Best CPUs - Top Gaming CPUs for the Money

Taking a juicy Headshot in Call of Duty is not entirely dependent on your skills. It takes sophisticated hardware performing flawlessly to result in such an accurate result. You will need the best CPU for gaming, a motherboard with all the proper specifications, a GPU that can give all the data a graphical output, and RAM that is fast enough to store short-term data. The brain that communicates with all these devices and acts as the leader in making gaming possible is the CPU. A slower CPU will significantly degrade the gaming performance; gamers can see this decrement in terms of frame per second (fps). 

Right now, we have two manufacturers competing for the best CPU race, Intel and AMD. AMD with the Ryzen CPUs has taken its multi-tasking capability to the next level. The support for PCIe 4.0, along with incredibly low TDP and 7nm lithography, has kept AMD Ryzen on top of the gamer’s choice charts. However, Intel has a higher single-core performance and lower bottleneck issues to the SmartCache. In the end, it depends on the user whether they would want to go for the latest tech with high performance or go for the old power-consuming tech with higher stability. Let’s have a sharp look at shopping tips for basics before picking the best gaming cpu:

Quick Shopping Tips:

Intel vs. AMD: You will see more AMD in our list due to its dominance in the best gaming CPU list. We believe that the Intels 11th Gen will hit the market with PCIe 4.0 at a higher price and power consumption. Ryzen still steals the spotlight with its outstanding multi-core gaming performance at a price that makes gaming available for everyone.

TDP: An indication of the thermal performance by the CPU is called TDP. How well it manages the flow of electricity. Higher TDP means wastage of energy which indirectly means higher power bills. A higher TDP CPU will eventually cost you in the longer run, so buying a CPU with a lower TDP will help you install smaller cooling kits irrespective of air cooler or liquid cooler.

Frequency: This is representative of the number of operations a CPU can handle at once. If your game is lagging or the frames are dropping. Take a look at the resource monitor built-in to your windows. If the CPU is at 100%, your frequency and number of cores/threads are low in simple terms. Modern CPUs have variable frequency controlled by AI that increases the frequency with the load. Higher frequency means better performance.

Cores/Threads: To make multitasking possible. CPU manufacturers came up with a technique of incorporating multiple cores with L1 cache inside a single chip. With a bit of help from modern software and games, processors could divide processing load into parts and process individually by each core; this helped in faster processing power. So basically, higher cores/threads mean higher performance.

Best CPUs at a glance:

  1. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
  2. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
  3. Intel Core i9-10900K
  4. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
  5. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
  6. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
  7. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  8. AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The Best CPUs You Can Buy Today

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

best CPU for gaming


Architecture: Zen3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 12/24 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.8 GHz | TDP: 105 Watts


Unlocked for overclocking

Delivers 100+ FPS elite performance

Highest Single & Multi-Core Performance


Overkill for beginners

Pricier than the previous generation

If you are an enthusiast who has a knick for a high-end gaming PC built with no competition. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X should be your top priority. We listed this as the best CPU on our list. Not just because of its gaming capability. There isn’t any game in the market that can bottleneck this CPU performance. It’s an overkill component for a gaming PC. However, online gamers/streamers do multitasking like streaming online while gaming and watching statistics. This processor is an excellent choice for multiple screen battle stations with future compatibility.

If we solely use this processor for gaming, it doesn’t make it a processor with the best price/performance ratio. Unlike the mid-range processor, it does not come with a bundled cooler. The processor is already so optimized that it leaves only a few Hz of overclocking headroom. If we consider the previous generation of processor’s performance, there is not a significant performance increase. However, the price has increased significantly, making it difficult to stay in a processor suitable for most gamers.

This processor wears the crown as the multi-tasking king. We suggest it as the best CPU for gaming right now. It’s made using the latest AMD Zen3 architecture, and with 12 cores and 24 threads, it manages to produce only 105watt TDP. The 7nm lithography keeps the power consumption of the processor way beyond the average Intel processor. The most processor-demanding game Assassins Creed Odyssey can reach above 80fps beating Intel’s Core i9-10900K by 8% higher performance results.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

best affordable gaming CPU


Architecture: Zen3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 65 Watts


Incredibly low 65-watt TDP

Impressive CPU for 4K Gaming

15% improvement over previous gen with 7nm lithography


No integrated graphic module

Gen-on-gen increment in price

Our team of experts has declared AMD Ryzen 5 5600X as the best affordable gaming CPU in the market. The unbeatable price/performance ratio makes it the best bang for the buck. It is capable of delivering 4K gaming experience at 60+fps on most AAA gaming titles. AMD has focused on feasibility for gamers while making this processor. If you combine this processor with the RTX 3080, you will get a high-end gaming PC capable of running 100+fps on any modern game, including the latest CyberPunk 2077 running at 1440p Ultra Settings.

AMD has stopped adding an out-of-the-box cooling solution because most users ditch the air-based coolers and install high-end liquid cooling solutions. It helped AMD cut the price down and improve their chip quality. The Gen-on-gen price of this CPU has increased, but the 15% increase in performance justifies its price jump. There is no integrated graphics card, so people who are thinking of buying all of the stuff now and GPU later should consider this first. Sometimes having an integrated chipset as a backup is a plus point.

This processor has a very high potential for 4K gaming, but it requires a good AIO solution to make it work. The single-core performance of this CPU beats the Intels 10th generation of processors. The support for PCIe 4.0 is also a big win over its competition. The maximum boost frequency and base frequency allow ample overclocking headspace. Taking the heat production and power consumption into view, it knocks everything out of the park with a fantastic 65-watt TDP. A small air-based cooler can easily keep the chip temperature cool under baseload conditions.

Intel Core i9-10900K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i9-10900K

Intel's best gaming CPU


Architecture: Skylake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores/Threads: 10/20 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 125 Watts


Elite Single-Core Performance

Passes 5.0GHz under overclock frequency

Low bottleneck due to Smart Cache technology


No Embedded Options Available

SSD and GPU will run on PCIe 3.0

Intel has been in the game of processor manufacturing long before AMD was even close to making CPUs. Their technology is mature and has all the top engineers by their side to work on making their chips top the charts. We have included Intel Core i9-10900K in our list due to its tremendous amount of core and stability. The processor comes with 10 cores and 20 threads out of the box. When overclocked, it passes the 5 GHz mark, giving a great overclock headspace for gamers who like to experiment with their gaming performance.

The number of cores that this processor possesses makes the overall cost/core feasible. It’s mainly meant for developers who want to decrease their encoding times significantly. It has a high TDP compared with AMD Ryzen processors. Intel’s aging lithography cannot seem to upgrade, pushed their limits back, and helped AMD steal the spotlight. The lack of PCIe 4.0 will bottleneck the latest generation of Nvidia RTX 3000 series graphic cards and major SSDs that work on the PCIe 4.0 interface.

Most of the games are optimized concerning the way Intel processors work. It helps Intel gain the extra edge over AMD processors. It is an excellent choice for gamers who upload their YouTube streams, where editing and encoding are required. While gaming recording will not affect the overall framerate of the game. Considering the previous generation of Intel processors, this processor has improved significantly in thermal efficiency and has a TDP of 125watt. When we are strictly talking about gaming only, this is Intel’s best gaming CPU.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Great mid-range CPU for gaming


Architecture: Zen3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.7 GHz | TDP: 105 Watts


Low TDP per performance

Zen 3 architecture for high efficiency with low latency

Significantly improved IPC with high overclocking head


High price/performance ratio

No Integrated GFX for boot without GPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X lies on top of the gaming charts with its 8 cores and 16 threads. It is a CPU for High-End gaming PCs. It’s the best CPU for gaming, considering you still pay less than the competition. AMD lacked behind in single-core performance against Intel after the release of the AMD 5000 series; Ryzen took the lead in both single and multicore performance. Along with PCIe 4.0 support. The instruction per cycle has improved over the last generation, and overclocking potential is within the same socket size of AM4.

This processor works with any B450 or X570 motherboard chipset. However, with no integrated graphic chipset, most of the motherboard display outputs become irrelevant. So you can go for the cheaper mobos with no display output for the Ryzen 7 5800X. The previous 3000 series of AM4 socket processors had a bundled cooler to ensure functionality out of the box with decent RGB lighting. This processor does not come with a bundled cooler since most gamers with this much money prefer liquid cooling or high-end air-based cooling.

The processor works at 4.7 GHz at max overclocked condition. The strong AI-based overclocking also helps this processor maintain its performance. The lower TDP allows low-end cooling solutions to work perfectly and keep the processor running at higher clock speeds without throttling. AM4 chipset is also an added advantage as upgradation of the motherboard is not required. On the other hand, Intel has been switching LGA socket size frequently, causing potential money loss in the longer run. Overall, it is a great mid-range CPU for gaming.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Best Overall CPU for gaming


Architecture: Zen2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 12/24 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 105 Watts


Streaming/Online gaming-friendly

Efficient bundled cooler with RGB

It supports PCIe 4.0 and runs at 105Watt TDP


No Integrated Graphical processing unit

The single-core behind Intel for the price

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is the older flagship processor from the previous generation but still supports the PCIe 4.0. Combine this CPU with the latest RTX 3000 series and get 60+ fps on all modern AAA titles at 4K resolution. Games like Control, Horizon Zero Dawn, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare work flawlessly with this combination. One of the most significant advantages that the Ryzen 3000 had was a bundled cooler. It beats Intel for the same price.

Despite being a generation older, this CPU still is priced higher than some of the Ryzen 5000 series. However, having a higher number of cores/threads still has its advantages in multi-tasking like streaming. The bundled cooler works great for an IDLE condition or low loads. When under stress caused by gaming, the sudden temperature rise causes the bundled cooler to run at full speed, causing a lot of noise. Despite being a powerful cooler, some throttling in performance is observed. You will have to install an AIO kit to get the most out of this processor.

It is also a 7nm lithography-based processor, which manages many cores and threads in an AM4 socket size. The Zen2 architecture still lacked a single-core performance, and Zen3 later resolved the throttling issue. However, when it came to streaming, playing, and live communication, it remains unbeatable. The max clock speed of 4.6GHz is remarkable, and users have reported stable frequencies under stressed conditions. The 70MB cache improves data transfer and processing speeds. Its benchmark scores suggest it as the best overall CPU for gaming.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Best High Performance CPU


Architecture: Zen3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 16/32 | Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.9 GHz | TDP: 105 Watts


Multi-operating system support

Unbeatable HEDT performance

Offers VR-Ready premium technology


Hard to get hands-on

No thermal solution included

It is the best high-performance CPU suitable for programers and graphics designers that require solid multi-core performance—encoding videos for YouTube. At the same time, podcasting is not a difficult job for humans only. This kind of situation is widespread for busy programmers and developers, and when it happens, you want a powerful PC that can handle that kind of load. 16 cores and 32 threads is an incredible achievement by AMD while still sticking to the AM4 socket. The TDP is way lower than Intel for the same price, making it an excellent choice for gamers with small chassis.

Ryzen stopped including integrated graphics in their processors which is a drawback for some gamers looking to upgrade their gaming PC slowly from integrated graphics to the dedicated graphics card. The price of this processor has gradually increased concerning the previous generation. Compared to Threadrippers that require their particular oversized socket size, this processor fits in regular AM4 socket size. The single processing power of this CPU is not significantly higher than the R9 5900X.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is the biggest thing in the gaming industry or in general. The multicore performance is unmatchable and significantly higher than the R9 5900X. It beats the top Intel processor by a super margin. It’s indeed the biggest beast one can own as a gamer. All the top games in the market, including the processor-intensive ones, are a piece of cake for this processor. It’s the most future-proof CPU one can buy, PCIe 4.0 enabled with enough cores to support productivity. It’s the best high-performance CPU in the market.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Best Mid-Range CPU for gaming


Architecture: Zen2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 Watts


Dual memory channel support

Compatible with older motherboards

Wraith Prism RGB cooling bundle included


No graphics module included

Low overclocking headspace

If you want a powerful solution that is still relevant and has high overclocking potential, then AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is a perfect buy for you. Its price/performance ratio makes it an excellent choice for all the upper-lower high-end gaming PCs. It comes with a bundled cooler that also includes RGB lighting manipulation using AMD software. Despite 8 cores and 16 threads with a base frequency of 3.6 GHz, this processor manages to consume only 65 watts of TDP that is the lowest for watt/performance.

The processor bundled cooler is a nice touch, but it doesn’t sync with motherboard software from ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. However, its performance is above average and handles the high loads decently. If noise is not an issue for you, then the bundled cooler would serve the purpose. It’s aesthetically pleasing with the RGB. However, enthusiast overclockers have reported that the headspace for overclocking this processor is limited.

We found out that during testing of this CPU, this processor peaked approximately 180W under an extreme multithread intensive workload. Intel 9900k, on the other hand, consumed approx 240W for a similar workload. This AMD processor running cost due to 7nm technology in contrast to Intel’s 10nm makes it an excellent choice for energy bill savers. A smaller power supply also will help you end up with lower costs. It’s the best mid-range CPU for gaming.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Reliable mid-range CPU


Architecture: Zen2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.2 GHz | TDP: 65 Watts


Meager power consumption

Offers high performance with low temperature

4K gaming compatible and 1440p gaming @100+fps


No iGPU support

Requires liquid cooling when overclocked

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the best CPU for gaming. The popularity and performance of this processor make it the most reliable mid-range CPU available in the market. The price/performance ratio for this CPU is off the charts. It still can support 4K gaming at this price point. Most users own small monitors not larger than 32 inches, and running 4K on small screens is not feasible yet. 1440p gaming is the most viable and technologically accurate screen resolution. This processor aced through all the tests for 1440p gaming with RTX 3080 GPU.

Keep in mind that this processor lies in the lower cost range of the CPU market. It has a lower number of cores and threads which means a lower multitasking performance. Suppose you are looking to stream and encode at the same time while gaming; it would cause frame rates to drop. However, streaming with gaming can be quickly done with the CPU with decent frame rates. It has excellent value for power.

It is fully compatible with all the latest generation of Nvidia GPUs. AMD also ensures the availability of the processor. It comes with a bundled cooler allowing further cost reduction in building a pc with the best CPU. The power efficiency or otherwise called the running cost, is also very low due to the 65 Watts TDP. It does not require any aftermarket cooler unless you are looking to upgrade your CPU in the future. It is the most feasible solution for all gamers.


Processors have played a vital role in gaming-related computational power. They are responsible for all the physics that goes behind the games. More processor-intensive games like Assassin’s Creed need to process new faces for each person and clothing variety using a complex code that needs to be processed quickly while playing the game.

All the graphics that we see on the screen result from a complex set of instructions from CPU to GPU to give it a realistic feel on the 2D screen. AMD and Intel have put all their effort into increasing the number of cores within the die or socket size. The 7nm technology used by AMD has surpassed Intel in both the single processing and multi-core processing power.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is the best performing CPU in the market irrespective of streaming, gaming, editing, or encoding. Ryzen processors with Zen3 architecture consume less energy and give more frames per second. AMD now makes the best CPU in the market. This processor can handle any load.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand of CPU is the best?

AMD produces the best CPUs in the market if you compare the price-performance ratio. The CPU requirement for average office work is not high, but faster processors with multi-tasking capabilities become essential for gaming/programming. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor with 12 core 24 threads takes the spotlight in this sector.

Which is the fastest CPU?

AMD now leads the CPU industry with its Ryzen 9 5950X. A 7nm processor that only takes 105W for top-tier unbeatable performance. It can encode, stream and run AAA titles smoothly without any bottlenecking. The 16 cores and 32 threads beat all the market competitors, including Intel’s 11th gen.

What's the best CPU 2021?

The processor that deserves the best CPU of the 2021 award would be AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. It has all the latest generation features, low power consumption, and overclocking capability. All the newest gaming with ray-tracing enabled and processor-intensive coding runs smoothly, maintaining 100+fps depending on your GPU.

Which CPU should I buy for gaming?

If you are looking to play games, i.e., AAA titles or competitive games offline without any streaming, then AMD Ryzen 5 3600 will be the best choice. It can handle 4K gaming processor requirements. All the latest games, including CyberPunk 2077, face no bottlenecking due to this CPU.