How to choose a gaming processor
Getting a new gaming PC is an exciting thing. Whether you’re building one yourself or buying one of the best off-the-shelf gaming PCs, there’s a lot to think about. And at the heart of it all is the processor you get.
The processor is the beating heart of any PC, and getting it right is essential. If you make the wrong choice for your particular needs, your entire experience will take a hit. And there’s more to getting the best processor to consider than just whether you go for Intel or AMD.
Processors are complicated beasts, but there are a few key things to consider that will make your buying process a bit easier.
How to choose a gaming processor for your PC
The most obvious is to set your budget, and you absolutely have to. Don’t spend more than you want, because this AMD Ryzen 9 may look awesome, but it’s also expensive, and spending more than you want is always a bad idea.
But instead of focusing on the budget, we’re going to outline some of the other main considerations you need to take into account when choosing a gaming processor. The processor can affect many aspects of gaming, including the frequencies of the game. ‘images, scalable display elements, etc. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the best for you.
1. Decide what you want to do with your PC
When choosing a gaming PC, it’s easy to get carried away. But before choosing a processor, you need to know exactly what you want from your gaming PC.
If you are focusing on games and nothing else, you will consider a different processor if you also want to stream at the same time. Or if your PC is going to be used for professional work or content creation, or some other intensive task.
Why is this so important? Because exaggeration is one thing, but underestimating it will be even worse.
2. Understand the number of cores you need
This is where the previous step begins to become important. All modern Intel and AMD processors have multiple cores, ranging from 4 to 16 before they start entering workstation territory. The game, believe it or not, doesn’t need a massive amount of cores to produce good performance. Even on a quad-core processor, you can have a good time.
Where core count comes into play is if you plan to take on CPU-intensive tasks outside of gaming. If you’re playing and streaming from the same PC, for example, you’ll need more cores. to bear the additional load.
This is where AMD Ryzen processors have become popular lately, offering 8-core and even 16-core processors for a fairly attractive price. The extra headroom allows you to play and stream on the same PC with minimal impact on both.
3. Clock speeds and overclocking
Generally speaking, when choosing a gaming processor, the higher the clock speed, the better. It’s less of a thing on modern processors as today’s clock speeds are improved over years past, but it’s still something to consider. If a slightly higher clock speed is within your budget, you should try to get it.
As a byproduct of that, think about whether you’re looking to indulge in a bit of overclocking. If you buy an AMD Ryzen processor, you’re good to go, each one unlocked, and you can DIY as you like.
If you want to overclock an Intel processor, you need to make sure you buy a “K” variant. The model number will be designated with a “K” at the end to signify that it is unlocked for overclocking, for example, the Intel Core i9-11900K.
4. Integrated graphics or not?
Not all processors come with integrated graphics, and if you buy one and don’t have a dedicated graphics card handy, you won’t even be able to see Windows 10 on the screen. In particular, this applies to AMD Ryzen processors which are not designated with a “G” in their model number, and to Intel processors designated with an “F”.
If you’re into PC gaming, one of today’s best graphics cards is likely to be on your shopping list. But if you don’t have it right away, or if you’re building a budget machine without it, you’ll need a processor with a built-in GPU to be able to use your PC.
It’s also possible to get good gaming performance on some of today’s latest integrated graphics. Of particular note is AMD’s line of APUs, a combination of a Ryzen processor and a Radeon GPU on the same chip. Depending on the game, even a solid 60 FPS experience is right at your fingertips.
5. Read reviews and references
When choosing a new processor, it can really be worth freeing up some time to check out the latest reviews and references. While reviewers often don’t have the same system specs you’re targeting, they’ll all do one important thing: push the processor to its absolute limits.
A good exam will help you understand performance, power consumption, thermal performance, and how efficient it is for single-core and multi-core tasks. You’ll also get a feel for gaming performance, which can help you solidify your preferences or reshape them to something else. But it’s a good idea to know what to expect from a processor before you go looking for reviews, to make sure you’re not tempted by something you don’t need.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a gaming processor. Every person’s needs are different from each other, but making a decision doesn’t have to be difficult.
As long as you know what kind of gaming PC you’re shooting for and what you want to be able to do with it, the rest will fall into place. Set your budget before you begin the process, then see the best that Intel and AMD have to offer.