The gaming industry has seen an incredible surge in popularity over the past few years, with gamers of all ages seeking the best and most powerful gaming PCs possible. With the rise in demand for quality gaming builds, it’s no surprise that the central processing unit (CPU) has become one of the most important components for any gaming PC.
From budget–friendly models to high–end options, there are a variety of gaming CPUs on the market to choose from. To help you find the perfect CPU for your gaming needs.
The best gaming CPUs in the upper class
If you are looking for the currently fastest and best gaming CPU, you have come to the right place. The currently fastest CPU for gamers can change constantly. Depending on the launch of a new processor series, it is sometimes from AMD, sometimes from Intel. They all have a high number of cores and threads, a high turbo clock, and one of the fastest single-core performances in common.
Of course, the number of cores plays a subordinate role for most games, because often no more than six cores are used. But for only the current measure of all things in the gaming sector, there is always a large number of cores such as the Intel Core i9-13900K(S) or AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D on top.
In terms of price, everyone should be aware that you don’t get the best gaming CPU at a bargain price. Price-conscious buyers should therefore rather look around at the best mid-range gaming CPUs. The best high-end gaming CPU can quickly cost 700 euros and more. But then you have peace of mind and an extremely potent processor for gaming for a long time.
However, such a high-end CPU also has to be adequately cooled so that it can develop its full performance. Both AMD and Intel recommend all-in-one water cooling here since air coolers can only keep the many cores in check to a limited extent.
Choosing the right motherboard is also important. The many cores, threads, and high clocks should be powered by a mainboard with a very stable power supply so that the CPUs don’t throttle themselves or even the system crash.
For the operation of gaming CPUs in the upper class, we recommend Z790 (for Intel) and X670(E)/B650E mainboards (for AMD) with many voltage phases and good cooling.
Why is the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D missing here?
Our test only lists the CPUs that are currently available. Since this is not the case with the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, it is not shown. As soon as it is available again in stores, it will be displayed again directly.
How fast are the current high-end CPUs in games?
This is best seen in our live gaming CPU ranking. Here, the average values of several synthetic and gaming benchmarks are summarized as a percentage. This is an ideal way to compare which CPU is currently ahead in the gaming sector.
Which motherboard do I need for a high-end CPU?
This depends on whether you choose an Intel or AMD CPU. For Intel, we recommend a Socket 1700 motherboard with a Z790 chipset. AMD has several mainboard chipsets with an AM5 socket to choose from with the B650, B650E, X670, and X670E.
What is the best way to cool a high-end CPU?
Even if the CPUs are specified with “only” 120 to 150 watts TDP power loss, they sometimes consume significantly more due to variable power limits. There is actually no way around an all-in-one water cooling system. Exceptions might be current top-air coolers in combination with a very good airflow PC case.
What RAM do I need for a current high-end CPU?
A current high-end CPU should be combined with fast DDR5 RAM. We recommend a 32 GB DDR5 RAM kit with at least 6400 MHz. But be careful: some Intel mainboards for socket 1700 still use DDR4. In this case, you should choose 32 GB DDR4 with at least 3600 MHz.
Are the high-end CPUs delivered with additional coolers?
No, since the waste heat from current high-end CPUs is sometimes very high, there are no “boxed” coolers included, which would be absolutely overwhelming with it. As already mentioned, both AMD and Intel recommend all-in-one water cooling for their high-end gaming CPUs.
If you still want an air cooler, you can find CPU cooler recommendations for Socket 1700 here or suitable CPU cooler recommendations for Socket AM5 here.
How many cores does a good high-end CPU need to have for gaming?
Current high-end CPUs have up to 24 cores and 32 threads and thus far more cores than current games actually need. In principle, you are already very well positioned with an 8-core CPU.
We generally recommend CPUs with six cores for gaming as a minimum. Not the CPU you want? All Intel high-end CPUs in a price comparison All AMD high-end CPUs in a price comparison.