Best Gaming CPU 2020

best gaming cpu 2020

Last Updated on by William Johnson

Buying a new CPU for your PC can be a daunting task, especially if this is your first time.

Even if you are helping someone build their PC, be ready for the heap of questions he/she will through your way.

That’s why here we are are going to review the best gaming CPUs / processors for 2020.

Best Gaming CPU 2020 Buying Guide

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G: Check Price On Amazon

Best Budget Gaming CPU 2020

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G - Best Budget Gaming CPU 2020

CPU Specs

Model

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

Socket

AM4

Core Count

4

Thread Count

4

Base Clock

3.5GHz

Boost Clock

3.7GHz

Integrated Graphics

Vega 8

Default TDP

65W

If you are in the market looking for a budget gaming CPU and you are not in the mood to spend a lot of money, even then there are a lot of options for you.

Gone are the days when the options used to be limited because nowadays, you can find a lot of great CPUs thanks to AMD’s triumphant return to the market. 

The CPU that we’ve picked for the budget category is the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G.

This is one of the cheapest Ryzen CPUs that you can buy but do not let the price fool you as it is still ample in most of the situations and you will not have to worry about dishing out a lot of money either.

It is a quad-core CPU that is clocked at 3.6 GHz out of the box and boosts up to 4.0 GHz. The Ryzen 3200G works good in most of the games when paired with the right GPU.

However, the same cannot be said for applications that revolve around productivity because the 3200G is by no means a workhorse and should not be treated like one either.

Overall, I would say that if you are just building your first gaming PC and you want something that has a good value, the Ryzen 3200G is definitely one of the best processors available in the market and will certainly give you great value for the money you are spending.

Pros 

  • Great performance in gaming.
  • Affordable.
  • Runs at decent speeds.

Cons

  • Not suitable for productivity tasks.

Intel Core i5 9600K: Check Price On Amazon

Intel Core i5 9600k

CPU Specs

Model

Intel Core i5-9600K

Socket

LGA1151

Core Count

6

Thread Count

6

Base Clock

3.7GHz

Boost Clock

4.6GHz

Integrated Graphics

Intel UHD 630

Default TDP

95W

As always with a new generation, Intel had to release a gamer-oriented CPU that is more convenient for the gamers than it is for the other consumers or those who are into productivity tasks.

That is precisely how the Core i5 9600K came into being. A six-core, six-threaded beast that aimed for Z390 chipset. 

9600K boasts an impressive base clock of 3.7 GHz, with up to 4.6 GHz boost clock. However, with a good motherboard and the right cooler, you can easily push up to 5.0 GHz if you are looking for that sweet, sweet gaming performance.

The CPU is not made for multi-threaded tasks, as it is explained by the lack of hyper-threading, but that is fine since you are still getting a fantastic single-threaded performance, and for those who do not know, that is what matters in the gaming side of things.

This only goes to show that Intel has done a great job in keeping this CPU strictly for gamers, and that is exactly how it should be.

But despite being marketed as a “mid-range CPU for gamers”, it is pretty decent in some other tasks like video editing, as well as rendering. However, you should avoid pushing it to limits here.

As the name suggests, the CPU does come with an unlocked multiplier, so the ability to overclock it right of the box is certainly there.

For users on the older, Z370 chipset, all you need is an updated BIOS from your motherboard manufacturer, and you will be able to run this processor without any issues.

Now as far as the downsides are concerned, there are not many to begin with. Had this been a $300+ CPU, there could have been some room for improvement, but at the given price point, the Intel Core i5 9600K is a near perfect CPU that you should be getting for gaming.

Its only downside is that it does not come with a bundled CPU cooler in the box, which can be a problem for those who don’t want to shell out additional money on a 3rd party cooler right in the beginning of their build.

Overall, the Intel Core i5 9600K is a great gaming processor that boasts impressive numbers with great temperatures, and above all, an impressive price tag.

Pros

  • The performance in gaming is excellent.
  • Can handle light productivity tasks.
  • Backward-compatible with Z370 chipsets.
  • Easy to overclock.
  • Impressive base and boost clocks.

Cons

  • The processor does not come with a bundled CPU cooler.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X: Check Price On Amazon

Best Midrange Gaming CPU 2020

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Best Midrange Gaming CPU 2020

CPU Specs

Model

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Socket

AM4

Core Count

6

Thread Count

12

Base Clock

3.8GHz

Boost Clock

4.4GHz

Integrated Graphics

N/A

Default TDP

95W

If you are looking for something on the higher end of the spectrum, you can always go for the Ryzen 3600X. AMD has done a great job at making sure that there is something for everyone in their 3rd-Gen Ryzen Series.

The Ryzen 5 3600X is more than capable of delivering the performance that you have been looking for. If you want something that is not just good in gaming but also excellent in productivity tasks, then this is the CPU to go for. 

It also supports the latest PCI-E 4.0, and you get a really good looking bundled cooler that surprisingly performs well. It means you don’t necessarily have to buy a new one of your own

You are also getting an unlocked multiplier, so if you do want to go ahead and overclock this processor, you can easily do so without any issues.

There are a few things I would like to address here. First, you are going to need an X570 motherboard if you want to use PCI-E 4.0. Also, there’s only a little headroom available if you want to overclock it.

Overall, Ryzen 3600x is a good CPU with a couple of downsides, but can get the job done for most of the games out there. 

Pros 

  • The CPU performs terrific in both games and productivity applications.
  • You get PCI-e 4.0.
  • You get an amazing bundled cooler.
  • The power consumption is not a lot, either.
  • For those who want to overclock, you have an unlocked multiplier.

Cons 

  • You will need an X570 motherboard in order to use PCI-E 4.0.
  • There is not much overclocking headroom available.

Intel Core i7 9700K: Check Price On Amazon

Intel Core i7 9700K

CPU Specs

Model

Intel Core i7-9700K

Socket

LGA1151

Core Count

8

Thread Count

8

Base Clock

3.6GHz

Boost Clock

4.9GHz

Integrated Graphics

Intel UHD 630

Default TDP

95W

All eyes were on Intel when they finally decided to bring the 9th generation into the mainstream.

With 9th gen, Intel finally released 8 core chips to the mainstream, with the Intel Core i9 9900K leading the charge with its 8 cores, and 16 threads.

However, what about the lesser expensive models? Well, Intel did not disappoint as they released a Core i7 9700K chip with some rather exciting hardware changes.

For starters, the biggest difference between this i7 and other chips is that this one does not come with hyper-threading. Meaning that you have access to 8 cores, and 8 threads.

The gaming performance remains the star of the show with the 9700K crushing games as far as CPU performance is concerned. The 8 cores are great for nearly all productivity, and gaming tasks, so if you are looking to maximize your workload and efficiently distribute it, this is the way to go.

Another great thing about the Core i7 9700K is that it comes with an even better single threaded performance, this is all thanks to the impressive boost clock of up to 4.9 GHz out of the box.

Intel processors, especially since last gen are known for having higher temperatures. However, this time, Intel changed things up with providing a soldered thermal interface material, this significantly improved the overall temperatures, giving much-needed relief to many gamers.

There are a few downsides though. Being an enthusiast CPU from Intel, it does not come with a CPU cooler – something that has been going on with all K SKU processors since Skylake.

Additionally, the lack of hyper-threading could be a rising concern in multi-threaded applications like Premiere Pro, or other video rendering options that are available in the market.

Last but not the least, the processor does not offer a considerable incentive over the Core i7 8700K; a much cheaper option

Overall, the Intel Core i7 9700K is more than capable of delivering heavy gaming and productivity performance. Its not as power hungry as its big brotehr i9 9900K, which means you won’t have to change your PSU just in order to install this CPU.

Pros

  • Excellent gaming performance.
  • Great base and boost clocks.
  • Readily available in the markets.
  • Soldered thermal interface material provides better performance.

Cons

  • Does not provide a good performance incentive over the 8700K.
  • Does not come with a cooler out of the box.
  • Lack of hyper-threading can be a concern for some.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: Check Price On Amazon

Best Gaming CPU 2020 For Value

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X - Best Gaming CPU 2020 For Value

CPU Specs

Model

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Socket

AM4

Core Count

8

Thread Count

16

Base Clock

3.6GHz

Boost Clock

4.4GHz

Integrated Graphics

N/A

Default TDP

65W

A Tier-2 product in AMD’s CPU hierarchy, the 3700X has an incredible price to performance ratio: you get a 8-core, 16-thread CPU at slight more than 300 bucks. 

It has a TDP of just 65W which makes it even more for Wraith prism cooler to do its job. You can obviously install an 3rd-part AIO as well, but you’re required to. And you won’t notice too much performance difference either.

The potential for overclocking isn’t as much as we would’ve liked but you can increase its power slightly. In terms of benchmarks, we found Ryzen 3700x to lie somewhere between the i7 9700K and i9 9900K. In fact, it went much closer to 9900K, instead of 9700K, in most of them.

In actual games though, we found it to be just a bit lower than i7 9700K, because of the excellent single-thread performance of the latter. It means that if all you want from your CPU is just gaming, you can go for 9700K.

But if want to use some multi-threaded applications as well, this is best CPU for that in terms of value.

Pros 

  • The CPU is great at both gaming and productivity tasks.
  • It is one of the more affordable options that still delivers a fantastic performance.
  • You also get a bundled cooler that works rather well.

Cons 

  • The CPU does not perform single-thread tasks as efficiently as it does multi-threaded ones.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X: Check Price On Amazon

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

CPU Specs

Model

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Socket

AM4

Core Count

12

Thread Count

24

Base Clock

3.8GHz

Boost Clock

4.6GHz

Integrated Graphics

N/A

Default TDP

105W

The last processor that we are looking at is another amazing offering from AMD. I

n case you have not guessed it already, we are talking about the Ryzen 9 3900X. This is one of the highest-end consumer offerings from AMD and it delivers fantastic performance through and through.

Yes, it’s expensive but when you look at the level of power it brings on the table compared to its price (12 cores and 24 threads at less than 500 bucks), it sounds a fair deal.

In multi-threaded benchmarks, such as Geekbench 4 multi core, Ryzen 3900x managed as much as 25% more points than 9900K.

As far as the downsides are concerned, there are a few things that you need to know.

For starters, the cooler that you are going to get is not something that will cool the processor down for extended time. But you shouldn’t worry because we have already covered about different cooling solutions for ryzen 3900x

Another downside is that the single-threaded performance of this processor still can’t beat Intel 9900k’s like it does in multi-threaded environments. We got more or less similar performance from both of them in majority of the games we played.

Also, if you want to use PCI-E 4.0, you have to spend extra money on the more expensive X570 motherboard.

But still, this is most powerful CPU you can buy in less than $500-mark as of now. 

Pros 

  • The CPU has one of the best performances you could hope for.
  • You have support for PCI-Express 4.0.
  • Ahead of everything in the same price range.

Cons 

Factors You Should Consider When Buying a Gaming CPU

The reason why I am using the term “Gaming” here and not 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.

When you are in the market looking for a gaming CPU, there are some 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.

Core Count

Modern games, as well as other applications, are getting more and more demanding by every new release, and that is not something surprising. It means that they are asking for more cores to adequately run without any issues.

If you are in the market looking for a gaming CPU, the first thing that I would suggest you do is considering 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 CPU, because you might not get the proper performance.

Unlocked

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 the 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 2020

Platform

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. 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.

Socket

There is 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/Z390 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 X570 for their Ryzen chips.

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.

Gaming Benchmarks

Last but not 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.

Conclusion

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 it can become a lot more difficult than you might imagine in the first place.

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 on the ideology that there is something for everyone.

If you think you have more suggestions for us, then feel free to let us know, and we will surely update this article.

One comment

  1. Threadripper’s bottleneck will only cause if you play 720p or below. Since who will use such a beast, no one will use 720 or even 1440p gaming. This “con” is menaingless. But overall review is nice.

Comments are closed.