CPU Hierarchy List 2020 – An Updated List for Gaming PC Builders


One of the most common questions gamers have when building or upgrading a gaming PC is “What processor should I get?” The need to make the right comparison and evaluation is vital when finding the perfect processor for your needs. Even the smallest of differences in price could make a huge gap in output and performance.

Checking out an updated CPU hierarchy list can help consumers visualize where their desired CPU sits in comparison to others. In this article, we strive to continuously add new AMD and Intel CPUs for your convenience to the CPU hierarchy list!

The Problem

It truly is a tedious task to go over each processor to make comparisons and notes. With how fast the competition between AMD and Intel has been going, to choose the right one will be a problem, especially since there are new CPUs released every year.

The Solution

Choosing the right CPU for your need is vital since you also need to consider “side” processes that need to be done on your computer. Some gamers need to render and edit images and videos for a living while others focus on gaming and streaming full time.

Regardless, an updated list of the CPU hierarchy should help you out and make those comparisons much more convenient.

Without further ado, let’s get stuck into the CPU hierarchy list and find you a new processor!

Tier 1: High-End “Power” Processors



Tier 2: Powerhouse “Gaming” Processors

Tier 3: A Gamer’s “Average” Processors

Tier 4: Entry Level “Starter” Processors





Tier 5: A Gamer’s “Budget” Processors


If you want to share this list on your site, check out our infographic!

Comparison of Tiers

Tier 1 – High-End “Power” Processors

Tier one in the CPU hierarchy features CPUs that are way ahead of the majority and are sometimes known as high-end desktop CPUs (HEDT). These are the best in terms of power draw, core count, speed, and threads. These CPUs are best suited to multi-tasking systems that run servers, video editing, and image rendering.

Obviously, gaming is no issue for processors like these, but they are built for so much more than just gaming. In terms of appearance, the top tier CPUs tend to be larger than your standard CPUs. For most gamers, a tier two CPU is more than plenty for your gaming needs with the higher end tier two CPUs being excellent multi-taskers too.

This wasn’t really a fair fight until AMD released the Ryzen (Threadripper) series. Seeing how it could easily crush Intel’s i7 processors, Intel has responded in a way that resulted to such great competition and birth of the i9 X series. AMD has recently replied with some of the best CPUs the market has seen in a while; the Ryzen 3000 chips are phenomenal value.

Tier 2 – Powerhouse “Gaming” Processors

The list of processors you could find here are perfect for gaming purposes. The capabilities, power, and output they have mean they can handle all of your AAA games. Furthermore, the power they hold makes it possible for you to have enough breathing room to do other tasks in the background at the same time.

Streamers and content creators will find these processors a perfect fit for their gaming needs without the need to spend as much as the top tier processors.

Tier 3 – A Gamer’s “Average” Processor

If your sole purpose is to get your hands on a processor for gaming, the tier three list of CPUs should be enough for your average gamer’s needs.

You can certainly rely on the power of a tier-three processer, especially for gaming. They may not be as powerful as the tier two list, but it should be more than enough as far as the number of cores, power, efficiency, and output is concerned.

Tier 4 – Entry Level “Starter” Processors

For anyone just starting in the world of PC building, the tier four list is perfect for entry-level folk. These CPUs are a significant upgrade from your budget processors and not too expensive either.

When a tier four CPU is paired with a mid-range GPU, you are almost certain to achieve medium to high settings with your games at a decent FPS.

Tier 5 – A Gamer’s “Budget” Processors

The tier five list is great for anyone on a tight budget that still wants an upgrade. These processors will still let you experience games, just at a much lower price.

When paired with the right graphics card, you will still be able to enjoy a decent FPS count. Beware though these may not hold as much power as the higher tiers, and if your GPU is too good, you could end up bottlenecked by the CPU.

What Is The Best Processor?

For Gaming

There are several perfect CPUs for gaming on this list, and not just in the top tiers either! While the older i7-8700K and i5-8600K are still high performers in the gaming department, they have steep competition these days. Intel’s i9-9900k and 9700k are excellent gaming chips, only being beaten by the new and improved Ryzen CPUs like the 3900X.

Despite this, if you pair and old i5-8600K with a decent GPU like the GeForce 1080Ti, you are likely to achieve great gaming performance.

Most Powerful CPU Overall

When it comes to the best CPU as long as power is concerned, Intel’s Xeon W-3175X narrowly beats the AMD Threadripper 2990WX. Both processers are unrivaled for their workstation abilities but are most certainly overkill for gaming.

CPU’s multi-core performance

The results were based on CPU’s multi-core performance based on the benchmark results. Credits to Futuremark.com for the evaluation and results.

Final Word

It is very important you choose the right CPU for your needs. Making the wrong choice can cost you an extra few hundred dollars that would be better spent in other areas of the build. Our detailed CPU hierarchy list has hopefully made this process for you aa lot simpler, allowing you to make the right investment.

You can also check out our GPU Hierarchy right here.