2021 is a great year for CPUs, as both Intel and AMD are making highly efficient and competitive processors for gaming. On the contrary, it’s a very bad time for GPUs as the global market pricing is going up day by day. CPU is the brain of a computer, and whether you play games or do creative works, a powerful processor is a must. A high-performance processor is needed to have a stable and bottleneck-free computer. If you are a PC-gamer and planning to upgrade your computer’s processor, then this content will help you get the best processor for gaming.
Essential Shopping Tips
There are some key points you have to check before making any purchasing decisions for a new CPU. This is heavily dependent upon your work preference and use-case scenario. Moreover, choosing a CPU also rules out your motherboard and RAM selection. As you are a hardcore gamer and streamer, we will point out the essential features and technologies that you might require from a new gaming CPU.
Clock Speed: Whether you choose AMD, Intel, or ARM, you must check the base clock and boost clock of the CPU. This is a very common way to know which processor is good. A higher clocked CPU performs better in both single and multi-threaded workloads. For gaming, you should go for a CPU that has a boost clock over 4.0 GHz.
Core/Thread Count: The more cores and threads a CPU has, the better it performs. But in gaming, you do not need a huge number of cores. A six-core or an eight-core processor with double the thread counts is more than enough for gaming and streaming. Keep in mind and the cores have to be faster with high clock speed and large cache memory size.
Budget: Budget is another main point that you should maintain. You must not put emphasis on a single component and forget about others. Yet, the CPU is the most important part of a computer, so choose the best CPU according to your budget and pair that with a good quality GPU. A Ryzen 5 or Intel’s Core i5 tends to provide the best bang for the buck.
Overclocking Capabilities: This is another point you should check before buying any CPU. Processors with OC capabilities perform better and have slightly better future-proofing over non-OC ones. Additionally, you will need a better cooling system and motherboard to have stable overclocking headroom. So, think before buying an unlocked and OC-capable CPU.
RAM and PCIe support: System memory is an important factor to have a better gaming PC. You must choose a CPU that supports and scales high-performance gaming RAMs with high frequency. Currently, DDR4 memory is rated over 4200+ MHz. PCIe support is another crucial factor to check. You must choose a processor and chipset that supports the latest PCI generation to minimize the overall bottlenecks.
Where to Find the Best Gaming Processor
CPUs can be found in your local computer shops, electronic shops, online shops, and other authorized dealers. You have to check on your own whether the CPU is for gaming or not. Try to buy from AMD or Intel, as they will not disappoint you in desktop and laptop grade processors. If you have a dedicated GPU, go for Ryzen 5 5600X or Intel Core i5 11600K without a doubt.
The availability of the latest Zen3 from AMD and 11th Gen processors from Intel is relatively low. So, look for deals and offers on popular e-commerce sites, such as NewEgg, Amazon, Walmart, and so on. Our top pick right now is Ryzen 7 5700G from AMD, as it includes a workable graphics unit within the CPU itself.
Best Processor for Gaming, Must-try for Hardcore Gamers
Here we have listed some of the best CPUs for gaming in 2021. They are highly reviewed by many users as proven best for gaming and streaming without little to no bottlenecks with relevant components. We have picked up the best processors for gaming in 2021 regarding their performance in graphics-intensive tasks and gaming workloads.
We will suggest all the users buy a CPU that has at least 6 cores with a base clock of a minimum 3.2GHz. A higher clocked single-core CPU along with competitive multi-core performance tends to perform better in gaming.
1. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Base Clock: 4.1GHz | Boost Clock: 4.8GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 65 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Record-breaking Clock speed
+ Boost clock over 4.8GHz and can be overclocked over 5GHz
+ The package includes a stock cooler
+ Stable PCIe 4.0 support
+ Stable gaming performance with high-end GPUs
+ Powerful single and multi-core performance
+ Surprisingly power efficient with minimal TDP
– Comparatively pricer over previous generation’s Ryzen 5 3600X
– Low availability
Ryzen 5 5600X is a groundbreaking CPU to begin with. It is simply the best processor for gaming that you can buy in 2021. The best part is it is better in gaming than the Core i9 10900K, which is a more premium grade CPU. Furthermore, as a six-core processor, it is the most stable and power-efficient CPU available in the market. The overall value of this CPU is quite unbeatable, along with its 35MB of cache.
Certainly, the price has increased around 40 to 50 USD if we compare it with the previous generation’s counterparts. It also performs similarly to its big brother Ryzen 7 5800X, which is significantly costly. The lower core count does not matter in gaming as the boost clock is better in 5600X. Moreover, it fully supports PCIe 4.0 without any kind of bandwidth issues. You are good to go with a budget B550 or B450 motherboard.
2. AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Base Clock: 3.8GHz | Boost Clock: 4.6GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 65 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Offers top of the line integrated graphics
+ Great to have in the crisis of GPUs
+ Capable of playing most of the games in low to medium settings
+ Highly power-efficient
+ Easy to overclock
+ Works on previous generation’s B450 and X470 motherboards
– Pricy as an APU
– Lacks high-speed storage support
– Has significantly less cache memory
Let’s check out one of the best Ryzen CPUs for gaming with an integrated graphics unit. It is called Ryzen 7 5700G, and this can be a great option as GPUs are rare to find. Moreover, this CPU is quite a beast as it packs a full set of 8 cores and 16 threads. This is almost the same as the performance-based CPU Ryzen 7 5800X. However, it lacks PCIe 4.0 support and includes less level 3 cache.
The gaming performance is dependent upon the RAM you use. Another best thing about this particular CPU is you will get additional performance by using higher-clocked RAMs. This CPU is highly capable of overclocking, but that will require a high-quality aftermarket cooler. Users can easily reach 5.1 to 5.3GHz all day long. You might think it’s expensive as an APU as there is Ryzen 5 5600G, another great option from AMD with a lesser price tag.
3. Intel Core i9 10900K
Socket: FCLGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 10/20 | Architecture: Comet Lake 10th Gen | Base Clock: 3.7GHz | Boost Clock: 5.3GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 95 watts | Lithography: 14nm
+ Advanced gaming performance
+ Incredible clock speed
+ Potent performance in single-threaded and multi-threaded applications
+ Highest number in 3D benchmark
+ Competes Ryzen 3900X
+ Strong Thermal performance
+ 4.9GHz all-core Turbo Boost
– Comparatively high power consumption
– Demands latest motherboard
– Requires Thermal output and advanced cooling system
– Comparatively pricey
Claiming the world’s fastest gaming processor, Intel launched the Core i9 10900K in 2019 hoping to beat their immediate competitor AMD. This statement about this 10-core 20-thread CPU was like a big comeback for Intel as all their creations on CPU for the last two years couldn’t beat AMD. So, Intel brought their best in this CPU, and unfortunately, it couldn’t beat AMD’s masterpiece, 16-core 3950X. Still, if you are an Intel fan, this CPU is your must-have.
No doubt that Core i9 10900K amusingly delivers the best gaming performance in the history of Intel’s creation. It certainly holds its own single-core workloads while getting the highest number in the 3D Benchmarks.
Additionally, its thermal performance is undoubtedly better than its predecessors. Apparently, it is built with a base frequency of 3.7GHz, and it frequently goes up to 4.8GHz for both single and multi-cores through the Turbo Boost 2.0.
4. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 12/24 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Base Clock: 3.7GHz | Boost Clock: 4.8GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 65 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Complete enhanced performance
+ Best 1080p Gaming CPU
+ Single-core expert
+ Very efficient architecture
+ Support PCle Gen 4.0
+ Amazingly Overclock potential
+ Compatible with 500/400-series
+ Lower power consumption
– No added cooler
– Comparatively higher price increasing rate
– No integral graphics
For those who are looking for a high-end CPU that is the best of this generation, I must suggest the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X first. It is needless to describe how AMD has been leading the world of CPUs for the past few years. And this one is their strongest beast when you are talking about gaming performance.
However, this top-of-the-line CPU is built with Zen3 architecture and great efficiency. Additionally, it is designed to increase IPC performance, and it reaches the maximum temperature of the only 86°C.
Apparently, this hardcore processor comes with 32MB L3 cache memory. For gaming, cache memory is so important, and this CPU won’t disappoint you in this case anyway. This 24 thread and 12 core CPU is able to boost the clock speed up to 4.8GHz. Also, it has 105W TDP and reached its max of only 142.27W.
That means it is able to squeeze quite efficiently out of Zen3. But the only reason some people can’t fix their eyes on it is its cooling system. You have to use a third-party cooler with it as it doesn’t come with an internal cooler.
5. Intel Core i5 11600K
Socket: FCLGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Architecture: Rocket Lake 11th Gen | Base Clock: 3.90GHz | Boost Clock: 4.90GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 95 watts | Lithography: 14nm
+ Affordable gaming CPU
+ Strong overclocking potential
+ Amazing gaming performance
+ PCle 4.0 supported
+ Excellent single-threaded performance
+ Strong multi-threaded chops
+ Support LGA 1200 sockets
+ Fast iGPU
– Comparatively higher power consumption
– Require extra CPU cooler
– 2 memory mode gear
– Comparatively highest TDP
For Intel fans who are searching for a middle-range CPU, Intel Core i5 11600K can be a good option without any doubt. This 6-core, 12-thread CPU is often suggested for a new gaming PC building project. It is true that Core i5 11600K is not a giant step up from Intel from its predecessor; it works well as a born unlocked CPU for general buyers.
Its minimal-to-nill system bottlenecks make it one of the best processors for gaming in 2021. Additionally, it comes with dual-channel memory and also supports DDR4-3200.
The junction Temperature of this CPU is a maximum of 100°C, and there is no internal cooler with it. So, if you don’t have an extra cooler, you must buy one for it. Also, you need to make sure that the cooler supports LGA 1200 sockets and is suitable for 125W TDP.
But its immediate competitor, AMD’s 16-core chip, has only 105W TDP. In that case, many people got a reason to switch to AMD from Intel. However, if you don’t have to handle critical tasks like mining or streaming, and gaming is your basic plan, this CPU is a good option for sure.
6. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 16/32 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Base Clock: 3.5GHz | Boost Clock: 4.9GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 105 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Overall stunning performance
+ Lower power consumption
+ Comes with the AM4 platform
+ PCle 4.0 supported
+ Overclocking unlocked
+ Zen3 architecture
+ Lower TDP
– Doesn’t offer the best gaming performance
– Overkill for gaming
– Require third-party cooler
When you are talking about the CPU performance of Zen3 Architecture, almost all products from AMD’s 5000 series must get your attention. And AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is a gem among them. This 16 core CPU is built with 32 threads and 7nm manufacture.
Coming with amazingly faster performance and lots of headroom for enthusiast applications and games, this CPU provides a complete overall performance. Additionally, it is the best processor of all the non-Threadripper processors by AMD.
This consumer-grade CPU is certainly overkilling for gaming purposes only. That means your PC doesn’t need all of it for only gaming purposes. So, it can be a waste of power or money, and AMD Ryzen 5950X can be a better suit than it. But if your purpose of using it is beyond gaming, you shouldn’t neglect this beast. Mostly for the professionals and creators of good value workstations, it can be the best suit.
7. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 4/8 | Architecture: Zen 2 | Base Clock: 3.8GHz | Boost Clock: 4.3GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 65 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Superior single-core performance
+ Capable of competing with Intel’s i5 unlocked CPUs
+ Advanced core to thread instructions with SMT facilities
+ Can be overclocked to 5+ GHz
+ Offers full potential when pairing with mid to budget graphics cards.
+ Supports RAM frequency over 3200+ MHz
– Fewer core counts
– Older technology comparing to AMD’s Zen 3 and Intel’s 11th gen CPUs
– Lacks in higher threaded workloads
AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is one of the best Ryzen CPUs for gaming you can buy on a limited budget. You will be amazed at its boost clock speed and overclocking capabilities. It is a 65 watts rated CPU and does not require many cooling facilities to have stable performance. A quad-core with eight threads is still capable of handling any games with ease. Additionally, its boost clock and game cache make it one of the best gaming CPUs for 2021.
Its single-core performance is top-notch. This CPU easily beats Intel’s higher-tiered processors in single-core workloads. It is better than the Ryzen 3 3100 in both single and multi-core workloads. You might also like the Ryzen 5 3600X and 3500X from the same generation featuring Zen 2 architecture. If you just need to play a game and stream, then Ryzen 5 3300X will give you the best bang for your buck.
8. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8/16 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Base Clock: 3.8GHz | Boost Clock: 4.7GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 105 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Unparalleled Multicore and single-core performance
+ Supports 400 and 500 series motherboards
+ Includes easy overclocking capabilities
+ Complete Gen 4.0 PCIe support
+ Highly power efficient and does not cross rated TDP
+ Great for AAA gaming in high FPS
– A bit pricey compared to the previous generation’s counterparts
– Does not include stock cooler
– Has higher TDP than Ryzen 7 5900X
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is a flagship-grade AMD processor for gaming from 5000 series. It has raw performance, and the price is not as high as the Ryzen 9 5950X. Moreover, you will have all the features of Zen 3 architecture and a hectic amount of game cache. You can easily overclock it with an AIO or aftermarket air-based CPU cooler. Users have reached over 5.3GHz and more by using manual OC methods.
The gaming performance is similar to Ryzen 5 5600X. If you are looking for a gaming CPU, then stick with the 5600X and save some money for other components. For productivity and rendering, Ryzen 7 5800X will shine like a star.
Keep in mind and you will not get a stock cooler with this unlocked CPU. So, a good quality CPU cooler is a must to have sustainable performance. You will find Intel’s core i7 11700K as its direct competitor.
9. Intel Core i5-11400
Socket: FCLGA1200 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Architecture: Rocket Lake | Base Clock: 2.6GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Locked | TDP: 65 watts | Lithography: 14nm
+ Stable gaming performance when pairing with RTX3060ti, RX6700XT or similar
+ Comes with stock cooler
+ Lower TDP
+ Boost clock over 4.40GHz
+ Supports PCIe 4.0 natively along with 20 lanes
+ Memory scalability up to 3200MHz
– Lacks overclocking capabilities
– Less architectural improvement
Here, we got an Intels lower-mid budget-based gaming CPU, which is called Core i5 11400. Additionally, it includes an integrated graphics unit which gives you an edge over other CPUs. You might want to change your GPU or upgrade from time to time.
At that transition time, this CPU will support you with its iGPU. Also, this is regarded as one of the best processors for gaming for its stable system memory utilization. Moreover, the package includes a stock cooler for the initial cooling solution.
Sadly, it still uses 14nm technology, but the performance improvement on that older Lithography is praiseworthy. Certainly, a Ryzen 5 3600X or 5600G would be a better choice over it. Again, i5 11400 provides price to performance value if paired with a cheaper motherboard. Additionally, there are implications for high-frequency DDR4 memory. Keep in mind and this processor does not support overclocking.
10. AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6/12 | Architecture: Zen 2 | Base Clock: 3.8GHz | Boost Clock: 4.4GHz | Locked/Unlocked: Unlocked | TDP: 95 watts | Lithography: 7nm
+ Low Cost yet High performance
+ Supports PCIe 4.0
+ Great for 1440p and 1080p gaming with mid-range GPUs
+ Has less to nill bottlenecks with current generation’s GPUs
+ Highly power-efficient
+ Supports high-frequency memory scalability with OC support
– Poor quality included cooler
– Supply shortage in global market
Though a previous generation’s CPU, it is still considered as the best AMD processor for gaming. This CPU packs 6 cores and 12 threads from Zen 2 architecture. Users can even reach over 5 GHz with a high-quality cooler without any issues.
Also, this processor is known as the best budget gaming CPU for its price to performance value. You can find it for under 200 USD, and it performs better than any 10th gen Intel i5 and i7 processor all day long.
There is a refresh version of this same CPU named 3600XT, but that is not worth the allocated price premium. You might choose the vanilla Ryzen 5 3600, which is also an unlocked processor but lacks the overclocking headroom like 3600X.
It is time-tested and hugely reviewed by users worldwide as one of the best budget gaming CPUs. If you do not get it in the market, you can go with a Ryzen 5 3500X or 5600G without thinking much.
Q: Which processor is best for average gaming?
A: The best processor you can buy for gaming now is AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. There are a few more contenders too at a much affordable price range, and notable ones are Ryzen 5 5600X, Core i5 11600K, and Ryzen 7 3700X.
Our pick will be a Ryzen 5 3600X or a core i5 10400F, as sole gaming usage does not require many-core counts. A processor with high clock speed and a chart-topping single-core boost clock tend to perform better in gaming.
Q: What is the best budget CPU for gaming?
A: The best budget CPU for gaming in 2021 is AMD Ryzen 3 3300X. It offers seamless gaming performance when pairing with a capable GPU. You will not notice many bottlenecks while using a mid-tier GPU from AMD or Nvidia.
Another great option from Zen 3 architecture is Ryzen 5 5600G, which is a bit more costly. There are also Core i5 10400F and Ryzen 5 3600 at an affordable price range with amazing gaming performance.
Q: Is Ryzen or i7 better for gaming?
A: Yes, if you look into the last three generations of CPUs, Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 clearly beat Intel’s Core i7 lineup. In the 10th and 11th generations of the core lineup, Intel is trying to compete with Ryzen 7 CPUs head to head.
Ryzen processors are especially great in gaming and creative workloads from their Zen 2 and Zen 3 lineup. If you have a Ryzen 7 3700X or a Ryzen 5 5600X, you will have satisfying gaming for a couple of years. Many users treat these two processors as the best Ryzen CPUs for gaming.
Q: Is i5 good for gaming 2021?
A: Yes, a core i5 11600K or a core i5 10600K is more than enough for gaming. Moreover, they provide the best gaming experience you can have on a budget without adding more in higher-tiered CPUs.
If you want an AMD processor, then you can go for a Ryzen 5 3500X or a Ryzen 5 5600X. They provide much better value and upgrade headroom. On the contrary, Intel’s i5 10600K is known for superior overclocking capabilities.
Q: Is AMD better than Intel?
A: This depends on generation to generation improvements in contemporary architecture. Right now, AMD is better than Intel in its overall performance and upgradability path. In certain workloads, such as gaming Intel’s 11th Gen i5 and i7 CPUs have an edge.
In heavy workloads, competitive gaming, and streaming, AMD’s Zen 3 is dominating the market. A Ryzen 7 5800X is better than the top dog of Intel’s i9 lineup. Currently, The Ryzen 9 5950X is the overall king of the mainstream desktop CPUs.
Lastly, if you choose a capable CPU from the current generation, then you will surely have a great gaming experience ahead. Of course, You have to check the availability and pricing. We will suggest you research the market and check user reviews before choosing the best processor for gaming within your budget. Furthermore, we are here to help you with any information related to computer components and gaming hardware. Thank you for staying with us.