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Best CPU for gaming in 2023: Top Picks for Superior Performance

A closer look at the market's leading processors, comparing each for gaming performance, price, and overall value for money

Updated: May 10, 2023 5:03 pm
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The CPU, or central processing unit, is one of the most important hardware components in your gaming PC, maybe more so than the graphics card. Most people prioritize it as the second most essential hardware consideration, with only the GPU having more of an impact on your overall gaming experience. This makes sense as the GPU manages the quality, resolution, and frame rates of your PC games. However, contrary to many people’s beliefs, the CPU plays an intricate role in how well your PC runs games, making it worth finding the best CPU for gaming..

Having said that, picking the best gaming CPU for your needs can be a little strenuous, especially if you aren’t up-to-speed with the latest offerings. Annoyingly, the CPU market is forever changing with new, more powerful options altering prices all too often. How are you meant to know which CPU is best? Especially when pairing with a high-performance GPU

If you happen to choose team red ad your CPU of choice, you might want to check out our best AMD motherboards article.

Looking forward to Zen 5? We know we are, here’s everything we know about Zen 5 so far.


Best CPU for gaming 2023: Top picks


Best CPUs for gaming 2023: Products at a glance

Ryzen 9 7950X3D

ryzen 9 7950X

Cores:

16

Thread:

32

Boost speed:

5.7 GHz

Cache:

144 MB

TDP:

120W

Intel Core i9-13900K

19 118 412 V01

Cores

24

Threads

32

Base speed

P-cores 3 GHz / E-cores 2.2 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.8 GHz / E-cores 4.3 GHz

Cache

36MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost.

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

ryzen 9 7900X

Cores

12

Threads

24

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.6GHz

Cache

L3 64MB

Socket

AM5

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

5800x3d

Cores

8

Threads

16

Max boost speed

4.5GHz

L3 Cache

96MB (64MB 3D V-cache)

TDP

105W

Intel Core i9-12900K

Intel Core i9 12900K

Boost clock speed (single core)

5.3 GHz

Total Cores / Threads

16/24

P-cores

8

E-cores

8

Socket

LGA 1700

Overclockable

Yes


Best CPU for gaming 2023

Here we will take an in-depth look at our best gaming CPUs of 2023.

Best AMD Ryzen CPU For Gaming – AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D

01
Ryzen 9 7950X3D
Best AMD Ryzen CPU for Gaming

Ryzen 9 7950X3D

ryzen 9 7950X

Cores:

16

Thread:

32

Boost speed:

5.7 GHz

Cache:

144 MB

TDP:

120W

Pros
  • 3D V-cache makes for fantastic gaming performance
  • Less limited thanks to dual CCD config
  • Relatively efficient
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Locked to auto overclocking, no manual

The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D is the pinnacle of CPU gaming right now. the 7950X3D features 16 CPU cores and 32 threads, all clocked at 5.7GHz. The advantage bestowed upon the 7950X3D is the fact it has a much larger cache than any other CPU on the market right now.

Having V-cache is great but it does have its limitations. V-cache is incredibly sensitive to high voltages and temperatures. this means that part of the CPU has to be restricted to keep everything running properly.

The great thing about the Zen 4 version of the X3D CPUs is that the 3D V-cache is only built on to one of the two CCDs. This means that only half of the CPU is restricted and subject to the limitations the 3D V-cache imposes.

The 7950X3D is up to 40% faster in some gaming scenarios, and it’s easy to see how when you compare the success of the 5800X3D. This CPU will set you back a fair amount, but it will also gain far more than what it costs in gaming and computing performance.

There’s not much more to be said than that. This is the undisputed best AMD CPU for gaming in 2023.

Best Intel CPU for gaming – Intel Core i9-13900K

02
Intel Core i9-13900K
Best intel CPU for gaming

Intel Core i9-13900K

19 118 412 V01

Cores

24

Threads

32

Base speed

P-cores 3 GHz / E-cores 2.2 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.8 GHz / E-cores 4.3 GHz

Cache

36MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost.

Pros
  • Powerful single and multi-core performance
  • High boost speeds
  • improved L2 cache capacity
  • 32 logical processors
Cons
  • pricey
  • runs VERY hot

The i9-13900K is a very powerful CPU capable of toppling the competition, Its 24-core and 32-threads dominate in both single and multi-core workloads. Cementing the 13900K at the top of multi-threaded performance for the first time in years.

The 13900K has a TDP of 125 W base and 253 W boost, now that’s a massive jump in TDP over Alder Lake. But it’s also a massive jump in performance. The 13th-generation Raptor Lake CPUs see improved single-core performance of up to 15% and multi-core performance of up to 41%. The best part is you don’t even have to upgrade your motherboard to access all of this performance, but upgrading has its benefits.

L2 CPU cache is doubled this time around, giving the CPU swift access to larger, faster storage. This enabled the CPU to keep processing instructions quickly without developing a backlog to slow it down. The 13900K is seriously fast, with a boots core speed of up to a massive 5.8 GHz, the fastest core speed on the market at the time of writing.

All of this performance does have a downside, however, the 13900K runs incredibly hot under immense stress. We don’t expect you to ever reach the levels of usage that we did in our stress test, but we did manage to get the 13900K to throttle up to 13%. using a 360mm AIO.

Best non-X3D Ryzen CPU for gaming – AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

03
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
best (none 3DX) Ryzen CPU for Gaming

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

ryzen 9 7900X

Cores

12

Threads

24

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.6GHz

Cache

L3 64MB

Socket

AM5

Pros
  • Incredible performance
  • High performance pew Watt
  • Interesting IHS
  • Cooler than other 7000 series CPUs on average
Cons
  • A little pricey
  • Hard to keep cool

Normally, you would expect to see the Ryzen flagship, the 7950X here. Not this time. We don’t feel that the best CPU for gaming on the AMD side of things is the 7950X. We think much better value can be found in the Ryzen 9 7900X.

The 7900X is part of the brand-new Zen 4 architecture, bringing performance to another level on the AMD platform. Finally, the 7000 series is brought into the present with the AM5 socket providing support for both DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5. AMD users everywhere rejoice.

The 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7900X is capable of massive multi-core performance as well as single-core performance thanks to its massive 5.6 GHz boost clock speed. AMD has seriously cranked up the single-core performance this time around, making the single-core performance on par with Alder Lake, Intel’s previous generation CPUs.

Cache has been doubled this time around, now 1MB per core as opposed to 512KB, this means more instructions for the Ryzen Zen 4 CPU cores to chew through, A CPU that’s kept fed by cache in a speed manner is a fast CPU.

We have to talk about the TDP, and yes, it’s a lot higher than the last generation. The 7900X’s TDP is 170 W at the base core speed and 230 W at the boost speed. This also unfortunately makes the CPU run hotter than we’d like, just like the 13900K. It seems CPU cooler technology just can’t keep up with the amount of power packed into the new generation of CPUs.

A Powerful Choice For Those Still On The AM4 Platform – AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

04
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
A powerful choice for those still on the AM4 platform

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

5800x3d

Cores

8

Threads

16

Max boost speed

4.5GHz

L3 Cache

96MB (64MB 3D V-cache)

TDP

105W

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Incredible performance
  • 3D V-cache
Cons
  • No cooler
  • No native overclocking support

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a marvel in CPU engineering, the 5800X3D has technically claimed the top ‘best gaming CPU’ from Intel and their core i9 12900K but there are a couple of reasons it’s not top of our list today. The 5800X3D is an excellent choice for gaming, rocking a cool eight multithreaded CPU cores and a whopping 96MB of brand new AMD 3D V-cache, It seriously gains an edge in some games.

3D V-Cache is where this CPU differed from literally every CPU in the world right now, as it’s the only one to make use of it. 3D cache is not stacked laterally like a normal 2D cache but vertically (thanks to new 3D printing technology) – hence the term 3D cache. This drastically increases the number of chiplets you can cram into an area of any given size, thus resulting in larger cache capacities without sacrificing access speeds. The vertical stacking allows AMD to achieve the massive 96MB L3 cache with a total access speed of 2TB/s in its 5800X3D CPUs.

The 5800X3D has lower core speeds of 3.4GHz base and 4.5GHz max, these speeds are even lower than its brothers the 5800X, the reason for this is the 3D V-cache is unstable at higher core speeds. Thanks to the 5800X3Ds low max core speeds and lack of overclocking support, it’s not very good at single-core workloads or workstation tasks. if ever there was a fully-fledged gaming CPU it would be the 5800X3D.

This new caching technology gives the CPU major advantages in some gaming workloads, but not all. And with the lower core speeds and lack of overclocking support means the 5800X3D is regularly outperformed by cheaper and worse CPUs in scenarios where the cache is not utilized, even in gaming.

For these main reasons, is why the 5800X3D is not higher on our list. You can read the full product review on the Ryzen 7 5800X3D right here.

Best High-End Previous Generation CPU for gaming – Intel Core i9-12900K

05
Intel Core i9-12900K
Best High-end previous generation Gaming CPU

Intel Core i9-12900K

Intel Core i9 12900K

Boost clock speed (single core)

5.3 GHz

Total Cores / Threads

16/24

P-cores

8

E-cores

8

Socket

LGA 1700

Overclockable

Yes

Pros
  • Powerful single core performance
  • Powerful multi-core performance
  • Overclockable
Cons
  • Expensive

The 12th gen 12900K is the successor to the 11th gen Intel i9-11900K, utilizing the new ‘Alder Lake’ architecture as opposed to the ‘Rocket Lake’ of the older CPU. Unlike the release of Intel’s 11900K, the 12900K has been a huge hit amongst reviewers – despite the more expensive price tag.

The 12900K comes with a 125W TDP which, yes is higher than the AMD counterpart – meaning it does get a little toasty under the hood. The 12900K is only compatible with the new FCLGA1700 socket, meaning a complete upgrade will be necessary if you plan on purchasing this CPU. The new 12900k comes to shelves boasting a core count of 16 and 24 threads, making it a great all-rounder for both multitasking and gaming. Intel has put its efforts into architectural improvements with the new Alder Lake lineup, improving on almost every area.

With all these improvements, we finally see Intel regain the top spot as far as gaming is concerned. More impressive, however, is the fact that in workstation and multitasking scenarios, the Intel 12900K is almost as good as the Ryzen 5900X. Pair that with crazy overclocking potential and great single-core performance and you have one tasty processor.

A Great Choice Ryzen CPU For Gaming – AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

06
Ryzen 9 5900X
A great choice Ryzen CPU for gaming

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 1

Speed

3.7GHz/ 4.8GHz

Core (Threads)

12/24

Socket

AM4

TDP

105W

Pros
  • Rivals the Intel i9-10900K in gaming performance
  • High multicore performance
  • Unlocked overclocking
Cons
  • More expensive than the Intel alternative
  • Requires CPU cooler

It took AMD a while, but finally, they’re at the top of the CPU hierarchy with their extremely impressive Ryzen 9 5900X. This CPU pretty much does it all – gaming performance, overclocking, productivity work, the lot. If you’re looking for the best all-around CPU on the market, look no further – team red has you covered.

The flagship CPU from AMD offers up uncontested gaming performance and fantastic multi-tasking productivity work – all of which are great for gaming, streaming, rendering, and video editing. When you pair that with its current price tag, you’d have to say that the 5900X also shows some of the best value in today’s market too.

The 5900X is a 12-core 24-thread part, offering up a 3.7GHz base frequency right out of the box. Furthermore, with PBO, the 5900X can be boosted to 4.8GHz when it needs the additional power most – think gaming or productivity-type workflows. AMD, like always, has unlocked the Ryzen 9 5900X for excellent overclocking capabilities, with many users hitting 5.0GHz respectively. This all translates to very good performance in gaming – with single-core performance having the ability to push 100FPS + in the most demanding of modern titles.

The flagship offering also brings excellent future-proofing to your new build, supporting PCIe 4.0 for the next generation of hardware that’s just around the corner. You’ll be able to slot the 5900X into newer 500-series boards alongside older 400-series alternatives, making it not only powerful but versatile too. The only downside is the lack of a cooler – something that AMD’s more budget-oriented alternatives don’ have to worry about.

Best Value Intel CPU for gaming – Intel Core i5-12600KF

07
Intel Core i5-12600KF
Best value Intel CPU

Intel Core i5-12600KF

12600F

Boost clock speed (single core)

4.9 GHz

Total Cores / Threads

10/16

P-cores

6

E-cores

4

Socket

LGA 1700

Overclockable

Yes

Pros
  • Powerful single core performance
  • Amazing multi core performance
  • Overclockable
Cons
  • No in box cooler
  • Still more power-hungry than Ryzen

Another of Intel’s latest arrivals comes in the shape of their i5-12600K – their latest mid-range offering. This CPU comes equipped with a much more affordable price tag, but don’t let that fool you, it comes jam-packed with performance, including plenty of overclocking to boot.

The i5-12600K offers up 10 cores and 16 threads, the same as its predecessor the 11900K, but improvements to the architecture bring significant improvements in performance, with up to a 30% increase in FPS on some titles. Although AMD’s 5600X still beats the card in multi-core tests, making it the better CPU in this price range for workstation uses. On top of this, the 12600K typically (though not in all cases) beats the 5600X in single-core and gaming scenarios.

This performance is thanks to the impressive 3.7Hz base clock speed of the 12600K, with a tasty max single-core boost frequency of 4.9GHz. If you’re into overclocking, there’s also a ton of potential to be had by doing so with this chip. Pushing it up to 5.3GHz is not out of the question, putting it right up there with the likes of the 10900K, but be aware you will need a pricey cooling rig to do so. Even pre-overclocking the 12600K runs hot, which is the only real drawback of this chip, and this does necessitate slightly more being spent on cooling, eating into the savings somewhat.

Nevertheless, assuming you have an FCLGA1700 socket motherboard (the chipset is not backwards compatible) you won’t go far wrong picking this processor for your gaming rig. Overall, as far as gaming is concerned, at this price range, you’ll struggle to find anything that can match the 12600K’s performance. A fantastic CPU from Intel.

Best value Ryzen CPU for gaming – AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

08
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Best value Ryzen CPU

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 1

Speed

3.7GHz/ 4.6GHz

Core (Threads)

6/12

Socket

AM4

TDP

65W

Pros
  • Set to out-perform the 10600K
  • Great value for money
  • Unlocked overclocking
Cons
  • Slightly more expensive than what we’re used to from AMDs midrange offering
  • Requires CPU cooler

The 5600X was one of the most anticipated CPUs to be released when Ryzen announced their 5000 series CPU lineup – mainly thanks to some impressive benchmarking rumours. It came to the table offering a shocking mix of Intel-beating value and performance in both gaming and workflow scenarios. If you’re looking for a well-priced CPU that can smash out AAA game titles at over 100fps and has excellent multi-tasking abilities, the 5600X should be high on your list of recommendations. It’s the very reason why it finds itself in our list of best CPUs for gaming.

Price/performance, this chip is one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. It has a base clock speed of 4.1GHz alongside a 4.8GHz boost clock frequency – putting it next to some of the top performers in this guide. Furthermore, with a 19% increase in IPC, this thing really does leave the last generation of 3000 series CPUs in the dust. It comes with its own CPU cooling fan which AMD says is newly designed with excellent efficiency and almost no noise output – a feature the premium CPU options in AMD’s 5000 series lineup can’t boast.

Overall, whilst the 11600K offers better single-core performance at a cheaper RRP, the 5600X is still one of the best CPUs you can get at this respective price point.

 Powerful Ryzen CPU For Gaming – AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

09
Ryzen 9 5950X
A powerful Ryzen CPU for gaming

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 1

Speed

3.4GHz/ 4.9GHz

Core (Threads)

16/32

Socket

AM4

TDP

105W

Pros
  • Very high single-core performance
  • Great for gaming and workstation tasks
  • Excellent overclocking potential
Cons
  • High price tag
  • Requires CPU cooler

From a gaming standpoint, the Ryzen 9 5950X isn’t quite as good as the 5900x or 10900K. That being said, it still offers very good performance and actually outperforms them both when it comes to multi-tasking type workflows.

The 5950X is another step in the HEDT direction for desktop CPUs – offering up 16 cores and 32 threads for truly unparalleled workstation performance in this guide. Unlike HEDT though, you won’t have to purchase a custom board to run this bad boy, it’ll slot right into your AM4 motherboard without a hitch.

In terms of raw gaming performance, the 5950X does show a decent account of itself in this guide. Whilst it’s not as good as the 10900K or 5950X, it still offers very stable FPS figures when playing modern AAA titles. With a base clock frequency of 3.4GHz and a boost up to 4.9GHz, you’ll have more than enough juice to drive the most intense rendering and multi-tasking workflows.

All being said, this is an excellent all-around CPU – but mainly tailored towards the individual that really needs that extra productivity performance. Gamers will be better suited toward fewer cores and higher single-core performance.


Best CPU for streaming and gaming simultaneously

if you want a CPU for both gaming and streaming simultaneously, then you’re going to want a CPU with a lot of cores and a high clock speed. This means that you’re gonna be spending a pretty penny on a CPU for both gaming and streaming purposes. We can recommend a few CPUs that will be good for both gaming and streaming, the list is as follows:

Ryzen 9 7900X

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

ryzen 9 7900X

Cores

12

Threads

24

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.6GHz

Cache

L3 64MB

Socket

AM5

Core i9-13900K

Intel Core i9-13900K

19 118 412 V01

Cores

24

Threads

32

Base speed

P-cores 3 GHz / E-cores 2.2 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.8 GHz / E-cores 4.3 GHz

Cache

36MB

TDP

125 W / 253 W boost.

Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 1

Speed

3.7GHz/ 4.8GHz

Core (Threads)

12/24

Socket

AM4

TDP

105W

Any one of these CPUs will be perfect for gaming and simultaneous streaming. As you can see, all the CPUs have a high core count to coincide with a strong CPU core speed. We’ve made sure to select a number of CPUs for a variety of budgets, but as you can see, selecting a CPU that’s good at both streaming and gaming means you’re going to be paying a lot for a high-end CPU.


Best CPU for gaming in 1440p

Whilst gaming at 1440p is more demanding on your system, it’s not very CPU dependent. Gaming at 1440p only requires a minimal amount of additional effort for your CPU, it’s your GPU that does most of the heavy lifting. because of this, you’re pretty much free to go ahead with the CPU you already have planned.

As long as your CPU meets the recommended system requirements of the game you are trying to run, you should be okay to run the game at 1440p. A tip though is to make sure the GPU is well ahead of the recommended system requirements, as most of the targets are based on 1080P gaming.

If we had to recommend a baseline 1440p processor it would be the Ryzen 5 5600X

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 1

Speed

3.7GHz/ 4.6GHz

Core (Threads)

6/12

Socket

AM4

TDP

65W


Best budget CPU for gaming

fortunately for you, you can check out our Best budget CPU page, as we take a deep dive into the world of budget gaming CPUs in that article.

The top dog best budget CPU for gaming has to be the Core i3-10100F, its respectable core speed, and lower power consumption make it a prime candidate for gaming on an extreme budget. It’s one of the reasons we think the i3-10100 is such a great CPU, very few CPUs rival the bang-for-the-buck performance it provides.

Intel Core i3-10100F

Intel Core i3 10100F

Brand

Intel

CPU Model

Core i3

Cores (Threads)

4 (8)

CPU Speed

3.6 GHz

CPU Socket

LGA 1200


Best CPU for gaming under $200

Again, fortunately for you, the Best CPU under $200 article exists for your viewing pleasure.

We found that the Best CPU for gaming under $200 was the Ryzen 5 5600G.

Best value CPU under $200 for gaming

The AMD G-series stands out from the rest due to its compatibility with AMD FSR and other software upgrades. AMD FSR has been known to improve performance even on lower-end GPUs.

Ryzen 5 5600G
The best CPU under $100 for gaming

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Speed

3.9GHz – 4.4GHz

Core (threads)

6 (12)

Socket

AM4

Graphics

Vega 7

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Great iGPU for the price
  • benefits from FSR
Cons
  • Not as powerful as the 5600X

The Ryzen 5 5600G is a cost-effective alternative suitable for those with limited funds and provides comparable gaming performance to its predecessor, the 3400G. What sets it apart is its more efficient design, cores, and threads.

This processor comes with 6 cores and 12 threads, with a base clock speed of 3.9GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.4GHz, along with 16MB of L3 cache and 3MB of L2 cache. The 65W TDP accommodates AMD’s VEGA 7 iGPU, which features 448 stream processors and a clock speed of 1.9GHz.

Despite some individuals considering Vega 7 as a regression, its improved efficiency compensates for the fewer cores, resulting in no reduction in graphical performance.

For an APU, the Ryzen 5 5600G is a fantastic deal. As of writing, a new 5600G can be obtained for approximately $120, and purchasing one negates the need for a separate GPU.

When coupled with a GPU, the 5600G functions as a slightly less powerful version of the 5600X, with the same number of cores and threads but slightly less speed. The 5600X is still an outstanding processor, and having a CPU that performs just a little beneath it can still result in an exceptional CPU.


Best CPU for gaming 2023: What’s new?

The latest processor generations from Intel and AMD are the Ryzen 7000 series and the Intel 13th generation, respectively. However, there is a clear winner in terms of both price and performance.

Despite being a favorite among many, AMD fell short this time around with their high-priced CPUs and lackluster performance. Many were hoping that AMD would finally beat Intel in single-core performance, but unfortunately, that did not happen.

In contrast, Intel delivered an exceptional set of CPUs with their 13th generation, which outperformed AMD’s CPUs in multi-core performance, thanks to the flagship CPU containing 8 additional cores. Moreover, Intel’s prices are comparatively lower, making them the obvious choice for now.


Best CPU for gaming: Things To Consider

The first thing to consider when choosing your gaming CPU is what you intend to use it for. Just because a CPU is “the best” in one category doesn’t mean it’s the best CPU for you.

But what are you looking for in a CPU? How do you know it’s the one for you? Should it have more cores or faster speeds? Let’s look at a few key factors that may help you decide:

  • Casual/ hardcore gaming
  • Streaming
Black Friday CPUs

Ryzen 7000 X3D

AMD has launched its Ryzen 7000 X3D processors, which are specifically designed for gaming workloads and are expected to outperform the competition. The 7000X3D series processors are essentially the Ryzen 7000 series processors with added 3D V-cache technology. But what is 3D V-cache?

The 3D V-Cache technology in AMD Ryzen processors provides a substantial boost in performance for 3D graphics-intensive applications, such as video games, animation, and video rendering. By minimizing the need for data transfer between the primary memory and CPU, the technology enables faster rendering times and overall improved performance.

To enhance gaming performance, AMD has incorporated 3D V-Cache on a single CCD, rather than both CCDs in the Ryzen 9 X3D parts. This strategy preserves the advantages of higher clock speeds on the secondary die while balancing single-threaded gaming and multi-threaded applications. In previous generations, the X3D CPU was limited to overclocking and had a lower boost speed to accommodate the new cache, which resulted in compromised performance outside of gaming, particularly in the case of the 5800X3D.

Cores And Threads

A processor is made up of cores and threads. Nowadays, CPUs have multiple cores which allows them to do multiple tasks, think of it as the literal embodiment of the old saying; two heads are better than one.

The computer treats threads as virtual CPUs. The amount of threads is the number of tasks each core can handle. Threads can only do one thing at a time, but they can switch extremely fast. As such, threads serve as an efficient way for your CPU to effectively switch between handling multiple tasks.

In particular, on newer generation choices from Intel, you may find different types of cores in there. With a cut between efficient-cores and performance cores. These e-cores and p-cores work on different tasks and leave each other to focus on particular tasks. Increasing the efficiency and performance of the desktop processor.

Clock Speed

Clock speed, sometimes known as cycle speed, refers to how many cycles a core will perform every second. This is measured in megahertz. So 4MHz would be four million cycles per second.

Processors that are “unlocked” can be overclocked to reach a higher clock speed than their stock speed. However, overclocking has to be done right. If done incorrectly, you might find yourself with a costly paperweight at the end of the day. Nevertheless, it’s a rule of thumb to ask: “Is overclocking worth it?” before doing so.

If you’re unsure which processor you should get, read our article on which CPU do you really need? Or you can check our CPU hierarchy to see a detailed list of CPUs and which category they belong to.

Cores And Clock Speed Combined

Together these will give you a general idea about how well the processor in question will perform, but let’s delve a little deeper. For instance, IPC (instructions per cycle) tells us how many actions can be taken every cycle and is often much harder to find. Moreover, specific tasks utilize fewer cores, like gaming, which means you’ll want strong single-core performance (it’s still good to have at least four cores for gaming, though). On the other hand, tasks such as video rendering utilize a lot of resources, meaning you’ll want extra cores (at least eight +) for a smooth experience.

Ultimately, this is why we always benchmark the CPUs and test processors performing different types of tasks.

Hardcore Gaming Builds

Pure Gaming Build

Sometimes, you want to build a powerful gaming rig. You don’t care about streaming or content creation. Your bottom line is getting those high frame rates.

When it comes to a pure gaming build, speed is your friend. Unlike highly taxing programs and tasks, games aren’t as dependent on CPU cores and threads. Anything quad-core or higher is sufficient for gaming.

Most games will run on a dual-core processor, but more and more games are starting to require a quad-core or higher to install and run. That being said, most modern-day CPUs come equipped with at least 4-cores.

For a hardcore gaming build, I would suggest looking for processors that have at least the following speeds:

Pairing a fast processor with a good SSD, a powerful graphics card, and some quality DDR4 or DDR5 RAM will really increase your FPS overall.

Casual Gaming

Casual Gaming Build

Maybe you don’t care about high FPS figures or saving your content for the world to see. Perhaps you’re more the casual type, the type who just likes to game now and then in your free time. AAA games titles aren’t really your thing, and you don’t require all that processing power.

If all you’re looking for is a gaming build that will run some low-intensive steam games and esports titles, then a casual gamer setup might be more suited to your needs. Typically, a casual gaming build doesn’t need the latest hardware offerings. It’s also much more affordable than a hardcore gaming build.

When looking for a casual gaming CPU, you should look for one that is at least a quad-core if your budget allows it. It also doesn’t need to be extremely fast.

Let’s see what you should be looking for:

Streaming

Streaming Build

A growing trend over the last five years has been to stream and share gaming content. Platforms like YouTube and Twitch are hugely popular amongst the gaming community at the moment, and more people seem to be jumping on the stream build bandwagon. This, however, can be somewhat taxing on your processor if you don’t have a sufficient amount of power.

This means you’re going to need a processor with more cores and threads than your typical hardcore gaming build. Here’s what you should look for if you’re thinking about building a computer for gaming and streaming:

Having a higher core and thread count will help your computer multitask, allowing it to record your game as well as process everything else that’s going on in the background without the lag.


How to pick the best CPU for you

Choosing the best CPU for your needs can be a daunting task, as there are many factors to consider. Here are some tips on how to pick the best CPU for you:

  • Determine your usage: The first step in choosing the best CPU is to determine what you will be using your computer for. If you’re a gamer, you’ll need a processor with a high clock speed and strong single-thread performance. If you’re a content creator or work with intensive applications, you may need a CPU with multiple cores and threads.
  • Consider your budget: CPUs can range in price from under $100 to over $1000. Determine how much you’re willing to spend before starting your search. Keep in mind that more expensive CPUs typically offer better performance, but you may not need the latest and greatest if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Check the compatibility: Before purchasing a CPU, make sure that it is compatible with your motherboard. This means checking the socket type and chipset of your motherboard and ensuring that it matches the CPU you want to buy.
  • Look at the clock speed and core count: The clock speed is the speed at which the processor executes instructions, and the core count refers to the number of physical cores in the CPU. Higher clock speeds and more cores generally mean better performance, but keep in mind that these factors are not the only indicators of CPU performance.
  • Check benchmarks: Look at benchmark tests to compare the performance of different CPUs. Benchmarks provide a good indication of how a CPU will perform in real-world applications.
  • Consider future upgrades: If you plan on upgrading your CPU in the future, make sure to choose a CPU that is compatible with the next generation of motherboards. This will ensure that you can upgrade your CPU without having to buy a new motherboard.

Overall, the best CPU for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. Consider the factors listed above and do some research before making a purchase to ensure that you get the best value for your money.


Best CPU for gaming 2023

Our team of PC enthusiasts spends countless hours researching and benchmarking hardware to make sure you guys are up-to-date with what’s best. Whether it’s the Intel i9-13900K or one of Ryzen’s brand new 7000 series, the team makes sure no stone is left unturned when putting every processor through its paces.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what we’ve chosen for the best gaming CPUs currently available. Furthermore, let’s finally answer that age-old question; who’s better, AMD or Intel?


Best CPU for gaming FAQs

What type of CPU is best for gaming?

When it comes to choosing the best CPU for gaming the i9-13900K is a really good value. It’s unbeatable single-core performance is ideal for high-FPS action packed gameplay.

It’s 24 cores and 32 threads mean that you can get an edge in multi-tasking and workloads that benefit from multiple cores. Such as content creation or rendering workloads.

Does CPU really matter for gaming?

Yes, when it comes to gaming the CPU does matter. While it may not be the most important factor to consider, it still needs to perform well enough to run games with no issues.

For gaming, you will want a CPU that has a sufficient amount of cores and threads. If you are planning to stream, or listen to music while you are gaming, you will need a CPU with significantly good multitasking.

In general, for gaming, the higher the amount of cores and threads a processor has, the better it will be. If there are not enough present, the CPU will become slow and will struggle to load larger games.

A lot of gamers tend to focus mainly on the performance of their GPU. While this is important, your CPU is important in the running of your computer. You will need to take into consideration aspects such as clock speeds, and cache too.



Best CPU for gaming: Final Word

Choosing the best CPU for gaming can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be a challenge. Now that you’re familiar with the best gaming CPUs of 2020, it should hopefully make an informed decision when it comes to buying a lot easier. Don’t forget to pick the right cooling solution for your CPU to ensure it runs at optimal levels at all times!

Deciding which gaming CPU you’re going to get will come down to what your personal needs are going to be. Using this article should help you decide which one is best for you. We hope you enjoyed our best CPU for gaming article.

9 thoughts on “Best CPU for gaming in 2023: Top Picks for Superior Performance”

  1. Yumil

    Where the F is ryzen 7?😂

    Reply
  2. ToxicTaZ

    The fastest 6&8 cores CPUs for 2019 are the 8086K and 9900KS

    Both are Intel fastest factory Coffeelake and Coffeelake Refresh CPUs.

    Both Intel 8086K and 9900KS are faster than the AMD 3600X and 3800X

    9900KS is the last upgrade for the 300 series boards.

    Reply
  3. Irakleitos

    May I suggest the AMD ​Ryzen 5 2600X for the best budget gaming CPU? More threads than the Intel Core i5-9600K and the price is waaay better. Great guide nevertheless

    Reply
    • Hi Irakleitos,
      We have updated the builds since your comment, take a look and let us know what you think!

      Reply
  4. champted

    Nice job on a very good guide.
    However, may I suggest one correction: In the section “Terms to Know”, subsection “Clock Speed”, sentence “So 4MHz would be 4 billion cycles per second.”, the word “billion” should be “million”.

    Reply
  5. JamiegaL

    Hey. I sent a screenshot. Did you get it?

    Reply

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