find a better deal at this price point anyplace. The processor, which has four cores and eight threads, opens a new level of performance for budget gamers, allowing them to push low- to mid-range graphics cards to their maximum potential.
The 3300X’s four cores run at a base clock rate of 3.8 GHz and may be turbocharged to 4.3 GHz, resulting in responsive performance in lightly threaded programmes such as gaming.
AMD offers a Wraith Spire cooler as part of the package with the CPU. Speaking of overclocking, the Ryzen 3 3300X is capable of reaching the highest all-core rates we have seen with a Ryzen 3000-series CPU, making it an excellent choice for enthusiasts.
This CPU, unlike AMD’s other current-generation Ryzen 3 processors, will need a separate graphics card to function properly, but the cheap price point offers additional space in the budget for a more competent graphics card if you so want.
Major Highlights Of This Best Ryzen CPU For Gaming:
- Low pricing
- Great gaming performance
- Overclocking ceiling
7. AMD Ryzen 7 5700G: Best CPU For Gaming With Stellar Performance
AMD’s APUs are the ideal CPUs to utilise in your gaming setup if you are not planning on using a separate graphics card but still want to get a reasonable amount of gaming performance out of your computer. And the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is the finest of the new Zen 3-based processors in terms of delivering on that promise right now.
Because we are talking about an eight-core Zen 3 CPU component with 16 threads, as well as an extremely powerful Vega GPU to back it up, the Ryzen 7 5700G is a significantly more versatile APU offering from AMD than prior APU offers. This results in a chip that is practically on par with the top of the Ryzen 5000-series CPUs in terms of processing capability but also has the graphics horsepower to provide 1080p gaming on low settings in some of the most demanding games on the market today.
Because of the GPU shortage, the 5700G is an enticing APU to consider because it will get your new gaming PC up and running quickly. At the same time, you may put off purchasing discrete graphics cards until they become available without having to sacrifice too much of your system’s overall performance.
In addition, since the 5700G is a monolithic architecture rather than a chipset, there are certain performance variations when compared to the conventional Ryzen 7 5800X, an eight-core, 16-thread CPU that does not include graphics.
Why We Love This Best CPU For Gaming:
- Stellar performance
- Faster Zen 3 CPU cores
- Bundled cooler
- Excellent power consumption
8. Core i7 11700K: Best CPU For Gaming In A Budget Option
Although the i5 processor we discussed earlier produces surprisingly decent gaming performance, more demanding titles need the use of a more powerful CPU. Intel, as one of the industry’s pioneers, is developing a broad spectrum of such CPUs. One example of this would be the Intel Core i7 11700K, which is likewise based on the rocket lake architecture and would be an advantageous purchase.
It outperforms the 11600K in terms of performance for the same price, plus it has eight cores and sixteen threads. It covers a greater proportion of the workload than the majority of the competitors while maintaining a reasonable price tag. Furthermore, expert testing has shown that this CPU is capable of competing with some of the i9 processors manufactured by Intel.
Certainly, some of the high-end games that need a high level of processing power may not be compatible with this setting. Players who are looking for a cheap gaming CPU alternative might choose the 11700K, which is a high-quality processor. There is also the option of using less integrated graphics and using your graphics expertise to increase the performance of the CPU.
When it comes to processor frequency, the Intel Core i7 11700K is capable of operating at speeds ranging from 3.6 GHz to 5GHz. Despite this, there are a few considerations to keep in mind while using this CPU. In conjunction with the all-core peak boost, this corresponds to a frequency of 4.8GHz.
With a dual-core processor, on the other hand, the frequency corresponds to the highest specified value. This Intel CPU for gaming is the most powerful of the whole Rocket Lake series of Intel processors, and it also has the greatest range of applications. Although it takes a lot of power to effectively run, this processor from Intel’s 11th generation of CPUs is the best for gaming out of the bunch.
Using 14 nm technology, it makes use of the same socket as the previously stated 11600K processor. Overall, the 11700K’s integrated graphics and Ultra HD resolution make it a good choice for competitive gaming.
Reasons To Love This Best CPU For Gaming:
- Good frequency
- Bundled cooler
- Great range of applications
9. Ryzen 7 5800X: Best CPU For Gaming With Boosted Performance
While the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a good budget alternative, the AMD range also includes a higher-value option that is worth considering. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, which is an entry-level processor in the premium class of the best CPUs for gaming, is an excellent example of such a high-power processor.
It unquestionably belongs to the exclusive group of processors that are optimised for gaming and streaming while still providing high-quality graphics support. One of its most notable features is the operability of eight cores with sixteen threads, as well as the noteworthy architecture.
The Zen 3 platform makes the most of AMD’s trademark CPU design, which is based on Zen microarchitecture. This processor achieves the elusive sweet spot between everyday use and high-performance gaming performance. As a boost limit, it operates across a broad range of operating frequencies, ranging from 3.8 GHz to 4.7 GHz.
When it comes to thermal design power rating, it also performs very well, with a rating of 105 watts. When used in conjunction with the proper components, it is both advantageous for laptops and particularly helpful for PC gaming. A good CPU for gaming is difficult to get by these days, especially in the lower price range, but this one does not lag.
If you are looking for the best CPU for gaming, the AMD portfolio has some of the most capable options available on the market.
Key Features Of This:
- Highly capable
- No lag
- 8 cores
- Great frequency
10. Intel Core i7-12700K: Great Name In CPU For Gaming
At $409, the 12700K easily outperforms the $390 Ryzen 7 5800X and even the pricey $550 Ryzen 9 5900X, all while delivering essentially the same gaming performance as Intel’s flagship Core i9-12900K, which costs $589 but delivers essentially the same gaming performance as the $589 Core i9-12900K — for $180 less.
Compared to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, the Core i7-12700K is an astounding 12 per cent quicker in 1080p gaming, and 7.5 per cent faster than the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, which currently holds the title of the world’s fastest gaming processor. The chip is also very effective in high-productivity tasks: In light-threaded applications, the 12700K outperforms the 5800X and 5900X by around 17 per cent.
However, in heavily-threaded applications, the Core i7-12700K is 2.5 per cent quicker than the Ryzen 9 5900X, even though the 5900X is 2.5 per cent faster in threaded tasks. Compared to the Ryzen 7 5800X, the 12700K is 40 per cent quicker in threaded tasks, while the 5800X is just a few percentage points lower.
The Core i7-12700K is priced the same as the previous-generation Core i7-11700K at $409, however, it has 33 per cent more threads than the previous-generation Core i7-11700K. The Core i7-12700K contains eight P-cores (for high performance) and four E-cores (for efficiency), for a total of 20 threads on a single processor.
The P-cores have a base/boost frequency of 3.6 / 5.0 GHz, while the E-cores have a base/boost frequency of 2.7 / 3.8 GHz. Aside from that, the chip is supported by a 25MB L3 cache and a 12MB L2 cache.
Reasons To Buy This Gaming CPU:
- Good price
- Power efficiency improved
- Great performance
Final Thoughts On Best CPU For Gaming
Overall, the best CPU for gaming, both in terms of processing power and speed, can only be discovered with the assistance of a professional. As you can see from our comprehensive guide, the majority of the solutions are built by Intel and AMD, two of the most well-known companies in the business. Overheating or inadequate processing speed, as experienced by certain CPUs, are not enjoyable experiences for gamers.
We hope this article on the best CPU for gaming helped you.