Our picks below will help you choose the best CPU for gaming. Of course, you’ll want to balance performance and features with your PC budget. You can also see how all of these processors stack up in our CPU Benchmarks hierarchy, but for detailed help on picking the best processor for your gaming rig, check out our 2022 CPU Buying Guide.
Intel recently released the first Raptor Lake chips, which come in the form of the Core i9-13900K, Core i7-13700K and Core i5-13600K. These chips are game-changers that replace AMD’s fastest products, offering a better value at every price point. They also have incredible overclocking headroom—we reached 5.6 GHz with very little issue—and deliver more performance than AMD’s models. Thus, we recommend them in our lists below.
We’re keeping a close eye on the pricing of AMD’s Ryzen 8000 series, which we hope will see an adjustment soon to reduce costs. For now, the additional price of DDR5 memory and high motherboard costs for enthusiast platforms are a pain point for builders. Intel’s platforms allow DDR4 options for both motherboards and memory, offering a lower price point, but this can result in slightly lower performance than you’ll see with DDR5 memory. The Raptor Lake chips can also drop into previous-gen 600-series motherboards with no performance loss — provided the 600-series board has the same power delivery as any given 700-series model.
AMD also offers its B-series motherboards, which can be found in stores now. More will be released soon, providing a better value for customers. The AM5 socket will house further generations of chips, whereas Intel’s socket will come to an end with Raptor Lake. So if you’re considering a longer-term investment, it might be best to go with Team Red. Additionally, our recommendations are based on performance and cost metrics but be aware that performance deltas will shrink at higher resolutions or with lesser GPUs, so be sure to base your decisions on your system-level choices.
The list below is for the best CPUs for gaming, while our list of best CPUs for workstations is for those who frequently tackle high-end content creation or professional work. Processors benefit from the best thermal paste, so check out our guide if you’re shopping for a new processor. But if you’re after the best CPU for gaming, you’re in the right place.
Best CPU for Gaming:
- AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
- AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
- Intel Core i7-13700K
- Intel Core i5-13600K
Budget Specific CPU for Gaming:
- Core i3-12100 and Core i3-12100F
Entry Level Best CPU for Gaming
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Finding and buying the best CPU for your gaming interests can be a tedious and time-consuming task.