Best CPU for gaming in 2023
If you’re after the best CPU for gaming, there are some seriously solid options available in 2023. Now that both Raptor Lake and Ryzen 7000 have been released, the widespread adoption of PCIe 5.0 compliance is in full force. Now, both team red and team blue fully support DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 SSDs, so the future of gaming hardware is going to be incredibly fast.
On the subject, a real push from the manufacturers has been on clock speeds. Every single model in our best CPU for gaming roundup is capable of reaching and exceeding 5.0 GHz. That’s not something we’ve been able to say before. What does that mean for the games of today and the future? The maximum possible bandwidth for components to let demanding titles play their best.
Continue reading to find out all our top picks and why they’ve made the cut. The battle between Intel and AMD has never been quite this fierce, so there’s not strictly a right or wrong way to go right now.
Don’t forget, there are also a ton of deals on for a variety of CPUs, some of which we’ve cherry-picked below for you.
Products at a Glance
How we chose the best CPUs for gaming
We’ve made our selection of the best CPUs for gaming by taking two critical factors into consideration. These are the price-to-performance ratio and their future-proof nature on the market. After all, you’re likely to keep the same processor for at least a couple of years before upgrading. In order to help you make the right choice, we’ve waded through all available options for the best for many consumers.
Seeing that processors are a two-horse race, AMD or Intel, both with their own entry-level, mid-range, and high-end models, we’ve taken all budgets and preferences into account. Whether you want the bleeding edge or something on the budget side of the scale, you’ll find it in our ranking list.
Best CPU for gaming in 2023
- Support for DDR4 and DDR5 RAM
- Leading performance
- Overclocks up to 5.8 GHz
- No cooler is included
The Intel i9-13900K is our number-one pick for the best CPU for gaming in 2023. This is because the chipset is a true monster with 24 cores and 32 threads, and overclocks to a previously unheard-of 5.8 GHz The brand new Raptor Lake flagship is once again utilizing the Intel 7 10nm process, proving that iterating on what worked with Alder Lake really did pay off. Simply put, you’re getting unrivaled single-core and multi-core performance that will keep your machine relevant for years to come.
It’s all down to the new hyperthreading that’s present in the E-cores of the Raptor Lake architecture. This revised hybrid system means that Intel is able to push the most it can out of silicon twice the size of the competition. What’s more, being an LGA 1700 socket CPU, this model is backward compatible with existing Z690 and alternative motherboards. You’ve also got the choice of both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, which could save you money in the building process.
- Competitively priced
- Outstanding performance for the money
- Increased L3 cache for gaming
- Not great for productivity workflows
- No overclocking
AMD’s L3 cache-boosted X3D chips, a newer set of which has only recently just launched, are a testament to the continued efforts in innovation behind CPUs. Released mid-2022, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D marks AMD’s initial steps into 3D v-cache technology, which allows the firm to boost the L3 cache on the chip and hence make gaming all the more streamlined.
Compared to most other options on the list of the best CPUs for gaming, the 5800X3D is the single least expensive chip. Despite that, it still boasts some impeccable metrics for a component that comes in at around $300.
While you might be able to find other options for slightly lower price tags, the 5800X3D remains a beast in gaming and gives it an edge over rivals on the market. Still, that also means it lacks a bit in productivity workflows.
- Incredibly powerful
- Overclocks to 5.6 GHz
- Increased L3 cache
- Outstanding for demanding games
- It's expensive
- Requires AM5 mobo & cooler
Released and debuted to some stellar reviews, AMD’s Ryzen 9 7900X3D is one of the best CPUs for gaming, as well as a ton of other additional tasks. Where the 5800X3D kind of falls flat, the 7900X3D is a step above, allowing users to gain the best of practically all worlds, harnessing powerful video editing and streaming capabilities.
These enhancements, of course, come with a hefty price tag, one that doesn’t just surround the chip itself but extends even to required additional components to make the 7900X3D run as well as possible. These components include the AM5 motherboard and a liquid water cooler, which may not be ideal for most people.
And this isn’t even the most expensive option, as the Ryzen 9 7950X3D proves to be even more capable, but far more difficult to find at a reasonable price. At $600, though, the 7900X3D is a good option for increased productivity in tandem with exceptional gaming performance.
- Hold its own against Ryzen 7
- Amazing for overclocking
- Power efficient
- More expensive than Alder Lake
In terms of the middle ground that the vast majority of PC gamers are going to strive for, the Intel Core i7-13700K is more than up to the task. This is all down to the innovations of Raptor Lake’s refinements, as the latest i7 CPU is 16-core (24 threads) and overclocks to 5.4 GHz. We’ve never seen an i7 that’s this capable, meaning it’s a real value proposition at $489.99, well under $500.
If you’re an existing Alder Lake user then there’s certainly an argument to be made about upgrading. You’re benefitting from four more cores and pushing well beyond the 5 GHz mark, too. The same is true of Z690 and other LGA 1700 motherboards, there’s an opportunity to save money while getting the best performance rates here.
- Aggressive price point
- High base clock speed
- Great for gaming
- Falls behind 13600K
- No support for DDR4
In terms of sheer value, the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X is a hard act to follow with its incredibly aggressive asking price of just $299. That’s a full $30 cheaper than the Intel equivalent. This model keeps this more standard than with Raptor Lake, sticking to the tried and true 6-core (12 threads) build but shrinking the silicon in half with the 5nm process.
What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re investing in an AMD Ryzen 5 7600X with DDR5 memory in your machine, you’re going to be able to feel that 4.7 GHz frequency straight out of the box. Single-core performance thrives with higher clock speeds, and that won’t be an issue as the extra bandwidth of PCIe 5.0 can be used to full capacity.
What should I look for with my next CPU?
When buying a CPU you should consider the asking price and the performance offered. Typically speaking, if you’re someone who wants to push games to their limit, then an i7 / Ryzen 7 would be a smarter choice than the weaker alternatives.
Clock speeds are important, too, so if you want to overclock, shop for those processors that are pushing the 5.0 GHz rate. What’s more, TDP is an essential consideration as well, as Intel currently goes up to 125W, and AMD’s upcoming line will have a power draw of up to 170W base TDP.
Then there’s the socket type and corresponding motherboards. Intel uses LGA 1700, with AMD currently using AM4 and soon-to-be AM5. Certain motherboard types, such as those with DDR5 support, are going to be more expensive than budget models. If you want to build a high-end rig, keep this in mind when choosing your CPU.
What is the fastest CPU for gaming?
If you’re after purely the fastest CPU for gaming then your two choices are either the Intel Core i9-13900K or the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X. This is because both processors are capable of being overclocked to 5.8 GHz and 5.7 GHz respectively. Seriously fast.
Which is better AMD or Intel?
The gap between AMD and Intel has never been tighter, as Raptor Lake and Zen 4 are both incredibly powerful and competitively priced. In terms of which generation wins out, though, you’re ever so slightly better served with the i5-13600K in the entry-level side of the spectrum and the i9-13900K on the tail-end. The middle ground largely appears to be claimed by the 7700X.
What does PCIe 5.0 mean for CPUs?
PCIe 5.0 is the new standard for bandwidth of all components in your gaming PC. For processors, this means that tandem performance with some of the fastest DDR5 RAM kits makes for faster and more consistent gaming overall. PCIe 5.0 will be in place for the next few years at least, with everything from graphics cards to SSDs taking advantage of the faster rates, too.
The Intel Core i9-13900K is our top pick for the best CPU for gaming because no other processor on the market is quite this fast or powerful. If you’re after something more humble, though, the i5-13600K is every bit as capable from a purely gaming perspective for a competitive asking price.