How to Choose a CPU for Gaming

If a computer is a body, then you can think of the CPU (Computer Processing Unit) is the brain. It is what runs the whole setup, it delegates tasks, completes tasks, does all the calculations and runs everything. It is probably the most important part of your PC. Most of your money will likely go to the CPU.

In order to decide what kind of CPU you need, you should buy. Do you only play video games? Then you should spend more money on a GPU and get a mid-end CPU, but if you do Photoshop or video editing you should be looking at a higher end CPU. Intel and AMD are the 2 biggest producers of CPUs, but they also make GPUs. So if you are going to build a computer then you should decide which company you are going to use. If you have an Intel GPU, then get an Intel CPU and vice versa.

Which company is better? That depends on you. AMD typically makes budget builds and Intel occupies the higher end of the market. Often you get more value for your money with Intel but that’s also because you are spending more money. I use an Intel i5 6500 CPU in my home build. I love it. It’s fast and does everything I need to, it is not the bottleneck for my graphics. I got the stock version instead of the overclockable version because that it was more money and I felt that it wasn’t worth it, especially since that money could go somewhere else in my build.

Intel i5-6500 Review


I love it, it’s awesome. It retails for around $200 and is worth every penny. My photoshop has no lag, exporting files is lightning quick and I never have to wait for a process. It is well worth its money, especially since it runs Skylake, Intel’s newest CPU architecture. This means that it performs better than some of the 4000 generation CPU due to the improved efficiencies within the CPU.

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The 6500 most certainly isn’t the most powerful CPU out there, but it is great a mid-range build. It is great value for money, probably the best of the i5 series. If you are looking for a capable CPU then you should see if the 50 dollars is worth upgrading to the 6600K.

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If money is no issue then you should look at getting the Intel i7-6700K. This is a CPU that currently costs around $340. It runs the new Skylake architecture on 4 cores and has DDR4 RAM support. This is the CPU of the future. If you want to future proof your build then you should be getting a Skylake CPU and have a long hard look at this CPU. If you can afford then it is worth your money. Going any higher gives you fewer and fewer improvements for every dollar spent. I see this as the most you should spend on a CPU. It is sure to last just as long as every other part in your computer, it will not become obsolete soon. Barring any massive unforeseen leaps forward.

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If the CPU is so important why are CPU’s often more expensive? 

Because a standalone GPU (one that isn’t built into the motherboard) is just as powerful, if not more powerful than a CPU. And for a gaming PC, it is often more important. You can get by as a gamer with just a mid-range CPU, but if you intend to record your gameplay and upload it then you should look at a higher end CPU so that you can complete your work faster.

Before you decide what parts to buy you first need to decide what your budget is and then determine where to put your hard-earned money. When building your computer you have to figure out what you do most often on said computer, what is most important to you, and allocate your money accordingly. If you do a lot of multitasking and editing, then springing for the higher CPU is well worth the extra money.

But if you are working on the strictest of budgets, fear not for there is a CPU for you as well. The i3-6100 would be the best budget CPU for you. It retails for around $110 and can perform admirably on just about any game, running nearly 60 FPS. It also has lovely power management and the classic suite of Intel features. But if you happen to be using an AMD graphics card then you can use an AMD CPU. The best possible budget AMD CPU would be the AMD Athlon X4 860K which retails for under $100 and the next level up is the AMD FX-8300. This would be the mid-range CPU and cost about $120.

As you can see in the price difference Intel tends to cater towards the higher end builds. Those of us who are not made of money should seriously consider AMD CPUs. Before you buy any computer parts you should decide all your parts and then go through them again to see if you could get any benefits from sticking with one company. At this point in the hardware world, a lot of companies have started teaming up to produce hardware that has certain benefits for being coupled with other certain hardware.

For example, Nvidia has made G-sync for its GPUs which runs best on an Intel CPU and only certain monitors can use G-sync. On the other hand, the AMD graphics cards come with Freesync, which is similar to G-sync and is only available on certain monitors. Freesync also only works with AMD graphics cards. Much like a phone choice, there is an ecosystem within computers that is beneficial if you take advantage of it. This way you can get extra benefits without having to spend a lot of extra money to get these features.

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