The gaming industry has exploded over the last decade, and with that explosion has come a demand for high-performance hardware. A critical component of any gaming rig is the CPU (Central Processing Unit). The CPU not only influences frame rates but also determines how well a system handles tasks such as AI processing, physics simulations, and more. Let’s dive into the top gaming CPUs that have been turning heads and setting benchmarks.
The Best Gaming Processors for 2024
#1: Intel Core i7-13700K 3.4 GHz 16-Core Processor
- Performance: With 16 cores and core clock rate of 3.4 GHz (Performance Boost Clock of 5.4 GHz) the i7-13700K is the perfect mix of everything you want in a processor for gaming and performance. This Intel Core i7 chip is built on Intel’s Raptor Lake architecture for LGA1700 boards.
- Our Take: This CPU is going to be amazing for gaming up to 4K when paired with the correct video card (we recommend an RTX 4000 series) you’ll be running everything at max settings. Thermals are great with a decent air / water cooled setup. The best choice when going Intel.
#2: AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D 4.2 GHz 8-Core Processor
- Performance: This Ryzen 7 features 8-Cores, 16-Threads with 8 MB L2 + 96 MB L3 cache memory provides excellent hit rate in short access time enabling improved system performance and a lightning fast 4.20 GHz clock speed for reliable and fast execution for everything.
- Our Take: You’ll see unmatched gaming performance from this chip and for the price it cannot be beat. It’s built on the AM5 socket with improved power efficiency and AMD enhanced gaming performance. Given the fact that everything is optimized for gaming with the 3D line of processors you may experience a slight drop off in other categories. The best choice when going AMD.
Picks 3 – 10
|Rank||Name||Core Count||Performance Core Clock||Performance Boost Clock||TDP||Integrated Graphics|
|3||AMD Ryzen 5 7600X||6||4.7 GHz||5.3 GHz||105 W||Radeon|
|4||Intel Core i9-13900K||24||3 GHz||5.8 GHz||125 W||Intel UHD Graphics 770|
|5||AMD Ryzen 7 7700X||8||4.5 GHz||5.4 GHz||105 W||Radeon|
|6||Intel Core i5-13600K||14||3.5 GHz||5.1 GHz||125 W||Intel UHD Graphics 770|
|7||AMD Ryzen 5 7600||6||3.8 GHz||5.1 GHz||65 W||Radeon|
|8||AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D||16||4.2 GHz||5.7 GHz||120 W||Radeon|
|9||Intel Core i5-13600KF||14||3.5 GHz||5.1 GHz||125 W||None|
|10||AMD Ryzen 9 7900X||12||4.7 GHz||5.6 GHz||170 W||Radeon|
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D – Top performer but too expensive at ~ $620
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X – Best Budget Gaming CPU you can get at ~$150
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D – Great choice for an AM4 Build
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 – Low cost CPU but won’t be able to handle it all
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G – Integrated Radeon Vega 7 Graphics. Good for HTPC’s
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G – Great Choice for Graphics Onboard
Intel Core i9-10900K
- Performance: With 10 cores and 20 threads, the i9-10900K is a beast when it comes to gaming. It boasts high clock speeds, reaching up to 5.3 GHz with Thermal Velocity Boost.
- Best For: Gamers and creators who also need substantial multithreaded performance.
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- Performance: Packing 12 cores and 24 threads, it provides excellent multi-core performance. Its architecture improvements also mean better gaming performance across the board.
- Best For: Gamers who demand top-tier single-threaded performance, whether it’s gaming, streaming, or content creation.
Intel Core i7-10700K
- Performance: This CPU provides 8 cores and 16 threads. With a max turbo frequency of 5.1 GHz, it provides a balance between price and performance.
- Best For: Mainstream gamers looking for a robust CPU without breaking the bank.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- Performance: With its 8 cores and 16 threads, it stands out for its stellar single-threaded and multi-threaded performance, essential for gaming.
- Best For: Gamers seeking a middle ground between high performance and value.
Intel Core i5-10600K
- Performance: Housing 6 cores and 12 threads, it’s a favorite for many due to its affordable price and commendable gaming performance.
- Best For: Budget-conscious gamers who still want solid gaming performance.
Gaming Beyond Just The CPU
While the CPU plays a critical role, a balanced gaming rig should also consider other components. Investing in a powerful graphics card, sufficient RAM, and fast storage can make a substantial difference in the overall gaming experience.
What New CPUs Come Out in 2024?
Two major updates are coming in 2024 that will shake up the landscape – AMD will be releasing it’s Zen 5 architecture (8000 series CPUs) and Intel will shake up the PC word with the release of their 15th generation of CPUs – called Arrow Lake. AMD’s release should happen between Spring – Mid Year and Intel’s release will come toward the end of 2024. These are going to surely shake up this list when the chips are finally released.
AMD vs. Intel: Who Wins In Gaming?
The debate between AMD and Intel CPUs for gaming is ongoing. AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are praised for their value, multi-core performance, and improved single-threaded performance. On the other hand, Intel’s Core series is renowned for top-tier single-threaded gaming performance, with most CPUs featuring integrated graphics. Who wins? AMD is still dominating the lists and AM4/AM5 is still the choice for most gamers.
We like the 13700K as a sort of ‘outlier’ for Intel but there’s no question the rest of the list is heavily weighted toward AMD. Going into the first half of the year that supremacy won’t be challenged either – as AMD will be launching Zen 5 and gaining even more market share than they already have. But the tides may be turning. If everything they say about Arrow Lake turns out to be true this could be one of those pivotal moments in history where the pendulum swings the other way. It’s still too early to call as we need data & benchmarks to come out, but there’s a chance that by next year this list will look a lot more Intel heavy than we’ve come to expect in recent years.
This list replaces the best gaming CPU 2023 list with a lot of new options to start the new year (but many of them being the same). That will change, however, as the year begins to unfold as both AMD and Intel are going through major launches. We expect this list to get updated multiple times once the Zen 5 and Arrow Lake chips are released so bookmark this list and check back. Depending on your specific needs, budget, and the type of games you play, however, you can’t go wrong going with any of the CPUs in our top 10. Whether you’re building a new PC from scratch or upgrading your current system, the CPUs listed above have proven themselves worthy contenders in the gaming arena.
- Do I need a high-end CPU for casual gaming?
- Not necessarily. Mid-range CPUs can handle most games at decent settings. High-end CPUs are beneficial for AAA titles, high-refresh-rate monitors, and multitasking like streaming.
- Is overclocking necessary for gaming?
- Overclocking can boost performance, but it’s not essential. However, it requires a stable cooling solution and may reduce the lifespan of the CPU.
- How does CPU performance affect gaming?
- The CPU affects game load times, AI processing, physics simulations, and can be a bottleneck if it’s not on par with the graphics card.
- Should I consider future game requirements when choosing a CPU?
- It’s wise to think ahead. Future games will likely have higher requirements, so investing in a good CPU now can ensure better performance down the line.
- How frequently should I upgrade my gaming CPU?
- It depends on the games you play and the performance you expect. Typically, a good gaming CPU can last 4-5 years before needing an upgrade.
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