Top 10 Best Gaming CPUs To Buy In 2021 [Best Of All Time]

Best Gaming CPUs
Best Gaming CPUs

The best gaming CPUs are the ones that will give you the power to play your games more smoothly. With an increased number of cores, higher clock speeds, and better graphics performance, these processors can help make it easier for gamers to enjoy their favorite titles.

AMD recently released its Ryzen line of processors, which offer great value for every type of gamer out there. But what if you want something even more powerful? Well look no further than Intel’s line of Core i7 processors. These solid state chips have been used by gamers for years now and, as a result, they’re quite popular.

If you want to know which is the best Intel gaming CPU or AMD gaming CPU, we’ve got you covered below. Here are our top picks:

Top Picks For Best Gaming CPUs

1. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Overall Best CPU for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Zen 3
  • Socket: AM4
  • Cores/Threads: 6 / 12
  • Base Frequency: 4.1GHz
  • Top Boost Frequency: 4.8GHzTDP: 65W

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X takes the top spot in a stunningly tight race among high-end desktop processors. The six core 12 thread chip lands at $299, 50 dollars more than its predecessor but with enough extra gaming and application performance to justify the price hike–even when compared against Intel Core i9 processor which is priced at an even higher amount of cash. In addition, this new breed beats out previous champion by being both powerful yet power efficient!

The new AMD microarchitecture is 19% more powerful than the previous generation, and provides spectacular performance in almost all applications. This includes gaming with high refresh rates or streaming for those who want to be on-demand at any time of day–making it an excellent choice for everyone!

With the right cooling and motherboard, you can expect higher short-term boosts in performance. This chip also happens to run exceptionally cool with quiet operation given its capabilities (the previous gen model was 95W).

Existing owners of AMD systems will breathe a sigh of relief as they drop right into their existing 500 series motherboards thanks to this new 5600X CPU – all without any hassle or compromise!

Motherboards are an essential part of building a PC. While there are many different varieties to choose from, if you need one that supports the new 400-series chip then either 500 or 600 series boards will do nicely.

If your budget doesn’t allow for these more expensive options consider checking out B550 models which offer great value considering how affordable they can be!

Pros

  • Great gaming performance
  • Easy to cool
  • Great power efficiency
  • Compatible with most of the motherboards

Cons

  • Price to Value ratio is little low

2.Intel Core i5-11600K: Overall Best CPU for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Rocket Lake
  • Socket: LGA 1200
  • Cores/Threads: 6 / 12
  • Base Frequency: 3.9GHz
  • Top Boost Frequency: 4.9GHz
  • TDP: 125W

The Intel Core i5-11600K is a capable processor that will excel in most computer applications, but it falls short when compared with the Ryzen 5 5600X. There are not as many noticeable differences between these two chips unless you play your games at higher fidelity or use an entry level graphics card paired up against them.

The Core i5-11600K is one of the most competitive chips on today’s market, and it doesn’t come at an expensive price. You can also look out for its lower brother; $237 will get you a chip that does not include any integrated graphics but only offers marginal increases in performance over standard models if planning to use discrete GPUs instead (if there are none available).

However, this gets cheaper when paired with Ryzen 5 5600X processors because they’re functionally identical save for costing less than their Intel counterparts – meaning gamers should give serious consideration before buying into AMD again!

The 11600K is an affordable and powerful chip that can match the performance of more expensive processors with ease. With two cores clocked at 4.9 GHz, it’s easy to see how this could be your perfect gaming system or workhorse for demanding tasks like transcoding videos in HEVC format!

The 12nm lithography brings improved thermal and power characteristics which enables it to be even more effective than its predecessor–the 14nm i5-7400K. This also makes the chip less powerful and therefore better suited for gamers who don’t need a high-end system for today’s cutting edge titles.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • High performance
  • Great for streaming games, video editing etc.

Cons

  • No XFR support (automatic overclock)  

3. AMD Ryzen 5 2600X: Best Mid-Range CPU for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Zen+
  • Base Frequency: 3500MHz
  • Top Boost Frequency: 4100MHz
  • Cores/Threads: 6/12
  • TDP: 95 W

The Ryzen 5 2600X is a great chip and AMD’s best mid-range processor for gaming that offers decent performance in most titles. It is fairly affordable at $229 making it one of the more attractive options when looking to build a new PC on a budget, but much like Intel chips there are better value choices out there (eg: the Ryzen 5 1600).

The 2600X is an excellent choice if you need additional CPU power over what an i5 along with better IPC can offer, and given its price tag alongside quality coolers it becomes even more interesting.

This makes this chip perfect for people who want to upgrade from their current systems and don’t need faster performance than stock models and just want to build something that doesn’t require constant tinkering!

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X is a slightly cheaper alternative to the Intel Core i5-8600K as well as having better overall value than its similarly priced competitor, which means it provides up to 60% more power in highly demanding applications such as games.

It has six cores and twelve threads which makes it even more incredible considering that this chip costs $100 less than what Intel’s offering for similar performance.

Pros

  • Closely matched with i5-8600K
  • Power efficient
  • Well suited for streaming and rendering video content

Cons

  • Requires beefy cooling

4. AMD Ryzen™ 7 2700: Best High End CPU for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Zen+
  • Base Frequency: 3200MHz (4 GHz Boost)
  • Cache: 20MB
  • TDP: 65 W

The Ryzen 7 2700 is not only AMD’s best mid-range chip for gaming but it also doubles as one of their flagship processors which makes it a great choice if you don’t mind spending $299 on a processor.

What this means is that you won’t need an enthusiast level motherboard and accompanying cooling unit, while still getting the raw power needed to run modern titles at high framerates. This makes it perfect for movie streaming and transcoding!

And with eight cores and sixteen threads under its belt just imagine how easy other demanding tasks will be such as video editing or complex gaming sessions where multiple graphics cards are in use.

zen motherboards include PCI Express® 3.0 slots, and the AMD Ryzen™ Processor with Radeon™ Vega Graphics and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors with Radeon™ Graphics both support PCI Express® 3.0. That means you’ll benefit from improved throughput when running multiple graphics cards for a smoother gaming experience across all titles!

This is why this chip offers significant value as it’s not just an overclocking monster that can ruin any system, but is also very power efficient even compared to Intel’s best offerings which have now been surpassed by more than 30%.

This just makes it one of those chips where there is no point buying anything other than the most expensive ones if your current system lacks a decent CPU or GPU as this chip will easily transform your gaming experience especially at 1440p and high refresh rates which is where this chip truly thrives.

Pros

  • Power efficient
  • Overclocking potential: Up to 4 GHz on all cores (with decent cooling)  
  • Performance: similar to i7-8700K in games
  • Great value

Cons

  • Doesn’t excel in any one particular category

5. AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700X: Best Value CPU for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS  

  • Architecture: Zen+
  • Base Frequency: 3200MHz (3.4GHz Boost)
  • Cache: 16MB L2 + 32MB L3
  • TDP: 95W

The Ryzen 7 1700X was the flagship processor of the previous line of AMD Ryzen CPUs and comes with a price tag that won’t make you wince if you’re using it for gaming. This is because this chip can easily handle most modern games at high framerates, which makes it perfect for 1440p gaming due to its affordability and performance!

Add in the fact that this CPU even matches or beats  the Intel Core i7-7700K with ease means that no game will be too demanding to play on it, so even gamers who are still rocking 1080p with 60Hz monitors won’t need to upgrade their graphics cards anytime soon as long as they opt for future-proofing that comes at relatively low costs now thanks to AMD’s great value offerings.

With eight cores and sixteen threads this might just be one of those processors where the value greatly outweighs the cost so you’ll need to take my word for it when I say that this is the best value gaming CPU on the market.

Pros

  • Power efficient
  • Great price point
  • Suitable for 1440p and high refresh rate displays

Cons

  • Boost clock speed is unstable

6. Intel Core i7-8700K: Best Overall CPU for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Coffee Lake
  • Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz
  • Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 12 W

The Intel Core i7-8700K is the most powerful chip in Intel’s new Coffee Lake line of CPUs for this generation which are also unlocked so you can overclock them to get even more performance out of them if you have a decent cooler.

This might just be one of those chips where not only will your games perform better, but they’ll also last longer especially if you want to play without stuttering or tearing ruining your gaming experience.

That being said this chip isn’t only suitable for gamers who’re aiming for high framerates it’s easily capable of transcending to other applications such as video editing and streaming which can even overtake gaming.

With a price tag that puts it at the same level as B360 motherboards you can get so much value from this chip whether your budget is high or low all while feeling confident that you have one of the best processors for gaming available on the market so if cost isn’t an issue then this is a no-brainer.

Pros

  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Power efficient
  • Suitable for 1080p/144Hz screens and 1440p displays
  • Great raw performance in games

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not suited towards lower end systems

7. Intel Core i5-8600K: Best CPU for Gaming on a Budget

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Coffee Lake
  • Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz
  • Cache: 9MB
  • TDP: 95W

The Intel Core i5-8600K is one of the most powerful CPUs on this list because it’s capable of powering through not only modern games but also older titles as well thanks to its six cores and high boost clock speed.

This is why gamers don’t need to spend more than 300 bucks on an 8th generation chip if they want to play with decent framerates on 1440p due to how much performance this thing possesses – not only that, but you can also overclock this thing to get even more performance out of it or you can save your money for future upgrades.

This CPU might not be able to compete with higher end processors, but it’s still powerful enough to handle 1080p 60Hz screens so if gaming is your primary concern and you don’t want to spend too much on a new system then this chip will suit you just fine.

And if cost is an issue because your current rig isn’t the greatest, having enough money for a GPU upgrade while also spending less than $300 on a CPU means that you’ll have more spare cash which you can use to buy other parts that maybe aren’t as great value such as high-end motherboards and memory sticks that can help take your system to the next level.

Pros

  • Intel Turbo Boost technology
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Power efficient
  • Suitable for 1080p/144Hz screens and 1440p displays

Cons

  • No hyperthreading  

8. AMD Ryzen 5 2600: Best Processor for Streaming and Recording: Best Value Gaming CPU

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Zen+
  • Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 3.9GHz  

The AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is a multi-threaded chip that’s been crafted with streaming and recording applications in mind as it not only comes with six cores but also supports SMT which stands for simultaneous multithreading – this means that you can run more than one application at a time without impacting your gaming performance because the chip dedicates resources to the application that’s being used rather than reserving them all for gaming alone or other applications.

This is one of the best processors for streaming because it can handle multiple tasks without breaking a sweat so if you want something that’s reliable and offers excellent value then this might be what you’re looking for in regards to gaming CPUs. And if value is great, why do we even mention performance?

Well since this processor has 6 cores it also offers better performance than older quad core CPUs which means that even if your games aren’t too demanding like Total War: Warhammer II or Rise of the Tomb Raider, but they still require more power than most modern day titles such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and League of Legends – with six cores under its belt all while requiring less energy this Ryzen 5 will allow you to game comfortably even at 1440p with a 144Hz screen.

Pros

  • Suitable for 1440p and 1080p gaming
  • Highly affordable
  • Can be overclocked to perform similarly to higher end processors
  • Good performance in streaming/recording apps
  • Best value CPU on the market right now

Cons

  • Only 8 MB of L3 cache memory  
  • Can’t handle high-end games at 4k ULTRA settings without bottlenecking other components

9. AMD Ryzen 5 1600X: Best Budget CPU Under 200 Dollars: Powerhouse for Streaming and Recording

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Zen+
  • Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 4GHz       

The Ryzen 5 1600X is another processor from AMD’s stable that’s been built for gamers looking to save a few bucks while still being able to play the latest titles comfortably at 1440p with a 60Hz screen – this time around you get six cores and twelve threads, but only sixteen megabytes of L3 cache memory which means that it’s not as great value as its smaller sibling, the Ryzen 5 2600 since lacks SMT support found on this CPU.

This is one of the best options in 2019 if you’re looking to upgrade your system without spending too much money since it doesn’t come with any integrated graphics like most Intel CPUs do, which means that you can use your budget to buy a faster GPU down the line while still being able to play games smoothly – but even when paired with lower end GPUs this chip will ensure that you get more than adequate performance so if you want something that’s affordable and capable then the Ryzen 5 1600X might be what you need for an entry level gaming PC build.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Power efficient
  • Capable of 1440p/60Hz gameplay  

Cons

  • Only 16 MB of L3 cache memory
  • Requires aftermarket cooling to be overclocked well

10. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X: The Best CPU for Streaming and Recording: All-Rounder Gamer Processor

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Architecture: Zen+
  • Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 4.3GHz         

The Ryzen 7 2700X is a 64-bit octa-core high end processor built for gaming but also capable of handling streaming workloads with ease, this processor comes with 8 cores and 16 threads that can handle up to sixteen simultaneous apps without any issues whatsoever – the sides are that it lacks hyperthreading like its rival does which means that you’re limited when it comes to heavy duty multitasking.

If you’re looking for a processor that’s more than capable of handling your streaming and recording tasks then look no further than the Ryzen 7 2700X, this is one of the best processors in 2021 if you’re building a PC from scratch or buying new components while upgrading from an older chip because it outperforms every single high end Intel CPU on the market by a landslide – especially if overclocked meaning that 1080p streaming will be a breeze for this powerhouse chip while some games at 1440p/144Hz will be handled effortlessly as well.

Pros

  • High-end performance across all applications  
  • Can handle any game at 1080p ULTRA settings with ease  
  • Overclocking support superior to Intel chips

Cons

  • Not as value for money as its cheaper Ryzen 5/7 siblings which offer more performance for less money

Buyer’s Guide

Buyer's Guide For Best Gaming CPUs
Buyer’s Guide For Best Gaming CPUs

You can’t lose with AMD or Intel: 

When it comes to high-end processors, both companies offer powerful chips that will provide you with the best performance at a reasonable price tag and for this reason we highly recommend that you get one of these CPUs.

AMD vs Intel: The Best Gaming Processors 2021

If you’re willing to cut costs then AMD is your go-to company because their lower end Ryzen 5/7 chips outperform competing Intel processors in gaming benchmarks by a large margin, but if budget isn’t an issue and you want the absolute best components out there without leaving anything on the table then look no further than the Core i9 family.

Choosing The Best Processor For Your Needs:

If you’re looking for a chip that’s perfect for 1080p gameplay or streaming then the Ryzen 5 2600 is your best option (see how it stacks up against its Intel counterpart in this link) while for 1440p gameplay you’ll need an 8 core CPU like the 2700X or the 1800X – if you’re looking to upgrade your system then look no further than AMD’s AM4 and TR4 chips since they can utilize faster RAM which means that in some cases where a bottleneck occurs, there won’t be one at all.

Intel vs AMD: Which Brands To Trust When Buying A Processor?

Your safest bet when buying a processor is going with either company because both offer excellent products such as the ones we’ve reviewed here today but even so, always check online reviews and see what people are saying about both brands to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Gaming CPUs
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Gaming CPUs

Is Intel or AMD better for gaming?

As we’ve proven here today, both companies offer high-end CPUs that are more than capable of handling all modern games at 1080p/1440p with ease making either choice a great one.

What’s the best CPU for streaming?

The Ryzen 5 2600 or Intel Core i5 8600K are your best choices for this task if you’re looking to update your existing PC because they’re affordable and powerful but if you’re building a new system then check out our Ryzen 7 2700X review above.

AMD or Intel better for streaming?

Both brands offer CPUs that can handle 1080p/60fps+ gameplay so it really comes down to budget, the cheaper Ryzen 5/7 chips will be fine while the Core i7/i9 CPUs will excel in this area no matter the game so it really boils down to how much money you want to spend.

Is it worth upgrading? Which processor should I get?

This question doesn’t have an easy answer since the market is constantly changing and what’s hot today could be obsolete next year, but if you’re interested in purchasing a chip then check out our recommended processors for streaming posts above because they offer features that are specifically built for high-end streaming tasks.

Which Ryzen CPU should I buy?

If you’re looking for the best value for your money then go with AMD’s cheaper chips like the Ryzen 5 2600 as we’ve proven here today, but if you want the absolute best chip out there then go with the Ryzen 7 2700X for this task because it simply can’t be beaten.

Are AMD CPUs good for gaming?

AMD’s got some excellent processors that are more than capable of handling all modern games at 1080p/1440p, but they lack behind Intel when it comes to extreme overclocking which means that if you’re not looking to do any overclocking whatsoever then AMD is your go-to company since their chips are cheaper.

Is Intel better for streaming?

Yes, Intel CPUs offer better single core performance which is crucial in some streaming tasks such as encoding videos and mixing/rendering audio files so if these things matter to you then we recommend going with an Intel CPU if possible.

What brand to trust?

Choose your brand according to your needs whether they be gaming, streaming or anything else but remember that both companies have excellent products so you can’t go wrong regardless of which company you choose, just make sure to check user reviews to see what people say.

Conclusion:  

When it comes to building a powerful gaming rig for 1440p/144Hz or streaming at 1080p using OBS, Razer Cortex etc… nothing can beat AMD’s mid range processors because they offer great performance per dollar spent while also being power efficient so if you want something that offers superb multitasking capabilities then look no further than Ryzen because there are practically no limits to what you can do with this chip.

If budget isn’t an issue and you’re looking for the absolute best performance possible then Intel’s top of the line chips will be your go-to option because right now they outperform any AMD chip on the market by a landslide when it comes to raw horsepower.

However, if you don’t plan on overclocking or tweaking your system in any ways then there’s no need to get an Intel processor because even its lower end Ryzen 5 2600 will handle 1080p gaming like a charm making them much more value for money than their rival’s chips.

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