Best gaming CPUs in 2022

The best gaming CPUs work in tandem with your graphics card to deliver highly detailed settings, high frame rates, and a great looking and feeling gaming experience, no matter what you want to play. Like graphics cards, the performance of the best gaming processors has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years, making the latest and greatest chips extremely powerful.

That applies to a full range of CPUs as well, from more modest mid-range offerings, to high-end powerhouses. Not all of them are affordable, and not all of them are efficient, but whether you want the fastest gaming processor ever or something for a small form factor system, one of these CPUs will be right for you. Here are some of the best gaming CPUs you can buy in 2022.

Best overall gaming CPU

Best mid-range Intel CPU in years

Intel Core i5 processors have always been their standout chips in every generation, and after a few years of less-than-fantastic performance gains, the Core i5-12600K has brought this mid-range back to its truest form at incredibly fast speed in a relatively efficient package.

The new generation Alder Lake processor comes with 10 cores (six performance cores and four efficiency cores) and super threads, for a total of 16 thread support, all running up to 4.9GHz per core. This makes it a faster gaming processor than any Intel that came before, including the previous generation kingpin 11900K. It also matches or beats most AMD Ryzen 5000 processors, all while reducing its $10 price tag.

This CPU also supports new generations of DDR5 and PCIExpress 5 for faster memory, graphics and storage, if you’re willing to pay a premium for it. You don’t have to, though, because Intel’s 12th generation also supports DDR4 memory, which is remarkably affordable compared to writing.

The fastest gaming CPU

16 cores and 24 strands of pure energy

The Intel Core i9-12900K processor breaks the mold of what a high-end gaming CPU should be. It has just eight high-performance cores (two less than the flagship 10900K two years ago) but combines them with eight other efficient cores, making this a 16-core, 24-threaded CPU that can clock over 5GHz on all It has two big performance cores at once, hitting 5.2GHz on just a couple when pushed to its limits.

You’ll need to meet its high thermal and power requirements, as it’s not the most efficient processor, but it far exceeds anything Intel has released before in terms of raw gaming performance. This gives it a huge lead over AMD as well, with a notable lead in almost all games.

It’s productivity power too, making it a great CPU for gaming and live streaming at the same time – although AMD’s high-core CPUs still compete favorably there.

Best AMD Gaming CPU

As fast as he gets in AM4

AMD’s AM4 platform is coming to an end in 2022, but the Ryzen 5000 series has been a great dispatch for a long-running platform. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X will make an excellent final upgrade for your AMD gaming PC if you want to give it one last time before you trade it in for something better.

With eight cores, 16 threads and the ability to boost up to 4.7GHz, this is one of the fastest CPUs AMD has ever made. Fits in an AM4 socket, it’s compatible with most 400 and 500 series motherboards, and even some select 300 series motherboards for those still using first-generation Ryzen processors.

This makes the 5800X a great buy for anyone who wants to bring their PC up to date performance standards without having to replace the motherboard, memory, and everything else besides that. The only reason you might want to hold off on buying this is that AMD has planned to release the 5800X3D sometime in early 2022, which will likely be much faster for gaming. However, it’s also likely to be significantly more expensive, so the standard 5800X is an affordable upgrade path.

Best budget gaming CPU

Almost as fast as an adult

Intel’s K-series processors may get the most bang for your buck, but the more modest 12400F of the Alder Lake generations is arguably its greatest. It’s a straight, 6-core, 12-thread processor and doesn’t have any of the efficiency cores that distinguish this generation, but its performance is exceptional.

It’s trading with the AMD Ryzen 5600X, which is faster than most previous-generation Intel CPUs and does it all for $200 (or less on sale). You have to pay for relatively expensive new generation Intel motherboards to build a PC around the 12400F, but as far as affordable gaming processors go, the 12400F is an absolute powerhouse.

It doesn’t draw much power either. It’s not quite as efficient as the 5600X, but it’s not far off, which makes this other CPU worth considering on smaller designs or if you’re concerned about your power usage.

The most efficient gaming CPU

Great performance at low wattage

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is one of the best gaming processors of its generation, with six cores, 12 threads, and a power draw of barely 120W when pushed to the limit. Many of his contemporaries would demand more than twice that when working really hard.

This makes the 5600X a great gaming CPU for the most modest PCs, small form factor systems, and anyone who cares about the power consumption of a gaming system. You don’t leave much performance on the table by doing this, although the 5600X delivers excellent gaming performance at any resolution. It lags behind the latest 12th-gen Intel CPUs in some games, and isn’t quite as affordable as it once was with new competition, but it’s still a great CPU in 2022 and offers efficient and relatively affordable gaming for AMD fans.

The best CPU for gaming and streaming

The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is too much for most games, but it delivers excellent gaming performance with plenty of additional cores to spare — ideal if you want to do some streaming while gaming or edit video after the fact. It has 16 cores in total, all full size for maximum performance (as opposed to the 12900K’s combination of performance and efficiency cores) giving it an edge in most multi-threaded tasks even on the latest Intel major versions. It’s not as powerful as those chips for raw gaming performance, but nothing can match it for multitasking workloads.

This is a relatively full CPU so you’ll need a powerful aftermarket cooler for it, but if you’re looking for the best in gaming and streaming power, this is the best CPU for the job. If you don’t want to spend that much, the more modest (and affordable) AMD Ryzen 9-5900X is still a great choice with 12 cores. who – which Do It lags behind the best of Intel while still not matching up in terms of gaming performance, so consider the 12900K or 12700K if you don’t want to spend as much as the 5950X.

Best Affordable Gaming CPU

Getting old, but still cool

The Intel Core i5-10400F is far from a high-end processor, but despite being a mid-range option two generations ago, it’s still a great modern gaming processor. Its six cores and 12 threads with a boosted clock speed of 4.3GHz puts it within walking distance of some of today’s best CPUs. When paired with a capable graphics card, it’s a versatile CPU for gaming at 1080p or 1440p.

However, the real selling point of this CPU is the price. At under $140, it’s one of the least expensive gaming processors out there, especially with this kind of performance. It’s not an unlocked processor, so you can’t expect to overclock it for extra power, but it’s still a powerful CPU right out of the box.

It doesn’t have integrated graphics either, so a dedicated graphics card is a must to be able to play games with, but if you have this handy and want a decent CPU upgrade, the 10400F is worth considering.

The most powerful integrated graphics

Good option until GPU prices come down

It’s hard to find affordable graphics cards right now, but the graphics on board are usually pretty poor. Not always though. In fact, the Ryzen 7 5700G has the best integrated graphics of any CPU ever, with eight Vega graphics cores that deliver solid 1080p gaming performance and very good frame rates if you don’t mind gaming in 720p.

Even better, this CPU is really powerful in its own right. Its eight Zen 3 cores and 16-thread support make it one of the best processors of its generation, giving it gaming performance similar to the Ryzen 5600X and 5800X, at a similar price. This means that when you buy a GPU in the future, you won’t lose much CPU performance for choosing an APU like this one. It’s not quite as fast as dedicated CPUs, but if you want to wait until a more reasonable time to purchase a graphics card, this is the most powerful all-in-one gaming chip you can buy in 2022.

Best gaming CPU under $100

Perfect for cheap gaming PC

If you’re building a gaming PC, there’s absolutely nothing better than a Core i3-10100F. This is a quad-core, eight-thread CPU with a boost clock of 4.3GHz, all for under $100. This is pretty amazing considering that this kind of spec would have been a major material just a few years ago. In fact, the 10100F jumps on the heels of old-school high-end CPUs like the 7700k.

The only real downside to this is the lack of integrated graphics. If you already have an old graphics card or can buy one on the cheap, this CPU is more than enough for 1080p gaming in esports and AAA games. It’s not for high-end PCs, but for a budget gaming system, the Intel Core i3-10100F is the best CPU for the job.