Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs of 2019. Upgrade your rig with the best CPU for gaming
If you’re building a new PC, finding the best CPU for gaming is crucial. People tend to think that having the best graphics card will get your games running at peak performance. While there’s some truth to that, the fact of the matter is you need a great CPU as well. Whether you’re building a high-end gaming PC or trying to put together a great PC on a budget, a great processor is a must-buy.
Picking the best CPU may not mean choosing the most powerful and expensive you can afford. For games specifically, you want a CPU that’s powerful enough to support your GPU running at its best
Best processor for budget gaming
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
A good budget option for gaming builds
AMD’s previous generation Ryzen 2000 series CPUs are now basically on clearance pricing. The Ryzen 5 2600 has just as many cores and threads as the 3600, but it’s clocked a bit slower and costs AED 200 less. It can run in the same socket AM4 motherboards as any other Ryzen CPU, so if you are looking for a budget gaming CPU today but thinking about a faster Ryzen part in the future, this is a good stepping stone.
There’s also some overclocking potential with the 2600. All Ryzen CPUs are multiplier unlocked, but the X-series parts often perform faster without overclocking.
Best processor for mid-range gaming
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
A reliable mid-range CPU
The Ryzen 5 3600 is slightly behind the 3900X when it comes to gaming and other tasks it’s typically a 5 percent difference or less. Plus, for a midrange CPU we seriously doubt anyone is planning on pairing it with an RTX 2080 Ti. A better choice would be a midrange GPU like the RX 5700, or even the previous generation RX 590. Either way, the 3600 won’t hold you back.
You still get a 6-core/12-thread processor, and outside of games the 3600 is about 40 percent faster than Intel’s 9400F. But then, the 3600 also costs more. It has the other benefits of AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, like PCIe Gen4.
You can also look at the Ryzen 5 3600X as a small step up in performance for AED 140 more, but the vanilla 3600 can overclock a bit better thanks to a lower starting point, effectively matching its more expensive sibling.
Best processor for high-end gaming
Intel Core i9-9900K & AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
The fastest processor for 4k gaming, streaming, and more
Both Intel and AMD have some amazing offerings in this category, the Intel Core i9-9900K and AMD’s third-generation 3900X with its 12-cores and 24 threads.
The Intel Core i9-9900K is arguably the best raw gaming chip ever made. The Core i9-9900K doesn’t have the core counts found on the latest HEDT chips like the Threadripper 3970X, but it’s faster in games and costs a lot less. It also boasts the highest clockspeed of any current processor, with excellent per-core performance.
AMD’s new Ryzen 3900X gives it a serious run for its money though. AMD’s third generation Ryzen processor, the 3900X may not be the absolute fastest gaming CPU, but it’s close enough at the settings and resolutions gamers actually use, and it’s the faster CPU at other tasks.
AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900X includes a decent Wraith Prism cooler and packs more cores and threads. That translates into 8 percent slower gaming performance, but 25 percent faster performance in multithreaded workloads like video editing and 3D rendering. That 8 percent deficit is only really apparent at lower quality settings and a lower resolution with the fastest GPU available. It might matter if you’re a professional gamer aiming for 240fps at minimum quality, but anyone else would be ecstatic with the performance the 3900X delivers.
You could also step up to the Ryzen 9 3950X, which gives you 16 cores and 32 threads. It costs more for the CPU, however, and you also need to get a cooler. For gaming purposes, and even most content creation tasks, the i9-9900K or 3900X is more than sufficient.
Choosing the best CPU for gaming can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be a challenge. Now that you’re familiar with the best gaming CPUs of 2019, it should hopefully make an informed decision when it comes to buying a lot easier. Don’t forget to pick the right cooling solution for your CPU to ensure it runs at optimal levels at all times!
Note: Prices are as of December 21st, 2019.