What should I consider when choosing a gaming processor?

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When we think about building a new computer, we cannot forget about its heart – the processor! This is one of the most important components, which plays a key role in the functioning of the entire device. Let’s choose carefully, following a few simple rules.

Intel vs AMD is not just a marketing battle!

Today there is much talk about the dominance of AMD over Intel. We especially appreciate the products of the first brand in Poland, because their translation of quality to price is very good. However, this does not mean that we should not consider Intel at all. The American giant with the blue logo also has in its offer phenomenal processors for budget constructions. It is worth taking a look at the popular Intel Core i3-9100F, for example. The top processors of this company should certainly be taken into account in the final design.

However, we must remember that the decision to use an AMD or Intel platform entails the choice of a motherboard. Processors from different manufacturers use a different infrastructure, to which we need to adapt the basic circuit of the computer. When it comes to AMD, the choice is simple – we have to look for a board with AM4 socket for most entry-level AMD Ryzen models and TR4 for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors.

When it comes to Intel, on the other hand, this issue is a bit more complicated. LGA 1200 is a socket designed for 10th generation processors. On the other hand, the LGA 1151 socket is aimed at 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th generation models. However, it is worth remembering that there are exceptions to this rule. Intel X-series processors are supported by the LGA 2066 standard.

Before you choose a motherboard, you should check what kind of CPU socket the model you are interested in offers. It may also be helpful to consult with a specialist in the store.

The key issue is the parameters – the best CPU for gaming must be efficient

“What CPU to choose for gaming?” – every time this question is asked, a mass of users converge, who convince to buy a particular model. However, it is worth remembering that each processor differs in parameters. When we make a choice, we care about the best possible efficiency of work and at the same time the lowest possible price. These are seemingly simple rules, but the choice on the market is very wide. New chips are constantly presented, and the prices of old chips change dynamically. We will try to set a certain basis, according to which we choose the right CPU for gaming.

Themost important is the clock rate – this is the number of operations that the processor will perform during one second. It ranges from 2.5 to even 4 Ghz. This is one of the basic determinants of the performance of a given unit.

Another issue is the number of cores. The general rule is simple: the more cores, the better, although they must also have a sufficient number of threads. The best processors have several cores – from 4 to even 16. A smaller number, such as 2 cores, is currently the domain of most budget designs and some laptops. Equally important is the number of threads. Multithreaded processors definitely perform operations faster, which translates into the quality of the game.

Cache memory – it is a data store. Its influence on the performance of the whole system is not as high as in the case of cores or clocking. Manufacturers usually adjust the required cache memory to the parameters mentioned above. Of course, the more it is, the better.

Other important features are the type of processor, the infrastructure used and the built-in graphics. Manufacturers outdo each other in distinguishing their products. A distinction has been made between numerous technological standards, in which it is easy to get lost. Classification of Intel processors looks as follows:

  • i9 – top, most powerful chips,
  • i7 – suitable for high-end gaming applications,
  • i5 – mid-range,
  • i3 – low price and relatively low performance.

Intel chips are further divided into:

  • processors with the letter H – having good integrated graphics,
  • K – unlocked multiplier – such solution allows overclocking and higher performance in games,
  • T – increased processing power,
  • F – no integrated graphics module – such a choice may allow us to save money if we plan to buy a separate GPU anyway.

In the case of AMD the situation is much simpler. We will have to choose from models of the following series:

  • Ryzen 7 – the highest performance,
  • Ryzen 5 – gaming series,
  • Ryzen 3 – budget line for undemanding users.

There are also separate designations describing the specific features of the chip. These are:

  • X – processor with higher performance,
  • G – a chip with better integrated graphics.

So let’s take a look at the recently popular AMD Ryzen 5 3600 chip. The first glance at the name gives us a handful of useful information. This is a model from the newer Ryzen generation, so the motherboard socket should be made in AM4 technology. Its number is 5 – this means hardware for gamers. The clocking is 3.6 Ghz and 4.2 Ghz in high performance mode with 6 cores. This is a great result for around 900 PLN. It is a 12-threaded processor, which is somewhat standard for 6-core designs. The processor has a memory size of 32 MB, which will allow it to handle everyday tasks without any problems.

How much should a processor for a gamer cost?

There is no clear formula to determine the right amount for a processor for a gaming design. It depends primarily on the current market situation. CPU prices can fluctuate a lot. So it is worth to follow the current trends first of all. The cheapest chips for basic constructions can be found for as little as 300 PLN. However, they are often deprived of extended graphics cores.

Budget players can choose instead AMD processors from the G series, which are characterized by better performance of the integrated graphics system. This will save you money on a separate GPU – but keep in mind that this solution is usually lower performance and uses our RAM resources. This may pose a slight problem when using several programs at the same time or when playing more demanding games.

For builds with excellent support for triple-A games (in ultra quality at FHD), we recommend processors such as AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (less than $ 1,000), Intel Core i5-9600KF (about $ 1,000) or AMD Ryzen 5 3600X ($ 1,000). Here, however, the main role is played by the graphics card anyway.

For the most demanding users are created high-end CPUs such as AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, Intel Core i7-9700KF or Intel Core i7-10700K. Real fans of technology should focus on Intel X series and AMD Threadripper. Prices of these chips are very high – Threadripper 3990X can cost up to 20 000 zlotys. Fortunately, 99% of gamers do not need such “beasts”. These are solutions for professionals who, for example, operate on 3D projects or render graphics.

How to choose the perfect CPU?

One of the best ideas, when it comes to choosing a CPU for gaming, is to browse benchmarks and comparisons of given models. Moreover, some chips work better with specific graphics card models than others. You should pay attention to this and plan your setup from the ground up. There is no CPU that will satisfy all gamers in the world. However, there is a perfect CPU for our needs and that fits our vision perfectly. All of the CPUs mentioned in this text are just examples – this is not a ranking, although the presented chips perform well in combinations.

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