Buying a new CPU can be a daunting task when building a new PC, especially if this is your first time building one.
Even if you are helping someone build their PC, be ready for the heap of questions they will through your way.
That's why here we are are going to be review best gaming CPUs / processors for 2019
Best Gaming CPU 2019 Buying Guide.
Intel Core i5-8400
Best Gaming CPU 2019 For Value
For our first processor on the list, we are going to be looking at the Intel Core i5-8400. There is no denying that Intel’s Coffeelake line up of CPUs was a massive success, and the same goes with the Intel Core i5-8400. Although it was released much later than its elder siblings were, it is very capable in gaming.
The good part here is that Intel has managed to cram 6 cores into this processor, but had to sacrifice the base clock. The base of the processor is just 2.8 Ghz, with 1 core boosting up to 4.0 GHz, 2 and 4 cores at 3.9, and all 6 cores at 3.8 GHz. Needless to say, the boost is certainly impressive.
Aside from the impressive number of cores, another strong factor about the Intel Core i5-8400 is the fact that it performs really impressively in both applications and games. The processor was able to hold its ground against all the titles we threw at it.
Sadly, the same cannot be said about applications that focus more on multi-threaded performance, as it lacks behind in those.
One great thing about the processor is that you are getting excellent value for money; I was honestly surprised when I saw the price tag on this processor, and found out that it is actually a hexacore chip rather than a quad core.
As far as price to performance ratio is concerned, I believe that the Intel Core i5-8400 gives the best dollar to dollar value for when it comes to gaming.
To top it all off, Intel even bundles a cooler with the processor, and while it is not much, the good news is that the 8400 does run a lot cooler, and should not need any aftermarket coolers at all.
There are a few downsides though; for starters the processor does come with a locked multiplier, which means that you will not be able to overclock it. Aside from that, another thing that I did not like is the fact that the base frequency of the processor is rather low by the modern standards
Reviewing this processor, I easily figured out that the pros of this processor easily outweigh all the cons there are.
Sure, it is not made for enthusiasts in mind, but if you are a hardcore gamer, and gaming is the only factor that holds any importance to you, then the Intel Core i5-8400 is undoubtedly one of the best processors money can buy right now.
- Great price to performance ratio.
- Remarkable performance in both games and applications.
- You get a bundled Intel cooler.
- Pretty good thermals.
- Six cores are a blessing to have in a budget processor.
- You cannot overclock the processor.
- Base frequency is on the lower side.
- The lack of hyperthreading means that multi-threaded applications will be on the slower side.
Intel Core i5-8600K
High End Intel Gaming CPU
For the longest time, the Intel Core i5 series has been the fan favourite of people who do not want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on the Core i7 just for having higher clock speeds, and hyperthreading. The trend continues into this day as the Core i5 lineup of processors is extremely popular with gamers.
Right now, we are looking at the Intel Core i5-8600K; Intel’s crown jewel in the Coffeelake, I say this because if you are looking for the best bang for your buck, and something that can overclock like a champion, then you cannot find something better than this one.
Whether you are looking for gaming, or productivity applications, the Intel Core i5-8600K gives a great performance. Sure, it does lack the hyperthreading from its elder brother, but that does not mean it is any less competitive.
For those worried about bottlenecking, I did pair this with a GTX 1080Ti from Asus, and did not experience any issues. However, I cannot say the same about the upcoming RTX GPUs as that might introduce some bottlenecking depending on different games.
The processor comes with a base frequency of 3.6 Ghz, with all 6 cores boosting up to 4.1 GHz together. I know it might not sound enough to a lot of people, but since it is a K SKU, the good news is that you can easily overclock this process after coupling it with a decent cooler, and get the job done.
Another great thing I noticed during the testing of this CPU is that it can easily compete with several of the Core I7 CPUs from the previous generations, and not just compete with them, but actually outperform them as well, which is saying something.
For those who want to overclock this processor, there is enough headroom to so. With a good cooler, you can easily push this baby up to 4.5 GHz, and even 5.0 GHz, if you have struck the silicon gold, but I will just advise you to be careful, and if you really want to overclock, make sure that you have a good cooler, and motherboard.
As far as the downsides are concerned, there are no deal breaking issues with the Core i5-8600K; but to keep things simple, if you want to be able to overclock this CPU, you are going to need a Z370 motherboard, which adds up to the additional cost.
Additionally, just like all the K series CPU since the 6th generation, this one does not come with a heat sink out of the box, meaning that you have to buy a separate one.
In conclusion, the Intel Core i5 – 8600K is one of the most, if not the most competitive and compelling gaming processors in the market that gets the job done.
- Great performance in both games, and productivity programs.
- Plenty of overclocking head room.
- Faster than some of the older Core i7 processors.
- Pretty impressive boost frequency.
- Does not come with a heatsink out of the box.
- Even the most basic Z370 motherboard is on the expensive side.
AMD Ryzen 7 2700
Best AMD Gaming CPU For Value
There is no denying that it did not take AMD long to capture most of the processor market from Intel after the original Ryzen architecture. However, we knew from the start that AMD was not done with the processors, and that was true.
Soon after the original Ryzen, the Ryzen 2 came into the market with a lot more improvements.
We are looking at the AMD Ryzen 7 2700; a higher end Ryzen 2 processor that aims to deliver a pretty great performance and a higher core clock as well.
The best thing about AMD Ryzen 7 2700 is that it does come with overclocking potential, and for those who do not know, it also boasts an impressive 8 core, 16 thread configuration.
During my testing of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700, it was pretty evident that the 2700 is much faster than most of the previous generation Ryzen CPUs. This is surprising because Intel does not walk the same path, and most of their updates are iterative.
It is fresh to see AMD actually doing something to improve the performance.
The AMD Ryzen 7 2700 also comes with a Wraith Spire LED cooler that actually looks wicked, and happens to be one of the best looking stock coolers you can buy at the moment. However, if you are looking to push the CPU to its limit in terms overclocking, then you are going to need more than just that.
Instead of launching an all new platform, and cutting the support for the older one; AMD did everyone better and made the Ryzen 2 backward compatible with older motherboards, and just that, they even launched newer 400 series motherboards for those who want to completely upgrade.
While AMD graphic cards are often roasted internet for having higher thermals, the company has done right with the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 and instead of opting for traditional soldering methods, they have gone for a method called Indium soldering which supposedly better for thermal performance.
There are some downsides to the otherwise amazing AMD Ryzen 7 2700 that need to be addressed. For starters, if you are going to overclock this processor, you are going to need a better cooler to do so. Sure, the Wraith Spire LED does work for moderate overclocks, but cannot handle anything more than that.
While the Ryzen 7 2700 itself is not that expensive, you will not be able to find a budget oriented 400 series motherboard as of yet. Meaning you will have to spend extra.
In conclusion, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 is a great cpu that can definitely pull some serious punches without showing signs of slowing down or lagging behind in games or productivity workloads thanks to great performance.
- Great performance leap.
- The Wraith Spire LED cooler looks great.
- Unlocked multiplier.
- Great thermal performance.
- Backward compatible with 300 series motherboards.
- Hard to find a value oriented motherboard.
- The bundled cooler is not enough to handle heavier overclocks
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
Best Budget AMD Gaming CPU 2019
So far, the biggest crux of the AMD Ryzen CPUs was the fact that they did not support integrated graphics. Which meant that people who bought the Ryzen CPUs had to buy separate graphic cards as well.
The good news is that with Ryzen 2, you will not have to buy separate graphic cards, if you just want to power your computer, and even play some lightweight titles on them.
Today, we look at the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G; it is one of the budget oriented Ryzen CPUs that aims to deliver decent CPU and GPU performance packed into one. Now for those who do not know, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G does come with a Vega integrated GPU, and at first I thought it would not be enough, but I was wrong.
The CPU is competitively priced, which is great because you do not have to spend a lot of money just to get a decent performance out of it. If you are looking to build an HTPC, I do not think you can find a better CPU from AMD’s side of things than this one. Sure, it might sound like an overkill to some, but it more than makes up for it.
You also get a pretty decent frequency with the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G; with the base clock of 3.5 GHz, and the boost of 3.7 GHz. I know the clock speeds certainly look lower by 2018 standards, but the important thing that you need to know here is that we are looking at a budget CPU, and not a high end chip.
If you want to play some lightweight games, then the good news is that the integrated Vega GPU will certainly provide you with a decent 720p gaming performance, and I can assure you that you will be able to play most of the e-sport titles without any issue whatsoever.
Lastly but not the least, you would expect AMD to sell this chips with a locked multiplier, but you would be wrong. As a matter of fact, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G can be overclocked, but if you need higher clocks, then you are going to need a better cooler.
There are a few things that bug me though; the processor only has 8 lanes for PCIe slots, and if you want to push the processor to its limits in terms of overclocking, then you are going to need a powerful aftermarket cooler to do so.
In conclusion, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G gets the job done for the most part, and is a wonderful processor for those who are looking to build a budget gaming PC.
- Surprisingly good performance in 720p gaming.
- Great value for money.
- Can overclock.
- Decent frequencies.
- PCIe slots only get eight lanes in total.
- You will need a better cooler if you want to overclock.
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
Best High End AMD Gaming CPU
AMD kind of realised that taking the HEDT market from Intel was never an easy job, and they started working on something even more powerful than the mainstream Ryzen processors that were for the consumers.
AMD came out with the Ryzen Threadripper, an HEDT lineup of CPUs that offered higher core counts, and amazing performance for much cheaper.
Today, we look at the famous AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X; a 16 core, 32 thread monster that supports the TR4 socket by AMD and runs on their X399 platform.
Now the thing about AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is that it compensates for the insanely high core count by offering lower frequencies. The 1950X is clocked at 3.7 Ghz, and can boost up to 3.6 GHz on all cores.
Now the good thing about the Threadripper 1950X is that it gives you a great performance in all loads; meaning that if you want to use it as a workstation processor, a productivity monster, a gaming power house, or all three of the aforementioned tasks, then you are going to get amazing performance in all those aspects.
It offers one of the best price per cores, which means that AMD is not overcharging you in any way. As a matter of fact, you kind of are getting what you are paying for.
AMD has done a great job in setting the price of the 1950X, and more often than not, you are likely to find it on sale as well.
It should not come as a surprise but the processor is also very capable of delivering amazing multi-threaded performance.
All thanks to the fact that it comes with 32 threads, and 16 cores. Regardless of the work load you have, I believe that the Threadripper will not be slowing down any time soon.
Thanks to the way this chip is designed, there are enough PCIe lanes for you to connect all your storage and expansion devices without any issue whatsoever.
There is no denying that the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is a beast of a CPU, but even something as powerful as this has some shortcomings.
For starters, the settings for this processor are confusing at best, and if this is your first time using an AMD HEDT processor, then you are going to need some time figuring things out.
Additionally, the low resolution gaming performance is not as good as I thought it would be as it easily ends up bottlenecking even the best of the best GPUs out in the market.
This is not a bad thing, but if you really want to play games without any bottlenecking issues, you need a higher resolution monitor that could keep up with it.
In conclusion, there is no denying that the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is a great processor, and actually good for all the tasks you might want to carry out with the processor.
- Excellent price per core performance.
- Great for all sorts of work loads.
- Fast in multi-threaded applications.
- Enough PCIe lanes for all the tasks.
- The setting up process is somewhat confusing.
- The CPU can easily cause a bottleneck.
Factors You Should Consider When Buying a Gaming CPU
The reason why I am using the term “Gaming” here, and just CPU is because that way, readers will have a better idea that we are strictly focusing on the gaming aspect of these CPUs, even though they can easily handle other tasks.
With that out of the way, when you are in the market looking for a gaming CPU, there are a number of factors you need to consider that will make your purchase a lot smoother than you might imagine.
Although these factors are rather common and I am sure most people already are aware of them, it is still better to list them down.
We are not going to ask you to consider the usage of the CPU, because as the article title suggests, we are strictly looking at the gaming aspect of things.
Which means that we will not be looking at other performance metrics such as the rendering speed, synthetic benchmarks.
Modern games as well as other applications are getting more and more demanding by every new release, and that is not something surprising. This means that they are asking for more cores so they can properly run without any issues whatsoever.
If you are in the market looking for a gaming CPU, the first thing that I would suggest you to do is consider the core count.
Dual cores are a big no, and quad cores are slowly being pushed out of the way as well; this leaves you with hexacores, and above.
However, I have done some testing on a few quad cores, and they were pretty promising in terms of performance, as well as workload management.
The conclusion here is that you should not go below a quad core, because you might not get the proper performance.
When we use the word “unlocked” for gaming CPUs, it basically means that they can be overclocked using a supported motherboard.
Overclocking is not all that bad when it comes to giving you an extra performance boost, but speaking strictly from gaming point of view, it is kind of unnecessary.
The performance between an overclocked CPU, and a stock CPU in gaming is marginal at best; however, overclocking does mean that there will be a higher power draw, and higher temperatures as well.
Therefore, if you are adamant about overclocking, you should definitely consider this factor.
Related Post: Gaming Motherboard Review Roundup For 2019
Before AMD’s return to the processor market, Intel was running the show and they had an impressive range of products.
However, things are different as of now since AMD is back in the game. I am talking entire lineups of processors that are built for those who just want productivity, those who want to game, and those who want the top of the line performance.
This only means that whenever you are in the market looking for a good gaming CPU, you need to consider the platform that you are going to go with.
AMD offers higher cores and much lower costs, but the tradeoff is that you do not get processors that are with high clock speeds, or good overclockers.
On the other hand, Intel offers you the processors with higher clock speeds, but you do have to spend a lot of money.
As far as raw gaming performance is concerned, Intel is still the king, and while AMD is still trying its best to dethrone Intel in gaming performance, it is too early to say anything.
There are a heap of gaming CPUs available in the market, not just for one socket, but for several others as well. You have Intel’s Z370 lineup for the high end, unlocked processors; then at the same time, you have their X299 for extreme CPUs.
On the other hand, you have AMD’s X399 for their Threadrippers, and X370 and X470 for their Ryzen chips.
However, do know that this is not all; both AMD and Intel are actively releasing new sockets, and aside from what we mentioned above. There are lower end models of these sockets as well, so you have plenty of options when it comes to buying a gaming CPU.
Last but not the least, I would advise you to shed some light on the gaming benchmarks of whatever CPU you are considering to buy. Since gaming is the main concern of your purchase anyway, it is just better to put that into consideration first than anything else.
For a lot of people, finding the right gaming CPU is something that can be a lot more difficult than you might understand. There are so many options available in the market, that at times, it can become a lot more difficult than you might imagine in the first place.
The good thing, however, is that this list caters to everyone who is in the market looking for a good gaming processor. When making this roundup, and testing all the CPUs, the main aim was to focus this list around the ideology that there is something for everyone.
That is why in this list, you will see something as expensive and powerful as a Threadripper, and at the same time, you will find some lower end options as well. For those who prefer Intel, there is nothing to worry as we did cover some amazing offerings from Intel as well.
If you think you have more suggestions for us, then feel free to let us know, and we will surely update this article.
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