Best Gaming CPU In 2020

The processor is arguably the most important part of the computer since it controls every program and activities of the PC. That means all activities must pass through the CPU before they are executed. In that case, it’s always a great idea to have the best gaming CPU when building a gaming PC. If you select the right peripherals and forgot to carry out a nice selection on a processor, your entire gaming system will suffer greatly. So, it’s important to choose the best gaming CPU.


At A Glance: Best Gaming CPU In 2020


ProductBrandNamePrice
IntelIntel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz TurboCheck Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 7 3700XCheck Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 5 3600Check Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth CoolerCheck Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire CoolerCheck Price on Amazon

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Selecting the best gaming CPU

Gaming CPUs are usually tougher than other CPUs because they need the power to withstand some powerful games with high-intensity. The two major brands of gaming CPUs we have today are from AMD and Intel. Both companies are into fierce competition for supremacy. But our discussion will take a different route.

We are bringing you the best CPUs in different categories. If you’re looking for the best Gaming Intel CPU or the best AMD CPU, we have you covered. However, if you are on a tight budget and want something affordable, this list is also for you.

Let’s begin with the best gaming Intel CPUs in the market right now.

Best Intel CPU For Gaming

1) Intel Core i7-8700K – Best Intel CPU for Gaming

Our top item on the list for the best Intel CPU is an impressive one. If you are looking for a processor with good features and intense power, you are in the right place. Intel worked a miracle to compress 18 cores into the tiny Core i9-7980 XE processor, and that has also been replicated in this i7-8700K CPU.

This CPU is specifically designed for gaming when you see its entire features. It teeters perfectly on the balance between performance and price, as the 8th generation Coffee Lake processor delivers powerful features.

It withstands whatever that’s thrown at it, no matter the type of game. In terms of overclocking capabilities, this CPU is a beast.

It will surely keep your PC rig ahead of any CPU bottlenecks, as it comes with six hyperthreading cores as well as the leakage minimizing 14nm++ architecture.

Core i7-8700K operates as this generations’ flagship product with an accelerating clock speed of about 4.7GHz on Turbo boost technology. However, to gain higher core counts, it sacrificed some frequencies. That’s why the 3.7GHz clock base speed is about 500MHz lower than the -7700K model.

The 14nm++ architecture offers 52% less leakage and 26% more performance than the previous 14nm generation. With this advancement, it ensures more cores performance and improved Turbo boost processes, which leads to overall increased performance. This is one of the best gaming CPUs if you want to build a system that will not disappoint you.

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2) Intel Core i5-8400 Desktop Processor

Here is another impressive Intel CPU with good speed and solid performance. If you want to have the best gaming experience, you need a processor with more cores and more threads. That’s what i5-8400 will offer you.

It comes with 6 threads and 6 cores, offering you superior performance. This Intel Core processor has 9MB of cache, with 2.8GHz of a base clock and 4.0 GHz of Maximum Turbo frequency.

The processor is designed on 8th generation core chips. And just like the other recent Intel Core CPU’s, this one follows the 14nm manufacturing architecture. The ten chips further improve the manufacturing process.

 Interestingly, you can take the clock speed of this CPU to about 4.7GHzturbo frequency because of the impressive manufacturing process. Although the CPU is pricey, the speed and level of performance make up for the price.

With the six cores, the TDP measurement still manages to stay at only 65W, which is great for a CPU with this performance level.

You can easily pair the CPU with the latest GPU without becoming its bottleneck.

However, the only feature lacking in the processor is the lack of hyper-threading, as we have mentioned. That means it cannot deal with two threads simultaneously. Despite this fact, the processor can still boost its level of performance by 50%, which is great.

The CPU also comes with virtual reality, with the right combination of display, audio, and graphics to offer a balanced performance.

If you’re looking for the best gaming CPU, this model is up there with the very best models in the industry.

It supports Intel’s Optane memory, and also great for streaming 4K Ultra HD, making your experience far more engaging and detailed.

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3) Intel Core i7 i7-9700K

Intel Core i7-9700K is an excellent step up from the i7-8700K sibling above. It comes with more clock speeds and CPU cores.

However, this unit doesn’t come with hyperthreading, which is a turnaround from the recent Comet Lake processors with hyper-threading throughout the stack.

But its features are properly balanced between price and performance. Thanks to the extra clock and core speeds, it’s faster than the Core i7-8700K model above. The fewer threads don’t affect its performance.

One of the reasons why Intel decided to leave this CPU out from hyperthreading is probably to offer a cooler version. It doesn’t get as hot as others with hyperthreading, which is a good thing for those running high-intensity games.

If you are video editing, live streaming, or doing other content creation activities, this CPU is a great option. It’s probably the best gaming CPU when you consider the cost/performance ratio.

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4) Intel Core i5-10600K

For enthusiastic gamers who love tuning their processors without expensive supporting components, this CPU is the right option. It comes with lots of features, including PCLe 3.0, overclocking headroom, as well as single and multi-threaded workloads.

Intel Core i5-10600K is equipped with 12 threads which is twice more than the threads on the previous Core i5-9600K model, even though they are priced similarly.

With the higher thread counts, coupled with the significantly higher boost frequencies on the board, you are getting a faster gaming CPU than its Core i5 sibling.

It also equates in performance with the previous-gen Core i7-9700K. It comes with Intel 400 Series Chipset and LGA 1200 socket. Core i5-10600K comes with a base clock speed of 3.3GHz and a Turbo Boost clock of 4.4GHz. This makes it fast and steady for all types of games.

If you’re looking for the best gaming CPU with high refresh rates, this one will be a good option. If you also plan on using the new Nvidia or AMD graphics card, this one will accommodate them as well. Overclocking with this CPU is also great.

The 12 threads also lessen the gaps between the CPU and other competing AMD processors during heavily-threaded workloads.

The Core i5-10600K is one of the best gaming CPUs if you want to compare price and performance. It delivers optimum performance for the most popular games in the world.

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Best Budget CPU for Gaming

1) Intel Core i5-9400F

The i5-9400F is another affordable but top-performing processor. It is faster than the previous Core i5-8400 model. Despite the affordable price, it still performs far better than some other options in the market. If you’re looking for the best gaming CPU that stays relatively affordable, this CPU can serve you well.

However, it will be difficult to overclock the CPU. So, if you’re looking for the best gaming CPU for overclocking, this is probably not the right one for you. But you have lots of options on this list.

One good thing about the processor is the addition of a cooler, which is not always available for processors within this price range. Even some of the pricey ones do not come with any cooler, so it’s a good thing about the Core i5-9400 F processor.

The system is not the fastest in the market, but it’s still a great option for those on a tight budget. If you’re just building a system for the first time, this processor will be a perfect match. It can accommodate different types of games. With 5 cores, you would expect a fast and efficient CPU. That’s exactly what Intel Core i5-9400K provides.

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2) AMD Ryzen 3 1200 –  Best budget-gaming CPU

AMD has stepped up its game since the introduction of the Ryzen processors. Some of the CPUs from the brand compete favorably with Intel now. It’s the best budget-gaming CPU because of the top features and affordability at the same time.

Ryzen 3 1200 packs both AMD SenseMi technology and Zen architecture. It combines both lower-power and top-performance designs, making it ready for any gaming computer build.

One other thing you will like about this processor is the simultaneous multi-threading feature. That’s where AMD comes out top when compared with Intel CPUs.

It gives the processor an impressive boost in the number of instructions for each clock circle. Also, the unlocked precision boost ensures a dramatic overclocking of the CPU. Because of this, you can get extreme power from the processor for playing the most demanding games.

With the multi-threading feature, each core can take care of a single task, which means that all cores can perform more precisely and faster.

It comes with a base clock speed of 3.1 GHz, which means the game will not hang in the middle as some other processors do.

If you are looking for the best gaming CPU with an excellent price/performance ratio, this AMD processor is probably the right option for you.

The convenient features of the processor also make it a worthwhile investment.

AMD Ryzen 3 1200 supports dual-channel memory and uses the AM4 platform. The AM4 platform is vital because it will increase gaming performance without leading to overheating.

With the impressive multi-core and single-threading performance, you have one of the best gaming CPUs.  Thanks to the SensiMi and Zen architecture, you can upgrade with more features and improved cores in the future.

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3) Intel Core i7-3770 Quad-Core

Intel Core i7-3770 is another decent CPU for the money. It’s a good model for gaming with the power to handle games at an impressive fps to give you a good resolution.

The processor comes with 8 threads and 4 cores, which makes it perfect for multitasking. Another strong feature the CPU has is the amazing HD 400 integrated graphics, which will be great for those looking to add a dedicated GPU.

This CPU comes with a clock speed of 3.4GHz, with a turbo boost technology of 3.9GHz. Although this may not be the fastest CPU in the market, it’s one of the best gaming CPUs if you consider the price/performance ratio. There is no better processor in a similar price bracket with this model.

That is why we’ve included it in this best gaming CPU list. The CPU is similar to the i7-3770K processor, with the only difference being the multiplier feature. However, the 3D transistors could offer another dimension as it remains controlled in terms of thermal needs and overclocking.

In terms of performance, this CPU is great. It’s one of the most favorites for gamers because it doesn’t slow down or slag when gaming.

That shows you can also get top performance from a CPU even if it’s cheap. The processor breaks that theory of “you get what you pay for” because of its impressive performance and speed.

If you’re a gamer who is on a tight budget, you don’t need to upgrade everything to a new processor, because this CPU can improve resolution and help you reach high-speed levels.

The processor integrates the three Smart Technologies, which includes Smart Connect to automatic update of apps, Smart Response to high performance via frequent caching, and rapid start to decreased boot times.

Whether you need the processor for extensive computer needs or gaming, this Intel model will serve you well.

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4) AMD Athlon 240GE with Radeon Vega

AMD Athlon 240E is unarguably the best gaming GPU for those who are on a shoestring budget. It is compatible with the Socket AM4 motherboard, which is expected from an AMD CPU.

This processor has three different units, which include the four ROPs,12 TMUs, and a modest 192 Stream processor. This processor comes with a base clock speed of 3.4GHz and a Turbo Boost speed of 3.5GHz.

However, remember that this CPU does not run higher clock rates through boosting algorithms.

This Athlone processor is equipped with eight PCIe 3.0 lanes which are dedicated to expansions slots, rather than the 16 lanes on integrated graphics.

In terms of performance, this is a basic model, so you shouldn’t expect top-level performance from the processor. We included it here because it’s the best gaming CPU for entry-level gamers. If you are building an entry-level system, you may want to go as cheap as possible to learn the basics. But it doesn’t always work out well when you buy very cheap components to build your system.

However, if there is any affordable CPU that will give you impressive performance, it’s this AMD processor.

The eight lanes missing on the processor should not bother you too much because of its focus on integrated graphics. Besides, the lowered bandwidth will not have a big impact on most add-in cards, particularly because Athlone-based CPUs are generally used for low-end discrete graphics cards.

The processor comes with 35W, which is a perfect fit for entry-level Socket AM4 motherboards using the A320 chipset.

As we mentioned before, this processor is one of the most basic CPUs in the market and it’s designed for those building entry-level PCs.

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Best AMD CPU For Gaming

1) AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core – Best AMD processor

AMD processors have taken the market by storm with lots of CPUs offering good speed and top-level performance at affordable prices. It’s the direct competitor to Intel CPUs, but AMD models are far cheaper with better multi-threading features too. Our best gaming CPU when I come to AMD processors is the Ryzen 7 3700X CPU.

There is a reason why AMD 7 3700X is a best seller. Part of that reason is the fact that the processor comes packed with top-performance features with speed levels that can take on any gaming task.

Also, it comes with an excellent price/performance ratio, which means you are always going to get the best value for your money.

It’s very fast in games and comes with all the benefits of AMD’s Zen architecture, including support for PCIe Gen4.  Although this feature may not be very important, it will come in handy as more motherboards and other components are produced in the future. So, it’s nice to have something you can use in the future without necessarily upgrading your system.

It comes with 8 cores and 16 threads, making it one of the most powerful CPUs in the market right now. In terms of speed, there are very few CPUs with matching speed levels. The problem is most of these CPUs are far more expensive. That is where 7 3700X scores higher.

However, Intel’s’ i7 9700K is about 9% faster in gaming performance. If you want to switch to Intel, be sure to have more funds for the extra price. When compared side by side, AMD wins the race because the extra 9% performance is of lesser value compared to the lower price you pay for AMD. So, in terms of better value for money, AMD 7 3700X is the king.

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2) AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Ryzen 5 3600X is one f the best gaming CPUs for those looking for mid-range processors. It surpasses the more expensive Core i5-9600K both in gaming performance and other benchmarks, although at a very slight margin.

It’s very good for multitasking and one of the best for productivity. If you’re looking for a motherboard for a mid-level PC build, we encourage you to get this one. It will serve you well.

And for those overclocking their system, this Intel CPU will deliver improved performance, but you’ll need to provide your beefy cooler to get the desired level of performance without getting the CPU too worked up.

Apart from gaming performance, it can also handle common computing tasks with ease. Moreover, the CPU is affordable compared to other more expensive models that offer similar features and performance levels.

It offers 6 cores and 7 threads, like other Ryzen 3000 chips. It also comes with the impressive7nm compute die which is paired with a 12nm I/O die.

It also has a 95W TDP ceiling, which is a good thing for performance and power consumption.

Ryzen 5 3600X also comes equipped with Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO)which offers an automated overclocking tool, sending your processor to an extreme level of performance while gaming.

Of course, the CPU will be able to achieve all these with a good cooling system.

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3) AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Ryzen9 3900X shares the title as one of the fastest AMD CPU for gaming. If you want top speed and performance without bothering about the extra cost, this one will be right for you.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic gamer, a graphics designer, or a professional video editor, this CPU has something for everyone. That’s because of the multi-threaded performance coupled with its excellent cooling technology.

 Gamers looking to use the best resolutions to play the top games should always settle for top quality when building their PC.

With this processor, you don’t need to go to any extra miles to bring out the best in your gaming activity. That’s because Ryzen 9 3900X is equipped with top-performance.

This third-generation Ryzen processor is expensive alright, but that’s because of the extreme level of cores and threads that comes with the system.

It packs 50% more cores than the Core i9 9900K, even though they are similarly priced. Additionally, it comes with a decent Wraith Prism cooler to keep the high-performance levels in check.

That translates to 8% improved performance and 25% better gaming performance. As a gamer, every performance improvement matters even in lower resolutions and higher quality settings. If you’re looking for the best gaming CPU when it comes to performance, there is no better option than this model.

Although it’s possible to overclock with this CPU, it locks you into single lock speed, which means lower clocks in higher workloads. The only processor that outperforms this model is the Ryzen 9 3950X CPU, which is far more expensive as well.

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4) AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Okay, here is the ultimate CPU we all have been waiting for. It’s a beast of a processor with 16 cores and 32 threads. No other processor in the market can beat this.

This CPU comes with a 7nm process that offers high-density benefits, more cache, better power efficiency, as well as higher performance.

Despite the alluring features the CPU has, it is still compatible with most types of PC build.

Ryzen 9 3950X has AMD’s Zen 2 microarchitecture that’s spread across two small 7nm eight-core compute chipsets.

It’s compatible with most AM4 boards, has good power efficiency, comes with higher boost frequencies, and is still reasonably priced. Yes, you may say the Ryzen 9 3950X is expensive compared to other processors, but you can’t take anything away from the features. If you weight the features and performance levels against the price, you will understand that the Ryzen 9 3950X is still affordable.

Each of the CCD has eight physical cores. Another interesting thing is the 8.89 billion transistors that are all active.

We can’t begin to imagine the level of speed and performance a 16-core 32-thread processor will give you. All we can say is you are not going to have a bit of slag or delay in performance, no matter the type of game you are playing.

As far as we know, it’s one of the best gaming CPUs in the market right now.

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Best Budget AMD CPU For Gaming

1) AMD Ryzen 5 2600 – Best cheap AMD CPU

Lovers of AMD processors know they can only get the cheapest processors under the AMD brand.

The AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is one of the cheapest AMD CPUs and the best too. When you compare the price and performance, you will understand that this is the best gaming CPU for those looking for top-performing and budget-friendly models.

Despite the affordability, the CPU comes with a cooler, and can be overclocked. That’s good news for those looking for an affordable overclocking SPU.

It has as many threads and cores as the Ryzen 3000 chips. It does run in all the same socket AM4 motherboards like other Ryzen CPUs. So, if you’re looking for a low-budget CPU that doesn’t compromise quality and performance, Ryzen 5 2600 CPU is one of your best options.

The earlier CPUs are not as fast for gaming, especially when using a top-level graphics card. Even the fastest CPU in the gaming industry beats this one only by 13% on average.

This CPU is a multiplier unlocked, although the X-series models can perform as fast without necessarily overclocking. This means if you want to get to the level of some other CPUs, you need to overclock the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU.

When overclocked, it can easily hit 4.0GHz on all cores, making it responsive to all types of games.

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2) AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core

Here is another AMD processor for those looking for an affordable processor for an entry-level PC build.

Just like the 2600 CPU, Ryzen 5 3600 CPU comes with 6 cores and 12 processing threads. The best value desktop CPUs have been dominated by Ryzen 5 processors with 6 cores and 12 threads.

Although this processor has the same number of cores and threads, it performs relatively better. It’s also a bit more expensive than the two models we listed above under the affordable CPU category.

Since its release, the processor has maintained its position as one of the best gaming CPUs based on value for money. Whatever type of game you want to play, be assured this CPU will be equal to the task.

It can support PCLe4.0 on X570 motherboards, so you need to look for this specific type of motherboard to have a good match.

Ryzen 5 3600 offers an impressive maximum boost clock speeds of 4.2 GHz for overclocking 35MB of game cache. It also delivers ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance when playing the world’s most popular games. If you require the best gaming CPU that’s affordable, this will be a good option.

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3) AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core

Ryzen 3 3200G comes with a 4MB L3 cache, a base clock speed of 3.6GHz, a boost clock speed of 4.0GHz.

This one is based on 12-nanometer microprocessor architecture, which is more advanced than what the previous 2nd-generation Ryzen processor utilized. But it’s not better than the new Zen-2 architecture for powering more expensive 3rd generation chips.

If you’re looking for something basic and more affordable, this is probably your best option. However, it doesn’t have support for multithreading. That means each of the core can run only a single software instruction at a time.

But you will have the advantage of getting a processor with built-in graphics processing, which means you won’t spend extra to get a dedicated graphics card.

It may not be a grade-A performing processor, but if you’re looking for one of the best entry-level models, the CPU will serve you well.

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4) AMD Ryzen 5 3400G 4-core

Ryzen 5 3400G is another low-budget APU from the AMD brand that doesn’t compromise performance because of the price.

Many other CPUs within this price range won’t give you what this AMD CPU will offer. That’s the reason we included it in this best gaming CPU list.

As an AMD processor, you should expect considerably high performance at a budget-friendly price.  This processor can handle 1080p with no issues.

It has potent integrated graphics, although you are not going to have multiple cores like the 5 2600 processor. While 2600 has 6 cores and 12 threads, 5 3400G comes with 4 cores and 8 processing threads.

But the performance difference is very marginal. But if you want a use a dedicated GPU, it will be better to buy the 5 2600 above because it offers limitations of the PCIe lanes to the graphics card.

It’s compatible with different types of motherboards. However, you need to be sure the motherboard you are buying has DisplayPort and/or HDMI outputs.  That makes the B540 board your best option because it comes with both of these features.

Overall, 5 3400G is a true budget-friendly AMD processor and one of the best gaming CPUs for those looking for affordable options.

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ProductBrandNamePrice
IntelIntel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz TurboCheck Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 7 3700XCheck Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 5 3600Check Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth CoolerCheck Price on Amazon
AMDAMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire CoolerCheck Price on Amazon

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