The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (2024)

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (1)

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Our picks below will show you the best CPU for gaming. Of course, when shopping for the best CPU for gaming, you'll want to balance performance and features with your budget. You can also see how all of these processors stack up in our CPU benchmarks hierarchy, and for detailed help on picking the best processor, you can check out our 2024 CPU Buying Guide.And if you're on the fence about which CPU maker to go with, our AMD vs. Intel article dives deep into the topic and comes up with a winner.

If you're looking at pulling the trigger on a new CPU, it might be best to wait until the end of the month — AMD's promising Zen 5-powered Ryzen 9000 processors are poised for release at the end of the month, setting the stage for big performance increases in the Ryzen 9, 7 and 5 families. Intel also has its Arrow Lake processors slated for release before the end of the year, so there will be plenty of new options soon.

For now, AMD continues to pressure Intel in the value gaming segment: AMD's new Ryzen 7 5700X3D provides up to 30% more gaming performance than the lackluster Core i5-14400, making it a compelling option for those obsessed with the fastest value CPU for gaming, but it comes with tradeoffs in productivity apps. In contrast,AMD's Ryzen 5 7600X and Ryzen 5 7600 are better all-rounders, and they also sell for much less than before. Motherboard and memory pricing is also now more favorable, giving the Ryzen lineup a win over the Core i5-14400.

AMD's Ryzen 7 7800X3D is both the best AMD CPU for gaming and the fastest gaming CPU in the world, and its $370 price point is far more accessible than AMD's other Ryzen 7000 3D V-Cache models. The innovative 3D-stacked V-Cache design boosts gaming performance to new heights but results in reduced performance in some productivity apps, Do your research before you buy, but it does deliver the best gaming performance overall. If you need more threaded heft, look to the Ryzen 7 and 9 versions listed below.

Intel launched its 14th-Gen Raptor Lake Refresh processors, with the Core i9-14900K, Core i7-14700K, and Core i5-14600K, all based on the tried-and-true Raptor Lake architecture. The Core i9-14900K and the Core i5-14600K feature the same core counts as their predecessors but get minor clock rate increases that make them a lackluster upgrade option with low single-digit performance increases. You're better served by selecting a previous-gen Raptor Lake processor for your build and saving some cash. We have those options listed below.

The Core i7-14700K stands out from the rest of the 14th-Gen crowd with the addition of four more e-cores that deliver a tangible boost in performance over its prior-gen counterpart, but it comes with the same recommended pricing. It's only 3% slower than the 14900K in gaming but costs $180 less, and the four extra E-cores make it much closer to the 14900K in productivity apps now, delivering a solid price-to-performance ratio that earns it a spot on our list of best CPUs for gaming.

Here's the shortlist of our buying recommendations — use the 'More' links to jump to a more detailed description of each processor and its alternatives:

Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 at a glance (more info below):

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CPUBest CPU for GamingAlternate
Overall Best CPU for Gaming: $350 to $400AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D (Buy) [More]Intel Core i7-14700K (Buy)
Value Best CPU for Gaming: $200 to $250AMD Ryzen 5 7600X (Buy) [More]Core i5-13400 (Buy) | Ryzen 7 5700X3D (Buy)
Highest Performance Best CPU for Gaming: $500+AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D (Buy) [More]Intel Core i9-13900K (Buy)
Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming: $250 to $300Intel Core i5-13600K (Buy) [More]Ryzen 7 5800X3D (Buy)
Budget Best CPU for Gaming: $100 to $150Intel Core i3-12100F (Buy) [More]AMD Ryzen 5 5600 (Buy)
Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming: (iGPU) Ryzen 5 8600G (Buy) [More]AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (Buy)

If you need more heft in heavy workloads, AMD's $570 16-core 32-thread Ryzen 9 7950X3D brings 3D V-Cache-powered gaming performance to a workstation-class processor for the highest-end systems. AMD's 12-core 24-thread $390 Ryzen 7 7900X3D represents the next step down on the ladder, but it also delivers on the gaming front.

We've benchmarked numerous Raptor Lake chips, including the Core i9-13900KS,Core i9-13900K,Core i7-13700K, andCore i5-13600K. These chips may now be previous-gen models, but they largely offer a better value than the newer Intel models at every price point, and deliver more performance than AMD's fastest standard models (AMD's specialized X3D models are faster at gaming, though). We've also tested the Core i3-13100 and Core i3-13100F and found they deliver the best performance in the ~$100 price class.

AMD's standard Ryzen 9 7950X, Ryzen 9 7900X, and Ryzen 5 7600X CPUs deliver impressive performance in our tests, but they are completely outshined by their X3D counterparts. If you're looking for the best AMD CPU for gaming at a lower price point, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is still among the fastest AMD gaming CPUs on the market, but it does use the previous-gen Zen 3 architecture. This chip is an absolute hands-down winner if you're upgrading an existing gaming-only AM4 system.

The entry-level segment has also recently been revitalized with AMD's salvo of APUs that offer unprecedented gaming performance on integrated graphics. The Ryzen 7 8700G and Ryzen 5 8600G are impressive chips indeed, but the Ryzen7 8700G is simply overpriced for what it offers. The Ryzen 5 8600G is much more amenable, offering 90% of the 8700G's performance for $100 less.

The list below is for the best CPUs for gaming, while our list ofbest CPUs for workstations is for those who frequently tackle high-end content creation or professional work, while the best budget CPUs can help you find a cheap chip. 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 Benchmarks

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The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (2)
The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (3)
The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (4)
The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (5)

We rank all the Intel and AMD processors based on our in-depth CPU benchmarks hierarchy. You can see some of those numbers in the charts above, including CPU overclock performance results (marked as PBO for AMD processors) and results in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

This group of results comprises only the chips that have passed through our newest test suite. Additionally, the tables in our CPU benchmark hierarchy include rankings based on past CPU benchmarks and breakdowns of single- and multi-threaded performance in productivity applications across a broad spate of processors. Finally, be aware that the pricing in the charts above can fluctuate.

When choosing the best CPU for gaming in 2023, consider the following:

  • You can't lose with AMD or Intel: As noted in our recent AMD vs. Intel feature, Intel tends to make the best all-around CPU for gaming for mainstream PCs lately, but both offer compelling performance options at any given price point.
  • For gaming, clock speed is generally more important than the number of cores: HigherCPU clock speeds generally translate to snappier performance in simple tasks like gaming, while more cores will help you get through heavy workloads faster.
  • Budget for a full system: Don't pair a strong CPU with weak storage,RAM,andgraphics.
  • Overclocking isn’t for everyone, but if you follow our How to Overclock a CPU guide, you can scrape out extra performance gains.

Best CPU for Gaming 2024 - $350 to $400

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (6)

1. AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D

Overall Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 4

Socket: AM5

Cores/Threads: 8/16

Base Frequency: 4.2GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 5.0GHz

TDP: 120W

Reasons to buy

+

Fastest gaming chip

+

Modern platform

+

More overclocking support

+

Low power consumption, excellent efficiency

Reasons to avoid

-

No support for DDR4 memory

-

Reduced performance in productivity apps

-

No direct multiplier-based overclocking

-

Expensive AM5 ecosystem

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D is not only AMD's fastest gaming chip, it is the fastest available on the market and easily beats more expensive competitors from both Intel and AMD's own lineup. At an affordable $385, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is both the fastest gaming CPU on the market and a solid value in the high-performance category.

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D comes with eight cores and 16 threads that operate at a 4.2 GHz base and 5.0 GHz boost clock rate. The chip employs AMD's Second-Gen 3D V-Cache tech that uses a 3D-stacked SRAM chiplet to deliver an incredible 96MB of L3 cache, and to great effect: The end result is a comparatively low-power chip that delivers incredible gaming performance.

You do have to be aware of the tradeoffs with this highly specialized chip — our gaming benchmarks show that the 3D V-Cache doesn't boost performance in all games, though we found that it impacted nearly every title we tested. Additionally, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is optimized specifically for gaming, but it can't keep pace with similarly-priced chips in productivity applications. If you're looking for a more balanced chip that does well at both gaming and applications, our tests show that the $399 Core i7-13700K (listed below) is a better choice.

The previous-gen Ryzen 7 5800X3D uses the aging AM4 platform with less advanced interfaces, like PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 memory, while the Ryzen 7 7800X3D snaps into AM5 motherboards that support the latest connectivity tech, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0. AMD now allows both the auto-overclocking Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) and Curve Optimizer with the 7800X3D but still doesn’t allow direct frequency overclocking.

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D has much lower power consumption than the Intel competition, making it a far cooler processor that won't require as expensive accommodations, like a beefy cooler, motherboard, and power supply.That means the 7800X3D delivers top-notch gaming performance along with a cooler, quieter, and less expensive system than you'll get with a Core i9.

Read: AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (7)

Intel Core i7-14700K

Overall Best CPU for Gaming — Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake

Socket: LGA 1700

Cores/Threads: 20 (8P+12E) / 28

Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 5.6 GHz

Processor Base Power: 125W

Reasons to buy

+

Price

+

Four more e-cores for productivity work

+

Largely matches 14900K gaming performance

+

Single- and Multi-threaded performance

+

PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory

+

Overclockable

Reasons to avoid

-

No bundled cooler

-

Draws more power than Ryzen

Intel boosted the Core i7-14700K's core count with the addition of four more e-cores and tweaked the boost clock rate but left its recommended pricing the same as the prior-gen model. At $399, the Core i7-14700K thoroughly beats the $399 Ryzen 7 7700X and even unseats the pricey $625 Ryzen 9 7950X, all while delivering essentially the same gaming performance as Intel's own $534 flagship Core i9-14900K— but for significantly less. You can also discard the integrated graphics engine and get the otherwise identical Core i7-14700KF for $378.

As always, if you aren't after top performance in heavy productivity tasks, the Core i7 model takes the shine off the Core i9. The Core i7-14700K is a great high-performance gaming chip at its price point, offering 97% of the flagship Core i9-14900K's performance for $135 less. Better yet, you can overclock the chip and get basically identical performance to the stock Core i9-14900K.

Our benchmarks show the Core i7-14700K is also a much better all-rounder than Ryzen if you're looking for performance in productivity work. The Core i7-14700K has eight P-cores (high-performance) and 12 E-cores (Efficiency), for a total of 28 threads. The P-cores run at a 3.4 / 5.6 GHz base/boost, while the E-cores weigh in at 2.5 / 4.3 GHz. In addition, the execution engine is fed by 33MB of L3 cache and 28MB of L2.

The 14700K also supports leading-edge connectivity with support DDR4-3200 orup toDDR5-5600 memory, along with 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and an additional four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs. The 14700K has a 125W PBP (base) and 253W MTP (peak) power rating.

You'll need to buy a capable cooler for the chip, and you'll also need a new 700-series or previous-gen 600-series motherboard. You can find a wide selection of high-end motherboards that support DDR5 memory, and although you'll only find lower-end and mid-range DDR4 motherboards, there's still plenty of selection available. Gamers will enjoy the lower price option of selecting DDR4, but it does come with 5 to 8% lower performance in gaming. You can step up to the more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput.

Read: Core i7-14700K Review

Value Best CPU for Gaming - $200 to $250

2. AMD Ryzen 5 7600X

Value Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 4

Socket: AM5

Cores/Threads: 6/12

Base Frequency: 4.7

Top Boost Frequency: 5.3

TDP: 105W/142W

Reasons to buy

+

Class-leading single- and multi-thread

+

Higher boost frequencies

+

Reasonable price-per-core

+

Overclockable

+

DDR5 and PCIe Gen 4.0

+

iGPU

Reasons to avoid

-

DDR5 Only

-

Platform pricing (lower now)

The $210 Ryzen 5 7600X competes with the $225 Core i5-14400, but the chip now sells much lower than launch pricing. Additionally, the arrival of more affordable B650 AM5 motherboards and receding DDR5 pricing have eased our previous pricing concerns and made this chip the best value CPU for gaming.

AMD also has the six-core 12-thread $199 Ryzen 5 7600, which is very similar to the X-series Ryzen 5 7600X but costs $20 less and delivers close to the same amount of performance, trailing its X-series counterpart by ~3% in gaming.

The Ryzen5 7600X is 14% faster than the Core i5-14400 in 1080p gaming, and simple EXPO memory tuning adds another 5%. The 7600X is also impressive in our productivity benchmarks, beating the Core i5-14400 by 6% in single-threaded work and 3% in multi-threaded applications, making it a solid all-rounder if you prize performance in productivity workloads.

The 7600X pairs the Zen 4 architecture with the 5nm TSMC process to deliver a big gain in performance over the prior gen. However, the ability to fully overclock the CPU cores provides a decent increase in performance. In contrast, the Core i5-14400/F CPU cores aren't overclockable.

The Ryzen 5 7600X's six cores run at a 4.7 GHz base and 5.3 GHz boost and are fed by 32MB of L3 cache. The chip supports all the standards we expect from a modern processor, including DDR5, PCIe 5.0, and the latest USB connectivity standards. AMD has also added integrated graphics for a basic display output, which is a plus if you need to troubleshoot.

The Ryzen 5 7600X doesn't come with a cooler, but a wide selection of affordable tower air coolers and AIOs can keep the chip comfortably cool. You'll need a new AM5 motherboard, as the latest Zen 4 processors are not backward compatible. However, the AM5 platform provides forward compatibility with future Ryzen processors, a boon if you plan to upgrade down the road. This class of chip is best with a B-series board, but do your research before you pull the trigger — some bargain basem*nt options don't provide robust enough power circuitry to upgrade to higher-tier processors in the future.

Read: Ryzen 5 7600X Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (9)

Intel Core i5-13400

Value Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Raptor Lake Refresh

Socket: LGA 1700

Cores/Threads: 10 (6P + 4E) / 16

Base Frequency: 2.5

Top Boost Frequency: 4.6

TDP: 65W/148W

Reasons to buy

+

Strong gaming performance

+

Strong single- and multi-thread

+

Competitive pricing

+

Platform pricing due to DDR4 support

+

PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory

+

Supports memory overclocking

+

Adequate boxed cooler

Reasons to avoid

-

Requires LGA1700 motherboard

-

Not fully overclockable

The 10-core 16-thread $199 Raptor Lake Core i5-13400 and the graphics-less $185 Core i5-13400F have long been the go-to value gaming chips, but AMD's Ryzen 5 7600X has experienced sharp price reductions. Pricing for AMD's motherboard options and DDR5 have also declined, taking some of the shine off of the Core i5-13400 and relegating it to an alternative.

Intel recently released the newer $230 Core i5-14400, built on the same silicon. However, it delivers slim to non-existent real-world performance increases over the Core i5-13400—and it comes with a $30 higher price tag. Thus, the slightly older 13400 is still the best Core i5 option.

The Core i5-13400 has six P-cores that support hyper-threading and operate at a 2.5 GHz base and 4.6 GHz boost clock. The four e-cores for threaded tasks run up to 3.3 GHz. The 13400 supports solid connectivity with support for DDR4-3200 orup toDDR5-4800 memory, along with 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and an additional four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs.

The Core i5-13400 comes with a capable cooler that can handle its 65W/148W base/peak power rating, and you can use a newer 700-series motherboard or an older 600-series model if the BIOS supports the chip. Most gamers will enjoy the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4, but you can upgrade to the slightly more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput.

Intel's partners have B- and H-series motherboards available, and a B660/B760 motherboard plus Core i5-13400 CPU makes a solid value gaming combo.

Read More: Intel Core i5-13400 Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (10)

AMD Ryzen 7 5700X3D

Value Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 8/16

Base Frequency: 3.0GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 4.1GHz

TDP: 105W

Reasons to buy

+

Leading gaming performance at its price point

+

Great pricing

+

Low power consumption, excellent efficiency

+

Support for AM4 upgrades

Reasons to avoid

-

Lower performance in productivity applications

-

No bundled cooler

-

No direct multiplier-based overclocking

The Ryzen 5 5700X3D offers the fastest possible gaming performance in the ~$200 price range, bar none, but it does come with some tradeoffs in performance in productivity applications.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D slots in as the king of the gaming hill for the Ryzen 5000 series, but the 5700X3D has the same number of cores for 35% less cash while delivering 91% of the gaming performance of its more expensive counterpart. That's a win for value gamers and brings AMD's vaunted game-boosting 3D V-Cache tech to a new lower price point.

The Ryzen 7 5700X3D is basically a down-clocked Ryzen 7 5800X3D, losing 400 MHz off its base and boost frequencies. All other details remain unchanged, including the voluminous 96MB of game-boosting L3 cache.

The Ryzen 7 5700X3D drops into existing socket AM4 motherboards dating back to the 300-series, which debuted in 2017, so it will make a great high-performance drop-in upgrade for Ryzen owners on the AM4 platform.

You have to be aware of the tradeoffs with this highly specialized chip. Our gaming benchmarks show that the 3D V-Cache doesn't boost performance in all games, though we found that it impacted nearly every title we tested. The Ryzen 7 5700X3D is optimized specifically for gaming, but it isn't as fast as similarly priced chips in productivity applications. Also, the Ryzen 7 5700X3D doesn't support the latest leading-edge connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.

If you're willing to accept lower performance in productivity applications and do your homework to make sure the Ryzen 7 5700X3D accelerates the types of games you play frequently, it's hard to go wrong—especially for upgraders with AMD AM4 systems.

Read: Ryzen 7 5700X3D Review

Highest Performance Best CPU for Gaming - $500+

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (11)

3. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D

Highest Performance Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 4

Socket: AM5

Cores/Threads: 16/32

Base Frequency: 4.2 GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 5.7 GHz

TDP: 120W

Reasons to buy

+

Leading gaming performance

+

Modern platform

+

More overclocking support

+

Low power consumption, excellent efficiency

+

Passable single- and multi-threaded performance

Reasons to avoid

-

Steep pricing

-

No support for DDR4 memory

-

Reduced performance in some productivity apps

AMD’s $600 Ryzen 9 7950X3D is geared specifically for gamers looking to blast through CPU-limited games while still having the threaded heft of 16 cores that can handle the heaviest of productivity workloads. The new chip comes packing sixteen Zen 4 cores and the company’s second-gen 3D V-Cache tech that unlocks 128MB of L3 cache, a combo that delivers the fastest gaming performance available from a flagship chip. In our tests, the 7950X3D beats Intel’s fastest chip, the $690 6.2 GHz Core i9-14900KS, by 10% on average and up to 40%+ in some games.

The 7950X3D uses AMD’s cutting-edge 3D chip-stacking technology, called 3D V-Cache, to enable an incredible 128MB of L3 cache. Like AMD’s inaugural X3D chip, the Zen 3 Ryzen 7 5800X3D, the extra L3 cache comes courtesy of a 3D-stacked SRAM chiplet fused atop the processor with hybrid bonding, which accelerates gaming to new heights in many titles. AMD also has a new thread-targeting technique designed to help apply the gains more evenly across a broad range of games.

However, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D does lag its direct competition in some productivity apps due to the tradeoffs associated with the 3D chip-stacking tech, and it doesn't accelerate all games equally. As such, you'll need to study the pros and cons of the chip before pulling the trigger. However, one thing is certain — it's the fastest flagship gaming chip on the planet.

The Ryzen 9 7950X3D brings all of the amenities we would expect from a modern processor, including support for DDR5, PCIe 5.0, and the latest USB connectivity standards. AMD has also added integrated graphics for a basic display out for the first time, which is a plus if you need to troubleshoot.

AMD's new Ryzen 7000 series chips do require a bulky cooler, so plan for a 240mm-280mm or better AIO for the best performance. You'll also need a new AM5 motherboard, as the latest Zen processors are not backward compatible, and DDR5 memory is the only option. If you're looking to build the absolutely fastest gaming system, regardless of cost, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D is undoubtedly the fastest gaming chip currently available.

Read: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (12)

Intel Core i9-13900K

Highest Performance Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake

Socket: LGA 1700

Cores/Threads: 16 (8P+16E) / 32

Base Frequency: 3.0

Top Boost Frequency: 5.8

Processor Base Power: 125W

Reasons to buy

+

Fastest gaming processor you can buy

+

Competitive pricing

+

Incredible overclocking headroom

+

DDR5 and PCIe 5.0

+

Leading single-threaded performance

+

Multi-threaded performance

+

Value platforms available

Reasons to avoid

-

No bundled cooler

-

Requires LGA1700 motherboard

-

Needs a powerful cooler for the best performance

-

Power use

The $449 Core i9-13900K is among Intel's fastest gaming processors, but Intel has released a newer refresh model, the $537 Core i9-14900K, that offers a mere 3% performance advantage in gaming. That means the 13900K's much lower price tag cements it as the better option.

While the Core i9-13900K isn't quite as fast as AMD's Ryzen 9 5900X3D, it has a more balanced performance profile and is faster than the other chips in the Ryzen 7000 family. At $449, it even outperforms AMD's $620 Ryzen 9 7950X in our gaming testing and most heavily-threaded content creation tasks, making it an exceptional value for high-end game streaming, too. It's also a leader in x86 single-threaded performance.

The 13900K also supports leading-edge connectivity with support DDR4-3200 orup toDDR5-5600 memory, along with 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and an additional four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs.

The chip comes with eight P-cores that support hyper-threading, and 16 single-threaded E-cores for a total of 24 threads. The P-cores have a 3.0 GHz base, and peak frequencies reach an amazing 5.8 GHz with Turbo Boost Max 3.0 (this feature is only active on P-cores). Meanwhile, the E-cores have a 2.2 GHz base and stretch up to 4.3 GHz via the standard Turbo Boost 2.0 algorithms. The chip is also equipped with 36MB of L3 cache and 32MB of L2.

This 13900K has a 125W PBP (base) and 253W MTP (peak) power rating, but we recorded considerably lower power consumption than its prior-gen counterpart. You get exceptional performance in exchange.

You'll need to buy a capable cooler for the chip, and you'll also need either a new 700-series or a previous-gen 600-series motherboard. You can find a wide selection of high-end motherboards that support DDR5 memory, and although you'll only find lower-end and mid-range DDR4 motherboards, there's still plenty of selection available. Some gamers might be enticed by the lower price of DDR4, but you'll lose anywhere from 5 to 8% of gaming performance with higher-end Intel chips. You can step up to the slightly more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput and, thus, every bit of performance possible.

Read: Intel Core i9-13900K Review

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming - $250 to $300

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (13)

4. Intel Core i5-13600K

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake

Socket: LGA 1700

Cores/Threads: 10 (6P + 8E) / 20

Base Frequency: 3.5

Top Boost Frequency: 5.1

Processor Base Power: 125W

Reasons to buy

+

Exceptional gaming performance

+

Competitive pricing

+

PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory

+

Overclockable (5.6 - 5.7 GHz)

+

Outgames the Ryzen competition

Reasons to avoid

-

No bundled cooler

-

Higher power limits than before

Our in-depth testing shows that the $275 Core i5-13600K is a stellar gaming chip — the stock 13600K beats AMD's entire standard Ryzen 7000 lineup (but not the X3D chips) at 1080p — even the $620 model. You can also sacrifice the integrated graphics engine — you won't need it if you have a discrete GPU — and go with the $245 Core i5-13600KF and get the same level of performance.Intel has since released the newer $309 Core i5-14600K refresh, but it offers virtually the same performance in gaming as the Core i5-13600K, but for $35 more. That leaves the Core i5-13600K as the better option.

And the 13600K/F delivers plenty of performance — overclocking even propels it to the same level as the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, an impressive feat, and it also lands within ~5% of the $449 Core i9-13900K.

The Core i5-13600K comes with six threaded P-cores that operate at 3.5 / 5.1 GHz and four E-cores that run at 2.6 / 3.9 GHz, for a total of 20 threads. That's paired with 20MB of L3 and 24MB of L2 cache.

The chip supports 16 lanes of the leading-edge PCIe 5.0 interface and an additional four PCIe 4.0 lanes for a speedy M.2 SSD port. The leading-edge connectivity doesn't stop there, though: The Core i5-13600K also supports either DDR4 or DDR5 memory. Some gamers will enjoy the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4, but you can step up to the slightly more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput.

The 13600K comes with a maximum power rating of 181W, but the chip sucks significantly less power than its prior-gen counterpart while delivering much more performance in gaming. The lowered power consumption allows the chip to work well with a wide variety of standard air and water coolers, but you'll need to make sure your model supports the LGA 1700 socket.

Speaking of which, you'll also need a new 700-series or previous-gen 600-series motherboard for the processor (with 600-series, make sure the BIOS supports the chip). You can find a wide selection of high-end models that support DDR5 memory, and although you'll find fewer lower-end and mid-range DDR4 motherboards, there's still plenty of selection available.

Read: Core i5-13600K Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (14)

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 8/16

Base Frequency: 3.4GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 4.5GHz

TDP: 105W

Reasons to buy

+

The fastest AMD gaming CPU money can buy

+

Competitive price

+

Support for PCIe 4.0

+

Compatible with AM4 motherboards

+

Passable single- and multi-threaded performance

+

Low power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-

No overclocking support

-

No bundled cooler

-

No integrated graphics

-

Not as strong as competing chips in desktop PC applications

AMD's Zen 4-powered Ryzen 7 7800X3D is the new chip to beat, but the $313 Ryzen 7 5800X3D is still a worthy contender if you're looking for a more value-focused chip with incredible gaming performance. The 3D V-Cache tech represents an innovative engineering effort that conquered the technical challenges associated with bringing the first desktop PC chip with 3D-stacked SRAM to market, yielding a chip with an incredible 96MB of L3 cache, and to great effect: The end result is a comparatively low-power chip that delivers incredible gaming performance.

The 5800X3D drops into existing socket AM4 motherboards dating all the way back to the 300-series that debuted in 2017, so it will make a great high-performance drop-in upgrade for Ryzen owners on the AM4 platform.

You do have to be aware of the tradeoffs with this highly specialized chip — our gaming benchmarks show that the 3D V-Cache doesn't boost performance in all games, though we found that it impacted nearly every title we tested. Additionally, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is optimized specifically for gaming, but it can't keep pace with similarly-priced chips in productivity applications. Also, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D also doesn't support Raptor Lake's leading-edge connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D has much lower power consumption than the Intel competition, making it a far cooler processor that won't require as expensive accommodations, like a beefy cooler, motherboard, and power supply.That means the 5800X3D delivers top-notch gaming performance along with a cooler, quieter, and less expensive system than you'll get with a Core i9.

If you're willing to accept the lower but still competent performance in desktop PC applications, and also do your homework to make sure the Ryzen 7 5800X3D accelerates the types of games you play frequently, it's hard to go wrong with this chip — especially for upgraders with AMD systems. If you have a taste for higher-end fare and a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is an impressive chip that delivers incredible gaming performance and leaves room for future GPU upgrades.

Read: Ryzen 7 5800X3D Review

Best Budget CPU Pick - $100 to $150

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (15)

5. Intel Core i3-13100F

Best $85-$100 Budget CPU Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Raptor Lake

Socket: LGA 1700

Cores/Threads: 4 (4P + 0E) / 8

Base Frequency: 3.4

Top Boost Frequency: 4.5

TDP: 60W / 89W

Reasons to buy

+

Strong gaming performance

+

Support for DDR4

+

Support for PCIe 5.0

+

Single-threaded performance

+

Sufficient bundled cooler

Reasons to avoid

-

No integrated graphics

-

Comparatively slow in threaded applications

-

No CPU core overclocking

-

Limited memory overclocking

The $117 Core i3-13100F comes to market using the same winning formula that propelled the previous-gen Core i3-12100F to the top of our recommendations for budget systems, making it a shoo-in for the best budget CPU in its price class. This chip delivers exceptional gaming performance along with good enough performance in productivity applications, given its price point.Notably, you can often find the previous-gen Core i3-12100F at similar or lower pricing, and given that the two chips offer essentially the same level of performance, we recommend that you simply select whichever model costs less at the time.

The Core i3-13100 has six p-cores and 12 threads operating at a 3.4 GHz base and 4.5 GHz boost clock rate. However, unlike the Core i5 models, it doesn't have e-cores for background tasks. It also has 12 MB of L3 cache.

The 13100 has 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes and four PCIe 4.0 lanes and supports up to DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800 MT/s (caveats applyto DDR5 support). Intel's non-K models don't allow overclocking of the CPU cores, but they do support memory overclocking.

The Core i3-13100F also comes with Intel's new improved cooler, saving you some cash. Like the non-F model, it has a 60W PBP (base) and 89W MTP (peak) power rating, so it's easy to cool with the included cooler.

Intel's Raptor Lake drops intoSocket 1700 motherboardsfrom the 600-series or 700-series, including the Z-, H- and, B-series boards (B- and H-series boards are the best fit). The Core i3-12100 is a locked chip, meaning it isn't overclockable. However, Intel supports memory overclocking on Z-, B-, and H-series motherboards (Z-Series doesn't make sense for this class of chip, though).


Read: Intel Core i3-12100 Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (16)

AMD Ryzen 5 5600

Budget Best CPU for Gaming - Alternative

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 6 / 12

Base Frequency: 3.7GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 4.6GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+

Competent gaming and application performance

+

Solid upgrade path for Ryzen 1000 owners

+

Bundled CPU Cooler

+

Overclockable

+

Broad support with 300-series motherboards

Reasons to avoid

-

Value prop is poor vs Intel chips

-

No integrated GPU

-

5500 only supports PCIe 3.0

We tend to define our budget range as $100 to $120, but the $135 AMD Ryzen 5 5600 deserves special consideration. This chip takes the top spot as the overall best budget AMD CPU for gaming with a solid blend of performance in both gaming and application workloads, bringing a new level of value to the Zen 3 lineup. It does come with a higher cost of entry than the $106 Core i3-12100F, but it is more than worthy given its higher level of performance — the Ryzen 5 5600 is 10% faster in gaming than the 12100F.

If you're fine sticking with the previous-gen AM4 motherboard, the Ryzen 5 5600 makes a great budget build. The primary trade-off for the AM4 platform is that you're limited to DDR4 (a good thing given DDR5 pricing) and you don't have access to PCIe 5.0 (GPUs don't need it), but this isn't a problem at this price point. The Ryzen 5 5600 also makes an absolutely unbeatable deal if you're updating an AM4 first-gen Ryzen system with a standard non-X3D chip.

The 5600 unseats the Ryzen 5 5600X, a long-time favorite. The 5600X is only ~1% faster in gaming and multi-threaded PC work than the Ryzen 5 5600 but maintains a 4% advantage in single-threaded work. That said, the practical differences between the two chips will be almost imperceptible to the overwhelming majority of users, but the Ryzen 5 5600X costs $30 more. As such, consider the Ryzen 5 5600 the 5600X-killer.

You can find the six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600 at $135, a deep discount brought on by competitive pressure from Intel.In fact, our testing shows that the Ryzen 5 5600 generally matches the gaming performance of its more expensive sibling, the ~$230 Ryzen 7 5800X. That makes the 5600 an incredibly well-rounded chip that can handle any type of gaming, from competitive-class performance with high refresh rate monitors to streaming, while also serving up more than enough performance for day-to-day application workloads. As with all AMD CPUs for gaming, you can fully overclock the CPU.

The Ryzen 5 5600 has a 3.7 GHz base and 4.6 GHz boost clock, but with the right cooling and motherboard, you can expect higher short-term boosts. The chip also has a 65W TDP rating, meaning it runs exceptionally cool and quiet, given its capabilities. Existing AMD owners with a 500-series motherboard will breathe a sigh of relief as the 5600X drops right into existing 500-, 400-, and 300-series motherboards. If you need a new motherboard to support the chip, AMD's AM4 motherboards are plentiful and relatively affordable, with the B-series lineup offering the best overall value for this class of chip.

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Review

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming - For gaming on integrated GPUs

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (17)

AMD Ryzen 5 8600G

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 4

Socket: AM5

Cores/Threads: 6 / 12

Base Frequency: 4.3GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 5.0GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+

+Passable 1080p in some titles, solid 720p gaming

+

+Hyper-RX support

+

+Bundled coolers

+

+Power efficiency

Reasons to avoid

-

Higher DDR5 pricing, no 8GB options

-

-AM5 motherboards remain pricey

The $329 Ryzen 7 8700G, AMD's flagship APU, delivers the fastest performance on the market from integrated graphics, bringing passable 1080p gaming to the desktop PC without a discrete graphics card, but its high price point relegates it to a niche audience. In contrast, the $229 Ryzen 5 8600G delivers 90% of the 8700G's performance but for $100 less, making it a solid alternative for gaming systems that don't use a discrete GPU.

Naturally, you'll have to accept lower fidelity settings and be realistic about which titles can play at 1080p resolution, but AMD's Hyper-RX suite of features, which includes in-driver Radeon Super Resolution upscaling tech, frame generation with AMD Fluid Motion Frames (AFMF), Anti-Lag+, and Radeon Boost, helps boost performance at a slight cost to image quality. This new feature set, a first for AMD's iGPUs, is a boon for budget gamers.

The Ryzen 5 8600G comes with six Zen 4 CPU cores and the RDNA 3 GPU engine with eight CUs. The Ryzen 5 8600G drops into the AM5 platform, with value-focused B650 and A620 motherboards being the obvious best combination. These systems offer a new level of connectivity for AMD's APU processors, which were previously on the aging AM4 platform, but they do require DDR5 memory. That adds some cost, so be sure to do a value analysis before selecting this processor. If you're looking for the lowest price of entry possible with an APU, the Ryzen 5 5600G listed below slots in as the value alternative.

The Ryzen 7 8600Gs only supports 16 usable lanes of PCIe 4.0 connectivity, while other processors on the AM5 platform support PCIe 5.0. However, we don't feel this will have an impact on this class of system.

More: AMD Ryzen 7 8700G and Ryzen 5 8600G Review

The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (18)

6. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming — Alternative

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3

Socket: AM4

Cores/Threads: 6/12

Base Frequency: 3.9GHz

Top Boost Frequency: 4.4GHz

TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+

Stellar price-to-performance ratio

+

Faster Zen 3 CPU cores

+

Passable 1080p, solid 720p

+

Excellent power consumption and efficiency

+

Great overclocking headroom

+

Bundled cooler

+

Compatible with some AM4 motherboards

Reasons to avoid

-

PCIe 3.0 connectivity

The Ryzen 5 5600G steps into the arena as the value champ for APUs, which are chips with strong enough integrated graphics that they don't require a discrete GPU for light gaming—just be sure you're willing to accept lowered quality settings.

At $120, the Ryzen 5 5600G gives you 96% of the gaming performance on integrated graphics than its more expensive sibling, the $180 Ryzen 7 5700G, but for 25% less cash. Our testing shows that its level of performance makes it the best value APU on the market. As long as you're willing to sacrifice fidelity and resolution and keep your expectations in check, the Ryzen 5 5600G's Vega graphics have surprisingly good performance in gaming.

The 5600G's Vega graphics served up comparatively great 1280x720 gaming across numerous titles in our tests, but options become more restricted at 1080p. Of course, you can get away with 1080p gaming, but you'll need to severely limit the fidelity settings with most titles.

With eight cores and 16 threads that operate at a 3.9 GHz base and boost up to 4.4 GHz, the Ryzen 5 5600G also offers solid performance for its price point in standard desktop PC applications. The chip also comes with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler, sweetening the value prop, and drops into existing 500-series and some 400-series motherboards, though support on the latter will vary by vendor.

If your budget is tight and you're looking to build a system for modest gaming, you should check out ourBest Cheap CPUfeature. Some of those chips can deliver passable gaming performance without a graphics card, and their prices start at just $55 (£40).

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Review

  • MORE:CPU Benchmark Hierarchy
  • MORE: AMD vs Intel
  • MORE:Best Cheap CPUs
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The Best CPU for Gaming in 2024 (19)

Paul Alcorn

Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

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