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Do you obsess about metrics like resolution and frame rate? Are you addicted to building new worlds in games like Minecraft? Have you spent sleepless nights trying to be the last man standing in Fortnite? Maybe you just like to play a game once in a while but want the best system you can possibly have for those occasional moments…

Whatever your PC gaming habits are, one thing is for sure: if you’re going to play hard you’ve got to have a system that can handle it. And to have that system, you’ll need an amazing gaming CPU.

There are tons of different gaming PC specific CPUs to choose from. But how can you be sure which one is right for your system? For all the details and everything you need to know about the best gaming CPUs on the market, keep reading.

We’ve put together a list of the four best gaming CPUs that are perfect for any serious gamer.


What is a CPU?

Not sure what a CPU is or what it does? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. A CPU, or a central processing unit, is the core of any computer system. This core component is essential and necessary, but it is not the computer itself.

The central processing unit is a small computer chip that sits atop the main circuit board, sometimes called the motherboard. It consists of billions of microscopic transistors on a single chip.

These transistors allow the CPU to make its crucial calculations, which are essential in the function of any system. The calculations are essential to run programs that you have stored on your computer’s memory.

Without a CPU, your computer cannot function. Also, you won’t be able to play games with incredible graphics and high-powered sound.

The type of CPU you have determines the type of function your computer will have.


Why Are CPUs Important?

Knowing what a CPU is isn’t enough. You also need to understand why they are so important. Without the right CPU, your computer’s gaming performance will suffer.

It’s a critical component of any computer system. In short, the faster your CPU, the faster your computer will be.

A central processing unit takes its cues from a program or application and then performs a certain calculation. Experts break the process down into three main stages of function: fetch, decode, and execute.

First, a CPU fetches the instructions from your system’s RAM. The CPU takes the information stored in the memory, allowing the PC to move onto the next step in the process.

The second part of the cycle is the point at which your central processing unit decodes those fetched instructions. During this process, the CPU takes the encoded instructions and interprets them. This is all in preparation for the next step, execution.

The third and final step in the process is the execution stage. The decoded information passes through the CPU to the units that need to perform the actual function required.

Related: The Best CPU Coolers [Reviewed]

It reads the values of these functions and performs mathematical calculations to send the required signal. These calculations are also referred to as arithmetic logic units.

Once the cycle is complete, it starts all over again based on your keystrokes and commands. The cycle is always repeating to deliver you with the power, function, and performance you need of your PC.

With so many central processing units on the market, it can be hard to know which one you should pick. If you’re doing your own build, check out the four models we’ve listed below.

If you’re having someone else build your system, it’s still important to know what components will be going inside.


The Four Best CPUs for the Serious Gamer

If you care about incredible graphics, amazing sound, and overclocking (and you should), check out these powerful CPUs.

From Intel and AMD’s Ryzen series, these are four of the best gaming CPUs money can buy.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

With 8 cores and 16 unlocked threads, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is one of the best central processing units the company has to offer. It supports AMD StoreMI technology, AMD SenseMI technology, and other powerful technologies for increased performance.

This impressive processor has a maximum system memory speed of 2933 MHz.

With a frequency of 4.3 GHz Max Boost, this CPU supports AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation/Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics/Ryzen 1st Generation.

It boasts a dual channel ECC/non-ECC unbuffered DDR4, 4DIMMs, and a total L1 cache of 768KB. The total L2 cache is 4MB, and the total L3 cache is 16MB.

The AMD StoreM1 technology combines SSD speed with your hard disk capacity to form a single, fast drive. The AMD SenseMI technology accelerates performance, allowing you to enjoy true machine intelligence.

It offers precision Boost 2, extended frequency range, neural net prediction, pure power, and smart prefetch.

With a Wraith Prism cooler, this processor includes a clear fan to keep components at optimal temperatures. It provides better RGB light illumination and quieter processing, even when you’re performing many tasks at the same time.

As with all the Ryzen CPUs that made it on this list, this one supports a variety of powerful technologies that make it one of the best options on the market.

Those technologies include:

  • AMD StoreMI technology
  • AMD SenseMI technology
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility
  • AMD Ryzen VR-Ready Premium

For the serious gamer who demands performance and fast access, this CPU is one to consider. A thermal cooling solution makes it ideal for heavy usage, and it’s built to handle higher clock speeds.

Intel Core i5-8400

If you’re looking for an incredible VR experience, the Intel Core i5-8400 processor is one of the best CPUs you’ll find. The Intel Core i5-8400 CPU includes an Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip for incredible graphics.

It supports 8th generation Intel Core processors, but is only compatible with Intel 300 Series motherboards.

With dual channel DDR4 and 4DIMMs, this processor has a processor base frequency of 2.80 GHz with a max turbo frequency of 4.00 GHz.

You’ll enjoy 9MB SmartCache, six cores, six threads, and 64GB max memory size.

With 1.05 GHz of max graphics frequency and 64GM of max video graphics memory, this central processing unit is a great option for any gaming system.

As for its unique technologies, it includes:

  • Intel InTru 3D technology
  • Intel Clear Video HD technology
  • Intel Clear Video technology
  • Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)
  • Intel Virtualization technology (VT-x)

It’s the perfect choice for anyone looking to build an incredible entertainment computer. With this technology, you can stream 4K UHD videos, enjoy powerful virtual reality, and play intensive PC games.

Your games and images will look better and stream faster, and everyday tasks will be a breeze.

With up to 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, you can build your system to include the graphics cards and other parts required for ultimate performance. It also includes a fan and heatsinks thermal solution to keep the chip cool.

If you prefer Intel CPUs over AMD, the Intel Core i7-8700k series is definitely worth a look as well.

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G CPU provides the best gaming graphics you can get on a desktop processor. It’s a powerful design that offers incredible function for the gamer who likes to play intense games.

If you put high stress on your system, this is one processor that won’t disappoint.

This model from AMD Ryzen features four cores and eight processing threads, with powerful Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics onboard.

It offers advanced, high-performance processing and boasts an intelligent, revolutionary design. This central processing unit will provide you with the ultimate computing experience.

You’ll enjoy ultra-high performance levels with multi-threaded processing technology. This provides blazing speed and incredible performance, so you’ll be able to play your games for hours on end.

The 5 2500G CPU boasts an unbelievable combination of power and performance. You’ll enjoy the most powerful graphics you can get on a desktop due to the Radeon RX Vega processor graphics. This is the most advanced graphics technology that exists, and it won’t disappoint.

Powerful computing and hardware graphics fuse together in a single processor. It’s this technology that allows you to experience top-quality performance. With this central processing unit, you can put demands on your system that you couldn’t with any other CPU.

This CPU features a clock speed of 3.60 GHz and an overclocking speed of 3.90 GHz. The L2 cache has 2MB, while the L3 cache has 4MB. With 64-bit processing and a process technology of 14 nm, this CPU includes an AM4 processor socket plus 65 W thermal design power.

It includes the Wraith Stealth cooler and supports the following technologies:

  • AMD SenseMI technology
  • AMD VR Ready processors
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility
  • Enmotus FuzeDrive for AMD Ryzen
  • Radeon software
  • Radeon FreeSync technology

It’s loaded with features that can handle the stress of your gaming obsession. It doesn’t come with a thermal solution, so you’ll want to take care of that yourself.

Consider yourself warned—if you thought you were playing a lot of video games before, with this CPU you might find yourself playing more than ever.

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Like the other two AMD CPUs on this list, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G CPU is another powerful option that will make gaming an even better experience than before.

With four unlocked cores, DDR4 system memory type, and a Wraith Stealth cooler included, it’s ideal if you’re building a new gaming system.

This central processing unit boasts a frequency of 3.7 GHz max boost, and AM4 socket type, and a total cache of 6MB. It includes a total of eight GPU cores, four threads, and a graphics frequency of 1100 MHz. The max system memory speed is 2667 MHz, and it includes eight PCIe 3.0 lanes.

Intuitive software, plus smarter and faster storage technology, means you’ll spend more time gaming. It provides powerful overclocking utility and true machine intelligence.

Plus, it’s got the power needed to deal with a serious VR workload.

Like the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G also supports a variety of powerful technologies.

These high-performing technologies include:

  • AMD SenseMI technology
  • AMD VR Ready processors
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility
  • Enmotus FuzeDrive for AMD Ryzen
  • Radeon software
  • Radeon Free Sync technology

As a gamer, you can’t go wrong with an AMD Ryzen processor. The three models on this list are all incredible options. Regardless of which one you choose, the speed, performance, and graphics will impress any hardcore gamer.

You can’t operate your computer without a functioning CPU. Without one, even the most basic tasks are impossible.

The average computer user doesn’t know much about them and probably doesn’t spend too much time thinking about what they do. But for a gamer, the central processing unit is one of the most crucial elements to any system build. You must make sure you’ve got the right one to play hard like you do.

The faster your CPU is, the faster your computer will be. But for a gaming CPU, speed is only part of the equation. To find the best gaming CPU, you have to think about things like graphics, overclocking capabilities, and frequencies.

You need a central processing unit that can handle the demands of your most intensive games and never makes you wait or slows you down.

The Intel and AMD Ryzen models listed above are some of the best gaming CPUs around. They can handle tough demands and they provide impressive graphics. Be sure you conduct your own research to know exactly which one is right for you.

It can be overwhelming trying to determine which CPU is best for your gaming habits. Before you buy, do your homework. Browse the internet to read through the specs and technologies for each processor.

Read reviews to see what other users are saying—including any negative reviews you can find that might shed light on common issues.

And before you make your decision, compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t assume that because a CPU is more expensive that it’s the best. At the same time, finding one on sale doesn’t mean it’s inferior.

With a little bit of time and some thorough research, you’re sure to find the best central processing unit for your system. And that means one thing—more time to game.

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