What are the best processors for gaming?

If computers certainly allow you to perform routine and office tasks, they can also reveal monster capacities for much more demanding activities, such as gaming. From this perspective, both the GPU (the graphics card) and the CPU (processor) count, so it is crucial to choose hardware that is powerful enough to achieve good performance in the game. We therefore invite you to discover the comparison of the best gaming processors before turning to the buying guide for more information.

Our selection of the best processors for gaming

Let us first proceed to the detail of the methodology. To establish our selection, we looked for the best quality-price ratios within several ranges. By using both technical characteristics and consumer reviews and player feedback, we were able to sort and prioritize the different models in an impartial manner.

1. Intel Core i9-12900k, the almighty

Features & Reviews

The 12900k signals the arrival of 10 nm at Intel . With 8 high-power dual-threaded cores and 8 low-power cores , it’s no less than 24 threads for maximum power, finally, it’s especially to shine in society with crazy FPS.

With the Intel i9-12900k , we go to the 12th generation called “Alder Lake”. It is capable of supporting PCI-express 5, thunderbolt 4 and DDR5 . The frequency can go up to 5.2 Ghz provided you have a substantial cooling solution and an exceptional CM, with the LGA1700 socket. Sort of “equivalent” to AMD’s Ryzen 5950X but which goes up to 241 W of TDP pushed to the limit, the 12900k is Intel’s demonstration showcase.


  • Maximum power
  • PCIe 5.0 and DDR5

The lessers

  • Also works as a heater
  • Requires expensive CM
  • The price

2. AMD Ryzen 5950X, the CPU at its peak

Features & Reviews

At the top of the processor food chain, we unsurprisingly find a power monster: the Ryzen 5950X from AMD . No need to jump through the hoops, whatever you want to do on your computer with it, you’ll have no problem achieving it. With its 16 cores and 32 threads , whether for video games, video editing or 3D modeling, its insane power is guaranteed in all areas. Not even need to speak about its frequency, which is basic with 3.4 GHz, and which can go up to 4.9 GHz, without counting the possible overclocking (although complicated). Despite all this power, the 5950X keeps a very decent power consumption, around 105 watts .

Finally, we can salute that in addition to obvious compatibility with the X570 and B550 chipsets from AMD, the CPU is also compatible with the older versions, namely the X470 and the B450. All that can make you want to, but you have to realize the budget you need for such a processor, and especially that it is not made for everyone, in the sense that its interest lies in the carrying out extremely heavy tasks such as 3D modeling or 4K editing.


  • A formidable power in all areas
  • The 16 hearts
  • Optimized power consumption
  • Compatible X470 / B450

The lessers

  • High price

3. AMD Ryzen 5900X, the ultimate do-it-all processor

Features & Reviews

At the top of the processor basket is the AMD Ryzen 5900X . It is one of those CPUs that are excellent in absolutely all areas, be it gaming, graphics, multitasking, etc. After all, it’s no wonder with its 12 cores and 24 threads , all clocked at 3.7 GHz base, and 4.8 GHz boosted. And as if there were not enough power, the overclocking capacity of this processor is really considerable, being able to give remarkable results to those who know how to exploit it correctly.

Even if all this can be scary in terms of the consumption that this Ryzen 5900X can have, don’t worry, since it is very well controlled, with 105 watts on average. If you’re doing heavy-duty or multi-tasking it’s absolutely fine, but if all you care about is being able to play on PC, it’s a little overpriced in that case.


  • Exceptional power for everything
  • The 12 hearts
  • Overclocking capability
  • Improved power consumption

The lessers

  • A little expensive

4. Intel Core i5-12600k, an intel benchmark for gaming

Features & Reviews

For half the price of its elder, this i5-12600k version, an equivalent of AMD’s 5600x , offers performance barely below, or almost similar to, the 12900K for gaming. It is also the optimal solution for creative or videographers, the export and encoding times also being extremely short.

Finally, this 12600k, although it requires a motherboard equipped with the  LGA1700 socket , is undoubtedly the future best seller of the brand: for a more affordable price, it allows you to switch to this new generation of Alder lake architecture. very promising.


  • Ideal for gamers
  • Performances
  • Realistic price
  • Architecture Alder Lake

The lessers

  • You have to buy a new CM

5. AMD Ryzen 5800X, the best 8-core processor

Features & Reviews

The Ryzen 7 5800X is one of the best value for money on the side of the latest AMD processors for multitasking requiring at least 8 cores. So yes, some will say that it remains expensive, but in this complicated period of supply in terms of CPU, the price remains within the norm. This processor is the perfect in-between, between gaming and application. The 8 cores and 16 threads of the processor are more than enough to be able to play as comfortably as possible on PC. And on the application side, they also provide surprising performance with a very solid frequency of 3.8 GHz which can easily go up to 4.7 GHz .in boost. Whether in gaming or in the application (apart from those requiring the most cores possible), the Ryzen 5800X is almost on par with the Ryzen 5900X and 5950X and exceeds them for the gaming part.

To add to this, we also salute its controlled power consumption , with a TDP of 105 watts , as well as its compatibility still available via the AM4 socket, but also via the 400 and 500 chipsets. It is extremely difficult to find a real default to this processor , but if we had to report one, it would be the lack of an iGPU, which is not a problem at all from the moment a graphics card is integrated into the config. It remains to be seen if a 5700 version will emerge to put the 5800X in this category in terms of price.


  • Excellent in gaming
  • Exceptional application performance
  • Good value for money (in this complicated period)
  • Controlled consumption

The lessers

  • No complaints

6. Intel Core i5-12400F, Alder Lake-S best value for money

Features & Reviews

The Intel i5-12400F , with its 12 threads and its frequency capable of going up to 4.4 GHz, is part of what could be called the mid-range of the 12th generation of Intel processor. But it’s also one of the best choices for gamers thanks to its extremely competitive price, which puts it above AMD’s 5600x. This 12400F offers excellent performance for gamers , in addition to controlled heating compared to previous generations. Equivalent, or even slightly superior to its competitor in play, it has fallen slightly on the application part.

This i5-12400F is frankly the processor that represents the best performance/price ratio for gamers with 10 nm engraving. This processor is compatible with the LGA 1700 socket and also takes into account DDR5 up to 128 GB. The ideal model for a gamer who does not want to ruin himself on the CPU part and put his budget in a new motherboard and RAM.


  • Value for money for the game
  • Controlled electricity consumption
  • Controlled heating

The lessers

  • Limited performance in application

7. AMD Ryzen 5600X, the perfect AMD CPU for gaming

Features & Reviews

In the range of processors with a very good quality ratio, we find at AMD the Ryzen 5600X . This AM4 CPU is perfect for people on a tighter budget, or just those who only focus on gaming. Because the 5600X is undoubtedly THE perfect processor for pure gaming consumption. With its 6 cores and 12 onboard threads, which are clocked at 3.7 GHz at the base and 4.6 GHz at boost, it has everything it takes to offer gaming performance that gives nothing to envy. to higher end CPUs.

In terms of temperatures, they are very well controlled, because whether in charge or at rest, the Ryzen 5600X offers the lowest temperatures among the large processors of recent years. We will also not fail to notify the presence of a cooler, still as effective at AMD. If we had to quibble to find a fault, it would be overclocking which is slightly more limited than on other references (but which allows it to be above an Intel 12600).


  • Optimal power for gaming
  • Very good value for money
  • Controlled temperature
  • Cooler included

The lessers

  • Slightly limited overclocking

8. Intel Core i7-11700K, ideal for gaming and more

Features & Reviews

Still in 14 nm and from the 11th generation Rocket Lake, the Intel 11700K has a frequency of 3.6 to 5 GHz with 16 threads . Despite this drop in the number of cores, consumption remains high. However, its price is quite correct in view of its very large capacities, especially for the player who wishes to keep his motherboard, he saves money.

Finally, it’s a bit the ultimate solution to boost your config , while keeping your motherboard in LGA1200 socket . In addition, it is Z490 compatible.


  • Very powerful for gaming
  • Still on the LGA 1200
  • Powerful iGPU

The lessers

  • Consumes too much
  • It heats up
  • Still in 14 nm

9. Intel Core i9-10900KF: Intel’s former king

Features & Reviews

On the Intel side, we are not letting ourselves be fooled either by AMD, which is catching up with them more and more, especially with the Intel Core i9-10900KF . With an LGA 1200 socket , integrating 10 cores and 20 threads , all clocked at 3.7 GHz at the base and up to 5.3 GHz in boost , this CPU shows excellent performance in gaming. However, it is mainly designed to meet the needs of demanding people on more complex tasks, where it knows how to do it too. And not to end with the power, the 10900KF has very interesting capabilities in terms of overclocking. Unfortunately, there are defects in relation to the competition, such as an engraving always of 14 nm, or the absence of support for PCI express 4.0.


  • Perfect in gaming
  • Very good performance on heavy duty
  • The 10 hearts
  • Overclocking capability

The lessers

  • Gravure 14 nm
  • No PCIe 4.0

10. Intel Core i5-10600KF: Intel’s Perfect Gaming CPU

Features & Reviews

On pure gaming processors, Intel has specialized in this area, especially with the i5-10600KF . 6 cores, 12 threads , a base clock of 4.1 GHz, and a boost of 4.8 GHz, make this a CPU that has everything it needs to be optimal for gaming. This processor is particularly attractive for its excellent quality / price ratio , allowing you to build a PC gamer config with a modest budget. Behind it, the workable overclocking capabilities are worth it, and even overclocking, CPU temperatures are more than decent . However, Intel obliges, the 10600KF still struggles with the same faults, such as an aging 14 nm engraving, as well as a lack of PCI express 4.0 support.


  • Optimal for video games
  • Very good value for money
  • Overclocking capability
  • Good temperatures

The lessers

  • Still 14nm
  • No PCIe 4.0 support

11. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, the entry level for gaming

Features & Reviews

Many advantages for this Ryzen 5 5600G : already, it is powerful with its 12 threads and its base frequency of 3.9 GHz, then, the 7 nm engraving gives it a big advantage over the Intel competition in terms of consumption electric. Always compatible with AM4 and with a TDP of 65 W , you will all have a battery of advantages: it is not complicated to cool, suitable for compact and silent configs as long as you stay out of recent games.

To conclude, the 5600g is very versatile (and economical) with its integrated graphics chip , perfect for office automation and powerful to run all applications as well as possible, for recent games, it will be imperative to add a graphics card, unless you like to play in low quality between 20 and 30 fps.


  • Performances
  • Consumption
  • Very decent integrated GPU…

The lessers

  • …but not to play on the latest AAA

Gaming CPU Buying Guide

Prices, characteristics and selection criteria

The 10 models presented to you are certainly the most popular on the market, due to their certain value for money and their performance. But as well to choose among these models as among all the other existing products, it is important to know the material and to estimate its needs and its budget. Also we invite you to discover our advice, recommendations and other selection criteria so that you can choose the most suitable equipment.

Which processor for gaming? The features, benefits and prices of dedicated hardware

The processor is a crucial component of the computer, but its power and capabilities will determine how you can use it. For resource-intensive gaming, there’s no secret: you have to go high-end, towards high-performance chips. These have the merit of displaying flow rates and calculation speeds that are far more impressive than the models dedicated to office automation. They therefore offer better fluidity, and also come with useful technologies, such as Overclocking (to boost the performance of the gaming CPU beyond the standard formula) or HyperThreading (increasing the efficiency of simultaneous processing of cores ).

Obviously, who says superior performance also says higher price. That said, as you will have seen in the CPU comparison, several price ranges are revealed. It is therefore up to you to estimate your needs and choose the most suitable model, in particular according to the selection criteria.


You may have already read these designations of CPU , APU or SoC . Although these three more or less designate the function of a processor, it is not for nothing that they have different names.

  • CPU  : The Central Processing Unit is the processor you are probably already familiar with. This is the one present on desktop and laptop PCs, with cores, threads, frequency, etc. It can also include or not a graphic part, but which always remains quite limited, and it is on this aspect that the other two stand out.
  • APU  : The Accelerated Processing Unit is a circuit that aims to be a processor with the addition of a much more advanced graphics part than a simple iGPU. AMD’s specialty is what’s integrated into PlayStation and Xbox consoles , with custom APUs.
  • SoC  : The System on a Chip is a particular chip, which can almost represent an entire PC on its own, with the equivalent of a CPU, a GPU, a RAM, etc., while being a example of low consumption. The most well-known SoC chips are the SnapDragon , which you may have heard of already, since they are the ones found mainly on smartphones. The Nintendo Switch is also equipped with a SoC, with the Tegra chip from NVIDIA.

How many CPU cores for which activities?

Unsurprisingly, the number of cores included in each processor is not there to look pretty, but it does help to define the power provided, and therefore for which activities the processors are the most optimized.

  • 6 cores  : Usually on Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 5, hexa core CPUs are very good value for money parts, being perfect for gaming , an area that very rarely needs more than 4 cores . They do well on multitasking, but they’re not really meant for that.
  • 8 cores  : There are mainly Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7 in octo core. The quality / price ratio of these processors remains rather good for what they offer. If you’re more focused on heavy-duty tasks , like encoding, video editing, or graphics, as well as multi-tasking, they’re a good fit, while delivering very nice gaming performance, although you don’t have to. take such a powerful CPU just for this area.
  • 12 to 16 cores  : CPUs ranging from 12 to 16 cores are found in the Intel Core i9 and AMD Ryzen 9 ranges. In case you want to perform very heavy tasks , such as 4K video editing or modeling advanced in 3D, they fit perfectly. On the other hand, the given power is not properly usable in gaming, but above all, the price of these CPUs is far from affordable.

What are threads?

Threads , also called logical cores , define the number of processes (or tasks) that can be executed at the same time, and the number of which is defined according to the number of physical cores, often multiplied by two thanks to multi-threading. To simplify with an example, imagine that a processor is a factory, that a core is an employee of this factory, and that a thread is one of the tasks to be done. The more employees there are, the faster the work will go, and if they can each manage two tasks at the same time ( multithreading ), that’s even better.

L’Hyper-Threading et SMT

Hyper-threading and SMT (Simultaneous MultiThreading) have different names, but both refer to the same type of technology: that of using the physical cores of a processor to double them into threads (or logical cores). Threads therefore make it possible to make the processor much faster in its calculations, especially on multitasking software .

If there are two different names, it’s because hyper-threading is a technology from Intel , while SMT comes from AMD . On the other hand, be careful, because they are not present on all the processor references of their respective manufacturers, and also because they do not necessarily result in a performance gain on all applications (even if this is mostly the case).

The base frequency and boost of the processors

You may have noticed, but processors today report a base frequency and a boost frequency. The base frequency defines the one that can be reached on average with all the cores, like a kind of cruising speed. The boost frequency announces up to which frequency a single core can increase, like a burst of speed.

What is Turbo for on CPUs?

On the product sheets of processors, you may have noticed that next to the so-called “base” frequency, there may be an inscription about a “turbo” or “boost” frequency . It designates the maximum that can be reached on a single heart. When the PC has to perform heavy calculations, especially on its CPU, the latter crosses its basic limits to provide greater power, by increasing the frequency on the different cores, including one more than the others, all in exchange for higher consumption.

This automatic technology is basic included with your AMD or Intel processor, but it should not be confused with overclocking , which is a more free and precise modification to provide to exceed the limits of the CPU, and above all which remains constant.

Why overclock your processor?

The overclock serves a specific purpose: to gain performance by exploiting its processor as much as possible . Basically, a processor is never really used at 100%, since it is limited to achieving a good balance between power, consumption or even the temperature emitted. Overclocking your CPU means wanting to go above this balance, to define a new one at a higher power. OC its processor is especially useful when it can no longer keep pace with user requests.

What is Smart Access Memory used for?

Basically, the VRAM (or video memory) present on the graphics cards is limited in its exchanges with the processor. To solve this problem, AMD has developed SAM (Smart Access Memory), allowing the CPU to have direct access to all of the VRAM, thus improving performance. Technology for the moment compatible only with AMD Ryzen 5000 , it could be democratized, even going as far as CPUs from Intel.

On the Nvidia side, we find the same technology with the BAR (Base-Adress Register). These technologies are not exclusive, they are the normal evolution of the link between CPU, motherboard and GPU within the framework of PCI Express 4.0.

Temperature and cooling

You have to be careful with the temperatures of your PC, and especially of your processor. A poorly cooled CPU is a component that degrades quickly, and can even hamper performance . In simple office use, the ideal temperature should be between 30 and 50 degrees . On a game or heavy task, make sure it doesn’t go above 70 degrees . Above, the temperature begins to become dangerous, especially around 90 degrees, where the processor can itself limit its performance so as not to overheat, such as simply turning off the PC in the most extreme cases.

To cope with the heating, there are two types of cooling: the ventirad and the watercooling . Sometimes a cooler comes standard with your processor, and if you don’t plan to overclock it, it may do just fine (especially those from AMD). Otherwise, for small or medium use, a cooler around 30 euros can be more than enough. You can aim a little higher if you plan to overclock your CPU, and if you want to have the best cooler, you have to go up to around 90 euros (obviously it’s not the most useful on a small processor) . The leaders in this market are Be Quiet!, Cooler Master and Noctua .

Otherwise, AIO watercooling presents itself as a more complex and more expensive solution, but also more stylish, even more efficient. If you do not want to invest more than 50 euros in cooling, choose a cooler. Otherwise, be aware that water cooling with a minimum of quality (with one or two fans) is between 50 and 100 euros. Between 100 and 150 euros, we arrive on rather high-end models with between two and three fans. The leaders in this market are Corsair, NZXT, and Cooler Master .

Intel processors

Fineness of engraving

Intel doesn’t have the best reputation for fine engraving. Indeed, while the competition is reducing it more and more at breakneck speed, Intel is madly attached to its thinness of 14 nm , making its processors heat up more easily, while not making them less energy-intensive compared to others.


Again, Intel has a good reputation, since the company has a bad habit of changing sockets very regularly. As proof, there have been 4 different ones in recent years, namely:

the LGA 1151 in 2015,

the LGA 2066 in 2017,

the LGA 1200 in 2020,

LE LGA 1700 in 2021.


Versions de CPU

  • Basic versions : No possibility of overclocking.
  • K versions : Possibility of overclocking.
  • F versions : no integrated graphics.
  • KF versions : Possibility of overclocking, but without integrated graphics.

AMD processors

Fineness of engraving

In the field of CPU engraving finesse, AMD is the champion firm. The Zen architecture of Ryzen processors first started with 14 nm engraving, before moving to 12 nm with Zen +, then to 7 nm with Zen 2, before moving to 5 nm in engraving fineness with the Zen 4 architecture planned for 2022.


AMD has conquered the hearts (and the wallets) of many people around the world, by announcing as soon as the Ryzen processors were released, that support for the AM4 socket would be guaranteed until 2020 , without requiring a change of motherboard with a new processor. It should most certainly change with the Zen 4 architecture scheduled for 2022.

Versions de CPU

  • Basic versions : Possibility of overclocking.
  • G versions : With integrated graphic part.
  • X versions : Basic overclocking, possibility of overclocking.
  • XT versions : Higher boost frequency, possibility of overclocking.

How to choose your gaming processor? In 9 selection criteria

The criteria you will find below are those we used to set up the comparison and selection. We invite you to use it in turn to find the equipment that will best meet your expectations.

  • What use? For low-resource games and streaming or for gaming, animation and virtual reality?
  • The manufacturer: Intel for all ranges and very high ranges, AMD for entry-level, intermediate ranges and good value for money
  • Les sockets
  • Operating temperature and cooling
  • Energy consumption
  • The number of cores and threads
  • Les technologies : l’Overclocking, l’HyperThreading, le Turbo…
  • Compatibility with other computer components and with operating systems
  • The price

Which processors for the different types of games?

Above all, it is important to know that the vast majority of games only use 4 cores of a processor for gaming . Above, the utility is going to be about optimizing performance on those 4 cores, about preparing for games that in the future will end up using more and more cores, but also about other tasks besides gaming. . We can only speak here of heavy tasks such as video editing, modeling, graphics, or even multitasking, with for example live streaming on broadcasting platforms.

To help you, here is a table that allows you to better identify the type of processor to take according to your needs:

AMD Intel
CPU Ryzen 3 Ryzen 5 Ryzen 7 Ryzen 9 Core i3 Core i5 Core i7 Core i9
Light Games +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++
Average games ++ +++ +++ +++ ++ +++ +++ +++
Gourmet games + ++ +++ +++ + ++ +++ +++
Games in 4K + ++ +++ + ++ +++
Streaming / Recording + ++ +++ + ++ +++

Obviously, your PC’s performance on games, or even on other apps, also depends a lot on the rest of your setup. In itself, the CPU is not the most important element for gaming, although it is still vital. And in cases where streaming, recording your games, or simply multitasking interests you, strongly favor an AMD Ryzen processor which is specialized in this. However, if you are aiming for purely gaming use, or with a few other light tasks, Intel CPUs still have a small edge over gaming , which can be interesting in this case.

Gaming CPU FAQ

AMD or Intel processor, which brand to choose?

While Intel was the king of the processor market for a long time, AMD has been making a strong comeback in recent years. But above all, AMD is increasingly taking the lead in all areas, facing Intel, which is increasingly lagging behind. Its only advantage today is in gaming, with games that were mainly optimized on Intel CPUs, but this difference is now minimal, with AMD which, once again, is increasingly distancing its competitor. With top powers, a great deal of pride in the technologies supported (PCI-Express 4.0, high RAM frequencies, etc.), and an evolution that doesn’t seem to be stopping, everything forces us today to choose AMD .

How do I know which processor is compatible with my motherboard?

The first thing to look at to know the compatibility between a motherboard and a CPU, is the socket . For the most recent, at AMD, there is the AM4 , planned for all Ryzen to date, and at Intel, we find the LGA 1200 , planned for the Intel Core 10000. There is also the chipset of the motherboard to be taken into account, since it influences certain functionalities, even compatibility with the CPU.

i5 or i7 processor?

The main difference between processor lines is the number of cores (and threads). The Intel Core i5 are hexa cores (six cores) which are perfect for gaming, not bad for heavier tasks, and a little for multitasking. The Intel Core i7s are octo-cores (eight cores) which are mainly intended for heavy processes, such as video editing or 3D modeling, as well as multitasking, with streaming for example. It all depends on your use and your budget.

i3 or i5 processor?

Again, it all depends on your use and your budget. As said before, the Intel Core i5s are hexa-core (six-core) processors, which are quite versatile, being both made for gaming, while ensuring a certain quality on heavier tasks and multitasking. The Intel Core i3 are quad cores (four hearts) which allow the majority of games to be played under correct conditions (since they mainly use four cores), or which are simply made for multimedia and office automation .

How to know the temperature of your processor?

The temperature of your PC, and in particular its processor, should not be taken lightly, at the risk of damaging the components . It is generally possible to know the temperature of the CPU at startup in the BIOS (or UEFI), and there are also many software programs allowing to have a better monitoring in real time. The reference in the field is undoubtedly HWMonitor , which gives the details of the temperatures of many components.

How to know if the processor is working well?

The best way to know the state of health of your processor is to stress test it, ie push its capabilities to the extreme, in order to test its stability. The best known software in the field is surely OCCT , which also allows you to test your graphics card or even your power supply.


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