How to Choose the Right CPU for 1080p Gaming: 14 Processors Compared

Civilization VI Graphics

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

Intel's Core i9-7900X leads this benchmark with an impressive 106.6 FPS. The remainder of the results are uneventful, generally following trends we've observed through past CPU reviews. The Core i7-7700K averages 102.8 FPS, and the nearest mainstream Ryzen competitor achieves 80.1 FPS.

We tested the Threadripper 1950X in Game Mode simply because there wasn't enough room in our charts for the many combinations that AMD enables. Head over to our Threadripper 1950X Game Mode, Benchmarked article if you're interested in the impact of the various modes on Threadripper's performance. Just be aware that the processor behaves differently in many games, depending on the settings you choose.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

Stepping down to the GeForce GTX 1070 exposes a graphics bottleneck with some of our faster CPUs. Intel's Core i9 models push the limits at around 94 FPS, landing within the range we'd expect for a graphics-bound situation. The rest of the field falls into line based on host processing power, though some CPUs fare worse than others.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

A more definite GPU limitation irons out some of the variance between CPUs. Worthwhile scaling is no longer observable. Case in point: There is only a 6.4% delta between the Ryzen 5 1600X and Threadripper 1950X, showing how a midrange graphics card can neutralize the benefit of a high-end processor if you aren't careful to maintain balance.

Fortunately, this also means you can snag an affordable Ryzen 3 or Core i3 and enjoy almost the same performance as you would with a much more expensive model.


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

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

  • psiboy
    Would Have been good to see fx chips and first gen i series. That could explain why Mine appears to be the only comment in a week!