Top 10 Best PC Gaming Processors for 2017 and Beyond
Since the old-school days of well-known Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo, Intel’s processors and chipsets have come a long way, as the series served really well and lived long for gaming with its stunning performance and lots of options.
Now, we are in the era of new and improved Intel’s “i” series chipsets, which originally started with Intel’s Nehalem architecture in 2008. Then, Intel launched Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors within two years, from entry-level CPUs to high-end processors, respectively.
On the flip side, Intel’s all-time competitor, AMD has grown up a lot with their CPUs. With its competitive pricing and effectiveness, AMD has become a fan-favorite for the gamers who want to use the best without spending much. Here, we are going to talk about the top 10 best gaming processors to help you decide which one to buy.
- Intel Core i7 7700K – Editor’s Choice Top Gaming Processor in the Market
Recently, Intel introduced the most awaited 7th generation CPUs under Kaby Lake range. To be clear, this generation of processors also works on LGA 1151. So, they can support Z170 motherboard series. But Intel has worked a lot to make things even more exciting and launched Z270 chipset for Kaby Lake. Intel Core i7 7700K is the latest flagship, consumer-level CPU.
It is the highest clocked variant offers the clock of 4.2GHz and boosts very fast. Along with it, you also have 91w TDP and 14nm architecture. With higher clock speed, you can boost it to 5.0 GHz with proper cooling. Performance wise, things may not be exciting. It has far less improvements in gaming against 6700K.
If you are already using 6th gen 6700K and want to upgrade to 7th gen 7700k, you better find some other options. If you are using 3rd or 4th generation, you seriously need to upgrade to something like 7700K. Overall, i7 7700K is a good deal in terms of overclocking headroom and performance, along with cool 91w TDP.
- Intel Core i7-6700K – Editor’s Choice Best Gaming CPU
Intel’s greatest and latest Core i7-6700K is the 8-thread/four-core processor. It clocks at 4.0GHz of frequency and boosts up to 4.2GHz on intensive tasks. No matter what you throw at it, it is literally a beast which can do everything. K refers to the unlockable core. It means it can overclock like a breeze.
The CPU has 8MB cache and has total support for both DDR3L and DDR4 RAM. It has little more power than Haswell Refresh 4790K. In terms of performance, it equals to Core i7-5960X. It has outperformed 5960X by 2 frames when playing Shadow of Mordor and 5960X in Far Cry 4. This is how 6700K is best bang for your bucks and it goes toe-to-toe with 5960X, despite being priced around $337.
- Intel Core i5 7600K
Though it is not a huge jump from Skylake, Intel has launched KabyLake gen. The Core i5 7600K has been the most impressive chip here. It is the younger brother of i7 7700K and a direct rival to the older 6600K. It has higher boost clock and base and supports Z270 chipset.
Performance wise, it is much similar to the original 6600K and both processors are priced the same. It is true that Intel has made some changes and you don’t have to consider that most of the changes are incremental and you may not even feel the change in performance. It needs 96w TDP and is able to overclock well.
- Intel Core i7-5820K
In 2014, Intel came up with a Haswell-E range which runs on X-99 platform and supports DDR4. In this range, the processors launched were Core i7 5930K, 5820K and 5960X, which were meant for those who wanted gaming and beyond. To face the competition with 5960X, here comes 5820K which is priced around $400 and has 12 threads/6 cores to deliver great gaming performance.
It is maxed out perfectly every game which is thrown at it combined with a dedicated GPU. The massive power draw is the only con of Haswell-E series.
- Intel Core i5-6600K – Best Budget Gaming CPU under $250
This moderately priced processor is the younger sibling to 6700K and it is clocked at 3.5 GHz which is further boosted to 3.9 GHz. The non-overclocked 6600K boosted to 4.2 GHz in practical testing, i.e. 0.3 GHz more than the claimed clock speed.
In terms of performance, 6700K leads in video editing and rendering. But 6600K rubs shoulders with 6700K in sheer gaming performance. It is even powerful than 4790K in same core. All of these CPUs run games up to 60 frames per second. All in all, 6600K is the great CPU which retails just around $239.
- Intel Core i5-4690K – Great Gaming Process from Haswell
Though it is two generations old, the Core i5 4690K is still a strong CPU with 3.5GHz of frequency which is further boosted to 4.2GHz without overclocking. Use a powerful cooler and see its performance. Thanks to lower TDP draw and its architecture, it overclocks magically with maintained temperature, voltage, and stability.
Overall, it is a faster, stronger processor but the difference is minimal when comparing gaming performance. Even under a stock cooler and full load, it never slows down. This amazing processor is available at just up to $235.
- Intel Core i5-6500 – The Best CPU under $200
Unlike its bigger brothers, Intel Core i5-6500 is meant for gaming at decent frame-rates and settings. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have an unlocked multiplier. But overclocking is still possible but doesn’t do anything much. It has decent performance as it comes with 3.2 GHz and it also has Intel’s stock heatsink fan, unlike 6700K and 6600K.
The TDP is also lower, i.e. 65W TDP, when compared to 6700K and 6600K with 91W TDP. When it comes to gaming performance, it still manages to glide through most games which are lighter to CPU. But it takes a hit in Witcher 3 and most hits in GTA 5.
The frame rate still flies over 60 fps on 1080p resolution and maxed out settings, which is more than enough for gamers on a tight budget. It is priced at around $199.
- Intel Core i5-4590
Now it’s time for the processor priced around $200. You would be surprised that it’s good even in this price range. It is clocked at 3.3GHz and 6MB cache. Since it doesn’t has over-clocking capacities and it comes at a low price tag, no one has expected a lot from its performance. But testing shares a completely different result.
The Core i5-4590 managed to run at decent 85 frames per second in Batman: Arkham Origins. But due to lesser processing strength in 4590, the real problem comes when running CPU-intensive games like Grand Theft Auto 5 and Witcher 3, or application.
Overall, it is a solid processor which can work well in modern games. The price is its sweet spot on a tight budget.
- AMD FX 8350 –AMD’s Best Gaming CPU under $150
AMD has been far behind Intel in releasing something high end for a while now. But overlooking AMD FX-8350 Black Edition is not fair. The processor costs only $147 and has 8 cores. It manages to give a beefy performance as compared to Intel CPUs.
When it is paired with Nvidia GTX 770, results are amazing. It managed to keep up with very exciting frame-rate, i.e. above 40 all the times when we’ve maxed out the settings. The games were being played on 1080p.
But there are some issues reported during the tests. The processor gets very hot quickly. Another issue is TDP, i.e. 125w. Keeping such issues aside, it is definitely a nice processor with decent performance and multiple cores.
- AMD FX-8320 Black Edition
It has been the best choice for gamers who are facing tight budget followed by FX-8150. It is the best choice if you are tight on budget but want a gaming CPU. Basically, it is offering 8-core CPU for a price under $126.
When coupled with the good graphics card, it can work well at medium to high settings in CPU intensive games. Its performance is commendable enough and it managed to run all games in the testing process. But it generated a huge amount of heat. So, it resulted in thermal throttling. But you can deal it with an aftermarket cooler.
All in all, AMD FX-8320 Black Edition is the best gaming CPU for budget-friendly people who want uncompromised performance without losing any detail.