CPUs for games: purchase advice, tips and a look at APUs for gaming without a graphics card

CPUs for games: purchase advice, tips and a look at APUs for gaming without a graphics card

CPUs for games

Processors and APUs for games

Today's special is about CPUs for gaming PCs. We look at the performance and the prices for the two mainstream sockets AMD AM4 and Intel 1200 in order to offer you purchase advice, and we also look separately at the question of whether the integrated graphics units that some CPUs offer are also suitable for gaming. We also explain some general things about CPUs to help you make a decision. We start with that and explain what the key points you should pay attention to with a CPU.

Table of Contents

Page 1 CPUs and APUs: Clock, Cores and Threads 1.1 Clock, Cores and more threads thanks to SMT Page 2 CPUs and APUs: Mainboards, sockets and chipsets 2.1 Mainboards, sockets and chipsets Page 3 CPUs and APUs: CPUs with graphics unit (APUs) for games 3.1 APU for gaming? Page 4 CPUs and APUs: Buying advice with normal CPUs and APUs 4.1 Buying advice: Currently recommended gaming CPUs 4.1.1 Buying tips: APUs from AMD Page 5 Image gallery for "CPUs for games: Buying advice, tips and a look at APUs for ...

clock , Cores and more threads thanks to SMT

Modern CPUs have several cores, and with the processors that are suitable for a current gaming PC, the cores can each process two threads at the same time, which is also known as SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading) As a result, a four-core becomes an eight-core, a six-core becomes a twelve-core, and so on.

Intel Core i9-11900K with 8 cores and 16 threads for 520 euros Source: Intel Let's take a Core i3-10100 as an example: This has four cores and can manage eight threads. Therefore, it could also use this advantage for games that have an advantage of more than four cores and is perfectly suitable for a gaming budget PC for less than 100 euros. On the other hand, the Core i3-10100 would not be as fast as a CPU from the same Intel family, which has eight real cores, but no SMT - there is no such model in modern Intel CPUs anyway, so that this consideration does not matter when buying. It's also similar with AMD: All Ryzen CPUs from the 3000 series onwards have SMT, with the exception of the Ryzen 5 3500X, which offers six cores and threads. There is also no eight-core Ryzen without SMT that could be compared to a four-core Ryzen with SMT. Therefore, and since we only recommend CPUs with SMT for our buying tips anyway, it makes no sense to consider whether you should use a CPU with or without SMT. In the end, only two things are important for the vast majority of users anyway: What does the CPU do and what does it cost? Purchase advice and practical tests are therefore essential in order to make a decision. You can't tell from the clock how good or bad a CPU is.

Only if the same CPU architecture and CPU family are involved and the number of cores and threads is identical, one can deduce the performance from the clock rate. In such a case, one can say: If a model has 10 percent more speed, it can also perform up to 10 percent more. But whether a six-core with a fairly high clock is faster than the eight-core from the same CPU family with a slightly lower clock can only be determined more precisely through tests. In some games or applications, the core number is the more important factor, in other games and applications, however, the clock - it is often even important what the focus of everyday life on the PC is. For certain professional applications or even ambitious semi-professionals, a very expensive CPU for one of the so-called "enthusiast" sockets can make sense, although these CPUs are no better than significantly cheaper mainstream socket processors in games and in a number of normal applications. In some cases, the professional CPUs are even slower and are only so expensive because they offer an extremely high number of cores for very specific scenarios. If you don't know what we mean by "socket", you will find out more on the next page.

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Best processors 2021: the best CPUs for your PC from Intel and AMD

A CPU on a purple background © Provided by TechRadar A CPU on a purple background

Let one of the best processors of 2021 do the heavy lifting whether for gaming, video editing, or multi-tasking at work. Sure, lesser chips might see you through the most basic tasks, but it’s only their most powerful and efficient counterparts that can really handle your more demanding computing needs (and stay cool under pressure).

As your computer’s brain, a CPU is responsible for executing all its commands, tasks and processes. So, going for a mediocre one and hoping for the best, especially if you expect it to perform intensive tasks, isn’t going to cut it – no matter if you’re building a new PC or upgrading your current one. And, thanks to Intel and AMD still battling it out in the CPU arena, we have a lot more excellent options at more affordable prices.

With chips like the Comet Lake-S and the Ryzen 5000 more powerful and more affordable than ever before, you no longer have to settle for less or the second best if you’re on a budget. To make it easier for you to choose, we found the best processors on the market for playing the best PC games, getting through your creative workloads, and more.

One of the best processors on the market today, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, combines excellent single-core performance and a massively improved multi-core one with its low power consumption and a fairly approachable price. And, it’s a strong option for gaming.

Scratch that: it’s arguably the best processor for gaming. It even beats out the Intel Core i9-10900K in Total War: Three Kingdoms, a game optimized for Intel hardware, by 7%. Based on AMD’s 7nm manufacturing process, its Core Die (CCD) design allows for one Core Complex per die. That means every Ryzen 7 5800X’s CCX has 8 cores, each of which direct access to 32MB of L3 cache, resulting in a breathtaking gaming performance.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X brings the biggest gen-on-gen jump in a single performance in years, making it a terrific upgrade. This latest release from AMD is not just a stronger processor across the board. It’s also an incredibly powerful processor for gaming and creative work full stop. The fact that you won’t need a new motherboard is just a nice perk.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

The highest tier in the Ryzen 3000 series is the performance powerhouse you’re looking for, if you want something for heavily threaded computer work. Besides high-end gaming, the Ryzen 9 3950 also blasts through processing tasks. It’s expensive, but for a mainstream processor that can go toe-to-toe with HEDT processors, that’s hardly a surprise. And, it’s also well worth the price, if you need its level of performance. Just remember that it may take a bit to keep cool so be sure to follow AMD’s guidance.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

With more threads than the Intel Core i5-9600K, this mid-range graphics card delivers impressive multi-threading performance. However, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X doesn’t just stop there: it takes that budget-minded stage of performance to a new level, with its increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance and a higher clock speed while staying at the same price point. It also stays competitive in even the most intense single-threaded applications.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Budget-minded consumers who missed out on all the 3rd-generation Ryzen excitement the first time will appreciate AMD’s latest attempt in the entry-level sphere. There’s no denying that the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is appealingly cheap, but it does so without compromising on performance. In fact, this chip delivers a performance that could almost rival that of processors double its price, without sucking up much power. And, it’s an excellent choice for budget gamers who are looking for something that can handle 1080p gaming.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 3 3100

Intel no longer has the monopoly on gaming CPUs. Rocking 8 cores and 16 threads, along with much stronger single-core performance, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is among the best CPUs for gaming – as well as less demanding creative work – right now. And it comes with a much more approachable price tag compared to most of Intel’s offerings, making it a much better value.

Read the full review: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Mid-range buyers will appreciate the fact that they actually don’t have to shell out quite a bit of cash for Intel’s hyper-threading technology. With Intel’s Core i5-10600K, among Intel’s latest chips to hit the streets in 2021, it’s possible to have it for much less than $500. This chip may lack PCIe 4.0 support and has a higher power consumption, but it makes up for those in spades. Besides hyper-threading, this processor also delivers superb multi-core performance as well as improved single-core performance. What’s more is that it’s got great thermals to keep that pesky heat down.

Read the full review: Intel Core i5-10600K

Launched alongside the even more potent Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X may have the same core count as its predecessor. However, it comes with a brand-new architecture that delivers performance gains as well as PCIe 4.0, making it among the best processors in the Threadripper arena. The 3960X delivers dramatically improved single-threaded performance and has successfully reduced its predecessors’ idiosyncrasies that affect their own performance. It may come with a higher price tag and require the TRX40 motherboard – not to mention, a powerful cooler – but it’s certainly worth the fuss if you can maximize its skills to your advantage.

Whether you’re looking for a processor for your media center or for your desktop PC, the AMD Athlon 300GE is among the best processors you can find on the market today in terms of value. It’s reliable and surprisingly fast for what it can do. It’s never going to deliver a breathtaking performance, but for a processor in the budget space, it’s definitely going to impress you.

With a noticeable, if small, performance advantage over its predecessor, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3400G is a capable option for your home theater PC and budget gaming computer. That means that it’s among best processors for folks who don’t quite take gaming as seriously as the big gamers, touting a solid 720 and a fairly decent 1080p gaming performance.