Which CPU do I really need? This is probably the most common question between PC builders. As we all know, the process of choosing a CPU can be tricky, especially if you are new to PC building. Also, you should understand that you would not only throw your money away by choosing the wrong one, but you may also suffer from bottlenecking issues. For those who are not familiar with this word, CPU bottleneck means that your processor will prevent your GPU from performing at its maximum potential. And ultimately, you lose performance.
But does it really mean that you should spend a significant amount of cash to have an enjoyable gaming experience? Of course not. It may look a bit difficult in case you are not used to the PC hardware field, but it’s definitely not rocket science. And in order to help you know which CPU will suit you the most, we have compiled most of the frequently asked questions, and we tried to provide you with helpful information.
How many cores do I need?
You can’t tell which CPU is right for you until you know how you intend to use it. In other words, if your main goal is to enjoy your gaming moments in good conditions while running light software in the background, then you should be fine with a 6 Core CPU. These type of CPUs are reasonably priced, and you will come across a wide range of options from both Intel and AMD.
However, things may change if a PC is more than a hobby for you. What we mean by that is, for content creators that are also gamers, we recommend aiming for high core count CPUs. Why? Simply because most professional applications are CPU intensive, and they do require a higher core count to accomplish the desired task in a short period of time.
And finally, our lovely budget PC builders. Don’t worry; we still have you in mind. If you have a limited budget and want to join the gaming community, a 4 Core CPU should be more than sufficient.
How many cores do games use?
Modern games are taking advantage of multicore CPUs. And according to our benchmarks, the minimum that you should aim for is a 4 Core processor. However, if you always have programs in the background such as Discord, Google Chrome, or any other light software, we recommend going with a 6 Core CPU. This core configuration will allow you to have all applications you need while enjoying a smooth gaming experience.
How much should you spend on a CPU?
Unlike what most people think, you don’t need to spend a significant amount of money in order to have a competitive performance. Usually, budget gamers will be more than fine with a CPU at around $100. On the other hand, advanced PC builders should aim a bit higher as often their main goal is to have a smooth gaming experience as well as decent multitasking performance, and with this type of requirement, the desired CPU will be around $200.
Does it mean that expensive CPUs don’t worth it? Definitely not. Usually, premium CPUs are made specifically for content creators, hardcore gamers and tech enthusiasts. These processors are known for their top-notch multi-core as well as single-core performance. However, they kind of overkill for average gamers.
Are budget CPU worth it?
The current tough competition between Intel & AMD has opened the door toward a wide range of affordable gaming CPUs designed specifically for gamers. Most of these processors will be more than capable of handling all modern games without any bottlenecking issues. In fact, we have even build a gaming PC at around $300, which is quite amazing.
In other words, right now, every gamer can build a gaming machine regardless of how tight its budget is. All you will have to do is try to pick the right components representing the best value for your money. And trust me, the market is loaded with these pieces of hardware. Some of these budget-friendly CPUs are the Ryzen 3 3200G, Intel Core i3-9100F, and CPUs of the previous generation from both brands.
What is the perfect CPU for gaming and streaming?
Offering quality time to the viewers is every streamer’s dream. Fortunately, and thanks to Nvidia, you don’t need a high-end CPU in order to stream your amazing skills at a good quality image. Our prefered CPU for streamers that don’t want to break the bank would be the Ryzen 5 5600X paired with an Nvidia GPU.
As we all know, Nvidia graphics cards got Nvidia Encoder (NVENC) technology. For those who are not familiar with this feature, Nvidia Encoder is a dedicated chip on the GPU, which has the role of encoding video stream, which results in less pressure on the CPU, and therefore, better gaming performance.
If you already own an Nvidia graphics card, but you are not sure if it does support this technology, here is a quick solution for you. This list from Nvidia shows all compatible GPUs with the Nvidia Encoder feature.
Forums are indeed loaded with tons of questions regarding gaming CPUs. But we have tried to choose the most important one that PC builders deserved to learn about. Nevertheless, if you notice that we have missed an important question, you can let us know in the comment section below, and we will do our best to give you a helpful answer as fast as possible.
If you want to take action and you are looking to build a gaming PC, then we recommend you to take a look at our different gaming components reviews, which should provide you with helpful information that should guide you toward the best value components for your money.