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Best CPU for Gaming in 2022

Best CPUs for Gaming
Best CPUs for Gaming (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Our tips and picks below will show you the best CPU for gaming. When shopping for the best CPU for gaming, you'll want to balance performance and features with your PC budget. You can also see how all of these processors stack up in our CPU Benchmarks hierarchy which includes CPU overclock benchmarks. But for detailed help on picking the best processor for your gaming rig, you can check out our 2022 CPU Buying Guide. And if you're on the fence about which CPU company to go with, our AMD vs. Intel article dives deep into the topic and comes up with a winner.

We break our gaming CPU recommendations into different price ranges. If you're looking for the overall best gaming CPU with an accessible price point, the six-core 12-thread Core i5-12400 is hands-down the best CPU for gaming. Recent price cuts have made this chip an even better deal, catapulting it to the top of our list.

The Ryzen 5 5600 is the best AMD CPU for gaming for ~$175, but Intel still holds the overall lead in this price range. If you're upgrading a first-gen Ryzen system there isn't a better deal because the 5600 brings the best of Zen 3 to even the oldest Ryzen motherboards. If you're looking for the best AMD CPU for gaming, the new Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the fastest gaming CPU on the market. This chip and its 3D V-Cache isn't as fast as comparable chips in other types of work beyond gaming, though, so you'll need to be aware of the pros and cons. Also, its $449 price point is a bit higher than we typically recommend for gaming-centric builds.

If you're looking for the fastest blend of gaming and application performance on the market, you need to look at the Core i9-12900K. The $589 Intel Core i9-12900K delivers incredible levels of threaded performance, beating AMD's best. However, the $380 Core i7-12700K offers essentially the same gaming performance as the flagship Core i9-12900K — but for ~$200 less. The 12900K serves up the utmost in productivity performance, but the Core i7-12700K provides impressive pricing and performance in both gaming and applications. The $280 Intel Core i5-12600K is easily the best CPU for gaming in its $260 to $300 price bracket, while the $110 Core i3-12100 is the best budget gaming CPU.

Our AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 article has all the details on AMD's latest CPUs, but you can check our full lineup of detailed reviews of each model, like the Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 5 5600X, and Ryzen 5600 and 5500 for the detailed rundown of the best AMD CPUs for gaming.

Our list of best CPUs for workstations is for those who frequently tackle high-end content creation or professional work. Processors benefit from the best thermal paste, so check out our guide if you're shopping for a new processor. But if you're after the best CPU for gaming, you're in the right place.

Best CPU for Gaming at a glance (more info below):

Overall Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i5-12400 (opens in new tab)
Alternate: AMD Ryzen 5 5600 (opens in new tab)

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i9-12900K (opens in new tab)
Alternate: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (opens in new tab)

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D (opens in new tab)
Alternate: Intel Core i7-12700K (opens in new tab)

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i5-12600K (opens in new tab)

Budget Best CPU for Gaming:
Core i3-12100 (opens in new tab)

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (opens in new tab)

Best CPU for Gaming Benchmarks

We rank all the Intel and AMD processors based on our in-depth CPU benchmarks hierarchy. You can see some of those numbers in the charts above, including CPU overclock performance results (marked as PBO for AMD processors) and results in Windows 10 and Windows 11.  

This group of results comprises only the chips that have passed through our newest test suite, while the tables in our CPU benchmark hierarchy include rankings based on past CPU benchmarks, and also include breakdowns of single- and multi-threaded performance across a broad spate of processors. Finally, be aware that the pricing in the charts above can fluctuate.

Quick Shopping Tips

When choosing the best CPU for gaming in 2022, consider the following:

  • You can't lose with AMD or Intel: As noted in our recent AMD vs. Intel feature, Intel tends to make the best CPUs for gaming for mainstream PCs lately. 
  • For gaming, clock speed is more important than the number of cores: Higher CPU clock speeds translate to snappier performance in simple tasks like gaming, while more cores will help you get through heavy workloads faster. 
  • Budget for a full system: Don't pair a strong CPU with weak storage, RAM and graphics.
  • Overclocking isn’t for everyone, but if you follow our How to Overclock a CPU guide, you can scrape out extra performance gains. 

Best CPUs for Gaming 2022

(Image credit: Amazon, Shutterstock)

1. Intel Core i5-12400

Overall Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake
Socket: LGA 1700
Cores/Threads: 6 (6P + 0E) / 12
Base Frequency: 4.4
Top Boost Frequency: 2.5
TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent gaming performance
+
Strong single- and multi-thread
+
Ultra competitive pricing
+
PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory
+
Supports memory overclocking

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires LGA1700 motherboard

If you're looking for the hands-down best CPU for gaming, the mid-range Alder Lake six-core 12-thread Core i5-12400 is your chip, especially after recent price reductions that bring it down to an incredible $160. With the right tuning, it's even faster at gaming than the previous-gen $549 Core i9-11900K flagship, so it should go without saying that it's also faster than the $230 Ryzen 5 5600X in gaming.

The chip comes with six P-cores that support hyper-threading that operate at a 2.5 GHz base and 4.4 GHz boost speed. The 12400 supports leading-edge connectivity with support DDR4-3200 or up to DDR5-4800 memory, along with 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and an additional four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs.

Our testing shows that the Core i5-12400 serves up solid performance in all manner of threaded productivity applications, and its snappy single-threaded performance beats even the fastest Ryzen 5000 processors. Additionally, the Core i5-12400 delivers incredible levels of gaming performance but at a much lower price point than any comparable AMD processor, setting a new bar for budget gaming chips.

The Core i5-12400 comes with a capable cooler that can handle its 65W/117W base/peak power rating, but you'll also need a new 600-series motherboard. Most gamers will enjoy the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4, but you can step up to the more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput. Luckily, Intel's partners now have B- and H-series motherboards available, and a B660 motherboard plus Core i5-12400 CPU will make a killer gaming combo.

Read More: Intel Core i5-12400 Review

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD Ryzen 5 5600

Overall Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 6 / 12
Base Frequency: 3.7GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.6GHz
TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+
Competent gaming and application performance
+
Solid upgrade path for Ryzen 1000 owners
+
Bundled CPU Cooler
+
Overclockable
+
Broad support with 300-series motherboards

Reasons to avoid

-
Value prop is poor vs Intel chips
-
No integrated GPU
-
5500 only supports PCIe 3.0

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600 takes the top spot as the overall best AMD CPU for gaming with a solid blend of performance in both gaming and application workloads, bringing a new level of value to the Zen 3 lineup. The Ryzen 5 5600 makes a great value-centric alternative to Alder Lake for new builds and represents an absolutely unbeatable deal if you're updating a first-gen Ryzen system. However, competing Intel Alder Lake processors are a better deal for most new builds.

The 5600 unseats the Ryzen 5 5600X, a long-time favorite. The 5600X is only ~1% faster in gaming and multi-threaded PC work than the Ryzen 5 5600 but maintains a 4% advantage in single-threaded work. That said, the practical differences between the two chips will be almost imperceptible to the overwhelming majority of users, but the Ryzen 5 5600X costs $35 more, which is absolutely not acceptable given the slim differences. As such, consider the Ryzen 5 5600 the 5600X-killer.

You can find the six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600 at $184, a deep discount brought on by competitive pressure from Intel. In fact, our testing shows that the Ryzen 5 5600 generally matches the gaming performance of its more expensive sibling, the ~$325 Ryzen 7 5800X. That makes the 5600 an incredibly well-rounded chip that can handle any type of gaming, from competitive-class performance with high refresh rate monitors to streaming, while also serving up more than enough performance for day-to-day application workloads. As with all AMD CPUs for gaming, you can fully overclock the CPU.    

The Ryzen 5 5600 has a 3.7 GHz base and 4.6 GHz boost clock, but with the right cooling and motherboard, you can expect higher short-term boosts. The chip also has a 65W TDP rating, meaning it runs exceptionally cool and quiet given its capabilities. Existing AMD owners with a 500-series motherboard will breathe a sigh of relief as the 5600X drops right into existing 500-, 400-, and 300-series motherboards. If you need a new motherboard to support the chip, AMD's AM4 motherboards are plentiful and relatively affordable, with the B-series lineup offering the best overall value for this class of chip. 

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Review

Intel Core i9-12900K (Image credit: Intel)

2. Intel Core i9-12900K

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake
Socket: LGA 1700
Cores/Threads: 16 (8P+8E) / 24
Base Frequency: 3.2
Top Boost Frequency: 5.2
TDP: 125W

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest gaming processor you can buy
+
Competitive pricing
+
DDR5 and PCIe 5.0
+
Leading single-threaded performance
+
Multi-threaded performance
+
Overclockable

Reasons to avoid

-
No bundled cooler
-
Requires LGA1700 motherboard
-
Platform pricing

The Intel Core i9-12900K once held the title of the fastest gaming processor on the planet. At $589, it even outperforms AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X in our gaming testing and even heavily-threaded content creation tasks, making it an exceptional value for high-end game streaming, too. It's also the uncontested leader in x86 single-threaded performance. 

The 12900K also supports leading-edge connectivity with support DDR4-3200 or up to DDR5-4800 memory, along with 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and an additional four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs.

The chip comes with eight P-cores that support hyper-threading, and eight single-threaded E-cores for a total of 24 threads. The P-cores have a 3.2 GHz base, and peak frequencies reach 5.2 GHz with Turbo Boost Max 3.0 (this feature is only active on P-cores). Meanwhile, the E-cores have a 2.4 GHz base and stretch up to 3.9 GHz via the standard Turbo Boost 2.0 algorithms. The chip is also equipped with 30MB of L3 cache and 14MB of L2.

This 12900K has a 125W PBP (base) and 241W MTP (peak) power rating, but we recorded considerably lower power consumption than its prior-gen counterpart. You get industry-leading performance in exchange. 

You'll need to buy a capable cooler for the chip, and you'll also need a new 600-series motherboard. You can find a wide selection of high-end motherboards that support DDR5 memory, and although you'll only find lower-end and mid-range DDR4 motherboards, there's still plenty of selection available. Most gamers will enjoy the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4, but you can step up to the more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput.

Read: Core i9-12900K Review

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (Image credit: Future/Shutterstock)

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 16/32
Base Frequency: 3.4GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.9GHz
TDP: 105W

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading 16 cores & 32 threads
+
Overclockable
+
Higher boost frequencies
+
Reasonable price-per-core
+
Power efficiency
+
PCIe Gen 4.0

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires beefy cooling
-
No bundled cooler
-
Higher gen-on-gen pricing
-
No integrated graphics

High end desktop processors have long offered the ultimate in performance, as long as you were willing to pay the price. Aside from high MSRPs, the chips also require expensive accommodations, like beefy motherboards and the added cost of fully populating quad-channel memory controllers. Add in the inevitable trade-offs, like reduced performance in lightly-threaded applications and games, and most cost-conscious users who could benefit from the threaded horsepower of a HEDT chip just settle for mainstream offerings.

AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X, with 16 cores and 32 threads, expanded on its predecessors' mission of bringing HEDT-class performance to mainstream motherboards, lowering the bar for entry. The 5950X carries a $550 price tag, but that’s downright affordable compared to competing HEDT processors that don't offer the same class of performance.

We generally don't recommend HEDT processors for enthusiasts that are only interested in gaming. Gamers are best served by mainstream processors (with fewer cores and higher clocks) that are often faster in games; our testing shows the Ryzen 9 5950X also falls into the same category — AMD's lesser 5000-series models are a better value for gamers. However, if you're after a chip and platform that can do serious work seriously fast, but still be nimble enough to deliver high-refresh gameplay at the end of the day, the Ryzen 9 5950X fits the bill like no other CPU before it.

Read: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Review

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D (Image credit: AMD)

3. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 8/16
Base Frequency: 3.4GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.5GHz
TDP: 105W

Reasons to buy

+
The fastest gaming CPU money can buy
+
Competitive price
+
Support for PCIe 4.0
+
Compatible with AM4 motherboards
+
Passable single- and multi-threaded performance
+
Low power consumption

Reasons to avoid

-
No overclocking support
-
No bundled cooler
-
No integrated graphics
-
Not as strong as competing chips in desktop PC applications 

The $449 Ryzen 7 5800X3D's 3D V-Cache tech represents an innovative engineering effort that conquered the technical challenges associated with bringing the first desktop PC chip with 3D-stacked SRAM to market, yielding a chip with an incredible 96MB of L3 cache, and to great effect: The end result is a comparatively low-power chip that delivers incredible gaming performance, dethroning Intel's $589 Alder Lake Core i9-12900K and $739 Core i9-12900KS from the top of our gaming charts.

On average at 1080p gaming, the $449 Ryzen 7 5800X3D is ~9% faster than the  $589 Core i9-12900K, which costs 30% more, and ~7% faster than the $739 Core i9-12900KS, which costs a whopping 64% more. That means the Ryzen 7 58000X3D is both the best AMD CPU for gaming in our test suite and faster for gaming than any Intel model.

However, you have to be aware of the tradeoffs with this highly-specialized chip — our gaming benchmarks show that the 3D V-Cache doesn't boost performance in all games, though we found that it impacted nearly every single title we tested. Additionally, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is optimized specifically for gaming, but it can't keep pace with similarly-priced chips in productivity applications. The Core i9-12900K is 29% faster in single-threaded work and 62% faster in threaded applications, and the 12900KS is even faster still.

If you're looking for a more balanced chip that does well at both gaming and applications, our tests show that the $385 Core i7-12700K listed below is a solid choice. The Core i7-12700K is 28.8% faster in single-threaded work and 40% faster in multi-threaded work than the 5800X3D, showing that it is the best all-rounder in this price range.

The 5800X3D drops into existing socket AM4 motherboards dating all the way back to the 300-series that debuted in 2017, so it will make a great high-performance drop-in upgrade for Ryzen owners. Be aware that AM4 is on the way out to make room for the 5nm Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ Zen 4 CPUs in the AM5 socket. Also, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D also doesn't support Alder Lake's leading-edge connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D has much lower power consumption than the Core i9-12900KS and 12900K, making it a far cooler processor that won't require as expensive accommodations, like a beefy cooler, motherboard, and power supply. That means the 5800X3D delivers top-notch gaming performance along with a cooler, quieter, and less expensive system than you'll get with a Core i9.

If you're willing to accept the lower but still competent performance in desktop PC applications, and also do your homework to make sure the Ryzen 7 5800X3D accelerates the types of games you play frequently, it's hard to go wrong with this chip — especially for upgraders with AMD systems. If you have a taste for higher-end fare and a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is an impressive chip that delivers leading-edge gaming performance and leaves room for future GPU upgrades.

Read: Ryzen 7 5800X3D Review

Intel Core i7-12700K (Image credit: Intel, Shutterstock)

Intel Core i7-12700K

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming- Alternate Pick

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake
Socket: LGA 1700
Cores/Threads: 12 (8P+4E) / 20
Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.9 GHz
TDP: 125 / 190W

Reasons to buy

+
Price
+
Matches 12900K gaming performance
+
Single- and Multi-threaded performance
+
Class-leading gaming performance
+
PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory
+
Overclockable
+
Power efficiency improved

Reasons to avoid

-
No bundled cooler
-
Platform pricing
-
Draws more power than Ryzen

At $385, the 12700K thoroughly beats the $330 Ryzen 7 5800X and even unseats the pricey $550 Ryzen 9 5900X, all while delivering essentially the same gaming performance as Intel's own $589 flagship Core i9-12900K — but for significantly less.

Our testing shows that in 1080p gaming, the Core i7-12700K is an impressive 12% faster than the Ryzen 7 5800X. However, the $449 Ryzen 7 5800X3D is 13% faster at 1080p than the stock Core i7-12700K, but only 3.6% faster than a CPU overclocked 12700K config. 

However, our benchmarks show the Core i7-12700K is a much better all-rounder if you're looking for performance in productivity work, so you should select the 5800X3D if you're only interested in gaming performance in the $400 to $475 price bracket, and the 12700K if you're more interested in a balanced blend of price and performance.

The 12700K has serious chops in productivity work: In lightly-threaded apps, the 12700K is ~17% faster than the 5800X and 5900X. In threaded work, the Core i7-12700K is 2.5% faster than the Ryzen 9 5900X, though the 5900X does carve out a few wins in heavily-threaded apps. The competition isn't even close with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D —The Core i7-12700K is 28.8% faster in single-threaded work and 40% faster in multi-threaded work, showing that it is the best all-rounder in this price range.

The Core i7-12700K has eight P-cores (high-performance) and four E-cores (Efficiency), for a total of 20 threads. The P-cores run at a 3.6 / 5.0 GHz base/boost while the E-cores weigh in at 2.7 / 3.8 GHz. In addition, the chip is fed by 25MB of L3 cache and 12MB of L2.

The 12700K also supports leading-edge connectivity with support DDR4-3200 or up to DDR5-4800 memory, along with 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and an additional four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs. The 12700K has a 125W PBP (base) and 190W MTP (peak) power rating. Still, we recorded considerably lower power consumption than its prior-gen counterpart, and you get ultra-competitive performance in exchange. 

You'll need to buy a capable cooler for the chip, and you'll also need a new 600-series motherboard. You can find a wide selection of high-end motherboards that support DDR5 memory, and although you'll only find lower-end and mid-range DDR4 motherboards, there's still plenty of selection available. Most gamers will enjoy the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4, but you can step up to the more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput.

Read: Core i7-12700K Review

Intel Core i5-12600K (Image credit: Intel)

4. Intel Core i5-12600K

Best Mid-Range CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake
Socket: LGA 1700
Cores/Threads: 10 (6P + 4E) / 16
Base Frequency: 3.7
Top Boost Frequency: 4.9
TDP: 125W

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional gaming performance
+
Competitive pricing
+
PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory
+
Overclockable
+
Outgames the Ryzen competition

Reasons to avoid

-
No bundled cooler
-
Requires LGA1700 motherboard
-
Platform pricing

Our in-depth testing shows that the $280 Core i5-12600K provides leading gaming performance at its price point, outshining the $210 Ryzen 5 5600X. The 12600K offers up to 38% more threaded performance than the Ryzen 5 5600X, too, and even 7% more performance than the $330 Ryzen 7 5800X. Coupled with the snappy single-threaded performance, this is one of the best CPUs for gaming on the market.

The 12600K comes with six threaded P-cores that operate at 3.7 / 4.9 GHz and four E-cores that run at 2.8 / 3.6 GHz, for a total of 16 threads. That's paired with 20MB of L3 and 9.5MB of L2 cache. 

The chip supports 16 lanes of the leading-edge PCIe 5.0 interface and an additional four PCIe 4.0 lanes for a speedy M.2 SSD port. The leading-edge connectivity doesn't stop there, though: The Core i5-12600K also supports either DDR4 or DDR5 memory. Most gamers will enjoy the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4, but you can step up to the more expensive DDR5 if you need access to more memory throughput. 

The 12600K comes with a maximum power rating of 150W, but the chip sucks significantly less power than its prior-gen counterpart while delivering much more performance in gaming. The lowered power consumption allows the chip to work well with a wide variety of standard air and water coolers, but you'll need to make sure your model supports the LGA 1700 socket.

Speaking of which, you'll also need a new 600-series motherboard for the processor, and Z690 models are currently your only option. You can find a wide selection of high-end models that support DDR5 memory, and although you'll only find lower-end and mid-range DDR4 motherboards, there's still plenty of selection available.

Read: Core i5-12600K Review 

Intel Core i3-12100 (Image credit: Intel, Shutterstock)

5. Intel Core i3-12100

Budget Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Alder Lake
Socket: LGA 1700
Cores/Threads: 4 (4P + 0E) / 8
Base Frequency: 3.3
Top Boost Frequency: 4.3
TDP: 60W

Reasons to buy

+
Superb price/performance
+
Leading gaming and single-thread performance
+
Capable bundled cooler
+
Supports DDR4 and DDR5
+
PCIe 5.0
+
Low power consumption
+
Supports memory overclocking 

Reasons to avoid

-
No Turbo Boost 3.0 (only 2.0)
-
Core frequency not overclockable

Like the rest of the Alder Lake family, the $130 Core i3-12100 comes to market with disruptive pricing. The chip also comes as a $104 F-series Core i3-12100F that Intel ships with deactivated integrated graphics for $25 less than the full-featured model. In fact, with no clear current-gen competitor from AMD and stellar performance for its price point, the Core i3-12100 easily leads our CPU benchmark hierarchy in the $105 to $130 bracket. Overall, our testing shows that the quad-core i3-12100's potent combination of price, performance, and improved stock cooler dominates the $100 to $130 price range while punching up against more expensive competitors.

The Core i3-12100 now reigns as the fastest budget gaming CPU on the market and it's plenty impressive in lightly-threaded apps, too: None of AMD's chips match the 12100 in single-threaded work, so you'll have to look to other Alder Lake chips to find faster performance. The Core i3-12100 is also impressive in threaded productivity workloads for its price point.

The Core i3-12100 comes with a 60W PBP (base) and 89W MTP (peak) power rating. The chip clocks in with a 3.3 GHz base and boosts up to 4.3 GHz. It also comes with 12 MB of L3 cache. Intel's Alder Lake drops into Socket 1700 motherboards from the 600-series, including Z690, H670, B660, and H610. The Core i3-12100 is a locked chip, meaning it isn't overclockable. However, Intel supports memory overclocking on Z690, B660 and H670 motherboards (Z690 doesn't make sense for this class of chip, though).

The Core i3-12100 doesn't have a similarly-priced competitor from AMD that can keep pace. However, despite a total lack of competition, it still brings impressive generational performance gains to the table. In fact, our 1080p gaming benchmarks show the $129 Core i3-12100 delivers 88% of the $299 Core i5-12400's performance, but for 56% less cash. That's a winning blend of price and performance.

Read: Intel Core i3-12100 Review

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (Image credit: AMD)

6. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 6/12
Base Frequency: 3.9GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.4GHz
TDP: 65W

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar price-to-performance ratio
+
Faster Zen 3 CPU cores
+
Passable 1080p, solid 720p
+
Excellent power consumption and efficiency
+
Great overclocking headroom
+
Bundled cooler
+
Compatible with some AM4 motherboards

Reasons to avoid

-
PCIe 3.0 connectivity

The Ryzen 5 5600G steps into the arena as the new value champ for APUs, which are chips that come with strong enough integrated graphics that they don't require a discrete GPU for light gaming, albeit if you're willing to accept lowered quality settings.

At $259, the Ryzen 5 5600G gives you 96% of the gaming performance on integrated graphics than its more expensive sibling, the $359 Ryzen 7 5700G, but for 30% less cash. Our testing shows that its level of performance makes it the best value APU on the market. As long as you're willing to sacrifice fidelity and resolution, and keep your expectations in check, the Ryzen 5 5600G's Vega graphics have surprisingly good performance in gaming. 

The 5600G's Vega graphics served up comparatively great 1280x720 gaming across numerous titles in our tests, but options become more restricted at 1080p. Of course, you can get away with 1080p gaming, but you'll need to severely limit the fidelity settings with most titles.

With eight cores and 16 threads that operate at a 3.9 GHz base and boost up to 4.4 GHz, the Ryzen 5 5600G also offers solid performance for its price point in standard desktop PC applications. The chip also comes with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler, sweetening the value prop, and drops into existing 500-series and some 400-series motherboards, though support on the latter will vary by vendor.

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Review

If your budget is tight and you're looking to build a system for modest gaming, you should check out our Best Cheap CPUs feature. Some of those chips can deliver passable gaming performance without a graphics card, and their prices start at just $55 (£40). Also, be aware that Intel has its Raptor Lake processors coming to market this year, and AMD has its Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 in the works, too. 

Paul Alcorn
Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3795320/cpus.html
    Reply
  • davidm.maya
    mmm What about the i5-9600K ? Why are you actually recommending to buy earlier generation processors? Going against your own recommendations?

    I can understand why the i5-8400 got the 1st place but I can't get it why are you still recommending i5-8600K given that the i5-9600K is very close in price from the new generation and better.
    Reply
  • davidm.maya
    *Removed repeated post*
    Reply
  • totalinsanity4
    Given that the R5 2600 is only $1 more than the 2400G, why not replace that as the budget pick? Two more cores and four more threads are definitely beneficial, ESPECIALLY at that price point
    Reply
  • gx240
    I'm actually curious about the i5-9600K too. Its price seems to be almost identical to the i5-8600K. For the last week I've seen it selling for about $10 to $30 dollars more for an appreciable increase in boost frequency. Any reason not to recommend it?
    Reply
  • kiniku
    I just ordered the 9700K for my new build. It was splitting hairs between the 2700X, but I have a 35" G-Sync monitor, and I game 95% of the time. While the cost is higher, I feel the 9700K covers all the bases.
    Reply
  • dekfin6
    CPU is one of the important parts of the computer or laptop so it I very important to have the best quality CPU and for my point of view AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, Intel Core i5-8600K also can take help from windows error code 0x8024a105 and also has any query then also it will help you.
    Reply
  • gibo.w.tk
    I am going to play at 3440x1440p at 200hz and hdr with the new acer x35 should I get a 9900k or 8086k and a rtx 2080 ti for gaming only, for my upgrade of a fx 4300 and gtx 1050.
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  • SR TEE
    I have my disagreements with these ratings. I'd still think an overclocked I7 8700K would be the best gaming CPU at the moment for the price and availability, but if I looked at it in a future sense the R7 2700X would be the best value choice considering how often Intel changes their sockets and leaves their customers high and dry with no upgrade path beyond two CPU generations.

    I also disagree with the Ryzen 2400G for that price range, the R5 2600 is going for around $160(on some sites has gone up to $200 though) and if gotten at that price it beats out the R5 2400G.

    Now with an R5 2600 at $160 that kind of displaces the Intel I5 8400 a little bit. If that's the case you may as well go up to the R7 2700 or maybe an Intel I5 8600K.

    Just my opinions, but as prices change and the value propositions are altered my opinion will change as well.
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  • xravenxdota
    21541164 said:
    I have my disagreements with these ratings. I'd still think an overclocked I7 8700K would be the best gaming CPU at the moment for the price and availability, but if I looked at it in a future sense the R7 2700X would be the best value choice considering how often Intel changes their sockets and leaves their customers high and dry with no upgrade path beyond two CPU generations.

    I also disagree with the Ryzen 2400G for that price range, the R5 2600 is going for around $160(on some sites has gone up to $200 though) and if gotten at that price it beats out the R5 2400G.

    Now with an R5 2600 at $160 that kind of displaces the Intel I5 8400 a little bit. If that's the case you may as well go up to the R7 2700 or maybe an Intel I5 8600K.

    Just my opinions, but as prices change and the value propositions are altered my opinion will change as well.

    I personally would pick the 8700k over any 99xx series as i agree the price to performance on the 99x models are just not there.The 9900k are almost double the price of a 2700x here.

    On the second one.I built my brother a 2400g which was a budget built for the fact he doesn't need a dedicated gpu to play games.I went with the 2600 as i have a gpu so it made more sense.I will agree the 2600 are by far the budget king but for the same price the 2400g as a igpu.

    My brother will get this 1050ti of mine when i upgrade during this month but as when i built his pc his value was far better as mine as he did not have to by a gpu to play games out of the box.

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