Best Gaming CPU: The best Intel and AMD gaming processors

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Looking to upgrade your gaming PC or build an entire new system from scratch? Then you’ll need the best gaming CPU possible to maximise your performance and see those frame rates soar for the most demanding AAA games.

We’ve assembled a list of the very all-time gaming CPU options for desktop PCs currently bachelor, with inclusions from both AMD and Intel.

Notwithstanding, information technology’due south working bearing in mind that AMD is expected to launch a new range of desktop processors early on next year, and so it may be worth waiting for a few months if y’all’d rather side with Team Ruby-red instead of Team Blue.

How we test

Learn more about how we test CPUs

We ever review multiple CPUs at in one case to compare data, using consequent components for fair testing where possible.

We use a mix of both synthetic and in-game benchmarks to gauge performance, while also considering additional features and pricing.

We likewise measure the likes of power consumption and top temperature under stress to become an idea of functioning efficiency.

Shop the range of AMD Ryzen™ Laptops at Currys

Store the range of AMD Ryzen™ Laptops at Currys

On the chase for a top-notch laptop to help with your schoolhouse or university work that’s also great for the odd spot of Netflix binging and gaming, but non sure which to get?

We’d recommend looking at one with an AMD Ryzen™ 5000 Series Mobile Processor

Intel Core i5-12600K

All-time value gaming CPU, with oodles of future-proofing


  • First-class gaming performance
  • Huge improvements to multi-cadre performance
  • Future-proofed with PCIe five.0 and DDR5
  • Corking power efficiency


  • Teething issues for game compatibility
  • Requirement of Z690 motherboard drives up price

The Intel Core i5-12600K is one of the latest chips to launch from Team Blue, and it arguably represents the best value. Not but does it provide one of the absolute best gaming performances available, but it’s likewise packing plenty of features to future-proof your rig.

DDR5 support means you can install the most powerful RAM currently bachelor, while PCIe v.0 noticeably lifts the performance cap for new SSDs, speeding up those slow loading times.

Of course, this isn’t a inexpensive upgrade, with the need of a Z690 motherboard another expense yous’ll need to factor in, but you arguably won’t need to upgrade your CPU once more for a long, long time after investing in the i5-12600K.

Ryan Jones
Full review:
Intel Core i5-12600K review

Intel Core i5-11600K

Great value gaming chip with PCIe 4.0 support


  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Support for PCIe 4.0
  • Good value for money
  • Runs at comparatively low temperatures


  • Poor multi-threaded performance
  • Marginal functioning gains from 10th generation

The Intel Cadre i5-11600K offers a similar (albeit marginally slower) gaming performance compared to its newer 12th Gen sibling, but is likewise available at a cheaper price.

Aside from the mediocre multi-threaded operation that volition plow off creators, the biggest issue with the i5-11600K is its lack of futureproofing. It features support for PCIe 4.0, but 12th Gen Intel chips offer a far college performance ceiling with PCIe v.0 and DDR5.

But if you’re currently not bothered near future-proofing your system for cutting-edge SSDs and RAM, then the Intel Core i5-11600K remains a fantastic chip that offers a stellar gaming performance.

Ryan Jones
Total review:
Intel Core i5-11600K review

Intel Core i9-12900K

The about powerful gaming CPU


  • Huge gains in multi-core performance
  • Most powerful gaming CPU performance
  • Very good for streaming games
  • Hereafter-proofed with PCIe five.0 and DDR5


  • Expensive
  • High peak temperature
  • Merely slightly better than i5 for gaming

The Intel Cadre i9-12900K is the most powerful gaming processor we’ve tested yet, only we’re non convinced its operation reward over the i5-12600k is pregnant enough to justify that steep price for gaming alone.

Instead, the Intel Cadre i9-12900K is best considered if you want a processor for both content creation and gaming. Its multi-threaded muscle is hugely impressive, while the clever ‘hybrid architecture’ is particularly skilled at juggling multiple tasks simultaneously such equally playing a game while recording/streaming video.

This chip isn’t cheap, but since it’southward packing support for PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, it’s unlikely that you lot’ll need to upgrade your processor and motherboard again for a very long time.

Ryan Jones
Total review:
Intel Cadre i9-12900K review

AMD Ryzen seven 5800X

All-time value AMD gaming CPU


  • Fantastic all-round functioning
  • Great multi-threaded performance
  • Depression power consumption
  • Supports PCIe four.0


  • Fairly expensive
  • Intel withal has the border for gaming

The appeal of the AMD Ryzen seven 5800X has macerated significantly since the launch of Intel’s Alder Lake processors, with the i5-12600K boasting superior single-core and multi-threaded speeds despite having a cheaper price.

But if you’re a devoted AMD fan and want your flake to sync up with your Radeon graphics menu to unlock some game-boosting features, then the Ryzen 7 5800X is still a worthy pick with some respectable gaming speeds.

It’s likewise packing PCIe 4.0 support, which should give compatible SSDs a performance boost, although it’s admittedly not quite equally time to come-proofed as the Intel Core i5-12600K which is rocking PCIe 5.0 back up for even faster speeds.

Ryan Jones
Full review:
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X review

Intel Core i5-10600K

Best budget gaming CPU


  • Impressive unmarried-threaded performance
  • Consistently fast in games
  • Includes Hyper-Threading
  • One of the more affordable gaming fries


  • Poor multi-threaded performance
  • Relatively expensive ecosystem
  • No native PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 5.0 back up

The Intel Core i5-10600K is based on oldest compages of all the gaming CPUs in this listing, but it still offers a respectable gaming performance subsequently excelling in our benchmark tests.

The biggest consequence here is that the chip is limited to PCIe three.0 support, which means SSD speeds are handicapped to such a degree that your system volition have slower loading times than a PS5 and Xbox Serial Ten. The latest Intel scrap has now moved onto PCIe 5.0, which enables significantly faster speeds with uniform SSDs.

With that in mind, the Intel Core i5-10600K is only worth considering if it sees a major price cutting in a sale, but it’due south likely to be a prime number candidate for Blackness Friday savings.

Mike Jennings
Total review:
AMD Ryzen seven 5800X review

We also considered…


What is PCIe?

PCIe (peripheral component interconnect express) is an interface standard used for connecting high-speed components such as GPUs and SSDs. The PCIe generation volition determine the performance handicap for continued components. The latest standard, PCIe five.0, currently doesn’t have a big impact on GPU functioning, but tin can enable far faster SSD speeds with compatible hardware.

What is the all-time CPU type for gaming?

The best thing to expect out for when buying a gaming CPU is single-core performance. The latest Intel Alder Lake fries are currently the cream of the crop in this area, although it’s worth considering other aspects such as supported features, power consumption and temperature.

Is Intel meliorate than AMD?

Intel currently sells the fastest gaming processor available, only AMD notwithstanding has some impressive rivals in the Ryzen 5000 series. But Ryzen 6000 desktop processors are excepted to drop in 2022, and so things could soon alter.

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Specs compared

United kingdom RRP

The states RRP


Release Engagement

First Reviewed Date

Power Consumption

Boosted Clock Speed


Base Clock Speed

Number of Cores

Number of Threads

Motherboard Chipset

Manufactoring Process


Intel Cadre i5-12600K





195.half dozen W

four.xc GHz

Intel Core 12th Generation

3.70 GHz




Intel UHD Graphics 770

Intel Core i5-11600K





201 W

4.9 GHz

Intel Core 11th Generation

3.nine GHz




14 nm

Intel UHD Graphics 750

Intel Core i9-12900K





5.xx GHz

12th Gen Intel Core (Alder Lake)

three.20 GHz




Intel UHD Graphics 770

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X



193.4 W

4.7 GHz

Ryzen 5000

3.8 GHz



AMD X570

7 nm

Intel Core i5-10600K

Trusted Reviews test data

PCMark ten

Geekbench five single core

Geekbench 5 multi cadre

Cinebench R23

Dirt Rally (4K)

Clay Rally (Quad HD)

Clay Rally (Total Hard disk drive)

Horizon Zero Dawn frame rate (4K)

Horizon Zip Dawn frame rate (Quad Hard disk)

Horizon Naught Dawn frame rate (Full Hard disk drive)

Intel Cadre i5-12600K





99 fps

172 fps

220 fps

54 fps

95 fps

116 fps

Intel Core i5-11600K





98 fps

167 fps

187 fps

53 fps

92 fps

108 fps

Intel Cadre i9-12900K





99 fps

172 fps

230 fps

54 fps

95 fps

117 fps

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X





95 fps

158 fps

203 fps

54 fps

91 fps

92 fps


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