Best Intel Processors for Gaming

To start your gaming build, you have to select the processor brand first between AMD and Intel. If you have decided to go with Intel, then the next step is to find out the best Intel processor for gaming that acts as the center for your complete PC build. The price, frequency, socket, overclocking, and TDP decides what other components you need to select to make a bottleneck-free PC. We have listed top Intel-based processors relevant to all the modern AAA titles and Esports gaming titles. Running Esports games at 240 fps will not cause these processors to bottle up. We have included top processors from the 11th, 10th, and 9th generations, which vary in socket size, but they have no competition in terms of performance and stability. First, let’s go through some tips which will lead to a perfect buy.

Esports gaming is rapidly taking over every streaming platform, and mainstream media is starting to take notice. N0tail, a DOTA 2 player, earned $7 million while playing for team OG and Fnatic. There is a career worth millions in gaming, and every gamer needs to start practicing their skills before entering into a tournament. Every pro gamer you ever come across will suggest one thing in common, “build your gaming skills on fixed FPS and response.” For a fixed FPS and response, you will need a PC to perform up to the mark and run all the latest Esports titles at 240 above frames per second. It would be better to look at some simple shopping tips when picking the best Intel processor for gaming to maximize your PC’s gaming performance.

Quick Shopping Tips:

Intel vs. AMD: People are divided between team Red and team Blue. Both brands have a loyal following, but we, as tech enthusiasts, will try to keep our review unbiased. AMD and Intel came head to head with their latest releases. AMD led in multicore and single-core performance with their latest Ryzen 5000 series, but Intel came with their 11th generation processors resulting in equivalent performance. Either of them is fine, but we will talk about Intel today as it’s the latest tech available easily.

CPU in gaming: CPU is responsible for all the in-game physics that occurs as the movement of a car or the artificial intelligence given to the crown walking on the street in an open-world game. The GPU provides the world with its beauty, but the CPU decides where the bullet hits and calculates the precise point at which it will make the impact. Having a fast CPU is equally as important as having a fast GPU.

TDP: Thermal design power is the amount of heat that the processor releases during stressed conditions. It indirectly indicated the power consumption of the processor. Higher power consumption leads to higher heat production. It’s a parameter that lets you decide on a compatible CPU cooler for the processor if you are looking to install an air-based cooler. Liquid coolers are enough to support the base clock and are meant for overclocked conditions.

Processing power: The CPU’s primary responsibility is to process all the data that any game sends into it, like pedestrian clothes in games. Assassin’s creed claims to have all the in-game pedestrians be non-identical. An algorithm decides how each person looks, and the CPU does that. A higher number of cores/threads means better multitasking capability. How many tasks it a simultaneous process, which leads to better performance. The frequency is the number of functions it can handle in a second, representing speed.

Best Intel Processors for Gaming at a glance:

  1. Intel Core i9-11900K
  2. Intel Core i7-11700K
  3. Intel Core i5-11600K
  4. Intel Core i7 10700K
  5. Intel Core i9 10900K
  6. Intel Core i5-10600K
  7. Intel Core i7 9700K
  8. Intel Core i9 9900K

The Best Intel Processors for Gaming You Can Buy Today

Intel Core i9-11900K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i9-11900K

Best Premium Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Rocket Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Base Frequency: 3.5 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 125W

REASONS TO BUY

Fastest single-core performer

100+ fps for all Esports games

14nm based market availability

REASONS TO AVOID

No bundled cooler

High power consumption

Intel came out with Intel Core i9-11900K to answer Team Red’s Ryzen 5000 series processor. It’s a 14nm lithography-based processor with unprecedented single-core processing power, making it lead in games that rely on single heavy tasks. It sets record performance in some titles, making it the best premium Intel processor for gaming. It beats its competition in PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch. The number of frames per second was found to be higher with a better single-core performance.

Intel has no competition for single processing tasks, but we have noticed a decline in performance by Intel when it comes to multi-tasking. The TDP is high compared to the competition, and using an air-based cooler becomes difficult as the size becomes enormous. Liquid cooling is more suitable for this processor, which adds to the cost of the overall unit. As an eight-core processor, the price is relatively high.

We saw that it has higher IPC and has integrated graphics that could be critical to some users. Since its 14 nm lithography, the availability is much easier than the 7nm offered by the competition. Unavailability is the biggest letdown for any processor company. The price for Intel processors is still in control. Rocket lake is a good choice for gamers who cannot wait for the stocks of other processors to pile up. It can run all top AAA titles above 100+fps with a decent GPU.

Intel Core i7-11700K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i7-11700K

Best Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Rocket Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5 GHz | TDP: 125W

REASONS TO BUY

Intel Iris Xe (iGPU)

PCIe Gen 4.0 compliant

Intel Optane memory support

REASONS TO AVOID

No 100+fps on iGPU

Requires a high-end cooler

The best Intel processor for gaming is Intel Core i7-11700K. You do not always need 240fps above gaming performance to exceed in gaming. Results show that beyond 144fps does not increase your gaming performance. All the modern GPUs have Gsync or FreeSync technology which allows fps to match the Hz of your monitor. If you have a monitor that supports this technology, then 144fps is enough for perfect gaming performance and headshots. i7-11700K can run all the esports titles above 144fps in 1080p.

Most gamers prefer a 32-inch monitor, which keeps everything within the viewable eye area; this makes 1080p resolution perfect as anything beyond that is not distinguishable. This processor is an ideal balance for Intel processor-based gamers. The price is not high enough, and it can run all the latest AAA titles in a decent frame; it is not overkilled for esports games. However, it requires a large cooler as the TDP at boost frequencies might reach 125W, which means a more oversized casing and more fans contributing to the indirect cost.

Intel has changed its socket to LGA1200 from its previous socket used in the 10th generation. If you are looking to upgrade your processor, be sure that you change your motherboard. The new LGA1200 supporting motherboard chipset is Z490, H470, B460, H410, and W480. The 11th generation processor supports PCIe 4.0, requiring the latest chipset that allows PCIe 4.0 GPU, M.2 drives, and expansion cards.

Intel Core i5-11600K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i5-11600K

Best Budget-Friendly Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Rocket Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Base Frequency: 3.9 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.9 GHz | TDP: 125W

REASONS TO BUY

128 GB memory support

Full supports top RTX 3000 GPU

19% IPC increase over 10th Gen

REASONS TO AVOID

No ECC RAM support

Thicker lithography than similar CPUs

Intel Core i5-11600K entirely beats all the competition because of its price. The performance i5-11600K offers in games goes head to head with processors that cost twice the price it demands. With such a budget-friendly price that allows 4K gaming at 100+fps with a decent GPU. As a gamer, you will not require anything faster than this processor for all your gaming needs. Irrespective of being an esports gamer or a casual role-playing gamer, 11600K stands out regardless of any type of gaming application.

This processor is the best budget-friendly Intel processor for gaming. It has a 19% IPC increase over the 10th generation, making it better at performing iterative calculations. It does not support ECC RAM, but that is not relevant to gaming. The RAMs that are ECC are 5% slower than non-ECC RAMs. 14nm lithography is an outdated technology, but its edge over the latest 7nm technology is its availability. GPUs and CPUs use a 7nm manufacturing process, and only a handful of companies manufacture at 7nm, which leaves space for 14nm to capture the market.

The high energy requirements of this best Intel processor for gaming are a downside, but with a suitable CPU cooler, you can extract the true potential of the processor. You will be spending less in direct or indirect costs when running this CPU for one year before the next generation of CPUs hits the market. However, the socket change always has its price, which puts it behind AM4 that works gen-on-gen. The integrated graphics could be an edge for some users, while for gamers, it’s irrelevant as it’s not fast enough for esports.

Intel Core i7 10700K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i7 10700K

Best Fastest Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Ice Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.1 GHz | TDP: 125W

REASONS TO BUY

5.0+GHz boost frequency

Three displays simultaneously

Supremacy in frame drop stability

REASONS TO AVOID

No PCIe 4.0 support

No Thermal Velocity Boost

Intel is known for its stability and endurance when it comes to performing in a stressed condition, and Intel Core i7 10700K is a processor which provides you with the slightest bottleneck in the price segment it targets. It is the best fastest Intel processor for gaming with stability. The minimum fps in games like Metro Exodus or Far Cry 5 beats team Red. Intel primarily owes it to their game cache, ensuring that a minor bottleneck occurs and sudden fps drop is minimum.

Intel lies ahead of its competition in terms of stability but lacks behind in providing maximum fps. The significant drawback of Intel 10th generation hardware was the lack of PCIe 4.0. It means that the latest RTX 3000 series GPUs and the former RTX 2000 series GPUs will run in backward compatibility mode, leading to a bottleneck in hardware configuration. UHD gaming and 4k gaming are possible on this processor but going beyond 60+fps will be difficult without the upscaling.

If you are looking to stream and play games simultaneously, then this processor can easily handle the load considering that you don’t go beyond 1080p resolution for your streams. The 4K resolution will lead to a sluggish response. It has the overclocking capability to go beyond the 5 GHz mark, and the die temperature limit is 100°C giving it a significant overclocking headroom. Esports gamers need stability and constant fps for performance which makes this an excellent choice for competitions.

Intel Core i9 10900K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i9 10900K

Best Flagship Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 10/20 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 125W

REASONS TO BUY

Dual-channel memory

200+ fps Esports gaming

4K @60Hz graphics results

REASONS TO AVOID

No embedded options

No Transactional Synchronization Extensions

Intel Core i9 10900K is a generation older processor but exceeds expectations when it comes to performance. It is considered the best flagship Intel processor for gaming. The higher number of cores pushes massive calculations through, and all the major AAA titles run above 100+fps with this processor. It is considered overkill for modern gaming, but an Esports professional looks for less bottleneck in processors. Intel is known for stability, and the i9 10900k offers its users stable frame rates with a decent graphic card like the RTX 2080.

Whenever you buy an overclock capable CPU, remember that they do not come with a bundled cooler, but intel has recommended a PCG 2015D thermal solution for this processor. 125W is a lot of heat production owing to the 14nm technology. Intel has lacked behind in being an energy saver, but it does take the lead in availability. Intel is easy to get and readily available across many online stores. Intel decided to change the socket from LGA1151.

We have benchmarked this CPU across many top gaming titles PUBG runs at 200+fps, Fortnite runs at 300+fps, Need for Speed: Heat runs at 100+fps, Call of Duty Warzone runs at 100+fps, and GTA V runs at 100+fps. It makes high-end an overall performance powerhouse. It runs exceptionally well on all modern gaming titles. It’s a go-to processor for Esports enthusiasts, and casual gamers can also take advantage of 10 cores.

Intel Core i5-10600K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i5-10600K

Intel's Best Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.1 GHz | TDP: 125W

REASONS TO BUY

Overclocking headspace

Intel Software Guard Extensions

Thermal Monitoring Technologies

REASONS TO AVOID

No PCIe 4.0 support

240mm above liquid radiator required

Intel’s best processor for gaming is Intel Core i5-10600K. It is an excellent choice for gamers who are not looking to go overboard and want to build their skills on a decent PC without investing much money. It is a 10th generation processor called LGA1200 socket-based, allowing the user to jump to the 11th generation with the same motherboard and enabling PCIe 4.0. Be sure to buy a PCIe 4.0 compatible motherboard so that a future upgrade becomes swift and easy.

With such high power comes high heat production. 10600k is a 14nm technology-based processor that produces a lot of heat, while in terms of energy bills, it does not exceed otitis competition. The compatible cooler recommended for this processor is a liquid-based 240mm or larger radiator because of the massive 220W peak power during PL2 tau times, which remain for short intervals. Still, if you have a decent CPU cooler, the user can extend the tau time.

Intel has made significant improvements to the overall die by thinning the material in this processor and subsequent processors. Being the best intel processor for gaming it allows faster response to changing heating loads and better temperatures overall inside the die. It has significant overclocking headspace and with the latest turbo boost technology overclocking without a limit is safe and feasible.

Intel Core i7 9700K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i7 9700K

Best Mid-Price Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Coffee Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1151 | Cores/Threads: 8/8 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.9 GHz | TDP: 95W

REASONS TO BUY

Identity Protection Technology

Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP)

Transactional Synchronization Extensions

REASONS TO AVOID

Older Turbo Boost technology

No Hyper-Threading Technology

It’s hard to believe that Intel Core i7 9700K was released in the fourth quarter of 2018 and still takes the spot of an overkill processor for most modern games. It has an excellent price/performance ratio and is the best Intel processor for gaming because it performs well across many games. It is awarded as the best mid-price Intel processor for gaming. It remains less than 80% utilized in all modern AAA games and Esports titles. The lower TDP also lets the users use a smaller CPU cooling solution which is cheaper. The processor still has massive overclocking potential and performed outstandingly as a single core performer.

There are always advantages to having the latest generation of hardware. The i7 9700k does not have the latest Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics; it has an older built-in chipset that one could not use for streaming esports games. The turbo boost technology is older, has a high-end slower response time, and does not accurately control the frequency regarding gaming demands. The die design is older, making the core temperature higher than the 10th generation processor or higher.

The price of this processor has dropped over the years, and if you are a user with a dedicated graphics card for gaming, this processor will be the best choice you make. However, the older socket will limit any upgrade that you can make without changing the motherboard. PCIe 4.0 incompatibility will remain an issue, but as far as high-end gaming streaming and recording are concerned, it is a perfect choice for the price.

Intel Core i9 9900K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i9 9900K

Best Mid-Range Intel Processor for Gaming

SPECIFICATIONS

Architecture: Coffee Lake | Socket: Intel LGA1151 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.0 GHz | TDP: 95W

REASONS TO BUY

Execute Disable Bit security

Intel vPro Platform Eligibility

Featured AI-based overclocking

REASONS TO AVOID

No support for 8K graphics

No demand-based switching technology

Intel Core i9 9900K took the world by storm, and the price skyrocketed with its launch. There was no competition to Intel when the i9 9900k hit the market shelves. Every gamer dreamt of owning this 14nm lithography-based processor. The 8 cores and 16 threads with overclocking headspace made enthusiasts mouth water. Users immediately started testing it with liquid nitrogen, and the processor stood strong. It is still relevant to modern-day games and applications, and it is awarded the best mid-range Intel processor for gaming.

Despite being a powerful processor, it has its downside. There is no latest integrated graphics. The technology is outdated, and most users will feel that the performance compared to the Iris Xe graphics in the 11th gen are far more superior to this processor. If you are a user of integrated graphics, then 11th gen is the way to go. I9 9900k is for users with a dedicated graphics card and no plan to upgrade in the next 2-3 years.

Benchmark results reveal astonishing results despite being a three-year-old graphic card. One of the first CPUs to cross the 5.0GHz boost frequencies and remain stable with its operation. The generation on generation improvement was massive wound 33% mankind it the best choice of time. Many users are still using this processor to the date of writing this review. It beat team red by a big margin making the team blue lead the industry.

Conclusion

We have featured the best Intel processor for gaming, running the latest AAA titles and Esports titles at frame rates, making G-Sync and FreeSync relatable with 144Hz screens. Some processors can even let your 240Hz monitor work hard with 300fps feeding into the screen. Suppose you want to remain relevant for the next five years. In that case, we recommend going for the Intels 11th generation of processors as they have the latest Intel Iris Xe that allows high-end computational graphics without using a dedicated graphics card.

But if you want a feasible solution for your PCIe 3.0 graphics card and will be looking to upgrade in the future, then go for the 10gen processor that is LGA1200 socket base with a PCIe 4.0 compatible motherboard. You can change the processor later when it comes under your budget. If you have an absolute value for money deal, there are no better options than those we stated in the 9th generation lineup. However, upgrading will be costly, but the processors remain utilized for most modern game titles. Hopefully, you will find the best possible CPU processor for your use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is i5 good for gaming?

Absolutely yes, we can take the example of Intel Core i5-10600K; it is the best GPU in the market with the LGA1200 socket allowing cheap upgradation and above 200+ fps in most demanding esports games. 6 core and 12 threads make it an incredible choice for multi-core dependent games like PUBG, Call of Duty Warzone, and Fortnite.

Is Intel still better for gaming?

Intel has always been great for Esports gaming due to its low bottlenecking. Their processor, Intel Core i9 9900K, remains relatable. The processor is still not fully utilized in top gaming titles like Valorant, Assassins Creed, and Metro Exodus. 200+fps gaming is still relatable; despite being a PCIe 3.0 based CPU, the performance in gaming still stands out.

What type of processor is good for gaming?

Any multi-core processor that has AI-based frequency boost technology is suitable for gaming. It is a future-proof processor and has all the latest tech like the Intel Core i9-11900K. It is the best Intel processor with PCIe 4.0 support and Intel Iris Xe for the high-end latest demanding software.

What is the best processor for gaming 2020?

Intel Core i5-11600K is the best processor for gaming in 2021. It is overkill for most gaming titles and does not bottleneck with the latest GPUs. Thtremendousat overclocking potential and its ability to run PCIe 4.0 based storage devices and GPUs make it a perfect choice for gamers that want to stream their gameplay. Professional gamers prefer this CPU for its price/performance ratio. One can found a higher number of frames per second.