What is the Best Desktop CPU for Gaming?

Why Compare CPU and Not GPU?

First of all, we are aware that most game utilizes the graphics card primarily. There are tons of tech review out there comparing the frame per seconds of graphics card and how they perform on a tons of games, but when it comes to cpu, you’ll just see them using the latest and/or the highest i7 out there available. Yes, technically, if its just pure performance we’re talking about, the latest i9 or Ryzen Threadripper will take the trophy, but if we have to take into account that you only need to play games, the price, ability to upgrade, will they still emerge at the top?

So here, we will try to find out, what is actually the best cpu out there for desktop gaming, and we will only try to cover the latest processors since, we need to consider the upgradability of that processor.

Intel i9 and Ryzen Threadripper Are Overkill

First of all, let me clarify this, if you are just trying to play a game of Dota2, i9 series and Threadripper processors will be too much for your intended purpose. This kind of processors will make you pay a large amount for up to 32 cores which won’t be used be utilized by almost all games. They are designed for very heavy duty work like running a couple of virtual machine while rendering at the same time. Trust me when I say this, you don’t need it for gaming.

Best Latest Intel Processor

Photo courteousy of Intel website

In the blue side, for the latest core processors, we’ll have the i7-8700K (we could say that i7-8086K is more latest, but only 50,000 copy of this has been released globally and its just like a limited edition of i7-8700K), the i5-8600K and the i3-8350K.

If we are just looking at the cost performance ratio, i3-8350K will win over the i5 and i7. To elaborate, the i3-8350K will cost you around Php 9,850 (according to dynaquest website) while an i5-8600K will be around Php 14,600, a whooping 48.2 percent increase in prices. However, the performance increase according to cpu benchmark, is just merely 21% on average user benchmark and only 20% if you are talking about overclocking (increasing power usage for more performance). But, obviously, we’re not here to find out just the best price to performance ratio, we’ll also look at whether i3’s power is enough for almost all games we’ll need.

When comparing the i7-8700K and i5-8600K, lets look at their specification first. They have the same number of cores, 6 actually, each core speed is actually almost the same if running the same GHz. We can verify it on the benchmark test wherein they are both overclocked. The main advantage of i7-8700K is the 12 threads, doubled the amount that i5 has, and it has hyperthreading. Does that mean the speed of i7 is doubled the speed of i5? Actually, no, it just means that i7 will have a more intelligent way of balancing the workload, assigning tasks etc among its cores, which, tbh, in gaming, is not that beneficial. So, will you need the i7 with its hyperthreading for your gaming? To be honest, performance wise, its almost the same that you spending additional Php 7,000 or more is not worth it. You can verify this result on some youtube videos, for example, this video, https://youtu.be/yS1iuheQko0

So, i3-8350K or i5-8600K? Well, to be honest, it depends on the game you’ll be playing and the graphics card that you’ll be using. If you will be using a graphics card that is at least GTX 1060 or higher, i3’s raw power won’t be enough to use all of the potential of that card when playing high end titles like Battlefield 1, The Witcher 3, Monster Hunter World etc. However, if you only have GTX 1050ti or less powerful graphics card, having an i5 won’t make a difference. But, for the sake of deciding which is the better CPU, it is of course i5, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the i3 if that is what you can afford.

But, what is the rank of Intel Pentium G4560? Its a good processor and definitely boast a big cost performance ratio, however, its 2 core, even with hyperthreading, might not be enough for most of the recently released games. If you have the most minimal budget tho, of course, go for it.

Best Latest AMD Processor

Photo from AMD

For the AMD, we’re going to be looking at their 2nd generation Ryzen processors. There are of them with each of them having its own variant. The Ryzen 7 2700X (with its variant, Ryzen 7 2700 with less GHz and Ryzen 7 2700E, which don’t include the Wraith thermal solution ), then we have the Ryzen 5 2600X, with its variant Ryzen 5 2600, and Ryzen 5 2500X and lastly, the Ryzen 3 2300X. All of them will be needing its own graphics card though, unlike the Intel processors provided above which have its own UHD 630, but that built in processor can’t be used for most recent games since its not powerful enough. And, lastly, we have the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G, which is an APU, but could provide gamers with another super budget friendly alternative.

First thing that I should mention is that, Ryzen 7’s 8 cores and 16 threads is too much for gaming. Even the most recent games mainly utilized up to 4 cores only, which means that quad core performance is more important than the multi-core performance. Looking at the quad core benchmark of Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X, you’ll actually see that they are almost the same, with Ryzen 7 only gaining about 2% performance even when both are overclocked. And since Ryzen 7 is about 46% pricier (according to Dynaquest), that 2% performance is not that worth it when it comes to just purely gaming. Ryzen 5 will have 6 cores and 12 threads, so even if you’re running a few other applications along side your gaming, the difference will be almost negligible, unless you’re running cpu intensive games, then of course, Ryzen 7 will be worth it.

How about Ryzen 3 2300X? Well, with its 4 cores and 4 threads, it can actually go toe to toe with Ryzen 5, unless the game is not that optimized and uses a lot of cores. Test with the same graphics card yield around 4-10 frames per second increase for most famous titles like Battlefield, Overwatch etc. So, we’ll make this comparison short, if you have the extra budget, going to Ryzen 5 will be worth it when looking at pure gaming.

As for the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G, just read along.

Intel or AMD?

Now, lets go to the comparison of the two brands for gaming, do you actually want to use Intel processor or AMD processor? The short answer, if you have enough budget for a decent graphics card (which you should have, if you are planning on trying on the latest titles), and in terms of just pure gaming, Intel is better.

Lets compare the i5 8600K (with 6 cores and 6 threads) and Ryzen 5 2600X (with 6 cores and 12 threads). Even though Ryzen 5 has more threads and cheaper, the quad core performance of i5 is just better, and you can even get an additional 30-40 fps on some of your games using the same graphics card. However, in the real world, it might be worth it to get the Ryzen 5 instead, since its multicore performance is a lot better, and will be a better processor when it comes to other tasks like rendering, compressing files, running a bunch of applications along with many tabs of chrome. And since its cheaper, almost 20% cheaper,  you could use the money you saved for SSD or additional RAM that could make your Ryzen 5 setup much better than the Intel i5.

What if I can’t afford i5 or Ryzen 5, what do I do? Do I get the i3-8350K, maybe a GT 1030 then just run games low on 1080p? Well, this is where the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G comes along. Using just the Ryzen 2400G alone, which is already cheaper than the i3-8350K processor in the Dynaquest website listing, you can get almost a better FPS with more cores for multi-applications, and its 40% cheaper. If you have a lower budget, get the Ryzen 3 2200G and save up for your GTX 1050ti for the next 6 months or more, you’ll be more than fine.

Disclaimer: Prices here are just based online and may not be updated. Not all processors were also considered in order to make the article more compact.

References:
https://www.amd.com/en/ryzen
https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/processors/core.html

http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/
https://pcx.com.ph/price-lists/
https://dynaquestpc.com/collections/

 

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