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Best Processor for Gaming - New CPU for 2014

Updated on February 21, 2014

Best Rated Processors for Gaming

This lens is a one stop guide and review of the best CPU for gaming in 2014. If you're a gamer, then you know that your computer's processor is second only to its graphics card.

Now that I've written about the overall best CPU of 2014 I thought I would take a secondary approach and show those CPU which allow gamers to achieve peak performance and overclocking. Not all games require a super expensive CPU so I've made sure to feature a few budget gaming processors at different price points so that you can get the best bang for your buck.

AMD FX-8120
AMD FX-8120

Best Intel and AMD Gaming CPU Processors 2014

If you're looking at raw performance, then the i7-3970x takes the cake. It gives you about a 40% increase in overall performance vs. the previous socket 1366 extreme processor the i7-990x. CPU Benchmarks also show that that the i7-3930k is nearly as fast at around 55% of the overall total cost.

Despite how tempting it is to purchase these CPU they are more than what most gamers need and are willing to spend on a CPU. Probably the most popular CPU among gamers in 2011 was the i5-2500k and in 2012 the i5-3570k. In the $200 price range Intel's unlocked i5 processors give you all the in-game performance you need without costing you a fortune. AMD builders will happy to know that the AMD FX-8350 (Piledriver) is also a very improved AMD option in this price range.

While it doesn't have hyperthreading like the i7 models, it's perfectly capable of stable overclocking well in excess of 4.0GHz. Reputable sites like Tom's Hardware argue that diminishing returns - for in game performance - beyond the $200 price point make the i5-2500k or i5-2400 the ideal gaming CPU.

Beyond the $200 price point you should probably take a look at 2 more processors, the Ivy Bridge i7-3770k and the Sandy Bridge-e i7-3820. The i7-3770k is unlocked for overclocking while the i7-3820, which uses socket 2011 rather than socket 1155, gives you more cache and a higher standard operating frequency. Both are compatible with PCIe 3.0 as long as you use an Ivy Bridge or socket 2011 motherboard (Gen3 socket 1155 Sandy Bridge motherboards are also PCIe 3.0 compatible).

Budget gamers can find quite a bit of performance with a CPU like the i3-3220 or the AMD FX 4100 or 6100. The original Bulldozer FX 8120 is also quite the deal now that it's come down to under $150.

Top 10 Gaming CPU for 2014 - #1. Intel i5-3570k

Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core  LGA 1155 - BX80637I53570K
Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 - BX80637I53570K

Gamers crave performance, but they also love a good deal. The i5-3570k gives them both. If you don't plan on overclocking, then you should consider going with the i5-3570, (Sandy Bridge) i5-2400 or possibly the (Sandy Bridge) i5-2310.

 

#2. AMD FX-8350 (Piledriver)

AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350  FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor
AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor

Gamers today are becoming more sophisticated every day. They look for performance beyond just what they get in-game because a lot of them work on computers each day. The AMD FX-8350 Piledriver makes a great workstation CPU with 8 cores for under $200 and will play any game you want it to. As I mentioned above you can also consider the FX-8120 for around $50 cheaper.

 

#3. i7-3770k Ivy Bridge

Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K
Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K

If you multitask a lot, then it might be worth it to consider the i7-3770k which has hyperthreading and is unlocked for overclocking.

 

#5 i7-3930k (Sandy Bridge-e)

Intel Core i7-3930K Hexa-Core Processor 3.2 Ghz 12 MB Cache LGA 2011 - BX80619I73930K
Intel Core i7-3930K Hexa-Core Processor 3.2 Ghz 12 MB Cache LGA 2011 - BX80619I73930K

The i7-3930k gives you near the performance of the i7-3960k for about half the price.

 

#6 AMD A10-5800K (Trinity)

AMD A10-5800K APU 3.8Ghz Processor AD580KWOHJBOX
AMD A10-5800K APU 3.8Ghz Processor AD580KWOHJBOX

Building a gaming rig is more affordable than ever with AMD's APU models and Trinity has definitely raised the bar.

 

#7 i3-3225 (Ivy Bridge)

Intel Core i3-3225 Dual-Core Processor (3MB Cache, 3.3 GHz) Intel HD Graphics 4000
Intel Core i3-3225 Dual-Core Processor (3MB Cache, 3.3 GHz) Intel HD Graphics 4000

This is a great budget CPU, but you might want to consider the earlier i3-2100 Sandy Bridge model at around $20 discount.

 

#8 Phenom II X4 965

AMD Phenom II X4 965 AM3 3.4Ghz 512KB 45NM 125W 4000MHZ
AMD Phenom II X4 965 AM3 3.4Ghz 512KB 45NM 125W 4000MHZ

With gaming performance benchmarks showing that the Phenom II is similar to the Bulldozer, many AMD builders are sticking with the Phenom II series. With the release of Piledriver you might also want to consider the AMD FX-4300.

 

#10 i7-3960x (Sandy Bridge-e)

Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Hexa-Core Processor 3.3 GHz 15 MB Cache LGA 2011 - BX80619I73960X
Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Hexa-Core Processor 3.3 GHz 15 MB Cache LGA 2011 - BX80619I73960X

If you're really considering the 3960x, then you're the type of person that has to have the best - or you work in an industry which uses software which demands extreme performance.

 

2014 Gaming CPU Poll - Vote for the Best

The order of this list is constantly updated / changing. You're vote ultimately influences the list above.

What CPU do you plan on purchasing in 2013.

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PC Gaming News and Information

If you didn't find what you were looking for here, then here's a few other articles that you might find interesting.

I hope you've enjoyed this lens featuring the best gaming cpu of 2012 - 2013. If you have, then you can support me by visiting my other lenses or leaving a comment in the reader feedback section below. Also, if I've missed something, then please be sure to list the model of your favorite CPU so that I can feature it for those who read this page after you. Your comments help to keep this lens fresh and up-to-date.

Best Gaming CPU 2013 Reader Commentary

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      From my personal experience I think FX 8350 is the best choice for gaming, video editing, multi tasking and rendering. It's also cheaper then i5 3570k. And i5 may do well in gaming and single core performance but in overall performance FX 8350 is just better.