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Best Processor for Gaming - CPU for 2014
Why a CPU or Processor is Essential to Gaming Performance
Professional gamers realize that a good CPU and video card is essential in creating a successful team. It's like a band really, if you have the best drummer in the world, but he only has a toy set of drums, then he can only play so well. In my recent hub on building a gaming pc under $1,000 I went over the importance of a good gaming video card, but in this hub we'll cover the best gaming processors for 2013.
2013 is an exciting year for gamers because we finally got to take advantage of Intel's all new 4th generation of "i" series processors which are super efficient and fast. Within the next month we should also finally get a peak of Intel's i3 Haswell processors as well as Ivy Bridge enthusiast socket 2011 processors.
The i7-4770k is Good Enough for Photo Editors
The "k" stands for unlocked. If you don't plan on overclocking, then you can save yourself anywhere form $20-40 by going with the i7-4770.
While overclockers have reported stabile speeds in excess of 4.5GHz with this processor the standard of speed of this processor is a super fast 3.5GHz.
Using Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 this processor can automatically boost to speeds of up to 3.9GHz. Intel's Hyperthreading technology allows its 4 cores to perform as 8 cores(threads) when multitasking requires it.
We're learning that this type of processing power is indeed good enough for photo editors. While in the past upgrading to an extreme CPU may have seemed necessary, you may be surprised at the performance you get by simply overclocking the i7-4770k.
i5-4670k - The Right Processor for Most
Despite the crazy speeds that you can get with the i7-4770k you can still get most of that with the i5-4670k for $100 less.
The i5-4670k does lack the hyperthreading technology that thei5-4670k has, but if you plan on using your rig mostly for gaming, then in my opinion you won't really notice the difference between the 2 processors and you can put that extra money towards your GPU.
The i5-4670k also has turbo boost technology which automatically boosts it from 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz when performance is required.
i3-3220 Ivy Bridge Processor
Another really great processor. Although it only has 2 cores you'll be surprised just how much it can handle and Intel included hyperthreading with this model so you get up to 4 core/threads of performance for multitasking.
For most home based computers or those who simply plan on browsing you'll find that the i3-3220 does a great job.
Intel i7 Processors from 2011 and 2012
The core i7 is Intel's flagship CPU. They finally got rid of the frontside bus and replaced it with QPI or QuickPath Interconnect. The i7 can now use up to six computer cores for processing. This means that it unleashes the power of up to six processing cores in a single processor. The next generation of processors for the i7 series is the Sandy Bridge CPU.
"Part of Intel's family of 2nd generation Intel Core computer processors, the Intel Core i7-2600K Processor delivers speed and smooth performance--whether you're creating high-definition videos, playing 3D games, or simply browsing the Internet. The Core i7-2600K is a quad-core processor running at 3.4 GHz with 8 MB of L3 cache, and uses the LGA1155 socket. It is fully unlocked for overclocking flexibility, making it ideal for gamers and enthusiasts who want customized performance. It also offers a rich set of features, including Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, eight-way multitasking with Hyper-Threading Technology, and Virtualization Technology, that improve speed and computing productivity. Built-in visual technologies, like Clear Video and InTru3D, support high-definition and Blu-ray playback."
Here's a quote from Intel on the i7's gaming performance:
"With the advent of next-generation games, PC gaming is more immersive than ever. The latest games take advantage of multi-threaded programming, allowing for more realistic graphics, physics, and artificial intelligence (AI). But you'll need more than just a good graphics card with high GPU output to fully experience all these effects. Underlying the visual realism and advanced AI scripts are thousands of high-speed calculations that your CPU must process.
Fortunately, the Intel Core i7 processor is specifically designed to handle these calculations. Using multi-thread architecture, it has the ability to process thousands of graphical characteristics at once, resulting in a smooth and lag-free experience. Intel worked closely with CryTek -- the developers of the advanced game engine behind such games as Crysis and Far Cry -- to guarantee that gamers have an immersive and lifelike experience."
This coupled with a three year warranty from Intel makes the i7, in my opinion, the best series of processors on the market. While some would argue that AMD gives you more bang for your buck, I really feel since the i series came out, that Intel has a huge advantage over AMD in higher end gaming processors. If you're looking for a budget processor, then AMD has a few options we'll go over that seem to be drawing some attention.
*Thought on Intel's 900 Series: Did you know that the 900 series chips are all manufactured on the same wafer? Since not every test is made on every chip it's possible for you to get a better chip than you ordered on the 950. That and it's under $300 price, make it my choice for best gaming processor under $300.
Is your Motherboard 1155, 1366, or 1156?
When building your gaming pc, make sure to line up the sockets in your CPU and motherboard. Most of the chips featured on this page are available in both sizes, so if you need a different size you can click and then easily search for it on Amazon. Once you've picked a CPU here's a quick hub on the Best CPU Motherboard Combo.
Intel 900 Series Gaming Processors
Budget Gaming Processors - Phenom, i5, i7 CPU
If the i7 Series is a little bit much for your budget, or if you happen to be an AMD guy, I've listed a few of my favorite CPUs from the AMD Phenom II, i5, and i3 series. Although I still recommend the i7 950, if you just can't afford it, then these should keep you good for at least a couple years.
Hopefully, you've found what you need in this hub. If so, then please leave a comment about what you purchased as we actively respond to our readers.
If you didn't find what you were looking for, or would like me to feature another CPU, then please leave a detailed comment listing where you found it and what the model number and features are etc... You can also check out this article on the Best CPU of 2014 - Intel vs. AMD.