You can play games very well with a mid-range gaming CPU. We have categorized the middle class in the price range from 200 to 400 euros. In this segment, you already get very powerful processors with AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7, which are sufficient for all currently available top games.
And if that’s not enough, you can even overclock the K-CPUs from Intel or the AMD Ryzen CPUs thanks to the free multiplier. As far as the number of cores is concerned, current Intel Core i5 CPUs even offer up to 14 cores and up to 20 threads, with AMD you get eight cores and 16 threads with the Ryzen 7.
However, the cores are not the decisive point in terms of gaming performance, but the single-core performance. This is currently somewhat higher for Intel than for AMD, but this can change again and again with the release of new processors.
Whether a new CPU brings the desired effect in games depends on many factors. Among other things, it depends on the game, i.e. the game engine, the resolution, and the graphics settings in the game, whether a game is more CPU- or GPU-heavy.
For example, most eSports games such as CS: GO, Valorant or LoL are very CPU-heavy. However, if you play exclusively in UltraHD resolution, the graphics card is more important here.
In principle, one can generalize that in most cases the CPU up to FullHD resolution has the greatest influence on gaming performance. The higher the resolution, the sooner the influence shifts to the graphics card.
No matter which CPU you choose, it is important that you buy the right mainboard and a powerful CPU cooler. That means: For current Intel CPUs, a mainboard with socket 1700, and for AMD CPUs one with socket AM5 (socket AM4 for older models).
For the CPU cooler, we only recommend high-performance models in this CPU performance class, since the CPUs automatically clock up depending on the cooling and produce a relatively high amount of waste heat due to the many cores.
Ergo: stronger cooling = higher boost clock = more FPS in games. Incidentally, when choosing the right cooler, the housing is usually the limiting factor – i.e. the maximum supported CPU cooler height.
As far as the exact performance is concerned, it is best to refer directly to our CPU ranking for gaming. Our recommendations for the best mid-range gaming CPUs are all in the top third of the ranking.
In addition to the best CPU in terms of performance in games, the HardwareSchotte editorial team has selected a few alternatives and of course the best value for money in this price range for you and listed them clearly with the current best prices from our price comparison.
Gaming benchmarks of the best Intel CPUs
How fast are the current CPUs in games?
That’s exactly why we have a live ranking for gaming CPUs on our site. Here you can see and compare how the respective CPUs perform in games. You can also switch on older CPUs and assess the performance of current gaming CPUs compared to older models. The ranking shows an average value calculated over many gaming and synthetic benchmarks.
Which mainboard do I need for the current gaming CPU?
That depends on whether you buy an Intel or AMD CPU. For current Intel CPUs you need a mainboard with Socket 1700. If you want to overclock and want better equipment in terms of connections and features, you should use a Z790 mainboard. If no overclocking is planned, then we recommend a mainboard with a B760 chipset.
It gets a bit more confusing with AMD CPUs, since CPUs here require either socket AM4 or AM5. Depending on the socket, we recommend a B550 (AM4) or an X670(E) or B650(E) AM5 mainboard. The B mainboards have a little less equipment in terms of features, but you can also overclock them.
Which RAM is optimal for a gaming PC?
The respective mainboard is decisive here. Both AMD and Intel have motherboards with either DDR5 or DDR4 support. For this you should read the exact specifications of the mainboard.
If you rely on DDR4 RAM, we recommend RAM kits with at least 3200, better 3600 MHz. With DDR5 you should set at least 6000 MHz – each with 32 GB, so that you have enough RAM in games.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Intel over AMD?
You can’t give a general answer to that. Depending on the CPU series, there are advantages and disadvantages for both AMD and Intel. Basically, one can say so far that AMD is sticking with one socket for a significantly longer period of time.
The AM4 socket has been used by AMD for many years and CPU generations. This made it possible to install the latest AM4 CPUs with a mainboard via a bios update. In return, Intel offers new features such as DDR5 or PCIe 5.0 earlier due to the frequent mainboard and chipset changes.
Are the CPUs supplied with a cooler?
A standard cooler is included with cheaper models in the “boxed” version. However, this is not really recommended and should only be seen as a temporary solution. Coolers are no longer included with the more powerful CPUs in particular, since the boxed solutions are simply too weak and the CPUs can no longer cool sufficiently. Suitable CPU cooler recommendations for socket 1700 can be found here, for AMD’s AM5 socket here.
Didn’t find the CPU you wanted?All gaming CPUs from AMD from 200 to 400 euros in price comparisonAll gaming CPUs from Intel from 200 to 400 euros in price comparison