When gaming on the PC, it’s not just about graphics performance: the performance of the processor is also important. Although the load can vary depending on the game engine, the same applies as with the graphics cards: the more power there is, the smoother the game runs.
Basically, there are currently not many games that use more than six cores. So the number of cores plays a minor role, with games like Battlefield 1 also proving the opposite. The clock, the single-core performance and the efficiency of the CPU are much more important. Here you should distinguish between the basic and the so-called boost or turbo clock.
The base clock results from the attached frontside bus of standard 100 MHz multiplied by the appropriately programmed multiplier. For example, the Intel Core i5-13400F has a base clock of 2.5 GHz, which corresponds to a multiplier of 25.
In turbo mode it’s even 4.6 GHz, so the multiplier is 46. Depending on the requirement, the CPU clocks itself up in turbo mode – it’s like an integrated overclocking function.
Many CPUs also have a freely adjustable multiplier: At AMD, such processors used to be labeled Black Edition, or BE for short. At AMD, all current Ryzen CPUs have a free multiplier – at Intel, the ending K or KF shows that the multiplier can be freely configured.
Without going into too much detail, everyone should be aware that when overclocking a CPU you are outside of the specifications and therefore the manufacturer’s warranty no longer applies in the event of damage.
In addition, you should note that you not only have the right CPU for overclocking, but also a suitable mainboard, with Intel with a Z and AMD with an X or B chipset, and also have a sufficiently good cooling system.
Straight to the recommendations Overall, in our overview of gaming processors, we have looked at well over 50 common processors, older to the latest models from AMD and Intel, and incorporated them into a live ranking using numerous gaming benchmarks available on the Internet, which also takes the current price into account becomes.
In addition, old models that are no longer available can be added with a mouse click for a more precise comparison.
Live Gaming CPU Ranking
Live ranking: Overview of all current CPUs in performance comparison with live prices (incl. shipping costs).
The performance index shows in percent which processor is, relatively speaking, how strong. The power structures in gaming CPUs have shifted again. AMD is now back at the top, with Intel just behind. AMD and Intel also balance each other out in the lower price segment for the best value for money. The current non plus ultra in terms of gaming performance is the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D. This is no coincidence, because the turbo clock of the 16-core is a whopping 5.7 GHz – but then only on one core at a time. In addition, the power consumption is then comparatively low. If the almost €800 is too much for you, you can also use the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, which is just behind it and is cheaper. Alternatively, you can also get your money’s worth when gaming with the cheaper Intel Core i5-13600K(F).
As far as price-performance is concerned, the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 can offer one of the best price-performance ratios alongside the Intel Core i5-13400F.
Incidentally, server processors such as the Threadripper CPUs from AMD or Xeons from Intel do not calculate really quickly in games. In applications, of course, it looks completely different. Thanks to the increase in single-core performance and the number of cores, AMD can again claim the lead in the gaming ranking with the current Ryzen generation.
The currently fastest processors
If you simply want the best performance and money is no object, then these CPUs are the best choice:
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Box (100-100000908WOF) Best offer of:774.90€incl.
Shipping 11 more prices and providers AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D Box (100-100000910WOF) Best offer from: €499.00 incl. Shipping 15 more prices and providers Intel Core i9-13900KS 3 more prices and providers Intel Core i9-13900K Best offer from:613.98€incl. Shipping 37 more prices and providers
What do I have to consider when buying a CPU?
There are a few things to consider when buying a new CPU. First you have to orientate yourself on the existing mainboard: Which model is it? What socket does it have? Once this has been clarified and the desired CPU fits the socket, you should also clarify whether the CPU is also supported by the mainboard.
This is a problem especially with older boards when new processors come onto the market for the same socket. A bios update may be necessary here, which must be carried out before the CPU change.
The instructions and the necessary software , if you don’t want to do the update directly in the bios, you can find it on the manufacturer’s website of your mainboard.
Once the questions of compatibility have been clarified, the question of cooling remains. A more powerful CPU often has higher power consumption and thus higher waste heat. It is therefore important to check the existing CPU cooler to see whether it is equipped for the new task. If not, we have the right article for you here.
If the desired CPU does not fit on the current mainboard, the only option left is to buy a new one. However, it is often not taken into account that you may also need new RAM (DDR4), a different CPU cooler or even a new housing and power supply.
Most CPUs are available in stores as so-called boxed and also as tray versions. With the boxed version, you get the CPU in the original packaging, depending on the model with the associated boxed cooler and a three-year manufacturer’s guarantee. If you buy an often cheaper tray variant, there is no scope of delivery and the guarantee is usually limited to one year.
How much does a processor cost for gaming?
Entry into the world of gaming CPUs is extremely cheap at around 50 euros, although in this case you are of course at the lower end of the performance chart. As with the graphics cards, the formula applies: the more performance you want, the deeper you have to dig into your pocket.
Let’s disregard overclocking, where this formula only applies to a limited extent. While the entry-level range is mainly owned by Intel, the mid-range and high-end range is also dominated by AMD – both in terms of price and performance.
While most Intel Core i5 and i7 or AMD Ryzen 5/7 models cost between 200 and 400 euros, there are special models such as the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which is on the 800 euro border scratches.
It is a consumer 16-core processor. After Intel had the most powerful gaming CPU with the Raptor Lake series, the Core i9-13900KS with 24 cores for –.– Euro, AMD has now been able to climb the gaming throne again with the Ryzen 9 7950X3D.
AMD is close behind with the Ryzen 7 7800X3D. Only then do Intel Core i9-13900K(F), Core i7-13700K and Core i5-13600K follow. Together with a B660, B760, Z690 or Z790 mainboard, it is certainly one of the currently best choices in terms of gaming performance.
AMD’s former top gaming CPU, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, is thus further pushed down in the ranking. The current AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 7 7700X are a little slower for currently around 609 euros or 609 euros respectively. 349 euros.
As far as price-performance is concerned, the Intel Core i5-13400F Box and the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 Wraith Stealth Box are currently the best CPUs on the market.
Entry level up to 200 euros
AMD and Intel offer a large portfolio of CPUs here. For gaming, you should rely on a CPU with at least four cores. This starts with a simple Intel Core i3 and goes with the budget up to 200 euros up to AMD Ryzen 7 5700X with a full eight cores.
So if you know that the games played can use many cores, a CPU with many cores makes sense. Good CPUs for gaming start at just 100 euros. The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is currently the gaming CPU with the best value for money.
Middle class up to 400 euros
We categorized the middle class from 200 to 400 euros. You can already get very powerful gaming CPUs from Intel and AMD in this price segment. You can even get CPUs with up to 14 cores for this budget.
There are also processors that are among the best in terms of single-core performance (e.g. Intel Core i5-13600K). If you don’t want to overclock, you can use an inexpensive Intel Core i5-13500 or 13400F.
Upper class from 400 euros
In the upper class for gaming CPUs we find the new 13th generation Intel Core i processors in addition to the new AMD Ryzen CPUs of the 7000 series.
Thanks to a high number of cores and threads, which are currently only used in a few games, these models are currently the best on the gaming CPU market – especially the Intel Core i9-13900KS, but also the other CPUs of the 13th generation.
Core i generation. If you want to treat yourself to the currently fastest upper class processor from AMD, the best thing to do is to use the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which has a base clock of 4.2 GHz and offers up to 5.7 GHz in turbo with 3D cache. The new AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D would be a little cheaper, but cheaper.
In combination with an AM5 mainboard and a very good cooling, you can get a little more out of the chip. In terms of price, this starts at 775 euros and you get what is currently the best among gaming CPUs.
The hardware Scot says:
When buying a powerful processor You don’t have to dig very deep into your pocket. But you should make sure that the CPU is supported by the existing mainboard. Our bargain recommendations: The Intel Core i5-13400F or AMD Ryzen 5 5500.
Here you are at the top with 210 euros or 104 euros and in the performance ranking for games. Those who want the best of the best can hardly avoid the 13th generation of the Core i CPUs from Intel.
Only the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D is slightly ahead. However, not only the CPUs, but especially the mainboards are relatively expensive.