Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by ViCadia
Processor is one of the basic components of a computer. It is the heart of your computer, and it is a very important component to look after when buying a new PC. If you are planning to build a good gaming computer, you’ll need a high-quality CPU. Although most PC games nowadays heavily depend on the processing power of your graphics card, some games, like most MMORPGs or online first-person shooters require of you to have a capable CPU in order to process numerous calculations in real time.
Choosing the right CPU for your new PC is an important decision. It is easy to get confused about which processor should you buy, because there are plenty of different models available on the market. If you are going to build a powerful gaming PC, you’ll need a processor that features high clock speed and as many processing cores as possible.
In this roundup we will show you the best processors you can buy today. Our recommendations may not be the most budget-friendly, but you certainly shouldn’t regret getting any of the processors listed here, as we’ve chosen the models that are able to deliver the best performance possible for every kind of purpose.
Best Future-proof CPU:
Best for Work & Gaming:
Best Integrated Graphics:
Best Overall: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Cores/Threads: 6C/12T | Base Clock: 3.7 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 65 W | PassMark Score: 22,150
- Strong performance in gaming and content creation
- Low power consumption
- Supports PCIe 4.0 bus interface and overclocking
- Great price-to-performance ratio
- Included cooler may not be enough to keep it cool
When it comes to gaming, the new AMD Ryzen 5 5600X takes the top spot. It is one of the best all-around CPUs currently available on the market, and most importantly, it is able to deliver competitive-class performance for an affordable price. Featuring 6 physical cores and 12 threads, as well as boost clock of 4.6 GHz, this CPU can easily handle anything you throw at it.
In Cinebench R20 Multi-Core benchmark, the Ryzen 5 5600X is able to score 4,560 points, and in PassMark single threaded test it is able to score around 3,380 points. For less than $300, the Ryzen 5 5600X is able to offer overkill performance in both 1080p and 1440p gaming, and is able to beat even the most powerful Intel’s processors to date, such as the Intel Core i9-10900K and Core i7-11700K.
Paired with an enthusiast graphics cards, such as the GeForce RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6700 XT, this CPU will push your frame rates way above 60 FPS mark with all the graphics settings on ultra even at 4K resolution. The only flaw of this CPU is that it likes to run hot, so we recommend buying a good aftermarket CPU cooler. Overall the Ryzen 5 5600X is an amazing piece of silicon, and it’s a true bargain if you don’t wish to upgrade your PC for the next five years.
Best Future-proof CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Cores/Threads: 8C/16T | Base Clock: 3.8 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.7 GHz | TDP: 105 W | PassMark Score: 28,450
- Superb multi-threaded performance
- Features 8 cores and 16 threads
- Good overclocking potential
- High boost clock speed
- Very good power efficiency
- Requires aftermarket cooler
- Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
Despite the fact that CPUs matter less and less for gaming, they still represent a vital part of your PC which has to provide enough power to keep your GPU running on optimal level. Many PC enthusiasts and system builders strive to buy PC components that will last into future, so choosing the right CPU for your next PC build is an important decision, especially if you don’t want to upgrade it every few years.
If you want to build a future-proof PC build in 2022, then we strongly recommend getting the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. This is a great processor that will power your workloads today, as well as support your next-gen graphics card in the future. With 8 cores and 16 threads, this CPU can deliver fantastic multi-threaded performance, as well as strong single-threaded performance thanks to its upgraded Zen 3 architecture. There is also quite a lot of room for overclocking, meaning its lifespan may extend into the future for quite some time. However, if you really want to stay up to date with the latest technologies, such as the DDR5 memory, than consider getting the new Intel Core i5-12600K.
Best Value: Intel Core i5-11400
Cores/Threads: 6C/12T | Base Clock: 2.6 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W | PassMark Score: 17,100
- Great price-to-performance ratio
- Performance can be increased by disabling power limit on supported motherboards
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Inexpensive price
- Bundled Intel cooler is quite inefficient
The Intel Core i5-11400 is an unfairly overlooked budget desktop processor that can boast with an amazing performance, and very affordable price tag. In synthetic benchmarks, the Core i5-11400 is around 24% faster than the Core i5-10400, and around 11% faster than the AMD Ryzen 5 3600. In gaming, it is on par with the much more expensive AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, meaning it is one of the best budget gaming CPUs for gaming right now.
The Core i5-11400 features 6 cores and 12 threads, which can run at speeds of up to 4.2 GHz (all-core boost). This CPU can also boast with low power consumption, however, its TDP can be increased up to 100 W by disabling power limit on B560 and Z590 motherboards. Disabling the power limit will also increase its performance, so you can expect to gain an additional 1-4 FPS on average in gaming. The Core i5-11400 also comes with an integrated graphics, which is another big plus. Overall, this is an amazing sub-$200 processor that is able to offer great price-to-performance ratio which is hard to surpass.
Best for Work & Gaming: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Cores/Threads: 12C/24T | Base Clock: 3.7 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.8 GHz | TDP: 105 W | PassMark Score: 39,530
- Extraterrestrial performance
- Incredible IPC gains
- Very energy efficient
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Works on older motherboards
- Expensive price
- Requires aftermarket cooler
Featuring 12 physical cores and 24 threads, as well as a boost clock of 4.8 GHz across all cores, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is an ideal CPU for both gaming and serious content creation. With a PassMark score of 39,500 points, and a single-threaded rating of 3,500 points, this CPU is perfectly suited for performing heavy-duty tasks, such as video encoding and 3D rendering, as well as streaming and 4K gaming.
The Ryzen 9 5900X’s single-threaded performance truly shines in professional applications and synthetic benchmarks, since this CPU is able to score 637 points in Cinebench R20 single-core test, and 1,564 points in Geekbench 5 single-core test. This is roughly 15% better performance compared to the Intel Core i9-10900K. With a full support for PCIe 4.0 interface, AMD Smart Access Memory technology, 64 MB of L3 cache, and TDP of only 105 W, this CPU currently has no real rivals on the market.
Best Integrated Graphics: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
Cores/Threads: 6C/12T | Base Clock: 3.9 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W | PassMark Score: 19,920
- Strong computational performance
- Powerful integrated graphics
- Supports overclocking
- Very energy efficient
- Relatively high price
- Supports only PCIe 3.0 interface
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a perfect processor for building a budget gaming computer without a discrete graphics card. Thanks to its powerful integrated Radeon RX Vega graphics solution, the Ryzen 5 5600G isn’t just a very good CPU, but is also a very capable APU. Featuring 6 cores and 12 threads that can hit frequencies of up to 4.4 GHz, the Ryzen 5 5600G is able to deliver splendid gaming and system performance for a fairly affordable amount of money.
The 5600G’s integrated Vega 7 graphics solution features 448 shader cores, each operating at frequencies of up to 1,900 MHz. The Vega 7 is able to deliver over 135 FPS in Grand Theft Auto V at 720p resolution, and up to 300 FPS in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which is simply outstanding performance. For most causal gamers, this is more than enough to achieve enjoyable gaming experience. Overall, the Ryzen 5 5600G is a fantastic CPU for entry-level gaming without a proper graphics card, as well as for building a small and powerful HTPC.
Best Extreme CPU: Intel Core i9-12900KF
Cores/Threads: 16C/24T | Base Clock: 3.2 GHz | Boost Clock: 5.2 GHz | TDP: 125 W | PassMark Score: 39,505
- Fastest gaming CPU on the planet
- Improved multithreaded performance
- Supports DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 bus
- Unlocked multiplier
- DDR5 support adds price premium
- High power consumption
- Requires new LGA1700 motherboard
If you are ready to burn $5k on the best gaming system available, and want to match your GeForce RTX 3080 Ti with something equally powerful, then be sure to get the all-new Intel Core i9-12900KF. Packing 8 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores, as well as featuring 24 processing threads, and a peak operating frequency at nearly 5 GHz, this is currently the best CPU for gaming at extremely high refresh rates.
Besides featuring impressively high core clocks, the Core i9-12900KF also brings support for PCIe 5.0 interface and DDR5 memory, which in next few years will fully replace DDR4 memory. For video encoding and professional content creation, AMD Ryzen is a bit better, however, the Core i9-12900KF surely packs a punch, so don’t hesitate to buy it if you are in the market for a gaming CPU that is also able to handle heavy-duty workloads.
Best Multi-Thread Performance: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X
Cores/Threads: 24C/48T | Base Clock: 3.8 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.5 GHz | TDP: 280 W | PassMark Score: 55,570
- Features 24 cores and 48 threads
- Incredible multi-threaded performance
- 128 MB of L3 cache
- Supports quad channel DDR4 with ECC
- Difficult to overclock
- Requires special type of motherboard
- High TDP
If Intel Core i9-12900KF isn’t powerful enough for you, then AMD Threadripper 3960X might satisfy your appetites. To be honest, this CPU sucks for gaming, however, if you are looking for something to speed up your rendering or video encoding times, than this bad boy will certainly get the job done.
The Threadripper 3960X is primarily designed for professionals and content creators who need a powerful CPU for their workstation PC. The 3960X is equipped with a whooping 24 cores and 48 threads that can run at clocks of up to 4.5 GHz. This CPU also features a stupendously large 128 MB L3 cache, and it fully supports PCIe 4.0 interface, as well as ECC memory, and up to 256 GB of DDR4 memory that can work in quad channel configuration.
In short, if you do a ton of 3D rendering or video encoding then Threadripper 3960X is the right CPU for you. For gaming, well, it’s not a very good CPU, since it was built for a completely different purpose in mind.
Best Overclockable Gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Cores/Threads: 8C/16T | Base Clock: 3.6 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W | PassMark Score: 22,760
- Good overclocking headroom
- Compatible with older AM4 motherboards
- Supports PCIe 4.0 interface
- Strong multithreaded performance
- Single-core performance could be better
- No integrated graphics
The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X may be now a few years old, but it’s still an incredibly versatile and fun CPU, especially if you like overclocking. The Ryzen 7 3700X features 8 cores and 16 threads. Its base clock is 3.6 GHz, and boost clock is 4.4 GHz. However, the Ryzen 7 3700X has fantastic overclocking potential, meaning you can easily hit all-core clock speed of 4.25 GHz through simple overclocking.
Besides for gaming, the Ryzen 7 3700X is also a very good CPU for video encoding, 3D rendering, and emulation. Thanks to its 8 physical processing cores, this CPU is very future-proof, so if you are looking for a fairly affordable, yet powerful high-end CPU, be sure to check out the Ryzen 7 3700X.
Best Entry-level Gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF
Cores/Threads: 6C/12T | Base Clock: 3.2 GHz | Boost Clock: 3.6 GHz | TDP: 65 W | PassMark Score: 12,382
- On par with the Ryzen 5 2600
- Incredible value
- Supports SMT
- Low TDP
- Poor overclocking capabilities
- Idle power consumption could be better
The Ryzen 5 1600 AF is simply the best budget gaming CPU. It is a refreshed version of the original Ryzen 5 1600 CPU launched in April 2017, but is built upon newer 12 nm manufacturing node. The Ryzen 5 1600 AF is the world’s lowest power 6-core, 12-thread desktop processor, that can also boast with great single-thread performance and high boost clocks. With a TDP of only 65 W, it is a very energy-efficient CPU, and in most gaming benchmarks beats its direct competitor, the Intel Core i5-9400F.
Paired with a GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER or Radeon RX 5500 XT, this CPU can deliver from 60 to 90 FPS on average in most PC games at 1080p resolution on medium to high settings. Although it comes with its own CPU cooler, we recommend buying a budget CPU heatsink for more efficient cooling. Overall, the Ryzen 5 1600 AF is a fantastic budget CPU if you are building a gaming PC on a tight budget.
Best Gaming CPU Under $100: Intel Core i3-10100F
Cores/Threads: 4C/8T | Base Clock: 3.6 GHz | Boost Clock: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 65 W | PassMark Score: 8,880
- Reasonably priced
- Supports HyperThreading
- Decent gaming performance
- Bundled cooler
- Locked multiplier
- Has no integrated graphics
- Doesn’t support PCIe 4.0 interface
- Rarely hits advertised turbo frequency
Most mainstream gaming CPUs cost somewhere between $200 and $300, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find a decent gaming CPU under $100. Allow us to introduce you with the Intel Core i3-10100F. This budget sub-$100 quad core CPU might not be on par with the likes of AMD Ryzen 5600X, but it’s surely capable enough of delivering a decent gaming performance at 720p and 1080p resolutions.
The Core i3-10100F features no integrated graphics, but it does come with hyperthreading capabilities, meaning it can boast with 8 processing threads. Although quad cores CPUs are becoming less feasible for gaming in 2022, this CPU is still fairly competent to deliver solid gaming performance (provided that you pair it with a compatible graphics card). The Core i3-10100F is roughly on par with the 9th Gen Intel Core i5 CPUs, which is good. However, for anything more serious, such as 3D rendering and video encoding, this CPU simply won’t be enough.
Choosing the right processor for your next PC build will largely depend on your preferences, budget, and games you would like to play. For most mainstream gamers, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X will be more than enough to satisfy all of their needs, however, if you plan to use your PC for purposes other than gaming, then you might consider getting a more powerful CPU. If, on the other hand, you’re a budget gamer, a CPU with a good integrated graphics should satisfy your needs. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.