Picking the right processor for your gaming PC can be daunting. CPUs vary on how fast your computer can process information which directly affects how quickly your games can run. You want a processor that can handle the most intense tasks and graphics your games could throw at you. How do you decide? It all comes down to processor speed. Here we will explain what a good processor speed is for gaming.
A good processor speed for gaming is one that’s powerful enough to handle all the tasks your chosen games require. A good benchmark is the Intel Core i7-9700K, which can reach speeds of up to 4.9GHz and has eight cores. This will enable you to enjoy even the most graphically intense games that require a lot of computing power.
The processor you choose should not only be based on its speed, but whether it’s compatible with your other components. CPUs employ different instructions sets and architectures, some of which are not compatible with certain motherboards. Make sure to research your motherboard and the processor you’re considering and ensure they are compatible before investing.
For the most performance at the lowest price, you may consider an AMD processor. In certain games, high-end AMD processors have even been known to beat some Intel processors. Many consider AMD’s Ryzen 3900X the best gaming processor on the market right now, as it rivals Intel’s most powerful CPUs while costing almost $100 less.
Modern CPUs have more than just the processor speed to look out for. Turboboost technologies, like Intel’s Turbo Boost Max 3.0, lets a processor exceed its base frequency to operate at increased clock speeds when needed, significantly improving performance. This is useful for rolling out extra power when you are gaming.
Integrated graphics can come in handy for some gamers as well. While integrated graphics can’t quite reach the performance of a dedicated GPU, it can still offer its own benefits. If you don’t plan on playing games with the most advanced graphics, or don’t have the budget for a dedicated graphics card, integrated graphics may be the choice for you.
We have covered the basics of what a good processor speed for gaming is. Now let’s move further into the subject.
Factors When Choosing A Processor
Other than processor speed, there are many other factors to consider when choosing a processor. Longevity is a big factor in the processor buying decision. You want to make sure you invest your money wisely, into a processor that will last you for years. It’s also recommended to keep up to date with the most up to date technologies, so you should consider features such as Hyper-Threading and PCIe 4.0 support.
The processor can also determine the amount of memory you can have in your system. Some processors support more RAM than others, and if you are looking towards upgrading your setup in the future, a processor with a higher memory support can be your best option.
Of course a processor can only do its job when attached to a motherboard. You need to make sure that your processor is compatible with your motherboard to ensure maximum performance and compatibility. You should also make sure your motherboard has enough PCIe slots for extra GPUs as well as coolers and storage.
Your budget is another important factor when choosing the right processor. It’s important to remember that more expensive processors may offer extra features that are beneficial in the long run, such as support for faster RAM speeds or more cores. These can help with performance, but they may not be required if you are just looking to play games casually.
CPU architectures and instruction sets also change often, so keeping up with the latest processors can help futureproof your system. While certain games may be running optimally on certain architectures, compatibility will be lost if a game is designed for a newer architecture.
Price is a key factor when picking the best processor for your gaming PC. It’s important to note that the best choice for you is not necessarily the most expensive. For example, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600X can outperform Intel’s Core i7-9700K, but it’s almost half the price. It’s important to compare performance with prices and decide what is the best fit for your budget.
Another factor you should consider is the cooling system you require. This can be important to make sure your processor runs at its maximum; you don’t want to buy an expensive processor and have it unable to perform at its peak due to inadequate cooling. Dedicated air-cooling or water-cooling solutions can help keep your processor cool and running in top condition.
Finally, you should consider future upgrading paths. Buying a processor with more cores, different instruction set support and compatible with higher frequency RAM could help you in the future. It may cost more upfront, but it could save you from needing to buy a whole new system in a couple of years.
Overclocking is the process of increasing a processor’s clock speed so it can run faster than its factory settings. A processor may have a base frequency of 3.2GHz, but with overclocking, you can push it closer to 4.0GHz or even higher. This can be beneficial, as it basically turns your gaming into an upgrade, without you having to invest in a more powerful processor.
However, overclocking isn’t for everyone. It requires extra voltage to be pumped into the processor and can generate a lot of heat. You must have adequate cooling and the correct BIOS settings to overclock safely. If you don’t, you can risk damaging the processor and your system, so proceed with caution.
Enthusiasts sometimes use liquid nitrogen to cool their processor for overclocking, allowing for higher clocks. Doing this is not recommended for beginners and can also lead to hardware damage if done incorrectly. If done properly, it can be extremely rewarding.
Most CPUs will have a “recommended” maximum clock speed and this should be a general guide when you are overclocking; stay with the limits set by the manufacturer.
Conclusion On Processor Speed For Gaming
When deciding on what processor to pick for your gaming PC, you must make sure that it is compatible with other components, is powerful enough to perform what you expect, and has a price/performance ratio that works for you. You may also consider overclocking, though you should be aware of the risks involved and proceed with caution.