Best CPUs for Gaming: Q1 2019

In our series of Best CPU guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended Gaming CPUs list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing. Numbers in graphs reflect MSRP. Best CPUs for Gaming Q1 2019 Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we’ve got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews. Our Best CPUs for Gaming guide targets most of the common system-build price points that typically pair a beefy graphics card with a capable processor, with the best models being suitable for streaming and encoding on the fly. AnandTech Gaming CPU Recommendations: Q1 2019 (Prices correct at time of writing) Segment AMD Intel The $1500 Gaming PC Ryzen 7 2700 $260 Core i5-9600K $260 The $1000 Gaming PC Ryzen 5 2600X $200 Core i5-9600K Core i3-8100 $260 $120 The $700 Gaming PC Ryzen 5 2600 Ryzen 5 2400G $160 $145 Core i3-8100 $120 The $500 Gaming PC Ryzen 3 2200G $95 – – The $300 Gaming Potato Athlon 200 GE $60 – – Ones to Watch AMD 3rd Generation Ryzen (Q2/Q3) Intel F Processors (out now, sort of) To see our Best CPUs for Workstations Guide, follow this link: The majority of our recommendations aim to hit the performance/price curve just right, with a side nod to power consumption as well. A Note on Favorite Choices: For this version of the guide we have not selected ‘favorite choices’, purely because we are mid-cycle right now. Nothing much is going on until later this year. AMD has promised us its next generation Ryzen processors in the middle of the year (June?), and we’re not sure what Intel’s plans for the desktop are right now aside from filling out its 9th generation processor line, which is a minor bump on its 8th generation. Now is a good time to build a PC, given that the market will settle for the next few months. The $1500-$2000 PC: Going for Gaming Gold AMD Ryzen 7 2700 ($260, $50 cheaper than the 2700X) or Intel Core i5-9600K ($260, $140 cheaper than the i7-9700K) When building a gaming PC, the majority of the focus is on the graphics card: when all other components are sufficient, and the resolutions are high, the graphics card is often the limiting factor. Top-end machines will use cards like the RTX 2080 or the Radeon VII that cost around $700, sometimes even multiple cards, to push enough frames for that high-end 144 Hz display with a variable refresh rate. As long as the rest of the system is not a bottleneck, gaming enthusiasts are happy to sit higher up the price/performance curve with graphics. But with more games taking advantage of DirectX12, more CPU cores, virtual reality (VR), or even old games that rely on a single fast CPU core, having a processor that covers all areas is paramount. Today we recommend the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 and Intel Core i5-9600K. The AMD Ryzen 7 2700 ($260): The Smart Money on Performance Both the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 7 2700 are the top tier AMD processors for the mainstream market today. The 2700X has the edge on peak TDP for longer turbo, a stock cooler with more bling, and higher frequencies, but for today we are recommending the Ryzen 7 2700, purely based on the price difference between the two. Currently the Ryzen 7 2700 is $260, which is $50 cheaper than the 2700X. The MSRP difference between the two is $30, and at that difference, the 2700X is the smart choice. As that gap becomes wider, it starts to favor the 2700, as that CPU seems to be falling in price while the 2700X stays where it is. The 2700 still gives eight full Zen+ cores of performance with hyperthreading, and the stock cooler still gives it some headroom for overclocking. Users in this price bracket might decide to get an after-market cooler (it will have to be beefy to compete with the Wraith Spire), in which case overclocking up to the 2700X (and beyond) should be very easy. But even at stock, the 2700 is a very nice performer. You can compare the 2700X to the 2700, as well as any other CPU combination we…


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