The Best Gaming CPUs of 2022

Martin Wilson

Jan 17, 2022

Consider your PC's performance and features while looking for a gaming CPU. If you're looking for the best CPU for gaming, check out our recommendations below. Our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy shows how all of these CPUs compare. Our 2021 CPU Buying Guide, on the other hand, provides in-depth information on how to select the ideal processor for your gaming setup. As for which CPU vendor to choose, our AMD vs. Intel piece goes into great detail and concludes.

When it comes to gaming performance, nothing beats the six-core, twelve-thread Alder Lake $192 Core i5-12400. Because it can outperform the previous-generation $549 Core i9-11900K flagship in terms of gaming performance, it's safe to assume that it's quicker than the $299 Ryzen 5 5600X. It's also a popular selection for cheap gaming CPUs because of its impressive performance in both single- and multi-threaded applications.

Choosing the Right CPU for Your Gaming Needs

Here is a list of the finest CPUs for gamingif you often work on stuff that requires a lot of processing power. We recommend checking out our guide to thermal paste if you're shopping around for a new CPU. However, you've arrived at the correct spot if you're looking for the best gaming CPU.

The graphics card is an essential component if gaming is your primary focus. No matter how robust your gaming CPU is, it will do you no good if your GPU is outdated or underpowered. Check out our GPU Benchmarks Hierarchy and our Best Graphics Cards page to make sure you have the sound card for the gaming experience you want to have.

The Best Gaming CPU to Buy in 2022

Top 1. Intel Core i5-12600K

As a replacement for Intel's 11th Gen Rocket Lake family, the Intel Core i5-12600K has been eagerly anticipated. Despite its somewhat higher price tag than its most prominent opponent, AMD's AMD Ryzen 5, the new hybrid architecture is worth it.

The Core i5-12600K receives a significant single-core performance improvement over prior generations, as well as an even more substantial boost to its multicore capability, thanks to the addition of E-cores that don't impede the primary P-cores' thermal or power needs. However, it doesn't convert into significantly improved gaming performance.

There is still an increase to the point where this chip surpassed the 5600X in our gaming benchmarks. An Intel 600 series motherboard is required for installation because the Core i5-12600K operates at low enough temperatures to work effectively with a simple air cooler.

Top 2. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

As long as you are prepared to pay the money, the finest CPUs for gaminghave traditionally provided the utmost performance. With their exorbitant prices, these chips also necessitate hefty motherboards and the additional cost of entirely populating quad-channel memory controllers. Cost-conscious customers who may benefit from a HEDT chip's threaded horsepower are forced to choose mainstream alternatives in exchange for the unavoidable trade-offs, such as lower performance in lightly threaded programs and games.

Since its predecessors delivered HEDT performance to standard motherboards and reduced the bar for entry, AMD is building on that legacy with the Ryzen 9 5950X. However, compared with other high-end dual-core CPUs, the 5950X is a bargain at just $799 despite its high price tag.

Top 3. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

The AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is still the most excellent bargain CPU out right now if you can get your hands on one, despite being out of stock for much of the previous year. If you're looking for a low-cost processor with a lot of power, this is a great option. On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 3600X, on the other hand, are significantly more expensive, but the Ryzen 5 3600 is still an excellent option for budget-conscious PC builders.

The Ryzen 3 3300X's desktop performance is excellent for a quad-core processor. Single-core performance beats out the Core i5-10600K in my tests, solidifying its position as one of the top CPUs around in terms of price/performance ratio. That it comes with an adorable cooler in the package makes it even greater value for money, making it an excellent pick for both gaming and everyday desktop chores.

Top 4. Intel Core i7-12700K

With a starting price of $409, the 12700K outperforms both the $390 Ryzen seven 5800X and the $550 Ryzen 9 5900X while offering almost identical gaming performance as Intel's own $589 flagship Core i9-12900K. The $409 Core i7-12700K outperforms AMD's fastest gaming CPU, the Ryzen 7 5800X, by 12 percent and the Ryzen 9 5900X by 7.5 percent in 1080p gaming.

In terms of productivity, the chip is a genuine contender. The 12700K is around 17 percent quicker than the 5800X and 5900X in light-threaded applications. The Core i7-12700K is 2.5 percent faster than the Ryzen 9 5900X in threaded tasks, although the Ryzen 9 5900X does win a few battles in heavily-threaded software. The Ryzen 7 5800X isn't even in the same league as the 12700K for threaded work.

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