We investigate what makes a CPU good to play and we give our favorite models
Regardless of whether we are going to play on a computer or not, the processor isone of the key piecesin all equipment, because it is current as its brain and determines the performance of a large part of the activities we carry out from it. Therefore, although the graphics card is the heart of all gaming equipment, and its most important component, it is closely followed by the processor.
So muchIntelhowAMDThey are in a fierce battle for dominance of this market, which interests gamers and enthusiasts alike. Due to their importance within each system, there are a multitude of processors with different attributes and qualities, so answering the question of which are the best to play can be somewhat convoluted. Almost a year ago we tried to give our own answer; We proposed what for us were the best processors to play. Today we aspire to renew that vision for 2020.
What makes a processor “good to play” at our discretion
It must be understood that commercial desktop processors cover an infinite number of tasks, with more favored models for certain activities than others. A processor that is more than enough for office tasks may come up short if we are going to play. Similarly, a processor that is excellent for gaming may not be the best option for editing a video, to give a quick example. Although we can associate the price factor with the performance of one of these components, it is not decisive.
Regardless of the price of a processor, the value of its performance is the factor to considerThat said, there are a number of common features that we could highlight as ideal for gaming, such as a good single-core power – games are still dependent on it – or a minimum of four physical cores, features that we find in most current processors. Establishing a minimum, we could affirm that a processor to play should, at least, comply with the following:
That their cores perform the same, or above, an Intel Core Haswell processor, or a first-generation Ryzen. The synthetic test ofCinebench R15It is a good starting point for this, which also has an extensive database. Ideally, they should have the performance per core of an Intel Core Coffe-Lake, or a second-generation Ryzen or above, with at least four physical cores. There are many AAA titles that suffer from a bottleneck with less. We can estimate that the current recommended measure is around the six physical nuclei, although it may vary depending on the title. A while ago we did a special in which we covered very slightly part of the subject. That has these characteristics with the lowest possible price; preferably, without exceeding 400 euros, since it is not the main component of a team to play. Unless we have no price limit and our goal is maximum performance.
Looking for the best return for every euro invested
Considering the guidelines we have given, we could say that a processor like the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, despite being an excellent processor, is not an ideal processor to play with; since much of its capacity is not going to be exploited while we play and “inferior” models such as the i7-8700K achieve better frequencies, with a higher IPC, at a much lower price.
The number of tables we get per euro decreases as we go up ranges.
The mid-range of processors is usually the most interesting for players for the same reason. Processors in this range tend to maintain characteristics very similar to their older siblings, but somewhat more moderate to keep their price lower. They’re built to be the best-selling of each generation to the public, so it makes sense for developers to create their titles with the power of them in mind. In addition, they are usually, for their price, the best ratioprice-performanceThey maintain one of the most useful data for making a grounded purchase.
The Ryzen 7 2700X’s CPU value for gaming is higher now than the first months of its launch.
Finally, if our goal is to find the best return for every euro invested, it is usually a good idea to take into account the processors of previous generations that continue to be marketed. With each new batch of products, the selling price of its predecessors drops considerably until its disappearance in stores, which usually leads to good opportunities to get a higher-end processor at an unthinkable price a few months before. Having said all this, we can start with our recommendations.
Our favorite low price processors (Below 100 euros)
It is difficult to happily recommend a processor in this price range, since the vast majority of them do not meet our optimal requirements that a gaming processor should have, some models do not even meet the minimum requirements that we would ask of this component. . For this reason there is not a wide variety of recommendations in this price range and almost all require justification. These are these models:
Intel Core i3-9100F
The F series of Intel processors do without their graphics unit to reduce costs. Thanks to this, this Core i3 is an affordable option to get a low-end processor capable of accompanying the entire range of current graphics cards. It only has four physical cores, like the old Core i5, but its high frequencies help it cope well in titles that are not optimized to take advantage of a large number of threads.
Buy Intel Core i3-9100F on Amazon
AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
AMD APUs continue to take over its low end. This model performs relatively similar to a Ryzen 3 1300X at a much lower price. In addition, it has the incentive of its integrated graphics, which can serve us to play titles with very few requirements without depending on a dedicated one, for those who want to become a very low-cost team.
Buy AMD Ryzen 3 3200G on Amazon
AMD Athlon 200GE
It’s been a while since the Athlon series returned to the ranks of AMD processors. This model, the Athlon 200GE, has a somewhat distant specifications of what we would call “an ideal processor to play”, but we believe that it is the only option below 50 euros that is currently worthwhile. It can be accompanied by a low-end GPU or take advantage of its integrated Vega to make a very humble team with which to enjoy a title already years old.
Buy AMD Athlon 200GE on Amazon
Note:AMD will launch the review of the Ryzen 3 in a few weeks in our territory. These Zen2-based processors promise good performance at an affordable price; reason why they could appear as recommended in this section if their price, as advertised, ends up being less than 100 euros. Otherwise, the proposals of the following price range seem more interesting to us, but they will have to be taken into account.
Our favorite mid-priced processors (from 100 euros to 250 euros)
In the range of 100-250 euros we place the bulk of the mid-range of both Intel and AMD in their current ranges. Under this margin we can also see several processors of the past generation that may be of interest to us; so this range contains processors withthe best price-performance ratioof the entire text. There are a large number of CPUs that fall between these two values, but our favorites are:
AMD Ryzen 7 2700
For us, we chose the Ryzen 7 2700 as the preferred option for those looking for the best performance for what they let go of their pockets. Despite being a processor of the last generation, its eight physical cores with frequencies above 3.7 GHz give it the performance of a processor superior to the mid-range, despite being in the prices of said range. Sometimes, we can see its version with OC from the factory, the Ryzen 7 2700X, at the same price. If it happens, we recommend your purchase against this model.
Buy AMD Ryzen 7 2700 on Amazon
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The Zen2 architecture greatly improved the performance of AMD’s game processors. From the series derived from that architecture, our favorite model is possibly the R5 3600 as it is a balanced but powerful proposal. Six physical cores with SMT, frequencies above 4.0 GHz in turbo and a price below 200 euros make it one of the most interesting options at the moment. That price is also the reason for your choice over the R5 3600X, but it’s also an excellent choice.
Buy AMD Ryzen 5 3600 on Amazon
Intel Core i5-9600KF
The Core i5-9600KF compensates for the absence of Hyper-Threading and integrated graphics with high frequencies in its six physical cores and the ability to boost them by overclocking. The latter makes it an especially interesting processor for gamers, since with the ideal touches they can make a processor of just over 200 euros very close to the immediately higher range in games.
Buy Intel Core i5-9600KF on Amazon
AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF
This R5 series model is a peculiar case within AMD’s product lineup. This is a revision of the original R5 1600 with Zen +, which has also been upgraded to more frequencies to match the company’s R5 2600 at a marginally lower price. Thanks to this we have a mid-range processor at a price just over 100 euros. If you opt for it, check the price of the R5 2600X. If it is available for a very similar value, or less, it is a better option.
Buy AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF on Amazon
Intel Core i5-9400F
The Core i5-9400F is one of the most interesting mid-range processors from Intel to offer six physical cores that reach 4.1 GHz in turbo below 170 euros. It is this price that makes it one of the most affordable and interesting game processors in the company, as well as its best asset in opting for it against its competitors; although it is somewhat behind this outside the gross performance in games.
Buy Intel Core i5-9400F on Amazon
Our favorite high-priced processors (250 to 400 euros)
This is the price range that opens the doors to the high-end processors of the two main companies. These assure us the total absence of bottlenecks with any configuration of graphics cards, although outside of this fact they may be excessive if our only intensive work in the team is going to be playing, so we will only highlight a couple of models. Of these processors our favorites are:
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
Although AMD’s current high-end goes beyond the R7 series today, the R7 3800X is for us the company’s most exciting high-end processor for the average user. It maintains specifications and price lower than what we see in models like the R9 3900X with practically even performance in games, it has better consumption and its eight physical cores will continue to be relevant for many more years. We opted for the version with factory OC for its best frequencies, since when moving in this price range we consider that the added cost is not so decisive and gives us a higher overclock.
Buy AMD Ryzen 7 3800X on Amazon
Intel Core i7-9700K
Although the i7-8700K still seems to us a more attractive option than its successor, this i7-9700K, its price has skyrocketed and it is difficult to find it below 400 euros, a value much higher than what we would pay for it. In its absence the i7-9700K offers us two more physical cores, higher frequencies and better gaming performance; although it pales in the rest of the aspects compared to its predecessor. In any case, this is one of the processors that can achieve the best frequencies through overclocking, so it will be an interesting option for those in this field.
Buy Intel Core i7-9700K on Amazon
Our favorite processors of more than 400 euros
If the price is not an inconvenience, and our goal is to get “the best of the best” in terms of consumer processors, we have the Core i9 and Ryzen 9 ranges to satisfy our cravings. These processors are well above the target price that we would look for in a processor to play, since they are oriented to the professional field, but they are the most attractive option from the enthusiastic point of view before moving to the extreme range.
Intel Core i9-9900K
Although there are versions “KS” (More factory overclock and better chip) and “KF” (Without integrated graphics unit), it is the original K version that we find most interesting of the Core i9 for consumers for a simple reason: its Price and availability. Of the entire series, it is the most price-stable i9-9900. Its performance places it as the most powerful processor to play today, especially if we tweak its frequencies, although its price makes it difficult to justify its purchase. Its eight physical cores with Hyper-Threading also make it an excellent processor for other purposes.
Buy Intel Core i9-9900K on Amazon
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
On behalf of AMD, its most powerful consumer processor is undoubtedly the Ryzen 9 3900X; as well as its processor that performs best in games thanks to its high frequencies. Unfortunately, its most outstanding feature: its 12 physical cores with SMT, are not exploited in current titles, so the only real reason to opt for this model in a justified way is that we take advantage of this feature. Otherwise, the processors shown in the previous section will be much easier to justify.
Buy AMD Ryzen 9 3900X on Amazon
The new Intel processors
Shortly before the publication of this article, Intel has officially announced its tenth generation of processors, which will be released in the middle-end of this year. Until that happens, we will keep the current selection; but, taking into account the curious benefits of this generation, before a significant paradigm shift we will update the current selection.
The company’s promises include a general price cut on all models, as well as a more extensive lineup. It has been confirmed that it will only be compatible with a new chipset, compared to the compatibility we have had with the 8th and 9th generation.
More about: Processors and Technology.