The CPU is one of the most important parts to consider when building a gaming PC. Choosing a good CPU will help your PC to perform better whilst in games, but it will also help with video editing, streaming, and general multitasking.
Choosing the best processor for gaming is a tough job.
But don’t worry !!
To make it easier for you, we’ve picked up the 10 Best Gaming CPU of 2018
10 Best CPU for Gaming 2018 (Recommended)
|Processor||Socket||No. of Physical/Logical Cores||Price|
|Intel Core i9-7980XE (Editors's Choice)||LGA 2066||18/36||Check Price|
|Ryzen Threadripper 1950X (Editors's Choice)||sTR4||16/32||Check Price|
|Intel Core i7-8700K|
|LGA 1151||6/12||Check Price|
|AMD Ryzen 7 1800X|| AM4||8/16||Check Price|
|Intel Core i7-7700K||LGA 1151||4||Check Price|
|Intel Core i5-8600K||LGA 1151||6||Check Price|
|AMD Ryzen 5 1600X || AM4||6/12||Check Price|
|Intel Core i3-8100 ||LGA 1151||4||Check Price|
|AMD Ryzen 3 1300X|| AM4||4||Check Price|
|Intel Pentium G4560||LGA 1151||2||Check Price|
Intel Core i9-7980XE (Best High-end CPU for Gaming)
About The CPU
The i9-7980XE is considered to be the go-to processor if you’re the kind of person that has an unlimited budget. For most people, this choice will be out of the question. However, for roughly six times the price of any other processor on this list, the i9-7980XE certainly does it for some enthusiasts.
So, what are you getting for this extra price? Incredible performance that just can’t be beaten elsewhere right now. Not only does the i9-7980XE have 18 cores to throw at tasks, but it also has single core performance that outdoes every other CPU on this list.
If you overclock the i9-7980XE, the performance is even more outstanding. Price-to-performance wise, the i9-7980XE is a terrible idea, but when you consider how powerful this CPU actually is, it makes sense for those with wallets padded with cash.
Truthfully, unless you’re looking to render video quickly or stream games in very high quality, there’s little reason for a processor this powerful.
The i9-7980XE can support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM. The maximum supported speed for RAM in this processors is 2666MHz.
The i9-7980XE does not come equipped with any integrated graphics.
The i9-7980XE uses the LGA 2066 socket, so you must find a motherboard with the same socket.
- The most powerful CPU for gaming right now
- 18 cores for exceptional multi-core performance
- Single core performance also better than all other CPUs
- Very expensive: The i9-7980XE costs more than most pre-built gaming PCs
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X (Best Processor for Gaming)
About The CPU
By no means is the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X a budget CPU. This beast will still set you back 2 to 3 times more than any other CPU on this list. Despite that, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is close to half the price of the i9-7980XE and its performance is still very incredible.
If you’re looking for a CPU that absolutely destroys any task you give to it, the Threadripper 1950X is a choice worth considering.
When it comes to raw performance, it doesn’t quite stack up to the i9-7980XE understandably, but there’s a lot of questions thrown at whether there’s enough the average gamer can even do with the i9-7980XE’s performance. As a result, The Threadripper 1950X still provides all the power you’d need, but for a more reasonable price point.
Technically, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X can support up to 1TB of DDR4 RAM. Unfortunately, no motherboard can support this much RAM, so the maximum RAM capacity will come down to the motherboard, whether that’s 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB. The highest speed the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X can support is 2666MHz RAM.
The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X does not support any integrated graphics.
You will need a sTR4 motherboard to use the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X.
- Price-to-performance is far better than the I9-7980XE
- Very powerful AMD processor for half the price of the I9-7980XE
- Still far more expensive than your average CPU
Intel Core i7-8700K (Best CPU for Power Gaming)
About The CPU
The i7-8700K is the first CPU on this list that we’d able to consider a true consumer-grade product. Whilst the previous two processors are a little overkill, the i7-8700K can provide the average gamer all the power they could need at a much more reasonable price.
It’s no surprise that the i7 is still a very popular processor line after all these years. Despite AMD’s attempts to shake up the market with their line of Ryzen CPUs, the i7-8700K still stands out amongst the best of the high-end processors.
The i7-8700K is considered to perform better than its competitor, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X. Whilst the AMD alternative has more cores, the i7-8700K has faster performance, and for now we’re still in an age where single core speed means more than multi-core performance.
With the i7-8700K being the most recent intel i7 to hit the market, it’s also a fair shout to say that picking up this processor today will future-proof your computer for at least the next 3-4 years.
The i7-8700K supports up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. The fastest speed supported by this processor is 2666MHz.
The Intel i7-8700K includes an integrated Intel HD 630 graphics chip. This chip will not be powerful enough to play modern games, but it can be used for basic browsing, using the Windows operating system, and even for playing some older titles.
The i7-8700K requires an LGA 1151 Z370 motherboard.
- Better raw single core performance than its competitor
- Multi-core performance isn’t as good, so multitasking is slightly worse than the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X (Best AMD Processor for Gaming)
About The CPU
The AMD Ryzen 1800X is AMD’s go-to model for those looking to create a high end gaming PC. It’s AMD’s real answer to the i7 chipset that has been dominating the market for generations. It’s incredible how close AMD has hit the mark with the Ryzen 7 1800X.
Not only does it offer performance that’s almost on par with the i7-8700K, but it also has very impressive multitasking potential.
With more cores, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X does stand out as a better option than the i7-8700K if you’re the kind of person that likes to watch video, use productivity apps, and render 4K video in the background with any major hiccups. In terms of raw performance in games, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X only just falls behind the I7-8700K, too.
The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor can support up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. The fastest speed this RAM can be is 2666MHz.
The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X does not have any integrated graphics.
You must use an AM4 socket motherboard with the Ryzen 7 1800X.
- Great at multitasking
- Slightly cheaper than the I7-8700K
- Raw performance in games slightly worse than the I7-8700K
Intel Core i7-7700K (Best Processor for Gaming and Editing)
About The CPU
With the i7-8700K now available for a price quite close to the I7-7700K, it makes less sense to pick up the older generation model. However, if you can get your mittens on this 7th generation i7 for a decent price, it’s worth considering.
The performance gap between the I7-7700K and the I7-8700K is quite significant, although when it comes to real world performance in games, the great thing is that this usually only equates to a few frames here and there.
In some cases, you may see up to 20 frames less than the I7-8700K in some games, but you will still be looking at over 100 frames in all ultra quality settings in games like Battlefield, so long as you have the i7-7700K paired with a good graphics card.
The i7-7700K supports up to 64GB of RAM. This processor supports both DDR3 and DDR4 RAM. The type you can use will depend on the motherboard you purchase. For DDR4, the fastest speed the i7-7700K supports is 2400MHz. For DDR3, the fastest supported RAM speed is 1600MHz.
The i7-7700K uses Intel HD 630 integrated graphics. This will not be enough to play modern 3D games, but it is enough for basic browsing and playing simple 2D arcade games and retro titles.
The i7-7700K must use an LGA 1151 socket motherboard.
- Still a good CPU and can manage to multitask
- Easily deals with all current games without breaking a sweat
- With the i7-8700K readily available at a similar price point, it makes less sense to buy the i7-7700K
Intel Core i5-8600K (Best Budget CPU for PC Gaming)
About The CPU
Despite being a step down from the i7-7700K in name, the extra generation has given Intel more time to buff out the i5-8600K to the point where it actually performs very similarly to the i7-7700K.
The great thing about this is that the i5-8600K can often be purchased for less than it costs to get a new i7-7700K. If you’re looking to buy new, you should certainly eye up the i5-8600K if your budget can stretch past the price range that it sits in.
It’s always been the case that the i5 is a formidable choice for gaming. This year, the gap between the i5 and i7 when it comes to gaming performance is noticeable, but you can still expect great frames from the i5.
The i5-8600K supports up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. The fastest speed RAM this processor supports is 2666MHz.
The Intel i5-8600K uses Intel HD 630 graphics. This integrated GPU won’t be enough to play modern games, but you can use it for general computer usage such as web browsing and watching videos. You can also use HD 630 graphics to play retro games and 2D games that require very little graphical processing power.
The Intel i5-8600K requires an LGA 1151 Z370 motherboard.
- A great choice for those on a budget
- Still very powerful and capable of playing all modern games smoothly
- Whilst on par with the I7-7700K, performance difference between it and the I7-8700K is noticeable
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X (Best Amd Processor for Gaming)
About The CPU
As the name would suggest, the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X is essentially AMD’s new attempt to compete with the i5 line of processors. It’s safe to say that AMD has done an exceptional job here.
Even though AMD has worked harder to release more competitive high end processors in recent years, it’s clear that it’s at the low end where they still shine the most. The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X performs better than the slightly more expensive i5-8600K with both gaming and multitasking in mind.
If you’re happy to go with an AMD build at this price point, moving to the Ryzen 5 1600X makes a lot of sense. If you aren’t sure you can even stretch as far as the Ryzen 5 1600X, there is of course the i3-8100 – we’ll talk about that below.
The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X can support up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. The highest speed RAM this processor can support is 2666MHz.
The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X does not have any integrated graphics.
The AMD Ryzen 5 1600X requires an AM4 socket motherboard.
- Great performance and available for cheap
- Beats the slightly more expensive i5-8600K
- Starts to fall off when playing large open games on ultra settings
Intel Core i3-8100 (Best Gaming Processor Under $ 100)
About The CPU
Intel has done wonders to improve their offering at the low end. Currently, the i3-8100 sits at a similar price to AMD’s Ryzen 3 1300X. In terms of performance, the i3-8100 slightly comes out on top.
The differences aren’t mindblowing of course, but they are noticeable enough to make an impact. What’s interesting is that for a small number of basic computing tasks, the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X does do slightly better than the i3-8100, but it’s mostly the i3-8100 in the lead.
When it comes to gaming, the i3-8100 does pull ahead slightly. If you care more about squeezing the most juice out of your gaming PC at a low price point, the Intel i3-8100 proves to be a better choice than the AMD Ryzen 3, which in most cases may be better used for a productivity machine.
The Intel i3-8100 can support up to 64GB of RAM. It can support both DDR3 and DDR4. The memory type you can use will depend on the motherboard you purchase. If you opt for DDR3 memory, the fastest speed the i3-8100 can support is 1600MHz. If you opt for DDR4, the i3-8100 can support up to 2400MHz RAM.
The Intel i3-8100 comes equipped with Intel HD 630 graphics. With this, you are able to play very basic games and still get a good frame rate. It’s advised that you get a standalone graphics card to play modern games.
The i3-8100 requires an LGA 1151 Z370 motherboard.
- Great option for a very low end PC
- Performance for basic productivity tasks is great
- Gaming is better on the i3-8100 than the AMD Ryzen 3 1300x
- Performance in games still isn’t going to be amazing at this price point
AMD Ryzen 3 1300X (Best Processor for Gaming Under $150)
About The CPU
At this price range, it almost seems like things have turned around. Whilst AMD used to be the budget kings, they’re now starting to gain popularity at the mid-range level.
With the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X, two things are clear. AMD certainly still has it when it comes to making powerful budget friendly processors, but Intel has been working even harder to compete here.
In most cases, the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X compares similarly to the i3-8100 mentioned above, but it almost always falls short ever so slightly, especially when it comes to gaming. Even with that in mind, the Ryzen 3 1300X is still a great budget-conscious choice, especially for those that prefer AMD over Intel.
The AMD Ryzen 3 1300X can support up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. With two sticks of RAM, the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X can support RAM speeds up to 2666MHz. With four sticks of RAM, the highest speed this processor supports is 2133MHz.
The AMD Ryzen 3 1300X does not have integrated graphics.
You must use an AM4 motherboard with the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X.
- Great budget choice for 2018
- Does very well with productivity and basic multitasking
- Starts to show its weaknesses during gaming
- Ever so slightly less powerful than the similarly priced i3-8100
Intel Pentium G4560 (Best Budget Gaming CPU on the Market)
About The CPU
If you’re really struggling for cash but want to put together a PC anyway, the Intel Pentium G4560 could come in to save the day. The G4560 is an ultra budget processor available for those that would rather spend the additional money on a better graphics card.
There are many reasons why the G4560 is considered the budget king in 2018. If you don’t care about getting hundreds of frames in the latest games, the G4560 proves to be a great option. Not only can it get up to 60 frames on high settings in many great single player titles like The Witcher 3, it holds well at 30-60 fps in multiplayer titles, too.
If you really want a console priced PC, the G4560 really is the way to go.
The Intel Pentium G4560 can support a total of 64GB of RAM. The RAM you use can be up to 2400MHz. The G4560 can support both DDR3 and DDR4 RAM, but it will depend on which motherboard you use with it.
The Intel Pentium G4560 comes equipped with integrated Intel HD 610 Graphics. Whilst you won’t be able to play any games reliably with this, you can still use the Intel Pentium G4560 on its own as an office or productivity machine, so long as you have a motherboard that supports integrated graphics.
The Intel Pentium G4560 is supported by motherboards with the LGA 1151 socket.
- Incredibly cheap
- Still manages good frame rate in modern games when paired with a good graphics card
- Multitasking and performance in some games is severely limited
Buying Guide: How to Choose a Gaming Cpu?
Should You Do Overclock Or Not?
Some of the processors on this list can be overclocked. The processors from AMD with an X on the end can be overclocked and the processors from Intel with a K on the end can be overclocked.
Overclocking can improve your processor’s performance even further whilst playing games. You can achieve higher frame rates and better overall performance.
When it comes down to it, you may not really need to overclock your processor unless you really care about squeezing as many frames out of a game as possible. If getting 100-200 frames in a game matters to you, consider going for a K or X version of a processor.
Alternatively, if you’re happy without overclocking, consider getting the non-K or non-X variants to save yourself some money. The difference in performance between the overclockable variants and non-overclockable variants is not noticeable if you do not overclock them in the first place.
Understanding Your Budget
When it comes to buying a new gaming CPU, there is one thing that quickly becomes apparent. There are a variety of different price points for the CPUs that are available.
Understanding your overall budget for a PC will help you to determine how much money you will have to spend on the CPU. Unfortunately, in 2018 the CPU will most likely be one of the cheaper components for your PC. The most expensive part will be the graphics card, whilst the additional hardware components quickly add up too.
You should lay out how much you’re willing to spend on a new gaming PC. Once you know how much you want to spend, you can work out how much you can put towards a CPU.
Firstly, getting the initial parts will set you back $300-$500 at a minimum. This will give you enough to get a power supply, 16GB of RAM, a motherboard, a good power supply, a good PC case, and an SSD and/or a 1TB hard drive.
You can now look at your remaining budget and divide it across your CPU and graphics card. Keep in mind that high-end graphics cards will cost up to $800 and low range GPUs that are still capable gaming cards will cost around $200 to $250.
Will Your CPU Or GPU Be A Bottleneck?
When you build a gaming PC, it’s important that you balance out all of your components so that you’re not wasting performance potential. If, for example, you have an Intel i9-7980XE but only have a GTX 750 Ti, your performance in games will be very poor because your graphics card isn’t good enough.
Despite owning the most powerful Intel processor, this gaming PC would struggle because one component is letting the system down. This is known as a bottleneck.
Usually, bottlenecks aren’t this extreme – usually, it’ll be far less severe. But even so, it’s good to try to balance out your purchases based on your budget. Currently, graphics card prices are heavily inflated due to the trend in cryptocurrency mining. As a result, you will most likely need to fork out more for a graphics card than you will for a CPU to build a balanced system.
If you can afford the initial parts, you can split your remaining budget 70/30 between the graphics card and the processor, respectively. This should ensure you get a system that doesn’t have a bottleneck.
How To Make Sure You Find A Compatible Motherboard?
Not all motherboards are compatible with the same processors. As a result, you must make sure that the motherboard you purchase supports the processor you want to use.
To make things easier, each processor uses a specific socket type. You can search for motherboards with the corresponding socket to find a component that is compatible.
Above, We have provided a list of the socket types used for the processors we’ve highlighted in this guide.
For the 8th generation Intel processors, you must also find Z370 motherboards – no other motherboards are supported.To find the right motherboard, simply search for ‘socket type motherboard’ into Google.
You must also take the size of your PC into consideration. Once again, there are different motherboard and PC case sizes. If you get a PC that’s too small for your motherboard, you won’t be able to fit the motherboard into your case.
Here’s a look at the most typical different motherboard and PC case sizes, from smallest to largest.
You must make sure that your PC case size is the same size or bigger than your motherboard size.
To come to a conclusion, it’s safe to say that there are a number of good choices to go for, but it all depends on your budget.
Once again, it’s important that you find a balance with what you spend your money on so that you’re not creating a bottleneck in your system.
Ultimately, if you have $500-$600 to spend on a PC, you’ll be limited to the very minimum; an Intel Pentium G4560 and whatever graphics card you can get your hands on, as well as the basic $300 towards the other necessary components.
If you can stretch to $700-$800, you would be best buying an i3-8100 and a graphics card for $300-$400, leaving you $300-$400 to put into other necessary components.
At the $1,000 price mark, the best option for you would be to get the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X and then spend the remaining budget on a graphics card and other necessary components. For this price point, you may be lucky enough to stretch for a GTX 1070.
In $1,500, more options open up, you can guarantee yourself a GTX 1080, $500 for better components and enough left over for an i5-8600K.
If you can go between $1,500-$3,000, you’ll be able to pool the rest of your remaining budget after getting a GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti into the best CPU you can get your hands on, whether that’s the I7-8700K, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, or the I9-7980XE. You may also want to put some additional money to the side for a better PC case, LED lighting, and gaming peripherals.
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