Best CPUs of 2021

CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the PC’s brain. The most essential task is to perform calculations and process instructions provided by the applications and send commands to all components of the PC and I/O. As a result, CPUs have evolved a great deal over time. There used to be a single processor (core) inside the CPU for many years, but with the increase in processing demands and arrival of CPU-intensive games, one processor just wasn’t enough. It marked the start of a newer generation where we witnessed the best CPU development of all time. Multiple core CPUs became a new norm, and hyperthreading was introduced to allow more than one task to be performed by a single-core simultaneously.

There lies a fundamental philosophical difference between the selection of a gaming CPU or a professional CPU. The professional use of CPUs usually requires a more significant number of cores to process multiple threads and instructions simultaneously, achieving better results. On the other hand, CPU-intensive games often require higher clocks that need to be as close to the GPU frequency as possible. It results in lower latency and faster-synced processing between CPU and GPU for improved in-game performance. Furthermore, faster cache and lower IPC (Instructions/cycle) also improve the overall performance of the CPU that is beneficial both in games and in professional tasks like video editing, etc. Take a Look at our quick shopping tips. They will aid you in deciding the best CPU for gaming for unparalleled performance.

Quick Shopping Tips:

Core Count: The core count is very effective in multiplying the output of the CPU. But for most gamers, six cores is the minimum number of cores needed to run the top 2021 games on 1080p. Any more than that, and we will see only marginal performance improvements within games that lie in the category of enthusiasts and elite PC builders. Professional work like encoding and editing software requires even greater than eight cores to enhance their output.

Boost Frequency: As we mentioned earlier, the CPU feature that affects in-game performance the most is the PCU frequency. CPU manufacturers employ different techniques to boost this frequency as high as possible. For example, Intel turbo boost and thermal velocity boost technology allow the frequency to reach up to 130% of the base frequency if the thermals allow it. Similarly, AMD features Precision Boost 2 technology to raise the clock speed and push the CPU to run faster.

Overclocking: Gamers often aren’t satisfied with the stock CPU speeds. They prefer overclocking, which is raising CPU clocks beyond stock speeds to improve processing power. High-performance CPU coolers are often required to keep the CPU within an acceptable temperature band while overclocking. AMD processors have unlocked multipliers by default to allow swift overclocking via AMD Master overclocking software. On the other hand, Intel processors have separate K series processors with an unlocked multiplier and permit overclocking.

AMD or Intel: AMD and Intel are excellent CPU manufacturers and produce the best quality CPUs in the market. AMD has a higher market share among professionals and workstations because of its superior core count, lower performance to price ratio, and excellent multi-threading capability. On the other hand, Intel is more prevalent among gamers and overclockers because of its better in-game performance and outrageous boost frequencies that AMD has yet to match.

Top Gaming CPUs for the Money at a glance:

  1. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
  2. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
  3. Intel Core i9-10900K
  4. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
  5. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
  6. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
  7. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  8. AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The Top Gaming CPUs for the Money You Can Buy Today

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

best CPU for gaming right now


Socket: AM4 motherboards | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 12/24 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.8 GHz | TDP: 105W


Higher performance to watt ratio

Excellent single-core performance

Best for web-developing and gaming


No stock cooler

Pricier than previous-gen

Who said AMD CPUs aren’t good for gaming? AMD Ryzen 3 processors are the ultimate example of excellent craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology that surpass others in gaming graphics. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the best gaming CPU available to the masses having the unique Zen 3 architecture and the most significant single-core boost compared to the previous generation.

People once believed that AMD is only good for professional software and content creation while gaming was linked with Intel processors. The 5900X, which is the best CPU for gaming right now, changed our perspective by achieving top benchmarks in multi-thread and single-core performance necessary for maximum gaming performance. Additionally, PCIe 4.0 integration doubled the bandwidth to 32GB/s, so modern higher bandwidth GPUs will never bottleneck the CPU.

So how did AMD manage to achieve such an impressive feat? AMD doubles the number of cores per die to reduce latency and allow access to twice as much cache to the individual cores (up to 32MBs of L3) than Zen 2 architecture. Ultimately this resulted in significantly faster core performance with the same amount of cache as the previous-gen 3900X. That is why the 5900X is quicker than the 3900X with a similar core and cache and is the best gaming processor for extreme gamers.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

best affordable gaming CPU


Socket: AM4 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 06/12 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 65W


PCIe 4.0 x16 supported

High operation at Lower TDP

Bundled Wraith Steel CPU Cooler


No Integrated graphics

Increased gen-on-gen price

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X pricing sits at the mid-range gaming market and is the best affordable gaming CPU packing six dual threaded cores and having the best performance to price ratio. Its cores hit the sweet spot for hardcore gaming and optimum pricing and are suitable for content production and gaming. It packs a similar Zen 3 architecture that is famous for improved processing power.

While cutting costs, AMD has let go of integrated graphics, so you will need a GPU whether you like it or not. But it isn’t such a big deal as high-end gaming requires a GPU. 5600X is a serious competitor and a threat to Intel’s mid-range lineup due to its aggressive pricing and higher core output. Our testing came out as the best CPU for the high-end gaming market, with the highest benchmark score among competitors.

Back in the day of Zen 2 CPUs, we noticed some lags in top titles like GTA V and Civilization:6 due to higher CPU latencies as only up to 4 cores were chipped on a single die complex (CCX). AMD’s eight cores per single die (CCX) design centralized all the processor cores to achieve the lowest latency in Ryzen 3 CPUs and improved FPS and smoother experience in top AAA games.

Intel Core i9-10900K (Image credit: Amazon)

Intel Core i9-10900K

Intel's best gaming CPU


Socket: LGA 1200 | Architecture: Comet Lake | Cores/Threads: 10/20 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 125W


Reliable for overclocking

Max boost frequency of 5.3GHz

Best for 1440p gaming @ 60 FPS


No PCIe-4.0 compatible

No ECC Memory Supported

Intel has always been popular among gamers for a long time. Intel Core i9-10900K is the 10th gen flagship featuring similar gaming aptitude that intel is known for and more. Intel’s best gaming CPU has the highest CPU clock of 5.3Ghz and 20MB of smart cache, which we never saw in previous models. The potential we see in 10900K is well worth its higher price and higher TDP than competitors.

Intel’s processors are usually focused on single-core performance, and gaming-centric processing power has been their niche since the last decade. As we know, higher clocks tend to produce better gaming results, and Intel manufactures the best CPU for gaming by pushing the clock as high as possible with the coming generations. It led to a blindspot towards the content creation market and professional use market. Intel processors, although competent, lag behind competitors in multi-threaded performance.

Intel has debuted its state-of-the-art Intel Thermal velocity boost TVB 3.0 with Comet Lake CPUs that boost the fastest core to a whopping 5.3 GHz on 10900K if the thermals permit. It achieves a higher clock than Turbo Boost Max 3.0, which was able to push dual cpu cores to 5.2 GHz. The only thing that is of a bit of concern is the high TDP. Intel CPUs can go as high as 325W on peak loading, so a high-efficiency liquid cooler should be in place to cover it. This CPU is an enthusiast-class CPU for the elite performers that don’t mind spending a little extra for the flagship product.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Great mid-range CPU for gaming


Socket: AM4 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 08/16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.7 GHz | TDP: 105W


VR ready premium CPU

PCI Express 4.0 integration

Significant IPC improvement


No thermal solution packed

Price bumped from previous-gen

If you want a Great mid-range CPU for gaming, AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is there to fill the spot. It has an eight-core processor potent enough for decent 1440p gaming without the need for aggressive overclocking. Because as we push higher voltage through the CPU to boost the clock, the cooling demands rise exponentially, and so do the ventilation costs. It also has a capable multi-threaded processing power to meet all the needs of hefty production software.

5900X is overkill for hardcore gamers as the slight increase in performance won’t be cost-effective for most folks. 5800X is a perfectly balanced and the best gaming CPU for intense gaming that most gamers will ever need. It features fewer cores than its competitors, yet it performs equally due to ryzen 3 latency and cache improvements. Multi-threaded performance is already the niche of AND, so it’s already covered by default, and professional creators find it flawlessly breezing through their applications.

AMD CPU pricing has seen a gradual boost over time as Intel processors are struggling to compete. AMD effortlessly maintains the top spot as the most efficient performer with 7nm lithography that Intel is yet to pull off. Lack of integrated graphics was expected, but the lack of bundled cooler was a little hurtful with the increased price. But overall, there isn’t much to complain about, as AMD still brings forth better value for money than similar Intel CPUs.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Best Overall CPU for gaming


Socket: AM4 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 12/24 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 105W


Unlocked for overclocking

Wraith Prism with RGB LED

Supports DDR4 up to 3200MHz


No VR ready

Runs hot under heavy loads

After the launch of 5th gen Ryzen processors, we saw a slight dip in the last-gen processor prices. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, which was the Best Overall CPU for gaming, became ever so affordable. At a similar price to 5800X, you get four extra cores and almost twice as much cache. The 3900X was the flagship performer and the most popular processor of the 3rd gen that made waves as the killer 2K gaming processor.

AMD’s processor displays excellent gaming potential, but the single-core performance lags behind Intel, and so does the performance in CPU-centric games. Nonetheless, its highly competitive pricing beats Intels similar CPUs and provides excellent value at this price.

The latest games that utilize multiple cores and threads simultaneously are the best CPU for 2K gaming. The tremendous and video editing and encoding work due to their large cores. The AMD Ryzen CPU has come a long way since the launch of the 1st Ryzen processor in enhancing single-core performance. The 3rd gen Ryzen CPU has 15% faster IPC than the 2nd gen and a higher clock speed going up to 4.6 GHz.In addition,  AMD employed 7nm lithography to expand Cache size up to 70Mbs (L2: 6MB &L3:64 MB) and denote it as ‘GameCache.’ AMD CPU has pushed through the stigmatized market and earned its place as a well-respected gaming CPU.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Best High Performance CPU


Socket: AM4 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 16/32 | Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.9 GHz | TDP: 105W


Suitable for the latest gaming rigs

Highest cores/threads technology

delivers 100+ FPS in the latest games


High price tag

No stock cooler included

AMD has managed to control the CPU desktop CPU market by inaugurating their 5th gen CPU built on Ryzen 3 architecture. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is their flagship and unanimously the Best High Performance CPU that AMD has produced for desktop PCs. Amazingly it only has a meager TDP of 105W that is well below similar Intel CPUs. It is intended for enthusiasts and top performers as its price fall in the premium range and isn’t a value-oriented recommendation for most users.

The best thing about AMD is that all its Ryzen CPUs share the same AM4 socket, and you can also use the 5th gen CPUs on the X470 or B450 chipset if you don’t want to upgrade your previous motherboard. Although if you’re going to utilize fully integrated PCIe 4.0, then X570 or B550 is the way forward. The 5950X is the best CPU for gaming, packing a staggering 16 high-performance cores that can elevate up to the AMDs all-time highest clock speed of 5.0 GHz.

AMD’s CPU topped most benchmarks with its raw processing power and excellent single-core and multi-core performance. You won’t be seeing a CPU bottleneck with this CPU even on 4K gaming due to its very high single-core score. EXcellent multi-thread performance translates into outstanding performance in the wide variety of productivity apps and content creation activities. Even Though its benchmarks are off the charts, it is an overkill for gamers. It is recommended only for the enthusiasts and true admirers of its flagship performance and potential.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Best Mid-Range CPU for gaming


Socket: AM4 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 08/16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65W


CPU cooler included

Low-priced alternative to HEDT

Suitable for multi-threaded work


Generates more heat

No support for windows 7

If you think the newer AMD processors are pricey, we have just the CPU for you. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is the gem of the 3000 AMD CPUs and, due to its balanced pricing and performance, is the Best Mid-Range CPU for gaming. AMD claimed to be 20% to 30% faster in most games owing to the newer architecture and maintained consistently higher FPS and higher performance to watt ratio than Ryzen gen 1 CPUs.

AMD has doubled the cache in the Zen 2 CPUs to be the best gaming CPU for average gamers. In the best cpu for gaming, we see a noticeable uplift in the gaming experience, as the FPS tends to be higher and the gameplay is smoother. One of the main benefits of this CPU is the significantly lower TDP (65W), and secondly, you don’t have to spend anything on the cooler as the Wraith Prism CPU cooler comes bundled with it.

AMD earmarked the mid-range market for both professional and gamers and ruled it (with the 3700X) till the launch of its 5th gen. After the price drop, it’s still one of the most valued CPUs among gamers. The single chipset design that contains all the eight cores is the hero here for the improved gen on gen performance and lower latencies. Even after a year, it’s still the most relevant and popular gaming CPU for average users.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (Image credit: Amazon)

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Reliable mid-range CPU


Socket: LGA AM4 | Architecture: Zen 3 | Cores/Threads: 08/16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.2 GHz | TDP: 65W


Turbo Boost 3.0

Unlocked multiplier

Robust overclocking headroom


No NVidia SLI compatible

Not compatible with older motherboards

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the perfect example of beauty and brawn. It was the most Reliable mid-range CPU of its generation and still is. You can achieve high-end performance similar to its bigger brother 3700X by overclocking it. It’s a bargain deal for games at a lower asking price and higher performance ratio than its competitors and similarly priced processors.

Its maximum thermal consumption is rated at 65W, which is nothing compared to Intel’s, which can go as high as 325W for top-end CPUs. A 65W CPU cooler comes with the box to cool the CPU, but you may need a more powerful cooler (like the Wraith Stealth) for overclocking it beyond the usual limits. It also carries the market-leading PCIe 4.0 integrated support that empowers it to use upcoming GPUs, which is another plus.

AMD 3600 is the best CPU for budget gaming with a peak frequency of 4.2 and a GameCache of 35MB enough to sail through 1080p and 2K gaming. We suggest using it with a B550 chipset instead of X570 to save some money so you can invest higher in a PCIe. 4.0 supported GPU. The CPU also permits memory overclocking up to 3200 MHz for additional performance gains. It is the most reliable budget CPU we have recommended for average to high-demand gamers.


AMD was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2016 when they placed their final bet in the 1st Ryzen architecture processor. Since then, they haven’t looked back and continue to soar higher over time and managed to beat Intel on multiple fronts, especially the productivity niche and the desktop gaming market. On the other hand, Intel has focused all its efforts on producing the best gaming CPU by attaining the highest boost frequencies among its lineup. The latest Intel CPUs will also possess PCI e 4.0, further shortening the gap.

So the best CPU for enthusiasts and truly peak performers is the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. People going for flagship models and powerful CPUs don’t care for higher prices. They enjoy the smoothest gameplay and fastest execution of productivity-oriented tasks this CPU so easily achieves via massive 16 cores and faster individual cores. I would name just one CPU to meet all your requirements and ensure happy gaming sessions for all the other gamers. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the most popular Ryzen CPU in the gaming communities as it guarantees a faster and smoother 2K gaming experience. It has just the perfect setup of CPU Cores (6 to be precise) for high-end gaming and professional editing jobs, and it costs less than half of the flagship models.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand of CPU is the best?

Both Intel and AMD manufacture the best quality CPUs, but AMD CPUs provide the best value processors. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is the high-end category CPU with eight optimized gaming cores and is priced notably lower than similar Intel processors. It is built on Ryzen 3 architecture for higher IPC and individual core performances.

Which is the fastest CPU?

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is the fastest performing AMD CPU with 16 optimized cores. It is optimized for both individual and multi-core performance by Ryzen 3 architecture. Up to 8 cores are chipped on a single die to eliminate lags and improve latencies. It beats all other consumer CPUs in benchmarks fair and square and is the popular choice of enthusiasts.

What's the best CPU 2021?

Intel Core i9-10900K has the highest boost clock of 5.3 GHz, which even AMD couldn’t beat yet. It is a flagship gaming-focused CPU that was the gaming king until the 5th gen AMD processors launch. It has almost a similar benchmark score as the AMDs king and has a better asking price than AMD. It has exceptional overclocking capacity but dissipates a tremendous amount of heat(Max 325), requiring a high-capacity CPU cooler.

Which CPU should I buy for gaming?

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is the perfect gaming CPU for average gamers. Its performance to watt ratio is excellent as it only dissipates 65W of TDP. Being an older generation model, you can find it at a reasonably low price and a Wraith CPU cooler free of charge within the box. It is recommended for 1080p gaming at stock settings.