Everyone has heard of the processor. But how important is it towards your gaming experience really? The answer to that is: Pretty important. In this article we’ll go over the best gaming CPUs currently on the market.
|AMD Ryzen 7 1800X||8(16)||3.6GHz(4.0GHz)||9.7/10|
|AMD Ryzen 7 1700||8(16)||3.4GHz(3.8GHz)||9.6/10|
|Intel Core i5-7600K||4(4)||3.8GHz(4.2GHz)||9.2/10|
|Intel Core i5-7400||4(4)||3.0GHz(3.5GHz)||9.0/10|
|Intel Pentium G4500||2(2)||3.5GHz||8.3/10|
The processor is at the center of everything in your computer. It is the “brains” of the operation. And, in order to build a solid gaming computer in 2016, you’re going to need a quality CPU. While some games (like first person shooters) are heavily dependent on your graphics card, other games (like RTS’ and MMORPGs) have many more calculations that need to be carried out and therefore utilize your processor more.
This should factor into your decision when looking for the best gaming CPU for your build.
Another thing you’ll need to take into account is the total budget you’ve set for your build. You obviously don’t want to spend $300 on a processor if you’re building a $400 budget gaming PC, because you wouldn’t have very much money left over for other parts.
And, likewise, putting a $100 processor in a high-end $1,000 gaming PC probably isn’t a good use of your budget as well.
In this post, we will take a look at the best CPUs for gaming in 2017. I’ve broken down the categories into four different tiers based on performance. While Tier 1 CPUs offer the most all-around performance, that doesn’t necessarily make them the best options if you are working with a budget. Even Tier 4 gaming processors are good options if you are playing non-demanding games and you have a low budget.
For each Tier there are multiple CPUs listed and a few of those processors have a brief overview below.
With the introduction of AMD’s new Ryzen CPUs, the power for the best processor architecture on the market has momentarily shifted.
AMD has long held value in the budget sector for desktop processors, but now they have taken over the award of “best performance” as well.
And, while nobody expects Intel to go away quietly, as of right now your best bet for performance and value lies with AMD.
Of course, Intel’s 10-core i7-6950X still appears to be the highest performing CPU on the market.
However, it is priced well over $1,500 and is, therefore, not very plausible, especially when you consider that AMD’s Ryzen 7 1800x—which in terms of in-game performance will perform similarly to the i7-6950X—costs just under $500.
Ultimately, though, while the i7-6950X might be a worthy option if you have an enormous budget for your upcoming build, AMD is, as of right now, the top choice for gamers looking to build a high-end PC.
BEST CPUS OVER $400 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
The CPUs listed in this price range are split with two AMD CPUs and two Intel CPUs. But, if you’re building a brand new setup and you’re not upgrading an older Intel system, your best option in this price is to go with one of AMD’s new Ryzen CPUs.
However, the CPU you choose will not have nearly as big of an impact on your in-game performance as will your video card. Rather, when choosing a processor for your gaming computer, you want to choose one that will not hinder the performance of your video card.
It’s important to note that all of the CPUs in this price range will handle any game just fine and will not hinder even the most powerful of video cards. Even the processors below $300 that are listed below are very viable options and will not create a bottleneck in the majority of situations.
So, then why choose one of these processors if you can save money and go with a sub-$300 CPU?
Well, mostly because these CPUs offer better overall processor performance. While they may not offer more in-game performance, they will provide better performance outside of gaming. So, if you’re looking to do more than just game and high processing power is important to you, then the processors listed below are a good choice.
BEST CPUS Under $400 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
While AMD’s new Ryzen CPU’s have stolen the high-end market, if you are looking for a processor in the $200-$300 price range, your only real option is an Intel CPU. (Although, it should be noted that AMD is expected to release their quad-core Ryzen CPUs in the near future.)
Ultimately, though, since modern games are now mostly GPU dependent, any of the processors in this price range will deliver a similar in-game experience to the processors listed above.
In fact, in a lot of ways, if your sole purpose is gaming and you are working with a moderate budget, it makes more sense to choose one of the Intel CPUs in this price range if it means you can get a bigger and better video card.
So, if you are working with a budget and you want to save some money to allocate to your video card, you can definitely get by with these slightly-more budget-friendly CPUs.
BEST CPUS Under $300 (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
Therefore, if you have less to spend on your gaming computer, you can choose one of these CPUs to help you allocate more to your video card–which will ultimately give you better in-game performance.
The i5-7400 is probably the best option in this group as it’s very affordable and it will not hinder even the top video cards in most situation. But the Intel Core i3 CPUs are also phenomenal budget-oriented options that will hold up in most cases as well. And, the best part about the Intel core i3 CPUs is that they will allow you to upgrade to a high-end Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU later down the road without having you to change out other hardware to accommodate the upgrade.
All-in-all, these CPUs aren’t the best processors on the market, but they are affordable and will get the job done for anyone looking to build an entry-level gaming computer.
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They won’t offer the best performance, but if you’re just looking to build a system that will at least play most games on lower settings, then they will easily accomplish that.
As mentioned above, the video card you choose will play a bigger role in determining your in-game performance. So, by choosing one of these more affordable CPUs you can allocate more money towards a better video card and you’ll be able to build a solid entry-level gaming PC.
If your budget is so tight that you can’t afford a video card, then the two APUs listed will allow you to build an entry-level system that relies on integrated graphics. This won’t be the best solution, but it will allow you to get your feet in the door.
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While list covers my opinions on what the best CPUs for gaming are, it’s inevitable that others will disagree with me. And, that’s fine!
I based this list off of what I believed were the best options in terms of overall performance and value. And, because I mainly looked at price-to-performance, I left some CPUs completely off of the list.
Ultimately, though, if you’re in the market for a new gaming computer and you are planning on buying a new system, or if you are just looking for an upgrade for your current system, and you have questions, please post them below.