When the time comes to make your config, the processor necessarily occupies an important place in the hearts of gamers. Most gamers will spend the bulk of their budget on the graphics card, but what if you want to do more than just play games? Your CPU / processor affects all performance, from games to operating systems and applications, and it is also what determines your platform and motherboard options. Streaming and video editing are taking full advantage of an increase in the number of cores, and AMD and Intel continue to significantly increase this number. Recently, the 9th generation of Intel CPUs incorporated an 8-core design for all of its major processors, with even higher clock rates than previous designs. The majority of games, however, continue to target 4-core / 4-thread configurations (which are ubiquitous), but newer games are starting to exploit the 6-core and 8-core designs. Fortunately, a good gaming PC can usually do well at a lot of other tasks, especially with 6-core processors as the new standard for average PCs. Remember that your processor and motherboard can accompany you during several graphics card changes. Therefore, getting high-end hardware can pay off in the long run. Check out our benchmarks at the bottom of the article to see how the different processors fare in games as well as other tasks. The good news? Whether your budget is $ 100 or $ 1000, there is a processor that meets your needs. Here are the best processors for gaming, work, and everything in between.
The best gaming processors in 2020
1.Intel Core i9-9900K
The best processor can mean a lot of things. When it comes to pure gaming, the Core i9-9900K is overkill unless you’re considering an extreme installation with a deluxe graphics card. For those who do more than just play games, however, the Core i9-9900K is the performance king. It’s the fastest consumer processor for the LGA1151 platform, period.
The Core i9-9900K doesn’t have the core count of an i9-7980XE or Threadripper 2990WX, but it does have the highest clock rate of any current CPU, with excellent performance per core. Put it in a good motherboard and you’ll likely see clock frequencies of 4.7GHz with factory settings, with lighter workloads hitting the original 5.0GHz.
You will need to purchase your own cooling system, this is the approach Intel takes for all of its K and X series processors, and don’t skimp on this one. The i9-9900K consumes a lot of power and tends to heat up a lot more than the previous generation because of the extra cores. Even if you don’t plan on overclocking it, I don’t recommend using the i9-9900K with air cooling. I would recommend a powerful liquid cooling solution instead, like the NZXT Kraken X62.
2.Intel Core i7-9700K
The Intel Core i7-9700K processor is an interesting alternative to the i9-9900K. It sports the same number of cores and clock frequencies are similar, and works with most Z390 cards at turbo speeds of 4.6-4.7 GHz for each core. In games, it is on par with the more expensive Core i9, but costs between 100 and 150 euros less. Indeed, for the first time, Intel offers a Core i7 without Hyper-Threading.
It represents a nice balance between price, performance and functionality. It has 33% more cores compared to the Core i7-8700K, which generally directly equates to multithreaded performance. Hyper-threading typically only improves performance by 10-15%, so that’s a net gain. The lack of hyper-threading also means that the i7-9700K doesn’t heat up as much as the Core i9. So you can get by with good air cooling.
If you’re into live streaming, video editing, or any other heavy-duty content creation task, then heading this is the best CPU for streaming. But if your primary use is gaming, then a Coffe Lake 8-core processor running at close to 5GHz is all you could want.
3.Intel Core i7-8700K
The master from last year, the Core i7-8700K still shows excellent performance and can run at 5 GHz with a good cooler. It’s also cheaper than the processors above, at least for now, and runs on the same motherboards. Choosing between this and the 9700K is relatively complicated right now (the Core i7-8086K limited supply is almost over), with the 8700K you are currently saving around $ 40.
There are a few shadows on the board though, such as the i7-8700K’s reliance on software and firmware mitigations for side-channel attacks like Meltdown, Specter, and Foreshadow. You also need to add your own cooling, and unlike 9th Gen Intel processors, you don’t have any soldering for the thermal interface (TIM). Removing the top shield and using molten metal can be a good investment for long-term overclocking, as it allows for a potential 10-20 ° C drop in temperatures.
When it comes to overall in-game performance, the Core i7-8700K hits third place, just behind its competitors above. And you’ll only really see that difference if you’re using a high-end graphics card, at least a GTX 1080 Ti, at 1080p ultra. If you’re playing at 1440p or 4k, your GPU will lag behind most modern processors (Ryzen 5 2600 / Core i5-8400 or better).
4.Intel Core i5-8400
8th gen Intel processors, the Coffee Lakes upgraded the Core i5s from 4 cores to 6 cores, and the result is that the Core i5-8400 is an awesome CPU for gaming and some other tasks. It has a faster clock speed than the previous generation, and in general aligns with the performance of the i7-7700k. And as a bonus, the processor comes with suitable cooling, something I would like to see with all CPUs.
The only 9th gen Core i5 at the moment is the i5-9600K, which is roughly the same as the i5-8600K. Its frequency goes higher and has an unlocked multiplier, but does not include cooling. Considering the price tag of the i5-8400, skipping overclocking to get everything you need in one inexpensive package is a reasonable compromise. Note that, as with other 8th gen processors, side channel attack solutions are mitigated through firmware and software rather than being hard-built into the processor.
In testing, even with a GTX 1080 Ti, the i9-9900K is only about six percent faster in games at 1080p. The i5-8400 is also consistently faster than all Ryzen processors for pure gaming purposes. Granted, starting at 1440p the processor isn’t really a big factor to consider anymore, but the i5-8400 is fast and affordable, and you won’t have to worry about overclocking to get the most out of it. of the chip. Purchase any compatible motherboard and you’re good to go.
5.AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
If you are looking for good gaming performance and want to try a bit of streaming and other multithreaded uses, but on a budget, AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600X is a great choice. It offers almost identical gaming performance to the more expensive 2700X thanks to similar clock rates. For non-gaming tasks, it’s also still significantly faster than an i5-8400 which costs the same price, and you can overclock it slightly as a bonus.
Just like with the Ryzen 7 2700 below, consider this a recommendation for the Ryzen 5 2600X or the Ryzen 5 2600. The two are very similar, especially when you overclock them. I measured only a small 50 MHz difference in maximum stable OC during testing between the two. If you want to use the factory settings I recommend the 2600X which has a higher clock rate, but for overclocking the 2600 is the best price/performance ratio. Choose between the two depending on what you plan to do with it.
It should be noted that in AMD’s Ryzen processors, the CPUs (but not APUs) all have 16 PCIe lanes for graphics, plus 4 additional PCIe lanes for an M.2 NVMe slot and four additional lanes connected to the chipset. . In recent testing, I have found that the Specter and Meltdown fixes dramatically reduced SSD performance for random I / O on Intel platforms, and AMD is virtually unaffected. If you want a fast M.2 drive, keep this in mind.
A look into the future
2018 is drawing to a close and 9th Gen Intel consumer processors join AMD second generation AMZ processors, delivering up to 8 cores and 16 threads for the average user. AMD and Intel are also engaged in a core count war, with AMD’s 32-core Threadripper claiming the top honors, though Intel still has one card on hand with its upcoming 28-core processor.
It’s worth remembering that for gaming, the CPU won’t need to be changed as often as the graphics card, especially if you buy a fairly capable CPU up front. When I reviewed Nvidia’s GTX 1070 Ti, I tested it on both an overclocked i7-5930K and a stock i7-8700K. The results were essentially equivalent. So if you are not using a very high end graphics card, keep that in mind.