Best CPU for Gaming 2017– A Buyer’s Guide to Making the Right Choice

What is the best processor for gaming? In this processor comparison, we have only chosen the best processors from each category.

Best CPU

The situation as it stands now (March 2017):

The Ryzen R7 line has been released. (This corresponds to Intel’s i7).

  • The positive points: AMD has come out with some very good CPUs (8 cores) at very reasonable prices. This has lead to Intel significantly lowering their prices.
  • The negative points: The architecture of these processors suffers from a small memory limitation which makes them less powerful for gaming than their INTEL i7 counterparts.
  • Nuanced interpretation: It should be said that the Ryzen 7’s performance characteristics are still very good, and there is a very strong possibility that this processor will never cause you any game-play limitations.

Gamers should await the release of the Ryzen R5 line (which corresponds to Intel’s i5 line) in order to get the Ryzen CPU with the best performance to price ratio for gaming.

What is INTEL’S reply to these new RYZEN CPUs?

Intel will sharply decrease their prices in order to respond to the release of the new AMD Ryzen CPUs.

– Intel Core i7-6950X ($1599 US) – $300 Price Cut (-16%)
– Intel Core i7-6900K ($999 US) – $200 Price Cut (-17%)
– Intel Core i7-6850K ($549 US) – $150 Price Cut (-21%)
– Intel Core i7-6800K ($359 US) – $140 Price Cut (-28%)
– Intel Core i7-5820K ($319 US) – $100 Price Cut (-24%)
– Intel Core i7-7700K ($299 US) – $80 Price Cut (-21%)
– Intel Core i7-6700K ($259 US) – $140 Price Cut (-35%)

– Intel Core i7-4790K ($279 US) – $90 Price Cut (-24%)
– Intel Core i7-7700 ($289 US) – $50 Price Cut (-15%)
– Intel Core i7-6700 ($259 US) – $90 Price Cut (-26%)
– Intel Core i5-7600K ($199 US) – $70 Price Cut (-26%)
– Intel Core i5-6600K ($179 US) – $90 Price Cut (-33%)
– Intel Core i5-4690K ($189 US) – $70 Price Cut (-27%)
– Intel Core i5-7500 ($189 US) – $30 Price Cut (-14%)
– Intel Core i5-6500 ($179 US) – $50 Price Cut (-22%)

– Intel Core i5-4590 ($159 US) – $60 Price Cut (-27%)
– Intel Core i3-7350K ($159 US) – $20 Price Cut (-11%)
– Intel Core i3-7100 ($114 US) – $15 Price Cut (-12%)
– Intel Core i3-6100 ($109 US) – $20 Price Cut (-16%)
– Intel G4400 ($49.99 US) – $20 Price Cut (-29%)
– Intel G3258 ($49.99 US) – $27 Price Cut (-36%)

The situation as of January 2017:

The new Kaby Lake generation of Intel processors (January 2017) does not really bring anything new to the high-end processor market. In actuality, the performance increase, relative to the old Sky Lake generation, is only on the order of 3%.

INTEL disappoints with its new generation which adds almost nothing new to the Core i3 / i5 and i7 processors! However, since Intel already dominated the market with their Skylake processors, for the time being, they are still dominant with their Kaby Lake line! It’s as simple as that!

On the other hand, The good surprise of Kaby Lake processors, is the activation of hyper-threading on its Pentium line (about 80$), which from a performance perspective, brings it very close to the Core i3 line.

This means that the entry-level gaming CPU no longer costs 110/120$, but rather 75$!!!

With an anticipated release date of March 2017, AMD has something up their sleeve for their new Ryzen CPUs which are expected to be very promising. (Remember that publicity claims should be taken with a grain of salt). We will be following the progress of these new processors with great interest!

Selection criteria

cpuIn this buyer’s guide, we have included the following socket types:

  • The 1151 socket (KABY LAKE: 7th generation) by Intel
  • The AM4 socket (RYZEN: new generation) by AMD
  • The 1151 socket (SKYLAKE: 6th generation) by Intel
  • The 2011-3 socket (Broadwell-E: 6th generation) by Intel

What socket should you choose?

As far as AMD is concerned, the choice is fairly simple, and we have selected the brand-new AM4 socket.

  • Compatible with X370 / B350 / A320 motherboards

    In terms of INTEL processors, there are, at the moment, two competing and coexisting socket types.

  • The 1151 socket (SKYLAKE & KABY LAKE) is the socket used by INTEL’s two latest generations. It provides approximately a 10% improvement in performance over the previous 1150 socket (Haswell). It is now the standard socket for INTEL.
  • The 2011-3 socket (Broadwell-E). It is INTEL’s high-end flagship and the latest generation to be released (end of spring). It allows for a 5% performance improvement over the previous socket. It is the socket for a line of powerful processors which try to fill the development gap left by the Skylake line (among which can be found 10 core processors retailing for upwards of 1800$ for example).

This latter line is geared towards professionals who intend to run very demanding application software.

Use Socket 1151 Socket AM4 Socket 2011-3
Small budget V Not output X
Average budget V Not output X
Large budget V V X
Huge Budget V V V

Type of use:

Each type of use corresponds to a different type of processor. Here we have tried to summarize these various uses in a simple table.

Core I3 Intel Core I5 Intel core I7 AMD AM4 (R7)
Software V V V V
Multimedia V V V V
Lightweight Application V V V V
Heavy Application * X V V V
Lightweight PC Games* V V V V
Heavy PC Games * X V V V
Streaming X V V V
  • Example: Light PC games = Moba (Dota 2 /LOL), WOW , CS:GO, Hearthstone
  • Example: Heavy PC games = Battlefield , GTA 5 , The Witcher 3, Arma 3, Flight Simulator
  • Example: Heavy applications = Virtualization , photo editing, video editing

If you don’t intend to run very demanding applications, there is no point in investing in a core i7 or Ryzen 7 processor. As far as gaming is concerned, the Core i7 and Core i5 provide more or less the same performance characteristics. If you only use your computer for gaming, an i7 processor would be a wasted investment. Stick with a core i5 (or AMD Ryzen 5) and save some money – which you can invest in other components such as a better graphics card or larger SSD for instance.

AMD Ryzen, what’s that?

AMD RyzenAMD has been working on this project – which previously went by the code name Zen – for a few years now, and its main objective is to catch up to Intel processors in terms of performance, with 14 nm FinFET chips.

AMD has totally overhauled its processor architecture in order to remain in the performance race with Intel. Available since March 2017 in the USA, Ryzen requires an AM4 socket and DDR4 RAM.

Intel Kaby Lake, what’s that?

Intel has delivered its 7th generation of processors (Core 7000 series) which is named Kaby Lake, and which is based on the same 1151 socket as the previous generation (Skylake). This new line of processors introduces very little in the way of technical innovation (except for the Pentium series), and should be considered as a slight improvement over the “Skylake” 6000 series – which was released over a year and a half ago.

Intel Kaby Lake

There are really only two important improvements worth mentioning with this line of processors.

Major improvements:

  • An increased DDR4 memory frequency (2400 MHz native)
  • 14 nanometer etching, providing 200/300Mhz more.
  • The Pentium line now has hyper-threading

Minor improvements:

  • HDMI 2.0 support with HDPC 2.2
  • Improved 4K encoding / decoding.
  • Nothing revolutionary, but a little improvement with this 7th generation…

Should you buy an INTEL Skylake or a Kaby Lake ?

For those people looking to buy a new computer, our advise for choosing between a Skylake and Kaby Lake processor should be based on how much you are willing to spend.

The small performance difference does not justify a large difference in price between them. Especially since there are sure to be many interesting promotions on the old Skylake processors in order to liquidate the remaining stock!

Yes, don’t kid yourself! Skylake processors will disappear from the CPU market in the coming months! In fact, suppliers and vendors will soon find it difficult to replenish their stock of Skylake processors.

Overclocking:

Processor overclocking is useful for improving software performance and being able to rave about your benchmark scores.

Contrary to graphics card overclocking, CPU overclocking will not improve (or only by a very small amount) graphics display performance for game play, and the potential FPS gain is minimal.

In conclusion: buying a processor for O/C, and a motherboard that allows for overclocking, is a poor investment unless you really have a need for it.

Our advise:
  • Do not invest in a core i7 if you have no need for it (heavily resource dependent software or specific games)
  • For Intel processors, overclockable models are marked with a “K” at the end of their reference code.
  • Verify the chipset used by your motherboard and make sure it is “compatible” with your processor.
  • Always verify the SOCKET’s reference code (1150 / 1151)
  • Overclocking: For a silent configuration, you should favor a CPU with no overclocking since acoustically sealed cases are less good at dissipating heat.
  • Overclocking: If you don’t feel comfortable with overclocking, there is no point in investing in a technology which you will probably end up not using.
  • Caution: Windows 10 is required for Kaby Lake 7xxx processors

Entry-level gaming processors

Budget: 60-130$

Intel Pentium G4560 – Without overclockingKABY LAKE (new CPU)

Spces:

  • http://cvc2.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/374085.jpg3.50 GHz base frequency / 2 cores
  • 3 MB of cache memory
  • Hyperthreading (4 Threads)
  • Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 610
  • Limited consumption
  • Limited cooling requirement
  • 2400 MHz DDR4– PC19200
  • Supplied with a cooler

Presentation: :

The 67$ monster!!! It is just as good for PC gaming as an AMD FX6300 or a Skylake i3 6100 even though it is almost two times less expensive.

Recommended for satisfying a large variety of multimedia and digital leisure needs, the Intel Pentium G4650 optimizes the potential of office and advanced multimedia computers. Within these few grams of silicon can be found a dual core processor – with an operating frequency of 3.5 GHz – with Hyper-Threading technology (which allows the number of cores to be doubled). Efficient in all circumstances, while maintaining a reduced power consumption, it will perform amazing technical feats which will make using your computer an enjoyable experience.

Statistics for the G4560:G4560

Intel Core i3 7100 – Without overclockingKABY LAKE (new CPU)

Spces:

  • http://cvc2.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Intel%20Core%20i3%206100.jpg2 cores, 3.90 GHz
  • 3 MB of cache memory
  • Hyperthreading (4 Threads)
  • Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 630
  • Limited consumption
  • Dual Channel DDR4 2400 MHz Memory Controller
  • Supplied with a cooler

Presentation:

Kaby Lake –  Enjoy a high-performance technology platform with its 14 nm engraving fineness, increased DDR4 memory frequency (2400 MHz) and higher speed.

This desktop PC processor offers optimized performance for office and multimedia applications, but it also offers a compromise between price and performance for playing the latest PC video games. You will be able to play the latest video games, watch movies, edit videos, share photos, and much more!

The Intel Core i3-7100 processor offers cutting-edge performance thanks to its native 3.9 GHz operating frequency, its 2 cores and 4 threads, its 3 MB of cache and its 8 GT/s BUS system. With a maximum thermal design power (TDP) of only 51 W, it is able to offer very high operating frequencies in exchange for a very low power consumption.

Statistics for the i3 7100:i3 7100

Best Processors for Gaming

Budget: 190$ – 250$

Intel Core i5 6500 Without overclocking – SKYLAKE

Specs:

  • Intel Core i5Performance in games
  • 4 Hours, 3.2 GHz, 6 MB Memory
  • Intel Turbo Boost: 3.6Ghz
  • Intel HD 530 Graphics Controller
  • TDP: 65 Watts
  • Support for DDR4
  • Supplied with a cooler

Presentation:

The Intel Core i5-6500 offers cutting-edge performance thanks to its native 3.2 GHz operating frequency (3.6 GHz in Turbo mode), its 4 cores and 4 threads, its 6 MB of cache and its 8 GT/s BUS system. With a maximum thermal design power of only 65W, it is able to offer very high operating frequencies in exchange for a very low power consumption. It has the best price to performance ratio of all the i5 processors.

Statistics for the Intel Core i5-6500:Intel Core i5-6500

Intel Core i5 7600 – Without overclockingKABY LAKE (new CPU)

Spces:

  • Intel Core i54 cores, 3.5 GHz, 6 MB 65 Watts
  • Low power consumption
  • Intel HD 630 Graphics Controller
  • Turbo Boost to 4.1Ghz
  • Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 630
  • Support DDR4
  • Supplied with a cooler
  • Designed for Gaming

Presentation:

The 7th generation of Intel® Core™ i5 (Kaby Lake) processors, integrates the newest innovations, such as the faster and more economical DDR4 memory (up to 2400 MHz), as well as 14 nm etching which allows for a lower power consumption.

The Intel Core i5-7600 processor offers cutting-edge performance thanks to its native operating frequency of 3.5 GHz (4.1 GHz in Turbo mode), its 4 cores and 4 threads, its 6 MB of cache and its 8 GT/s BUS system. With a maximum thermal design power (TDP) of only 65 W, it is able to offer very high operating frequencies in exchange for a very low power consumption.

Statistics for the Intel Core i5-7600:Intel Core i5-7600

Intel Core i5 6600K With Overclocking – SKYLAKE

Spces:

  • Intel Core i5Overclocking capacity
  • 4 cores, 3.50 GHz, 6 MB
  • 3.9 Ghz in Turbo mode
  • The most powerful of Core I5 Skylake
  • Intel HD 530 Graphics Controller

Presentation:

Thanks to a smaller etching distance (0.014 microns), a larger L3 cache (6 MB), a faster BUS system (8 GT/s) and a DDR3L/DDR4 memory controller, Intel’s Skylake processors offer power under control and on demand. Skylake is Intel’s 6th Core processor generation. More efficient than ever, the 6th generation of Intel Core processors offer even more sensational performance and a remarkable visual experience.

Statistics for the i5 6600K: i5 6600K

Intel Core i5 7600K – With Overclocking – SKYLAKE (New CPU)

Specs:

  • Intel Core i5Overclocking capacity
  • 4 cores, 3.80 GHz, 6 MB
  • 4.20 GHz in Turbo mode
  • The most powerful of Core I5 Kaby Lake
  • Intel HD 630 Graphics Controller

Presentation:

Designed for games and extreme performance lovers, the K series Intel Core Kaby Lake processors, distinguish themselves by their considerable overclocking ability and their unblocked multiplier.

At the high end of the Kaby Lake processor line, designed for the 1150 socket, the Intel Core i5 7600K processor has what it takes to put to shame some of its companion processors. Within these few grams of silicon resides a quad core processor with an operating frequency of 3.8 GHz employing Turbo Boost technology which allows it to increase its frequency to 4.2 GHz. These numbers alone tell us that the i5 7600K is no joke. This is a processor which has been conceived with efficiency in mind, be it while playing games or running resource intensive software. Coupled with a powerful graphics card, its potential is simply exceptional! What’s more, its unblocked multiplier allows it to be overclocked and to easily reach an even higher level of performance.

Statistics for the i5 7600K:i5 7600K

Heavily Resource Dependent Games and Applications (Streaming / Video Editing / 3D / Virtualization)

Budget: 300-350$

  • Why choose an Intel Core I7 processor?
  • Streaming of heavily resource dependent games
  • SLI / CrossFire of high-end graphics cards
  • Using professional software (Architecture / Photo Editing / Video Editing / Virtualization)
  • Playing PC games which require a lot of calculation (Flight Simulator or Arma 3 for example)

More powerful than the Core i5 line, the Intel Core i7 processors are equipped with 4 physical cores which can be used as 8 virtual cores! Designed for brute performance, the Core i7 CPUs are Intel’s most powerful processors! Serious gamers, professionals, demanding users, fans of speed and performance: Intel Core i7 processors were made for you! Their calculation capacity will stun you!

Our advice: The purchase of a Core i7 processor is not really justified unless you have a practical need for it such as for using heavily resource dependent software (photo/video). If not, stick with a Core i5. In fact, the Core i7 won’t really provide any benefit over a Core i7 for gaming.

Intel Core i7 7700k

Specs:

  • Intel i7The most powerful 1151 processor
  • Powerful (software + games)
  • 4 Cores, 4.20 GHz, 8 MB
  • 4.5 Ghz in Turbo mode
  • Overclocking
  • Hyper-Threading (8 Threads)
  • Intel HD 530 Graphics Controller

Presentation:

Designed for intensive usage, the Intel Core i7 7700K processor offers a better visual experience as well as an incomparable performance speed.

At the high end of the Kaby Lake architecture processors, designed for the 1151 socket, the Intel Core i7 7700K has what it takes to put most of its companion processors to shame. These few grams of silicon contain a quad core processor running at 4.2 GHz, which can be pushed to 4.5 GHz thanks to its Turbo Boost technology. Its integrated Hyper-Threading technology can transform the 4 physical cores into 8 virtual ones. These numbers alone are enough to prove that the Core i7 7700K is no joke. This is a processor which has been engineered with efficiency in mind, whether for playing heavy games or running heavily resource dependent software. Joined with a powerful graphics card, the performance of this processor is truly exceptional! What’s more, its unblocked multiplier allows it be easily overclocked for even greater performance characteristics!

Statistics for the i7 7700k:i7 7700k

Intel Core i7 6700K – With Overclocking – SKYLAKE

Specs:

  • Intel i7High Power (Software + Games)
  • 4 cores, 4 GHz, 8 MB
  • 4.4 Ghz in Turbo mode
  • Overclocking
  • Hyper-Threading (8 Threads)
  • Intel HD 530 Graphics Controller

Presentation:

With its brand new Skylake architecture, Intel is offering its users a 6th generation of Core processors. An ultra modern 6th generation which brings new features to the table such as 14 nm etching, support for DDR4 RAM, and increased performance characteristics.

14 nm etching is back and it is proving just how efficient it can be at lowering power consumption and heat generation.

At the high-end of Skylake processors, designed for the 1151 socket, the Intel Core i7 6700K processor has what it takes to put many of its companion processors to shame. Within these few grams of silicon is hiding a quad core processor with an operating frequency of 4 GHz and with the Turbo Boost technology – making it possible to increase the operating frequency to 4.2 GHz – as well as Hyper-Threading technology which endows this processor with 8 virtual cores. These numbers alone are enough to prove that the Core i7 6700K is no joke. This is a processor which has been designed with efficiency in mind, whether while playing games or using resource intensive software. In tandem with a powerful graphics card, its potential is truly remarkable! Moreover, its unblocked multiplier allows it to be overclocked and to reach even higher frequencies with ease!

Statistics for the i7 6700ki7 6700k

Extreme software performance / Broadwell-E and AM4 RYZEN 7

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X – Ryzen 7, the return of AMD l AM4

Specs:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700XFrequency: 3.4 GHz / 3.8 GHz (Turbo 3.0)
  • 8 Cores
  • Hyper-Threading (16 Threads)
  • Cache 20 MB
  • AM4 Socket
  • 2666Mhz Dual-channel DDR4 Memory Controller
  • PCI-Express 3.0 16x Controller
  • TDP: 95W

Presentation:

14 nm etching, 8 cores with 16 threads, high native operating frequency (3.40 GHz), unblocked multiplier to facilitate overclocking, the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X processor brings together all the qualities needed to satisfy even the most demanding users. From multitasking to playing resource intensive video games, AMD offers you a very powerful tool in bringing your dream PC to life. Control the cost of your computer; AMD has just announced its main advantage: its unbeatable price to performance ratio. More than just convincing, the Ryzen platform marks the beginning of AMD’s return to the high-end gaming market.

Statistics for the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X:AMD Ryzen 7 1700X

Intel Core i7 6800K – The ultra high-end Intel BROADWELL-E

Specs:

  • Intel i7A power monster!
  • Frequency: 3.4 GHz / 3.8 GHz (Turbo 3.0)
  • 6 Cores
  • Hyper-Threading (12 Threads)
  • Cache 15 MB
  • Intel LGA 2011-3 Socket
  • Quad-channel DDR4  Memory Controller
  • PCI-Express 3.0 16x Controller
  • TDP: 140W

Presentation:

Powerful, fast, and capable of handling the most resource intensive programs such as resource greedy games. The Intel Core i7 6800K processor has an impressive CV: 6 physical cores running at 3.4 GHz, not less than 15 MB of cache, 14 nm etching and a maximum thermal design power of 140 Watts. Both Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technologies have been incorporated, the latter doubling the number of cores (up to 12 virtual cores on the model) and the former pushing the single core frequency to 3.8 GHz. The 6800K processor is an authentic Core i7, a real powerhouse with an unblocked multiplier for those who would like to push it to its limits.

Notice: the i7-6800k is a generation behind Skylake processors, and for gaming it has slightly inferior performance compared to the i5/i7 processors of equal frequency. However, for resource intensive applications, its extra cores make all the difference.

Statistics for the i7 6800K:i7 6800K

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