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Best Gaming Processors

by Sam Greene

AMD or Intel? Which brand manufactures the best gaming processor? If you have been following the feud between the two tech giants, you might remember that AMD flooded the market with their AMD Athlon 64 back in 2003; after that, Intel took over and dominated the market for more than a decade. Intel processors were efficient, powerful, and affordable for their price. Later, Intel started its Intel Core Processor Family with i3,i5,i7, and recently launched the i9 in 2017 as Intel Core X-series processors, but don’t count AMD out of the race yet.

At A Glance:

Best pick

Best Overall Gaming Processor

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Efficient with low thermal load

Wraith Prism Cooler with RGB

Good for 1080p 30fps streamers

Staff Pick

Best Flagship Gaming Processor

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Worthy for overclocking

More cores and threads

Top-performing processor

Budget Pick

Best Budget Gaming Processor

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Comes with pre-applied thermal paste

Good for Budget 1080p 100+ fps gaming

Compatible with numerous motherboards

Irrespective of the brand, to get a concise picture of a processor’s performance, we need to look at the specs. Everything from clock frequency to no. of cores, cache, and threads are equally crucial for gaming. The all-new PCI Express 4.0, with its extraordinarily high transfer rates, is overkill for any graphics card, LAN card, or SSD in 2021. Still, the processor support is essential to make it a future proof investment.

To declare a specific model as the best gaming processor, a critical analysis of all the aspects is essential. You don’t need to spend 600$ on a processor to play CS 1.6. Some processors are perfect for streaming, whereas others perform inferior during streaming sessions on OBS or StreamLabs. We have thoughtfully selected 6 overclocking capable processors from both the Intel and AMD brand. Let’s have a look at each of them:

Our Recommendations For Best Gaming Processor

Award Modal Design Retailer
Best Overall Gaming Processor AMD Ryzen 7 3700X AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Intel's Best Gaming Processor Intel Core i7-10700K Intel Core i7-10700K
Best Flagship Gaming Processor AMD Ryzen 9 3900X AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Best Premium Gaming Processor Intel Core i9-10900K Intel Core i9-10900K
Best Enthusiast Gaming Processor Intel Core i5-10600K Intel Core i5-10600K
Best Budget Gaming Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600 AMD Ryzen 5 3600

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Best pick AMD Ryzen 7 3700X View on amazon

Brand: AMD| Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches| Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Socket: AM4 | Max Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 Watts| Base Clock: 3.6 GHz| Game Cache: 36 MB | PCIe Version: 4 | Inbox Cooler: Wraith Prism

What recent buyers report?

The recent buyers are mostly happy with AMD Ryzen 7 3700X because it comes with a fine cooler right out of the box, unlike the Intels high performing chips. If you are looking to upgrade, getting this processor to work with old motherboards can be a little tricky. Some motherboards require BIOS updates to become compatible, while others won’t work at all. B550 and X570 motherboards will work with this processor.

Why it stands out to us?

This processor stands at the mid-range of all the processors discussed in this article concerning price. AMD with its 7nm technology leads to better thermal performance in contrast to Intel’s 14nm processors. The processor’s running cost is very low compared to the Intels counterpart, which means it’s efficient and light on energy bills. This processor has the best benchmark results for 8 cores and 16 threads processors.

Who will use it most?

Gamers usually look to stream their content while gaming will appreciate this processor’s performance. It performs significantly higher when using OBS Streaming - x264 1080p 30fps 6000mbps. The processor maintains 100 above fps with a decent graphic card. The rendering time for content creators is also significantly low. It runs processor-intensive games like Metro: Exodus above the 144 fps, so people with 144 Hz monitors can make good use of it.

Bottom Line

With a decent price/performance ratio, this processor is a clear winner for gamers looking to game at 1080p with 100 above fps. However, if your graphic card ever breaks down, you will not be able to access BIOS, as there is no integrated graphic processing unit included in the processor. The capability to reach 4.4GHz with the stock cooler is astonishing and, by far, comes with the best cooling solution out of the box.

The Pros

Efficient with low thermal load

Wraith Prism Cooler with RGB

Good for 1080p 30fps streamers

The Cons

No integrated GPU

Expensive Motherboards

Large X570 chipset cooling

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Intel Core i7-10700K

Intel Core i7-10700K View on amazon

Brand: Intel | Dimensions: 1.47 x 1.47 inches | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Lithography: 14 nm | Socket: LGA1200 | Max Frequency: 5.1 GHz | Base Clock: 3.8 GHz | TDP: 125 Watts | Smart Cache: 16 MB | PCIe Version: 3 | Unlocked: Yes | Inbox Cooler: No

What recent buyers report?

The buyers are delighted with this processor because of its stable and consistent performance. Being a K variant processor, it does not ship with an inboxed cooling solution. You will need to buy an expensive cooler for overclocking. Any AIO or top tier air tower cooler would work fine with this processor running at 5.1 GHz. The temperature is slightly high as the thermal design power of this processor is 125watt.

Why it stands out to us?

Intel Core i7-10700K, the 10th Gen Intel chipset, runs smoothly on most motherboards available in the market. The processor does not consume an enormous amount of energy at stock clock speeds. Games like PUBG, Dota 2, and Escape do not cause the processor to go above 60°C. It supports 2933MHz 128GB RAM, which is more than enough for any game title or processing requirement.

Who will use it most?

This processor is above the mid-range and just below the enthusiast gaming range. It makes it a perfect candidate for gamers looking to make their rig future proof while sticking to their old. It’s an excellent choice for professional gaming zones looking to provide a smooth gaming experience while keeping their capital cost in control.

Bottom Line

Considering the massive bottle necking issue in AMD processors, Intel fully utilizes its resources efficiently to give actual frame rates. It significantly improves the gaming experience, which is essential in a competitive environment where every click and every movement in milliseconds matters. This processor has the massive power needed to run all the processor-intensive games of 2021.

The Pros

Stable Processor

Features Turbo Boost Max 3.0

Support Intel 400 series motherboards

The Cons

No PCIe 4.0 support

No significant performance

Need a quality set up to work well

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AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Staff Pick AMD Ryzen 9 3900X View on amazon

Brand: AMD| Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches | Cores: 12 | Threads: 24 | Socket: AM4 | Max Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 105 Watts| Base Clock: 3.8 GHz | Game Cache: 70 MB | PCIe Version: 4 | Inbox Cooler: Wraith Prism

What recent buyers report?

The processor is being reported well by the recent users due to its all-around performance. It comes with a 70MB game cache that AMD introduced to improve gaming performance and frame drops during processor-intensive scenes of gameplay. This processor runs slightly hotter than other 3rd Gen AMD processors, but it’s the result of an increased number of cores. The performance is well optimized out of the box; overclocking will rarely be used.

Why it stands out to us?

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is the best processor amongst the top tier performing chips. It has 12 cores and 24 threads, which it utilizes during multitasking like streaming, rendering, and gaming all at once. With its decent price/performance, this processor beats all the Intel options present around its price range. Even though this processor offers enormous processing power, it still manages to be better in TDP. It runs cool on the stock cooler.

Who will use it most?

People who are willing to spend a few bucks to get the best in the business will be looking for this chip. It is best for enthusiast gamers and programmers. It crushes its competition and gives solid 100+ fps on most AAA game titles. However, the running power will be slightly higher than other 3rd Gen options present at a lower price. The base clock is very decent, and the processor runs cool with its stock cooler.

Bottom Line

This processor hands down give the best performance as an all-rounder. The future compatibility with PCIe 4.0 x16 support will come in handy. The DDR4 RAM with 3200 MHz frequency is fully compatible with the processor. It does not include a built-in GPU, so, therefore, it’s prone to downtime caused by graphics card failure. This processor’s available processing power is inferior to Intel, so that many single-core dependent old games will cause lag.

The Pros

Worthy for overclocking

More cores and threads

Top-performing processor

The Cons

Does not support old games well

Low Single core Performance

Compatibility issues with some motherboards

View on Amazon

Intel Core i9-10900K

Intel Core i9-10900K View on amazon

Brand: Intel| Dimensions: 1.47 x 1.47 inches | Cores: 10 | Threads: 20 | Socket: LGA1200 | Max Frequency: 5.3 GHz | Base Clock: 3.7 GHz | TDP: 125 Watts | Smart Cache: 20 MB | PCIe Version: 3 | Inbox Cooler: No

What recent buyers report?

Buyers have been delighted with the performance of this processor in gaming. On the other part, the streaming brings down the in-game fps, but not significantly to cause the frame rate to drop below 100. It does take longer to encode, but if you are an Intel fan, then the performance cannot get any better; this is the best LGA1200 socket processor available in the market.

Why it stands out to us?

Intel Core i9-10900K is the flagship processor by Intel. 10 cores with 20 threads give out enough energy to run any application at the best possible configuration. It beats all the other Intel processors. The excellent single thread performance exceeds AMD’s performance in all benchmarks. It also absolutely crushes its competition in gaming fps by maintaining 100+ fps at 4K resolution.

Who will use it most?

Enthusiast gamers willing to spend a lot of money to ensure stable performance with the 10th Gen Intel Processors will utilize it the most. Esports gamers will most likely buy this processor due to its capability to deliver the highest FPS possible. Intel boldly claims to achieve up to 187fps comfortably on PUBG, a big plus for competitive gamers.

Bottom Line

Processor intensive games like PUBG, Far Cry 3, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins can achieve decent frame rates at 4K resolution and ultra settings with this processor. We recommend it for people who don’t want a single frame drop in competitive gaming. Casual gamers who want to experience a 144hz screen should go for AMD. It does not come with a more relaxed, which will cause additional costs besides the capital cost spent on this elite tech.

The Pros

Good for 4K Gaming

Built-in graphics card

compatible with older mainstream intel coolers

The Cons

Power hungry

No cooler in the box

No PCIe 4.0 Support

View on Amazon

Intel Core i5-10600K

Intel Core i5-10600K View on amazon

Brand: Intel | Dimensions: 1.47 x 1.47 inches | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Socket: LGA1200 | Max Frequency: 4.8 GHz | Base Clock: 4.1 GHz | TDP: 125 Watts | Smart Cache: 12 MB | PCIe Version: 3 | Inbox Cooler: No

What recent buyers report?

Like the other LGA1200 socket intel processors, this one also does not feature PCIe 4.0 compatibility, but currently, there is no PCIe 4.0 based high-end graphics card in the market. So buying an Intel Core i5-10600k won’t be a bad investment. It gives a decent value for money being an Intel processor. However, AMD still exceeds in terms of price/performance ratio.

Why it stands out to us?

This processor shows better performance while bottlenecking during high processor intensive loads. It manages the L3 cache efficiently. Intel is known for its stability, which it still provides in this processor. Stable frame rates at 1080p, 1444p, and 4K resolutions are smoothly achieved, whereas overclocking the processor will make it reach its true potential of 5.3GHz.

Who will use it most?

Gamers who are looking to aim at a high-end PC, this processor is your best bet. Benchmark results reveal that it performs better than the 9th Gen i7 processor, which costs comparatively higher. Casual gamers who are on a budget and looking to purchase a CPU first and a dedicated graphics card later can start using the built-in GPU to play low-end games first until they can afford to install high-end graphics cards.

Bottom Line

It does not offer an excellent price to performance ratio, but it does offer stability at peak loads during gaming. Like the other Intel LGA1200 socket processors, this processor is expensive but includes a GPU built-in, making it capable of the boot without a dedicated graphics card. People who use their computers for work and gaming should always go for processors with built-in graphics cards.

The Pros

Built-in GPU

Smooth performer

Low price per thread

The Cons

High idle voltage

No cooler in the box

Only PCIe 3.0 Support

View on Amazon

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Budget Pick AMD Ryzen 5 3600 View on amazon

Brand: AMD| Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.24 inches | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Socket: AM4 | Max Frequency: 4.2 GHz | Base Clock: 3.6 GHz|TDP: 65 Watts | Game Cache: 35 MB | PCIe Version: 4 | Inbox Cooler: Wraith Stealth

What recent buyers report?

The buyers are satisfied with what they have paid. They are happy with this useful product as their money saved from buying this processor is a reason for their satisfaction. It works fine with old motherboards like the B350 and B450 with a simple BIOS update, so upgrading your processor without spending money on a new motherboard will make it a cheaper deal. It beats all the Intel mid-range processors by miles.

Why it stands out to us?

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is indeed the best of the best in terms of price/performance. It can easily be crowned the mid-range king. With the high Cinebench R20 and short rendering time for a 4K 60fps H.264, this processor is the best choice for entry-level content creators. The impressively low amount of power consumption from this processor keeps your energy bills under control.

Who will use it most?

People targeting 100+ fps on games with high refresh rate monitors and 1080p resolution will appreciate the performance it gives for the bucks spent. If you are not looking to overclock the CPU, then the stock cooler is good enough. This processor does have a 2% overclocking potential, but it won’t significantly improve your frame rates. This is the best processor for entry-level gamers, without any doubt.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to build a budget gaming PC to get decent framerates on 4K resolution, this processor is the best. The other higher price options in AMD need more power to deliver results that are not significantly higher than this processor. This CPU supports 3200 MHZ DDR-4 RAM with a maximum capacity of 128GB. The PCI Express 4.0 x16 support makes it compatible with future graphics cards.

The Pros

Comes with pre-applied thermal paste

Good for Budget 1080p 100+ fps gaming

Compatible with numerous motherboards

The Cons

Not reliable for heavy gaming

Requires better heatsink for overclocking

Dedicated graphics card required for boost

View on Amazon

Summary For Best Gaming Processor

Award Modal Design Retailer
Best Overall Gaming Processor AMD Ryzen 7 3700X AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Intel's Best Gaming Processor Intel Core i7-10700K Intel Core i7-10700K
Best Flagship Gaming Processor AMD Ryzen 9 3900X AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Best Premium Gaming Processor Intel Core i9-10900K Intel Core i9-10900K
Best Enthusiast Gaming Processor Intel Core i5-10600K Intel Core i5-10600K
Best Budget Gaming Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600 AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Conclusion

We started the guide by comparing the two brands. After careful analysis in this article, we can declare that AMDs are suitable for the money, while Intel provides better stability. AMD is the best choice for casual gamers looking for the best gaming processor to experience the top tier performance but with a budget. At the same time, Intel is suitable for enthusiastic, professional, and competitive sports gamers who require stability and best performance irrespective of the money spent. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is undoubtedly the budget built king, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is the best value for money, an Intel Core i9-10900K is for top performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best CPU for gaming 2020?

Intel’s 10th Gen Core i9-10900k is the best gaming CPU without a doubt. It comes with a hefty cost but gives off the best FPS in all 2020 games and has all the necessary features to keep the processor relevant for upcoming years. The proper utilization of 10 cores and 20 threads helps it achieve the top tier performer title.

What CPU should I get for 2021?

If you are looking to get a PC that does not consume a lot of power, runs cool, costs less, and works stable enough not to bother a casual gamer, according to our in-depth analysis AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the CPU of 2020. It gives exceptional performance for its price by giving off 100fps on 1080p gaming. All the top AAA game titles can smoothly run on this CPU.

What is the most powerful gaming processor?

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X takes the lead with its exceptional multitasking capability. The 7nm technology used in manufacturing a 12 core 24 thread processor makes it consume the least energy possible for the max power output. The PCIe 4.0 support makes it future proof. The robust stock cooling solution makes it one of the best in terms of price/performance.

Which is better for gaming, Intel, or AMD?

AMD and Intel have their respective pros and cons. Intel is suitable for professional gaming, while AMD is useful for content creation, streaming, and casual gaming. Superiority in terms of processing power is subjective to the user. All the Intel processors have high TDP, higher running costs, and higher capital costs. At the same time, AMD has bottlenecking issues and lacks achieving those extra couples of fps in gaming. As most users are casual gamers, AMD wins the race by a mile with tons of savings.

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