Best CPUs for Gaming: Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2019

Holidays are upon us and as such it seems many PC enthusiasts have there eyes wide open to select the best CPUs for their gaming hunger.

I even got a lot of emails from our subscribers requesting to post the best cpus for gaming that they can get their hands on this holiday season.

And as your wish is my command here is a comprehensive guide to choosing the best CPUs for gaming.

For Whom Is This Guide On Best CPUs For Gaming For ?

Now I understand that one looks to choose best CPUs for gaming not just for new builds.

But for also to upgrade the computer that they already might be having. There are people who followed our guide on how to build a pc *wink* *wink* and actually created a PC based off understanding of future upgrades.

If you saw that guide completely you might have encountered places where I explained that the idea of future proofing is useless but you definitely keep rooms open for upgrades.

And as a matter of fact I will be upgrading the PC that I built in that guide, which happen to be the computer that I am writing this post on using one of the CPUs in this best CPUs for gaming guide.

This year 2019 has been an incredible year for computer lovers. It was almost like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert.

The desert was created by the mining wave that hit the tech world and swiped off every AMD graphics card.

And then when all that craze cooled off and graphics card prices normalized once again things just seemed to be on a roll.

The new 3rd Gen Zen 2 Ryzen chips with following up of high performance threadripper chips which we will discuss in this guide and the new flood of graphics card that we have seen are cherries on top.

I know many people say that you need to be technically very sound to pick a great CPU for yourself.

I am here to tell you that is not necessarily the case the only thing that you need to know is what your need is, what your budget is and then leave everything to a post like this.

Still it is always good to have comprehensive knowledge on the subject.

Therefore, your humble servant created a video series and a post on learning how to choose a cpu for yourselves in a beginner friendly sense.

Check It Out.

So without any further ADO let’s go ahead and a look at the best CPUs for gaming that you can possibly have this holiday season.

Direct Selection Table For My Recommended CPUs

Now though I ask everyone to go through the post because every single word will teach you something new here.

But I understand there are experienced readers here who know how things happen at yantraas.

For all of them who know the quality of content that is provided here and who already are very good at CPU lingo here are my recommendations.

Go ahead, Buy them right now.

Top of the line flagshipIntel Core i9-9900KS$599AMD Ryzen 9 3950X749$
Premium Range PC BuildsAMD Ryzen 7 3800X$379Intel Core i7-9700$335
High EndAMD Ryzen 5 3600X$244--
Mid RangeAMD Ryzen 5 2600$119Intel Core i3-8100$130
Budget BuildsAMD Ryzen 3 3400G$130--
Sub $500 BuildsAthlon 3000G$49--

Parameters That Decide The Best CPUs For Gaming

Now if you watched the video or read the blog post I went into elaborate details regarding various parameters that you need to know before choosing a CPU.

When we are looking to choose a CPU for gaming purposes, IPC and core clock speeds form the basis of our selection process.

Of course there are other parameters too, but these two are at the root of it.

I will ensure explaining everything as is needed.

Now with a lot of experience what I have found is arranging devices on the basis of budget is the best way to allow you to see what it is that you need for your purpose.

So that is precisely how I am going to arrange this post about different cpus in order of increasing budget.

And at the same time I am also going to look at various other parameters such as TDP, single core performance, IPC and price per performance to make sure that the CPU that I am using in any given budget is the best that you can possibly have.

So let’s go ahead and look at various segments ranging from flagship builds to budget builds and the CPU that seems perfect in that particular segment.

Flagship PC build

Intel i9-9900KS – $599AMD 3950X – $749

From The Blue Side

Well, this segment is relatively simple.

You know if you want to pick the best CPU that can chew through games you are not really thinking about budget that much.

Having said that relevant parameters do need to be looked into in order for you to make a conscious choice.

In a previous video and the associated blog post, I told you that when it comes to gaming core clock frequency plays a major role in deciding which CPU you are going to pick.

When you go for high budget builds whether you want it or not you do get some perks.

You will invariably be able to use your computer to carry out multiple tasks at once. You will be able to game and do streaming or easily switch between other apps.

When it comes to choosing the best cpus for gaming, the top cpus may not necessarily need to have multiple threads, although high core count is definitely a yes.

Unless of course that is what you may want because in addition to pushing frames you may want to do other tasks such as video editing from your build.

So when it comes to core gaming requirements there are two cpus that have been battling each other.

The first one is Intel’s super binned Core-i9 9900KS which has the inherent capacity of providing more all core frequency over its slightly cheaper i9-9900 k.

But but but.

There are certain innate problems with the chip.

First off this is a binned unit and therefore won’t be available in large quantities. And I think Intel has also confirmed the fact that the stock is indeed limited.

Secondly, I have seen real time applications of the chip and the average TDP comes around to like 172 Watts.

You know what that means, in order to ensure longevity and optimum performance you definitely need to invest into a good cooling solution for the chip.

Thirdly, oh baby are the prices going to fluctuate in a bad way.

This is again due to the chip being a binned unit. Now since the budget is not of concern in this flagship segment I have mentioned this point last.

So if you are really hell bent on numbers and decide to go with i9-9900KS, I would recommend you to also invest into an incredible cooling system so that you can have the CPU perform at its optimum capacity.

From The Red Side

The CPU that I recommend in the flagship category from the Red side is actually a very interesting choice.

I am definitely going to create a blog post and a video devoted to Ryzen 9 3950X and the newly introduced Ryzen 9 3960X and 3970X after this post.

But from what I have seen if you decide to build a computer that is primary AMD, Ryzen 9 3950X can be a really awesome choice.

Though the processor does cost the $749 which is more than what we saw in the case of core i9-9900KS but it claims to offer a 4.7 GHz single core turbo.

Other dimension that you need to be aware of as far as the Zen 2 architecture is considered.

Technically, the Zen 2 chips have higher IPCs then the coffee lake processors.

So although the core clock speeds may be lower but performance-wise Zen 2 chips must be ahead of their Intel counterparts.

In practical environment I have seen 3950X touching 4.2 GHz when most of its cores are operating simultaneously, which still means that AMD is still slightly behind.

But rocking 16 cores and for people who want to do do a bit more than a gaming and maybe want to run several applications simultaneously this chip should be a no brainer.

In addition to that the power requirements are not that steep, there’s direct support for M.2 storage and PCI-E 4.0 connectivity.

Now if I were to choose between the two I would be inclining towards the 3950X.

Now of course if you are truly want a gaming machine and wouldn’t have any plans to do tasks such as video editing, encoding and rendering then 9900KS will make more sense.

But I want my PC to be a comprehensive machine that can do compute tasks as well, and if you want the same thing.

AMD is where it is at buddy.

Both of these chips when paired with something like RTX 2080 ti with the right motherboard which you can learn how to choose here, 16 or 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, 1 TB SSD and everything else should cost you around $2500 to $3000.

PREMIUM Gaming Requirements ($1000-$1500)

AMD Ryzen 7 3800X – $379

Intel Core i7-9700 – $335

Now this is one of my favorite categories because this category will be appealing to a majority of people who are looking to create a strong 4K gaming build.

So when we are talking 4K we invariably need to look into the premium end of consumer market and make sure the CPU and the Graphics Card match each other perfectly.

What is true is that since we are focusing on a gaming in this best cpus for gaming guide, the majority of the work will still be graphics card focused.

But we also need to look into cpus that operate at high frequency clock speeds and offer decent IPC in order for them to match the premium graphic card rightly in performance.

As always each of these companies have their perception as to why there chip is the best when it comes to gaming.

But looking at the various results I have found that AMD Ryzen 7 3800X will be the most appropriate choice.

When it comes to gaming, it doesn’t matter what segment you are looking in, the invariable route your going to take will start from graphics card.

In our build your own pc post, I told you for different needs one can take different routes to build a pc.

When it comes to gaming needs of course most important component is going to be the graphics card.

You in this segment of premium builds must be eyeing the best graphics card that you can get and from there choose parts that match it.

If we were building a pc for editing and rendering purposes of course we would be starting with the CPU.

We are going to choose a CPU with this understanding in our minds.

So with a budget of around $1200-$1500, investing in like a $499 cpu will bring in unnecessary budget imbalance cutting into your graphics card budget.

By the way I am explaining you all of these mechanics so that you have an understanding as to how to go about planning a PC build.

Of course if you want to learn in depth how to build a pc or how to choose a CPU step by step go to these links.

Our Ryzen 7 3800X ticks all the boxes. At $349 you get all the benefits fo the zen 2 architecture plus benefits of PCI-e 4.0.

I mean what’s not to like.

But if you still are die hard fan of Intel for some reason then core i7-9700 can be a good choice too.

Though a bit cheap the 9700 doesn’t come stacked with a cooler, so you will have to invest into a cooler separately.

The Intel chip does peak at 4.7 Ghz and most probably will match 3800X on variable core performance but again it has 8 core and 8 threads.

The 3800X on the other hand features 8 cores and 16 threads, so if productivity and rendering tasks are in your mind this is what you must go with.

However, you can very easily find budget motherboards for the 9700, the X570 motherboards are still expensive and will take some time to taper down.

Best CPUs For Gaming For Mid Range PC Builds

So this range belongs to all those people who are looking to build a casual gaming PC.

And this is probably also the segment where people who have already experimented with low end gaming machines might look to invest into.

What makes this segment a bit tricky is since we are still talking gaming builds nearly 60% of the budget will go to CPU+GPU combo.

And the CPU has to be chosen such that it matches a powerful GPU with high refresh rates and large resolutions.

With this comprehensive understanding in perspective Ryzen 5 3600X must be a perfect fit.

3600X is a 6 Core processor that has high frequencies supports, fast memories and PCI-e 4.0 for future upgrades.

What is also pretty neat is that it comes bundled with a stock cooler that’s performs very good given the price.

At this price point because of the micro-architecture the performance of this chip in other day to day a non-gaming workloads is also pretty good.

So if it is like $1000 that you want to invest in a gaming pc.

A 3600X with like an 8-16 GB of DDR4 RAM, 512 GB NVMe drive and RTX 2060 and deploying the rest of the budget to motherboard, case and power supply will get you a nice gaming system.

By the way if you have a budget in your mind and are confused about anything related to building your computer, don’t shy from writing your query down below.

I will answer every single question of yours.

Budget Builds

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 – $120

Intel Core i3-8100 – $130

So the first computer that I ever built for myself belonged to this category. For me this is a very special segment.

Because most new pc builders start here. Very few would just go ahead and build a flagship pc from the very start. You can of course do that.

But if you are new to this the gradual progression from first building a budget build that works well and then moving into higher segments makes you feel the subtle changes in experience.

Plus you learn a lot about PC and technology associated with it.

Anyways, lets not get side tracked and talk about what CPU you must look to get your hands on.

So the budget distribution curve will still incline towards graphics card in this segment because we are talking gaming builds.

So when you talk about cpus in this category and if you are looking to pick a CPU to build a gaming computer again 40% of your budget still need to go into your graphics card and your CPU.

On the AMD side you can easily get APU’s in this budget range and on the Blue side you can get some powerful quad cores that will match a powerful graphics card.

I dearly wish that at the time you are reading this post you can get a Zen 2 chips at that price (see if you can grab a second hand chip).

But I am sure you can grab a Ryzen 5 2600 easily for around $120. The PC that I am writing this post on is currently rocking the 1st gen Ryzen 5 1600.

And man given the time it was released this chip holds its own pretty well.

At $120 you are getting 6 cores 12 threads and quite a lot more than what Intel is offering especially so if you want to do a little bit more than gaming from your PC.

On the Intel side the i3-8100 has held pretty well when it comes to gaming near around the budget that we are discussing.

Appending that with something like a 512 GB NVMe drive, RTX 1650, 8 GB of RAM and devoting the rest of the budget to relevant motherboard case and a power supply should give you a great pixel pumping hunk.

Best CPUs For Gaming For Sub $500 Gaming PC

So if your budget for some reason is constructed at around $500 you need to understand that we have now need to venture into the APU territory.

When it comes to low budget builds, by the way don’t feel low budget builds are “bad builds”.

I find so many people saying oh there is no point of building a pc if your budget is less than $500. That can’t be further away from truth.

Because what is good is subjective. Of course more money will give you better computer no doubt but you may not necessarily be looking for premium parts.

Maybe you want to build a light gaming pc for your kid and don’t want to overdo things. Or maybe you are not into extreme gaming and want something to enjoy a casual entertainment session here or there.

Whatever your need is with the incredible APU’s that are made available decent gaming is definitely a very viable option in this budget.

You don’t necessarily need a NVMe SSD and a decent SATA SSD is sufficient but make sure you add one.

While I can make some workarounds and suggest you selecting parts in the second hand market.

But in this section let’s just keep things fresh.

At around $99, the Ryzen 5 3200G is AMD’s latest APU with Vega 8 graphics which is more than sufficient for a large number of popular games.

For people who are ready to sacrifice on other parts of the system the Vega 11 AMD Ryzen 5 3400G can be found at around $125.

The latter one becomes a clear choice if someone wants to in future add in a discrete graphics card.

Once you have locked into one of these CPUs and put in other parts like the ones that I suggested in previous sections you can get your hands on something really special.

Well, that was all guys as far as best cpus for gaming is considered.

2019 has been incredible year for pc enthusiasts and looking at various things and how technology is moving.

It is very clear that 2020 is also going to be a a rock-star year for technology.

A lot of things to look forward to but let’s keep that discussion for a separate post or a video maybe.

Hope this post was as enjoyable for you as it was for me while writing. Don’t shy away if you have any doubts regarding best cpus for gaming that you can get your hands on.

I will make sure I resolve any queries that you might have personally.

Take care of yourselves and I will see you in the next one.

Namaskaram 🙂 _/\_



Electronics Engineer | Former Deputy Manager | Self-Taught Digital Marketer.Owner & Admin Of A Network Of Blogs and Global E-Commerce Stores

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