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Best CPUs for The First Descendant – our top Intel and AMD picks

Take the top spot with these CPUs powering your rig.
Last Updated on July 3, 2024
Best CPUs for The First Descendant
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Many people think that for gaming, you only need a powerful GPU, but where does the GPU get the instructions from? The processor and the faster it is, the lower the chances of either component bottlenecking each other. 

That said, for The First Descendant, the recommended processors are the Intel i7-7700K and AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Technology has come a long way since then, and this title runs on Unreal Engine 5, which means it has high graphical fidelity.

So, to adequately run it, you’ll need a powerful processor, but we understand that the number of options available can be very confusing. To that end, we took the liberty of doing the research for you and put together this in-depth guide that lists different CPU options, their review, details, and pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

How we picked

There are various aspects you need to consider while pairing any CPU with a GPU. To find the best CPU to run The First Descendant, we looked at various factors like the brand, architecture, cores, threads, base and boost frequencies, and other important factors into account. This helps us filter our options and also gives us an idea of which CPU and GPU pairing would be the closest to ideal.

However, other than specifications that anyone can read, we take a more hands-on approach by thoroughly testing the CPUs for synthetic and real-world performance. If you’re interested in learning more about that, we recommend you head to our PC Guide Testing Lab, which will show the process in detail.

Our top picks

Best CPU for The First Descendant overall
00
  • Blue and white box of an Intel Core i7-13700KF 13th gen unlocked CPU, labeled "discrete graphics required.
  • An Intel Core i7-13700K processor box on a desk with a blurred background.
  • An Intel Core i7-13700K processor in its packaging, displayed in front of a blurred background with blue hues.
  • Intel Core i7-13700K CPU on a white background.
Highly Recommended
Specifications
  • Cores: 16
  • Threads: 24
  • Platform: Raptor Lake-S
  • Base Clock Speed: 100 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 5.4 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 30 MB (shared)
  • TDP: 125 W
Reasons to Buy
  • It has excellent gaming performance
  • It has a good number of cores and threads for varying workloads
  • It excels with lighter loads
Reasons to Avoid
  • It can run a bit hot
  • It can be very power-hungry

For the best performance, we recommend opting for the Intel Core i7-13700K, as the “700K” processors have a long-standing history of being excellent gaming chips. That said, during our Intel Core i7-13700K review, we were pleased to see this CPU delivering excellent gaming and productive performance. 

To begin with, this processor packs impressive hardware under the hood. It features 16 cores, split between eight performance and efficient cores, 24 threads, a base clock of 2.5 GHz, and a boost clock of 5.4 GHz. What these specifications mean is that its processing prowess should be more than enough to handle the requirements of The First Descendant or any other games or productive tasks. 

Intel uses the big.LITTLE design, which tackles varying workloads with different cores. The efficient cores (E-cores) handle minor tasks and don’t consume much energy, whereas the performance cores (P-cores) are larger and are called in when resource-intensive tasks need to be handled. Once taken care of, the E-cores take the reigns back while the P-cores fall in the background. 

What does this mean in terms of gaming? Since games don’t utilize a lot of cores and threads, which is why we look at single-core performance to gauge a chip’s gaming prowess, this dynamic should ensure that you’re getting every bit of juice to power your in-game adventure without running into bottleneck issues. 

The Core i7-13700K is certainly a strong and capable CPU if you have gaming in mind, but where it truly excels is multi-core workloads.

PC Guide

It also has 30 MB of Intel Smart Cache. How this works is that all the cores are able to access the data present on the last level. This also includes the game elements, so the cores don’t have to utilize resources to fetch specific data as it is already present. This reduces access times, which leads to faster and more efficient processing. 

During our testing, we checked for its synthetic and gaming performance. In CPU-Z single- and multi-core tests, it managed 869 and 12,498 points, respectively. On the other hand, its gaming performance was also impressive, as it delivered 292 and 325 FPS in Days Gone and Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p low resolution paired with an RTX 4070 Ti Super.  

So, there is no doubt about the i7-13700K’s performance across the board, and this is one of the best CPUs you can get for The First Descendant. 

What users say

According to Amazon reviews, this CPU is a “gaming beast with brawn and bandwidth.” It has excellent performance, the hybrid architecture delivers just the right amount of power, and can handle gaming across all resolutions. One reviewer said: “The Intel Core i7-13700K is a top-tier processor for serious gamers, demanding content creators, and overclocking enthusiasts.” 

Best high-end CPU for The First Descendant
02
  • Product packaging of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor featuring 3D V-Cache technology, with an orange and black color scheme.
  • Close-up view of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor installed in a motherboard socket
  • A close-up of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor
  • A close-up of an AMD Ryzen 7 processor on a white table
  • 7800X3D facing down showing contact pads on a white table
Excellent
Specifications
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Boost speed : up to 5 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.2 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 96 MB
  • TDP: 120 W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • Incredible gaming performance
  • It comes with an affordable price tag
  • It opens up the path for future upgrades
Reasons to Avoid
  • It is not the best CPU for productive workloads
  • The upgrade to AM5 is expensive

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D is one of the best gaming processors out there, and it is capable of handling anything you throw at it. We can attest to that as we thoroughly tested it for our 7800X3D review, and the results were incredible. 

This gaming behemoth features eight cores, 16 threads, a base clock of 4.2 GHz, a boost clock of 5 GHz, and a whopping 96 MB of L3 cache. What this translates to is that regardless of the type of game, new or old release, this CPU has everything it needs in its arsenal to make quick work of it, and The First Descendant shouldn’t be an exception. 

This processor is massively more powerful than the recommended 7700K and 2600X. On top of that, the 3D V-cache technology stacks more cache on top of the L3 cache, meaning you can store more in-game or other frequently accessed data, leading to efficient processing and better in-game results. 

That said, despite the hardware it packs, it has a TDP of 120W, which is very manageable compared to Team Blue. However, for optimal performance, we recommend keeping it running cool by using the best CPU cooler for Ryzen 7 7800X3D. If you want the best performance possible, pair it with the best GPU for Ryzen 7 7800X3D

his CPU will smash through any gaming workload you throw at it, and be able to handle productivity tasks much better then before

PC Guide

There is what some might call a downside to opting for this CPU. This runs on the AM5 platform, and since that is new, making the shift from LGA1700 or AM4 is going to be expensive as you’ll need an AM5 motherboard and DDR5 RAM to go with it. 

However, if you have the budget, then you’ll be set for a couple of years, as the AM5 platform has support till 2027, which should give you plenty of room for upgrades. If you’re interested in exploring some options, we recommend you check out our best AM5 motherboard and DDR5 RAM guides for the best picks. 

Overall, this 7800X3D is a solid option for all types of games, whether looter shooters like The First Descendant or story-based games like RDR2. However, moving to the new platform can be expensive but a worthwhile investment. 

What users say

According to Amazon reviews, this is a gaming powerhouse and has excellent value. One reviewer said: “Decided to move from an i5-13600K over to a 7800X3D since I mostly use my PC for gaming and not productivity work. This CPU is a beast for performance and runs rather cool for what you get out of it, and it’s power efficient as well!”

Best mid-range CPU for The First Descendant
03
  • Intel Core i5-12600K processor in front of its packaging box with "core" and "unlocked" visible on a blurred blue background.
  • An Intel Core i5-12600K processor with its retail box displayed on a desk with a blurred background.
  • An Intel Core i5-12600K processor chip on a plain, light-colored background.
Excellent
Reasons to Buy
  • It comes bundled with a CPU cooler
  • It has excellent single-core performance
  • It has a low TDP compared to the performance it delivers
Reasons to Avoid
  • It can run a little hot during heavy workloads
  • The 13600K has better performance
  • Not the best CPU for multi-core workloads

For the best mid-range CPU, we recommend the Intel Core i5-12600K. While it might be two generations old now, it still packs a powerful punch, as we witnessed during the testing for the 12600K review.

For starters, this processor has ten cores divided between 6 performance and five efficient cores, 16 threads, a base frequency of 2.8 GHz, and a boost frequency of 4.9 GHz. On top of that, it has a 20 MB L3 Intel Smart Cache which should only boost its overall productive and gaming performance. 

That said, this CPU is bestowed with the “K” moniker, meaning it comes unlocked by the manufacturer for overclocking. What this means is that you can increase its base and boost frequencies for faster processing but at the cost of high power draw and thermal output. 

According to Intel, it has a maximum TDP of 150W, but it can be more than that if it is overclocked. In that care, we recommend using the best AIO water cooler to keep its temperature under control and performance optimal.  

During our testing, we checked for its synthetic performance, which shows how it deals with productive workloads and its gaming performance. For the synthetic testing, we used CPU-Z, and in its single- and multi-core tests, it scored 764 and 7,120 points, respectively. 

The single-core score is impressive; to put things into perspective, the 7800X3D scored 643 points, and this is what those two extra cores get you. 

It effortlessly combines power efficiency with single-core performance to make for one fierce competitor in the budget CPU space.

PC Guide

As for its gaming performance, we tested it in Days Gone and Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p low resolution so that it is pulling most of the weight, and it didn’t disappoint. It delivered 222 and 301 FPS, respectively. 

Shooter games are generally less demanding than story-based games, but The First Descendant is built on UE5, meaning its graphical fidelity is high. As the trend with the latest releases goes, we wouldn’t be surprised if it is not adequately optimized right now. 

However, the developers should streamline it with future patches, making running on budget and mid-tier builds easier. 

This CPU’s neat feature is that it is compatible with DDR4 and DDR5 memories, which can be stacked up to 128 GB. So, if you feel like your rig’s performance is lacking, you can always swap out the old RAM for new ones or install more if your motherboard allows for it. If you’re interested in exploring some options, check out our guide for the best DDR4 RAM.  

Overall, this is an excellent CPU that is still a very viable option in 2024 to run various applications and play games like The First Descendant and more. However, the downside is that it uses the LGA1700 socket, meaning your upgrade path will likely end with Intel’s 14th-generation CPUs. 

What users say

According to Amazon reviews, this CPU performs well, runs fast, and can handle heavy workloads. One reviewer said: “The CPU comfortably reaches 5.1 GHz without any stability issues, and it seems there’s still plenty of room for further overclocking if needed. If you’re looking for a CPU that offers solid performance, low heat, and great value, the 12600K is a fantastic choice. Highly recommended for both gaming and general productivity!”

Best budget CPU for The First Descendant
04
  • AMD Ryzen 5 7600X CPU in front of its packaging, featuring the "7000 series processor" label.
  • AMD Ryzen 5 7600X processor with visible pins on a white background.
Excellent
Specifications
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads : 12
  • Boost speed : 5.3 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 32 MB
  • TDP: 105W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • It comes at a very affordable price point
  • It offers an excellent balance between performance and value
  • It has a low TDP of 105W
Reasons to Avoid
  • It isn’t the best chip for really heavy tasks due to the low core count
  • The shift to AM5 also requires DRR5 RAM, which will increase the overall expenses

Not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend on a processor, and for those operating on a budget, we recommend giving the Ryzen 5 7600X a shot. Not only is it light on the pocket, but during our 7600X review, it performed stellarly for an entry-level processor.  

To begin with, this processor has six cores, 12 threads, a base clock of 4.7 GHz, a boost clock of 5.3 GHz, and a 32 MB L3 cache. What this means is that it has more than decent hardware backing its real-world and productive performance. You should be able to run The First Descendant at various graphical settings without worrying about whether this CPU will be able to keep up or not. 

This processor is three generations newer than the recommended 2600X, so it isn’t surprising that it has next-gen-level performance, especially since it runs on the Zen 4 architecture and requires the AM5 socket. However, as we mentioned before, the move to the AM5 platform is expensive but worth it in the long run, as AMD plans on supporting it till 2027

The 7600X also had excellent synthetic performance. We used Geekbench, among many others, and it scored 2,955 and 13,236 points in single- and multi-core, respectively. So, we can see that it can handle gaming and multi-threaded workloads, and its performance is comparable to the 13600K. However, it runs on the latest platform and should have better longevity than the 13600K. 

The Ryzen 5 7600X brings big value for a small price – it performs well in gaming workloads and can hold it’s own in more productive tasks, it seems 6 cores go a long way these days.

PC Guide

As for its in-game performance, as always, we turned the gaming resolution to low and at 1080p resolution. This processor managed 236 and 295 FPS in Days Gone and Cyberpunk 2077, respectively, which were notoriously difficult to run when they came out. 

Overall, this Ryzen 5 7600X is a solid CPU for gaming and productivity tasks. With this processor powering your system, you should be able to enjoy The First Descendant with maxed-out graphics. However, its low core count will make itself known if workstation-level tasks are thrown its way, as it could have better performance if it had a few more cores. 

What users say

According to Amazon reviews, this processor is a “gaming powerhouse” with exceptional performance. One reviewer stated: “The AMD Ryzen™ 5 7600X stands out as an excellent choice for gamers seeking a powerful and cost-effective desktop processor.” 

How to select the best CPU for The First Descendant 

There are a handful of factors that you need to consider before choosing a CPU. We’ve listed some of those factors below so you can make an informed decision on your next CPU, regardless of application.

Budget

The budget is the most important factor to consider. This will help you avoid overspending on a CPU you might not completely use and also reduce the number of options available, making it easier to choose.

For example, if you get your hands on an i9-13900K but don’t have any plans of overclocking it, which is where it truly shines as an enthusiast chip, then a mid-range or even budget CPU, like the 5800X3D or 5600X, both of which we’ve reviewed, would be better suited for you.

Performance

The list of processors will increase or decrease depending on your rig and the type of workloads you work with. For example, if you’ve got a gaming rig and have no professional tasks, then a processor like the Ryzen 7 7800X3D would work best, as it is one of the best gaming processors currently available. 

However, if you also have workloads like 3D modeling, video editing, or rendering, then a processor with better synthetic benchmarks would be better, like the “X” CPUs from AMD or “K” CPUs from Intel. 

System requirements 

It’s always recommended to check the system requirements, as they give you a baseline to work with. The minimum and recommended CPUs to run this title are the Intel i5-3570/AMD FX-8350 and Intel i7-7700K/AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, respectively. 

These processors are years old, and technology has made massive leaps forward, meaning that the processors available today will blow these options out of the water. So, you should have plenty of options to choose from; it’ll all boil down to the level of performance you’re expecting from your rig and your budget. 

Ussamah works as a content writer and editor at BGFG. He is experienced in tech, hardware, gaming, and marketing.