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Best CPU for Gaming in 2021

Included in this guide:

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

When shopping for the best gaming CPU, you'll want to balance performance and features with your PC budget. Our tips and picks below will help you choose the best CPU for gaming. You can also see how all of these processors stack up in our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy. But for detailed help on picking the best processor for your gaming rig, you can check out our 2021 CPU Buying Guide. And if you're on the fence about which CPU company to go with, our AMD vs. Intel feature dives deep and comes up with a winner.

If you're looking for the fastest gaming chip on the market, you need to look at our review of the Core i9-12900K and Core i5-12600K. The $589 Intel Core i9-12900K delivers incredible levels of threaded performance, often rivaling or beating the $799 Ryzen 9 5950X, but at a much lower price point. That type of performance will pay off in all manner of heavily-threaded productivity applications. If you're looking for snappy performance in lighter fare, it's also the uncontested leader in x86 single-threaded performance. 

However, the Core i7-12700K offers essentially the same gaming performance as the fastest gaming chip on the planet, Intel's own $589 flagship Core i9-12900K — but for $180 less. Or, with the Black Friday deal above, $210 less. That's quite the value. The 12900K serves up extra cores and extra boost speed for those looking for the utmost in productivity performance, but the Core i7-12700K is a well-rounded chip that provides an impressive blend of pricing and performance in both gaming and applications.  

The $289 Intel Core i5-12600K is easily the best CPU for gaming in its $260 to $289 price range, which is where most gamers shop. The 12600K is truly the mainstream gamer's chip, with up to 38% more threaded performance than the Ryzen 5 5600X and 7% more performance than the Ryzen 7 5800X. Coupled with the snappy single-threaded performance, this is the mainstream gaming chip to beat.

If you're looking for the quick blow-by-blow, you can see both of these chips in dedicated head-to-head comparisons in our recent faceoffs:

AMD's Ryzen 7 5700G and Ryzen 5 5600G APUs also came to market recently, shaking up the entry-level graphics scene. We found that the duo has the fastest integrated GPU on the market, offering nearly twice the performance of Intel's integrated graphics. The Ryzen 5000G series is now the uncontested champ for extreme budget gaming, small form factor, and HTPC rigs. The 5000G could also slot in as a temporary solution for enthusiasts that can't find a graphics card at reasonable pricing during these times of severe graphics cards shortages.

However, the Ryzen 5 5600G, which now joins our list of Best CPUs for Gaming, is the best pick for that task. The $259 Ryzen 5 5600G's iGPU performance lands within 4% of the $359 Ryzen 7 5700G but for 30% less cash, making it the best value APU for gaming on the market. We also recently tested the Ryzen 3 5300G, but that chip remains OEM-exclusive, meaning that you can't buy it at retail. 

At launch, AMD's Zen 3-powered Ryzen 5000 processors took the lead as the fastest gaming CPUs on the market, but Intel's Rocket Lake chips tightened the race and actually took the lead in the mid-range, as you can see with the Core i5-11400.

Our AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 article has all the details on AMD's new 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, and Ryzen 5 5600X for the detailed rundown.

AMD also has its new CPUs with 3D V-Cache headed to production later this year. Those chips will bring up to 15% more gaming performance courtesy of up to an almost-unthinkable 192MB of L3 cache bolted onto a souped-up Zen 3 processor. So as you can imagine, it won't be long before we have the full scoop on performance.  

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

Overall Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i5-12600K
Alternate: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

High Performance Value Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i9-12900K
Alternate: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i7-12700K
Alternate: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming:
Intel Core i5-11400

Budget Best CPU for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Entry-Level Best CPU for Gaming:

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Choosing the Best Gaming CPU for You

For a list of all processors by performance, check out our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy for CPU comparisons backed by processor benchmarks. We also maintain a list of best CPUs for workstations, for those who frequently tackle high-end content creation, or other tasks that benefit from high core counts. Higher-end chips benefit the most 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 gaming CPU, you're in the right place.

If your main goal is gaming, you of course can't forget about the graphics card. Getting the best possible gaming CPU won't help you much if your GPU is under-powered and/or out of date. So be sure to check out Best Graphics Cards page, as well as our GPU Benchmarks Hierarchy to make sure you have the right card for the level of gaming you're looking to achieve.      

CPU Gaming Benchmarks

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CPU Benchmark Hierarchy

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CPU Benchmark Hierarchy

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CPU Benchmark Hierarchy

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CPU Benchmark Hierarchy

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CPU Benchmark Hierarchy

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CPU Benchmark Hierarchy

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CPU integrated GPU Hierarchy

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CPU integrated GPU Hierarchy

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

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, the pricing in the charts above represents MSRPs. Given the current state of chip shortages, you likely won't find many of these chips at these prices at retail.

Quick Shopping Tips

When choosing a CPU in 2021, consider the following:

  • You can't lose with AMD or Intel: We recently pointed out that AMD makes better CPUs overall these days in our AMD vs. Intel feature. But so long as you’re considering current-generation parts, the performance debate is basically a wash, particularly when it comes to gaming. Some of the most-expensive mainstream Intel processors do slightly better on gaming, and AMD handles tasks like video editing quicker (thanks largely to extra cores and threads). 
  • For gaming, clock speed is more important than the number of cores: Higher CPU clock speeds translate to snappier performance in simple, common tasks such as gaming, while more cores will help you get through time-consuming workloads faster. In the end, the fastest CPUs of any family of processors have the highest clock speeds. 
  • Budget for a full system: Don't pair a strong CPU with weak storage, RAM and graphics.
  • Overclocking isn’t for everyone: If you want to just get to gaming, it might make more sense to spend $20-$60 more and buy a higher-end chip, rather than spending money on a higher-end cooler.

Best Gaming CPUs for 2021

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

1. Intel Core i5-12600K

Overall Best 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

The $289 Core i5-12600K provides leading gaming performance at its price point, outshining the $299 Ryzen 5 5600X while coming with a slightly lower price tag. The 12600K offers up to 38% more threaded performance than the Ryzen 5 5600X, too, and even 7% more performance than the $450 Ryzen 7 5800X. Coupled with the snappy single-threaded performance, this is the gaming chip to beat.

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 

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Overall Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications
Architecture: Zen 3
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 6 / 12
Base Frequency: 4.1GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.8GHz
TDP: 65W
Reasons to buy
+Strong gaming performance+Strong in single- and multi-threaded workloads+Relatively easy to cool+PCIe 4.0+Bundled cooler+Power efficiency+Works with existing 500-series motherboards
Reasons to avoid
-Higher gen-on-gen pricing

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X takes the top spot in the gaming PC market with a solid blend of Intel-beating performance in both gaming and application workloads. The six-core 12-thread chip lands at $299, a $50 price hike over its previous-gen counterpart, but brings more than enough extra gaming and application performance to justify the premium. The Ryzen 5 5600X even beats the Intel Core i9-10900K at gaming, which is an incredible feat given its price point. Not to mention that it's the most power-efficient desktop PC processor we've ever tested. 

AMD's Zen 3 microarchitecture results in a stunning 19% increase in IPC, which floats all boats in terms of performance in gaming, single-threaded, and multi-threaded applications. In fact, the chip generally matches the gaming performance of its more expensive sibling, the $449 Ryzen 7 5800X. That makes the 5600X 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.    

The Ryzen 5 5600X 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 (the previous-gen model was 95W). Existing AMD owners with a 500-series motherboard will breathe a sigh of relief as the 5600X drops right into existing 500-series motherboards. You can also drop the chips right into 400-series motherboards. If you need a new motherboard to support the chip, both 400- and 500-series motherboards are plentiful and relatively affordable, with the B550 lineup offering the best overall value for this class of chip. 

Read: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 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 is the fastest gaming processor on the planet. At $589, it even outperforms AMD's $799 Ryzen 9 5950X in gaming 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, and 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 3950X (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 any 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, expands on its predecessors' mission of bringing HEDT-class performance to mainstream motherboards, lowering the bar for entry. The 5950X carries a $799 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; 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 3950X Review

(Image credit: Intel, Shutterstock)

3. Intel Core i7-12700K

Best Something.....

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
-Only Z690 motherboards for now-No bundled cooler-Platform pricing-Draws more power than Ryzen

At $409, the 12700K thoroughly beats the $390 Ryzen 7 5800X and even unseats the pricey $550 Ryzen 9 5900X, all while delivering essentially the same gaming performance as the fastest gaming chip on the planet, Intel's own $589 flagship Core i9-12900K — but for $180 less.

In 1080p gaming, the $409 Core i7-12700K is an impressive 12% faster than the Ryzen 7 5800X and 7.5% faster than the Ryzen 9 5900X that holds the title as AMD's fastest gaming chip. The chip has serious chops in productivity work, too: 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 5800X — the 12700K is 40% faster in threaded work.

The Core i7-12700K lands with the same $409 pricing as the previous-gen Core i7-11700K, but it comes with 33% more threads. 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 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 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

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (Image credit: AMD)

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Overall Value Best CPU for Gaming - Alternate Pick

Specifications
Architecture: Zen 3
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 12/24
Base Frequency: 3.7GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.8GHz
TDP: 65W
Reasons to buy
+Support for PCIe 4.0+Unlocked multiplier+Compatible with 500-series motherboards+Excellent gaming performance +Excellent single- and multi-threaded performance
Reasons to avoid
-No bundled cooler-Higher gen-on-gen pricing-No integrated graphics

If you’re truly only concerned about the best gaming CPU and basic productivity tasks, you should go with the Ryzen 5 5600X and save yourself some money. But if you’re looking for the uncontested fastest gaming chip on the market, or thinking of getting into game streaming, occasionally edit video, or just like the idea of having more threads available when you need them, AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X is an incredible value.

The 12-core 24-thread Ryzen 9 5900X is rated for a 3.7 GHz base and 4.8 GHz boost, but we clocked it in at 5.0 GHz during our own testing. The 5900X offers the ultimate in gaming performance - it is the uncontested gaming chip on the market, but it is a bit overkill if gaming is all you do. However, if you feel the need for speed in productivity workloads, this chip's 12 cores will chew through those workloads with aplomb. 

There’s also support for PCIe 4.0 and overclockability to consider. The Ryzen 9 5900X drops into existing 500-series and 400-series motherboards. You'll need to bring your own cooler, and the bigger the better - cooling definitely has an impact on performance with the higher-end Ryzen 5000 processors. However, if you're looking at the no-compromise chip for gaming, this is your chip.

Read: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review

Intel Core i5-11400 (Image credit: Intel, Shutterstock)

4. Intel Core i5-11400

Mid-Range Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications
Architecture: Rocket Lake
Socket: LGA 1200
Cores/Threads: 6/12
Base Frequency: 2.6GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.4GHz
TDP: 65W
Reasons to buy
+Solid gaming and application performance+PCIe 4.0+Bundled cooler+Memory overclocking
Reasons to avoid
-Power consumption

The Core i5-11400 is the best budget chip on the market, largely because AMD's only competing chip comes in the form of the two-year-old Ryzen 5 3600 that can't compete with the more modern 11400. In gaming, the $182 Core i5-11400 delivers a blowout victory over the Ryzen 5 3600 that often retails for $200 or more. In fact, you can pick up the graphics-less Core i5-11400F for $157, which is a steal given this level of gaming performance. (Remember, the 11400F will perform the same as the non-F model, but you lose QuickSync.) 

Taken as a whole, the Core i5-11400 has a better blend of performance throughout our full suite of application tests, too. The 11400's large lead in single-threaded work is impressive, and its only deficiencies in threaded work come when it is topped with its stock cooler. The 11400 roughly matches the 3600 in threaded work with a better cooler, even with the power limits strictly enforced, while removing those limits gives the 11400 uncontested lead.

The Core i5-11400 supports the PCIe 4.0 interface. Additionally, B-series motherboards, which make the best pairing with this chip, support both memory overclocking and lifting the power limits, both of which yield huge dividends with this chip while also giving enthusiasts room to tinker.  You'll have to overlook the higher power consumption if you go with the Core i5-11400, especially if you remove the power limits. Intel's stock cooler is also largely worthless for enthusiasts, so you should budget for a better cooler. 

 Read: Intel Core i5-11400 Review

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X (Image credit: AMD)

5. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Budget Best CPU for Gaming

Specifications
Architecture: Zen 2
Socket: AM4
Cores/Threads: 4/8
Base Frequency: 3.8GHz
Top Boost Frequency: 4.3GHz
TDP: 65W
Reasons to buy
+Low pricing+Great gaming performance+Solder TIM+Overclocking ceiling+PCIe 4.0 interface+Power efficient
Reasons to avoid
-Lackluster bundle cooler

The Ryzen 3 3300X is a hard chip to find because it is simply such a great deal. But if you do manage to nab one anywhere near its $120 MSRP, it's impossible to beat at its price point. The chip unlocks a new level of performance for budget gamers with four cores and eight threads that can push low- to mid-range graphics cards to their fullest. This new processor wields the Zen 2 architecture paired with the 7nm process to push performance to new heights while enabling new features for low-end processors, like access to the speedy PCIe 4.0 interface. The 3300X's four cores tick at a 3.8 GHz clock rate and boost to 4.3 GHz, providing snappy performance in lightly threaded applications, like games.

AMD includes a bundled Wraith Spire cooler with the processor. Still, you might consider budgeting in a better low-end cooler to unlock the full performance, particularly if you are overclocking. Speaking of which, the Ryzen 3 3300X can overclock to the highest all-core frequencies we've seen with a Ryzen 3000-series processor, making it a great chip for enthusiasts. Unlike AMD's other current-gen Ryzen 3 processors, you'll need to pair this processor with a discrete GPU, but the low price point leaves extra room in the budget for a more capable graphics card.

You can stick with the value theme and drop this capable chip into existing X470 of B450 motherboards, but you'll lose access to the PCIe 4.0 interface in exchange for a lower price point. Better yet, AMD has its new B550 motherboards on offer. These new motherboards support the PCIe 4.0 interface but provide lower entry-level pricing that's a better fit for this class of processor.

Read: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X Review

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G (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 comes to market during the worst GPU shortage in history, so many users will upgrade to this chip and use its potent integrated graphics for gaming until GPU pricing improves. The Ryzen 5 5600G lives up to that bill, too, stepping 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 at 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. That 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, 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).

Deals on the Best CPUs

Whether you're buying one of the best CPUs we listed above or one that didn't quite make the cut, you may find some savings by checking our list of coupon codes, especially our lists of Newegg promo codes and Micro Center coupons.

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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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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