The Best Gaming CPU in 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to building a new gaming PC, picking the best CPU for the job is vital. However, most gamers spend most of their money on graphics cards, which means that if you are doing more than simply playing games, then you’re not getting the best value out of your computer.

Your CPU has an effect on everything ranging from gaming, OS, and application performance. It also determines the options you have on your platform and motherboard. It’s vital to pick the best computer processors that you can (as well as the best motherboard for gaming 2016) because your CPU and motherboard will probably be with you through quite a few graphics card upgrades.

This means that in the long run, choosing your CPU from the higher end of the price range will pay great dividends. In this mega guide to the best gaming CPU for 2019, we are going to look what a CPU is, how much it costs, and how to choose the best one for your specific needs, as well as reviewing some of the best gaming CPUs available on the market right now.

So, without further ado, let’s get on with it, shall we?

The Best Gaming CPU – Buyer’s guide

 

Preview Product Name
Intel Core i9-9900K View
Intel Core i7-9700K View
Intel Core i5-8400 View
Intel Core i9-7900X View
Intel Core i9-7980XE View
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X View
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X View
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX View

Processor Definition: What is a CPU?

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is at the very center of all that your computer is, and what it can do. It’s the brains of the entire operation – so to speak, and if you want to build a gaming computer that is solid then you need a great quality, fast CPU.

Unfortunately, CPUs are often overlooked with regards to gaming rigs. Some games, including first-person shooters, are highly dependent on graphics cards, while other games like MMORPGs and RTS’ have more calculations that have to be carried out, and so utilize the processor more. These are all factors that you should take into consideration when deciding on processors for gaming.

Even though you might spend more on a graphics card, it’s still vital to get the best CPU for your computer gaming. Your processor carries a very heavy load, as it is going to act like a bridge that connects all the other stuff in your gaming suitcase (together with your RAM).

You can have the best GPU for gaming on your graphics card that takes care of the rendering, but your CPU actually handles stuff like enemy AI in shooter games. This is something that is particularly evident in strategy games where enemy AI use a variety of different systems to come up with tactical decisions for taking you out. Also, your CPU makes everything run smoother and much faster.

Now that you’re convinced that a decent core for your gaming kit is absolutely essential, let’s move on to the question that is on everyone’s mind…

How Much For a CPU?

An important factor to take into account when deciding on the best processor for laptop or desktop builds is your total budget. If, for instance, you’re building a budget gaming PC for $400, then you obviously shouldn’t spend $300 on a CPU because you’ll hardly have any money left for all the other parts that you need.

Likewise, you don’t want to purchase a $100 processor if you’re building a high-end gaming PC for $1,000. That wouldn’t be a good use of your budget, either.

In the CPU reviews below, you will find the best processors to suit every budget going into 2019 and beyond including the best CPU under 200. We’ve even listed the best CPU under 50 bucks! The price is typically (though not always) a good indicator of how different processors stack up when it comes to games and other tasks, but no matter the size of your wallet, you’ll be able to get the best budget CPU 2018 has to offer.

Below are some benchmarks to help you decide on your budget, and the great news is that it doesn’t matter if your budget is a hundred bucks or a thousand, you will be able to find one of the best CPUs that is perfect for your needs.

– Budget gaming PC: $750 (Good entry-level system)
– Mid-range gaming PC: $1,250 (Recommended build for the majority of gamers)
– High-end gaming PC: $2,000 (All a gamer could ever want)
– Extreme gaming PC: $3,000 (A distant relative left you a fortune, and you’re going all-in)

Bearing all that in mind, we have chosen the best gaming CPU 2018 had to offer in each category, and you can buy them right now at extremely competitive prices. Each of the ones listed in our reviews below will meet your specific needs depending on your budget.

How to Choose CPU for Gaming?

In addition to your budget, and questions like ‘how much storage do I need on my laptop, there are other things that you need to consider before settling on the best CPU for your gaming needs including the following:

Performance

Ryzen processors almost always appear to have an upper hand over Intel Core processors on paper. But, when you look at the benchmarks, you see a clearer picture. Without getting bogged down with details, it can safely be stated that Ryzen is far superior with regards to multi-tasking, while Intel Core actually performs single-threaded tasks better. The importance of these differences vary from one model to the next, and the actual in-game performance differs with each game.

AMD Processor vs Intel Core

Which one is better: Intel CPUs or AMD processors for gaming? This age-old question has been the source of many heated debates in the gaming world. Between the two processor types, Intel might have been considered the obvious winner as recently as a couple of years ago, but after the AMD’s Ryzen series release, the gaming arena has become a lot more balanced.

AMD is well-known for offering affordable gaming CPUs that have high clock speeds that can be overclocked. On the other hand, any processor Intel Core comes up with is appreciated by gamers for its superior technology which ultimately equates to better performance, especially when it comes to single-threaded tasks.

If you’re searching for the best budget CPU for gaming 2018, price-wise, Ryzen products are always less expensive than their Intel counterparts, but it’s important to note that this doesn’t come at any real loss in performance.

Should You Upgrade to 2nd Generation Ryzen?

If you’re wondering if it’s worth upgrading to the recently released 2nd Gen Ryzen processors, then you need to know that while those new models absolutely are a better choice if you are a first-time buyer of a Ryzen processor, the same cannot be said if you’re already using a first-generation model.

This is because the new CPUs from Ryzen didn’t really make any significant advances when compared to the old ones. Most of the improvements are basically minor performance boosts (10% or so) that most people won’t even notice when playing games.

If you’re still asking yourself, ‘Which laptop should I buy?’ then you can even take our ‘What laptop should I buy quiz’ that will help you determine what to look for when buying a laptop. It includes a laptop buying guide India, and a laptop specifications list.

And now that you know how to choose a processor for gaming, it’s on to the exciting stuff!

Below, we’ve rated, reviewed, and conducted a CPU comparison of 14 of the best gaming CPUs across the entire budget spectrum, and present them here with a brief overview and a list of specifications. Whether you’re searching for the best CPU for 1080p gaming or the best desktop CPU, we’ve got you covered. Each processor on our list is ideal for gamers, professional work, and anyone else who is looking for a solid CPU for their desktop.

CPU Reviews: 14 Best CPUs for Gaming in 2019

1. Intel Core i9-9900K

Specifications

  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 5.0GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.9-5.0GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 16MB
  • TDP: 95W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16

The Intel Core i9-9900K is the king of performance. It’s the fastest processor in the world 2017 had to offer, and the best CPU for streaming and gaming 2017 and the subsequent years have seen. It still remains the reigning champ to this day, and while this CPU does not have the same core counts as the Threadripper or i9-7980XE, it does have the highest clock speed of all processors that are currently available, with superb per-core performance.

This was the best CPU for streaming 2017 produced, and it has never been dethroned. However, you need to supply your own cooling for this CPU and you must ensure that you choose a high-quality system as this processor tends to run very hot.

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2. Intel Core Processor i7-9700K

Specifications

  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 8
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 4.9GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.9-5.1GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 95W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16

With the Intel Core i7-9700K, you get fantastic gaming performance that comes with a lower price tag. In addition to being the ideal CPU for serious gamers, this processor is also perfect for anyone who wants to do video editing and other types of content creation work.

It has excellent gaming performance and 8 high-speed cores, and is arguably the best CPU 2018 has seen (in its price range). This is definitely the best Intel processor for gaming, and when it comes to price, features, and performance, it certainly doesn’t get much better than this.

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3. Intel Core i5-8400

Specifications

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 6
  • Base Clock: 3.8GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 4.0GHz
  • Overclocking: No
  • L3 Cache: 9MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16

The Intel i5 8400 is the best mainstream CPU that provides awesome performance and extreme value for money. This processor does not require an aftermarket cooler, and it’s fast enough for a single graphics card. It also has higher clock speeds than previous generations, and as an extra bonus, it comes with the appropriate cooler included in the box, which is something a lot of gamers would love to see become an option for each and every CPU on the market.

If you’re in the market for the best i5 processor on a budget, this is undoubtedly the best gaming processor under 200.

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4. Intel Core i3-8100

Specifications

  • Cores: 4
  • Threads:
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: GHz
  • Overclocking: No
  • L3 Cache: 6MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes:

If you’re still searching for the best Intel CPU for gaming, then look no further. If your budget allows, the Intel Core i3-8100 is the way to go. It has 4 physical cores, and it’s the first in the series of 8th generation models from Intel Core and the best i3 processor for gaming.

This processor is the company’s response to the new Ryzen 3 processors from AMD which overtook the i3 CPUs from the previous generation in 2017. This is a great entry for those seeking mid-range solutions for their gaming needs.

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5. Intel Core i5-8600K

Specifications

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads:
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • L3 Cache: 9MB
  • TDP: 95W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes:

Yet another stellar offering on our list of the best gaming processors for 2019 is the Intel Core i5-8600K which has been a firm favorite of gamers all over the world for quite some time. It was one of the best 2016 gaming computers and in addition to being the top gaming PC 2016, it’s also the best CPU of 2016 overall.

The manufacturer did a great job of balancing the performance and price of this processor. It’s the most powerful 8th gen i5 CPU and well work checking out for serious gamers looking for a mid to high-end CPU.

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6. Intel Core i7-8700K

Specifications

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Base Clock: 3.7GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.9-5.0GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 95W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16

Calling all power gamers! The Intel Core i7-8700K is the best i7 processor designed specifically for gaming, and while it’s a bit more costly than the competition, it more than makes up for that with computational power and efficiency.

This is the best Coffee Lake CPU for gaming, and it will process any and all data that you throw at it, so if you value performance and you’re interested in raw potential for running games at the maximum performance, then this is the processor for you. This is probably the best gaming CPU 2018 had to offer all serious gamers.

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7. AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Specifications

  • Cores: 4
  • Threads: 4
  • Base Clock: 3.5GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.0GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 4MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 12

For those seeking the best budget CPU, this is the processor to go with. For the price, it gives really great performance thanks to its Ryzen tech. It’s not the best AMD processor for gaming, and it’s nowhere near any of the other powerhouses on this list, but if you want to avoid the high price tag that always accompanies additional processing power, then the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is worth checking out.

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8. Intel Core i9-7900X

Specifications

  • Cores: 10
  • Threads: 20
  • Base Clock: 3.3GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 4.5GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.7GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 13.75MB
  • TDP: 140W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 44

The Intel Core i9-7900X is a supremely awesome processor with multi-threaded performance and considerably more of PCIe lanes. Its speed in games is nearly on par with the i7-8700K, but it does need high-quality aftermarket cooling.

If you have workloads like video editing, this processor can be over 50% faster when compared to the i7-8700 which makes it ideal not only for gamers but for content creation professionals too. This was the best CPU for gaming 2017 had to offer, and it has yet to be unseated going into 2019.

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9. Intel Core i9-7980XE

Specifications

  • Cores: 18
  • Threads: 36
  • Base Clock: 2.6GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.1GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 24.75MB
  • TDP: 165W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 44

This is one that you should only look at if you’re a wealthy future-proofer or an early adopter. It was the best CPU for gaming 2016, and yes, it’s still the market leader – but it’s also ridiculously expensive. 18 cores is absolutely insane!

That and the 36 threads provide a level of performance that can only be described as ‘out of this world’. If your budget allows it, then this will make an incredible addition to your gaming kit. You’ll not only own the fastest CPU on the planet, but you also won’t need to upgrade for years and years.

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10. AMD Ryzen 3 1200

Specifications

  • Cores: 4
  • Threads: 4
  • Base Clock: 3.1GHz
  • Overclocking:
  • L3 Cache: 8MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes:

This is the best budget CPU 2017 had to offer, but as previously stated, if you have this Ryzen model, then there’s no need to upgrade to the AMD Ryzen 3 2200, the successor to this first generation Ryzen. The great thing about this CPU is that you can afford it even on a shoestring budget.

It’s the best CPU under 100 bucks and makes a superb starting point. It includes integrated graphics (albeit modest ones) that can tide you over until you get a proper graphics card. If you’re searching for the best budget gaming CPU that won’t break the bank, then this is the one to go with.

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11.AMD Ryzen 5 2600X (Editor’s Pick)

Specifications

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 4.2GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.1GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 16MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 20

The Ryzen 5 2600X is certainly the best AMD CPU going into the new year. However, compared to the older version which was one of the best AMD processors 2016 had, it delivers moderate improvement in performance, and it doesn’t really introduce any new or revolutionary technology.

It made it onto every laptop buying guide 2016 and most noteworthy features are still the same as the ones that are available on its predecessor, for instance, the 6 physical cores, 12 logical cores and so on.

This processor offers a thread count that is twice that of Intel models in the same category. That, together with its relatively high base clockspeed is the reason why this is the best Ryzen CPU for the money and the preferred choice of many gamers.

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12. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

Specifications

  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Base Clock: 3.2GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.3GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 16 MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 20

Our list of the best CPUs on the market wouldn’t be complete without AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X. This gaming processor is a perfect high-end solution coming from the Ryzen CPUs 2nd generation. It’s the best AMD processor for laptop users. For the most part, it has the same features as the 1700X did when it was initially released such as the 8 cores and 16 threads – the most you can actually get in mainstream CPUs right now.

Like the rest of the 2nd gen models from Ryzen, it doesn’t introduce any major improvements in performance. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s truly awesome and the best CPU for gaming 2018 has to offer. It would be a great processor for any serious gamer to have.

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13. AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

Specifications

  • Cores: 16
  • Threads: 32
  • Base Clock: 3.4GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 3.9GHz typical
  • L3 Cache: 32MB
  • TDP: 180W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 64

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is perfect for professionals for whom gaming is a hobby. Its performance comes in second only to the 7980XE, but it has a much cheaper price tag. It’s not really optimized specifically for gaming, but if you want some serious power then this is a great solution to opt for.

This was the best AMD processor 2016 had, and remains the best CPU for gaming and streaming on the market right now, making it ideal for the gamer who loves multi-tasking – playing demanding games, while also balancing a heavy load of other programs such as browsing, streaming, rendering, or even all of them at once.

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14. AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX

Specifications

  • Cores: 32
  • Threads: 64
  • Base Clock: 3.0GHz
  • Turbo Clock: 4.2GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes, 4.0GHz at 500W
  • L3 Cache: 64MB
  • TDP: 250W
  • PCIe 3.0 lanes: 64

At the top of the CPU hierarchy, you will find this beast of a CPU which boasts 32 cores, 64 threads, and is built specifically for professionals who want the absolute fastest performance possible in one socket. If that sounds like you, then take a look at the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX as this could be the solution to all your problems.

It’s the best Ryzen CPU for gaming and the unstoppable power that this processor holds will go through your workloads in a breeze, from scientific calculations to 3D rendering. This is the best AMD gaming CPU that you can get.

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In Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our review and buyer’s guide for the best processor for gaming 2018 had to offer, and those that will reign in the new year and beyond.

Of course, there are other good CPUs out there, including the best Pentium processor for gaming, Intel Core i7-5960X, and Intel Core i7-5820K. The AMD processor list also goes on with offerings that include the following AMD FX processors:

– 8-core Bulldozer FX Processor
– AMD FX-8300
– AMD A8-7670K
– AMD A10-5800K
– AMD FX-9590

But our list is made up only of the best in each category, and you can use it as your resource to help you make the best decision when it comes to choosing the perfect processor for your needs.

If you’re interested in AMD Zen processors, stay tuned for the AMD Zen CPU release date of its next-generation series that is set to land on your desktops in the coming year, as well as other AMD CPU news. And keep an eye out for future articles including our AMD processors comparison where we present:

– The laptop processor list best to worst
– The best processor for mobile
– The best motherboard 2016
– Top Desktop Computers 2016
– Best Gaming GPU 2016
– The world’s fastest processor for android
– The world fastest processor smartphone
– The world’s fastest processor mobile phone
– The world’s fastest processor for PC
– And, the best AMD FX processor
– As well as the best CPU part picker for 2019!

The Best Gaming CPU in 2019 – Buyer’s Guide
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Claude

Web and mobile designer, founder of Layerbag. I started designing & I fell in love with Wordpress so I maintain a blog around my favorites topics and develop Wordpress themes myself.

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