Best CPU for gaming 2023

If you're looking for the best CPU for your gaming rig our CPU buyers guide is here to help, listing the best chips for your budget from both AMD and Intel.

A stack of AMD and Intel CPUs

Are you looking to find the best gaming CPU for your PC? Well, we’re here to help. Our list of the best CPUs has something for everyone, whether you’re on a tight budget or have money to burn – our CPU buyers guide will show you the best choice for your needs.

We’ve got budget CPUs under $200 / £200 all the way up to the mammoth 24-core processing power of the latest chips that cost over $600 / £600 and all the essentials in between.

A new CPU might not seem as high a priority as getting the best graphics card for your PC when it comes to getting the highest frame rate, but the right processor is essential for unlocking performance. What’s more, while you may not need the 16 or even 24 cores of AMD and Intel‘s latest chips for gaming, they come into their own for heavy multitasking and other workloads so are worth considering, if you have the budget.

Here are the best CPUs for gaming in 2023:

1. AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D

The best CPU for gaming is the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D.

AMD Ryzen 7 77800X3D

The AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D is, quite simply, the single fastest CPU for gaming. It may only have eight cores and a relatively modest 5GHz peak clock speed but its extra 64MB of 3D V-Cache give it a massive boost in gaming performance, consistently boosting frame rates in all games we’ve tested. It’s less capable when it comes to other tasks, compared to other CPUs of around the same price, but is still more than powerful enough for most users.

Its power consumption is also very low all things considered, with a TDP of just 120W. It’s not a cheap processor but if gaming performance is your top priority it’s better value than other flagship processors. In April 2023 there were reports of these AMD CPUs overheating and destroying themselves but this was fixed a week later with new motherboard BIOS updates – be sure to install the latest update when running this processor.

Read our full AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D review.


  • Fantastic gaming performance
  • Super-low power draw
  • Only needs modest cooling


  • Expensive
  • Poor performance outside of games
  • Socket AM5 platform and DRR5 memory are pricier than other options

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D specs:

Architecture Zen 4
Cores 8
Threads 16
Base clock speed  4.2GHz
Boost clock speed 5GHz
Platform Socket AM5
Maximum turbo power 120W

Price: Expect to pay $440 / £435

2. Intel Core i5-13600K

The best CPU for gaming is the Intel Core i5-13600K.

Angled view of Intel Core i5-13600K top

While it might not be the most power-frugal option, the Core i5-13600K is one of the fastest chips available in many tasks, despite its reasonable price tag. It’s quick out of the box, matching or bettering AMD’s Ryzen 7-series CPUs, and once it’s overclocked it’s a monster that punches well above its weight.

The most attractive quality is its versatility. It’s good at every task, and rarely far behind more expensive options, fulfilling the remit of a Core i5 chip brilliantly. If you need an affordable gaming CPU, that’s also a multi-threaded performance beast when you need it, this is the best all-round option.

Read our full Intel Core i5-13600K review for more.


  • Excellent overclocking potential
  • Great all-round performance for the cash
  • Reasonable temperatures


  • New AMD chips are faster in some lightly-threaded loads
  • Ryzen 7 5800X3D quicker in some games

Intel Core i5-13600K specs:

Architecture 13th-gen Core / Raptor Lake
P-Cores 6
E-Cores 8
Base clock speed  3.5GHz E-Cores / 2.6GHz E-Cores
Boost clock speed 5.1GHz P-Cores / 3.9GHz E-Cores
Platform LGA1700
Maximum turbo power 181W

Price: Expect to pay $319 USD / £329 GBP

3. Intel Core i5-13400F

The best budget CPU for gaming is the Intel Core i5-13400F.

Angled view of Intel Core i5-13400F top

There are a few points to consider with the Core i5-13400F, the first being its performance. As we explore in our full Intel Core i5-13400F review, performance is solid, sticking close to the Core i5-12600K and costing a lot less money, while outpacing the cheaper Ryzen 5 5600X and even bettering the Ryzen 5 7600X in a few tests too.

Critically, Intel has much cheaper motherboards available for its latest chips than AMD, with some B660 models retailing for under £120, and they also support cheap DDR4 memory, while with Socket AM5, you need DDR5 memory that still demands a price premium. For now, at least, the Core i5-13400F offers excellent value when paired with the right components, and is a much better bet for a mid-range system than AMD’s cheapest Socket AM5 options.


  • Good performance for the price
  • Power-frugal
  • Doesn’t need lavish cooling


  • Low clock frequencies
  • No L2 cache upgrade
  • Only four E-Cores

Intel Core i5-13400F specs:

Architecture 13th-gen Core / Raptor Lake
P-Cores 6
E-Cores 4
Base clock speed 2.5GHz E-Cores / 1.8GHz E-Cores
Boost clock speed 4.6GHz P-Cores / 3.3GHz E-Cores
Platform LGA1700
Maximum turbo power 148W

Price: Expect to pay $219 USD / £235 GBP

4. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

The best gaming CPU for older AM4 systems is the AMD Ryzen 5800 X3D.

Angled view of the AMD Ryzen 6 5800X3D

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is still a solid option for gamers looking to spruce up an existing Socket AM4 system, offering increased frame rates, even if you have an older GPU. Its new architecture and manufacturing process provides big leaps in performance across the board over previous-generation Ryzen chips. As a drop-in fix, it can save money over opting for a new motherboard and memory, which you’ll need with Ryzen 7000 chips.

However, it’s not faster in all games than other cheaper Ryzen 5000 CPUs, and its relatively modest core for its price means performance outside of gaming is not all that compelling, which makes its current price a little hard to swallow.


  • Still very fast in lots of games
  • Works in Socket AM4 motherboards
  • Cheaper system cost than Ryzen 7000 CPUs


  • Poor content creation performance
  • High temperatures
  • No upgrade path

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D specs:

Architecture Zen 3
Cores 8
Threads 16
Base clock speed 3.4GHz
Boost clock speed 4.5GHz
Platform Socket AM4
TDP 105W

Price: Expect to pay $325 USD / £320 GBP.

5. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

The best budget CPU for gaming on older AM4 systems is the AMD Ryzen 5600X.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU on white background

The 5600X can’t compete with AMD’s 7000 series or Intel’s 13000 series chips for raw speed. However, it still offers decent all-round performance and its compatibility with older AM4 systems and DDR4 RAM makes it an ideal drop-in replacement for anyone still running a 1st, 2nd or 3rd-gen Ryzen system. Plus, the change in manufacturing process and architecture improvements still net you a huge leap in performance over any of those previous Ryzen models, especially in games.

The Ryzen 5800 X3D is considerably faster still but it costs over $300USD / £300GBP whereas the 5600X is a bargain at under $160USD / £160 GBP. Meanwhile, sticking with an AM4 system means you avoid the cost of paying for new DDR5 memory and a new motherboard, which you’ll need to do if you upgrade to a Ryzen 7000 chip.

Find out more in our full AMD Ryzen 5 5600X review.


  • Cheap price
  • Low power draw
  • Compatible with old AM4 motherboards


  • Ryzen 7 5800X3D is much faster in games
  • Intel’s Core i5-13400F is generally faster
  • Little benefit from overclocking

AMD Ryzen 5600X specs:

Architecture Zen 3
Cores 6
Threads 12
Base clock speed 3.7GHz
Boost clock speed 4.6GHz
Platform Socket AM4

Price: Expect to pay $165 USD / £158 GBP.

6. Intel Core i9-13900K

The fastest overall CPU for gaming available right now is the Intel Core i9-13900K.

Angled view of Intel Core i9 13900K top

Intel’s 13th-gen Core flagship CPU is the fastest thing out there for desktop PC gaming. Its enormous count of 24 cores dwarfs anything else out there (even if 16 of those cores are modest power-efficient E-Cores) making it immensely powerful for multi-threaded workloads. What’s more, its high clock speed makes it fantastic for gaming and other low thread-count tasks too.

However, it’s not meaningfully much faster than lower-spec CPUs when it comes to gaming. The 13600K is just as fast and costs half as much while AMD’s 7000 series chips aren’t far behind either. Moreover, its power consumption is horrendous, with peak consumption in our tests of over 540W, compared to just 389W for the 13700K and 376W for the Ryzen 7950X.

Read our Intel Core i9-13900K review.


  • Blisteringly fast in multi-threaded workloads
  • Excellent lightly-threaded performance
  • Great in games


  • Cheaper CPUs are just as fast in most games
  • Very high power consumption at default settings
  • Limited overclocking headroom

Intel Core i9-13900K specs:

Architecture 13th-gen Core / Raptor Lake
P-Cores 8
E-Cores 16
Base clock speed 3.5GHz E-Cores / 2.6GHz E-Cores
Boost clock speed 5.8GHz P-Cores / 4.3GHz E-Cores
Platform LGA1700
Maximum turbo power 253W

Price: Expect to pay $600 USD / £590 GBP.

7. AMD Ryzen 7 7700

The best CPU for power efficiency is the AMD Ryzen 7 7700.

AMD Ryzen 7 7700

The Ryzen 7 7700 is not a processor that tops performance charts for gaming or any other task where raw clock speed or single-core performance is concerned. For those sorts of tasks, the Intel Core i5-13600K is the better option. However, the Ryzen 7 7700 still packs in plenty of multi-core performance thanks to its eight cores (16 threads) and it still has perfectly decent gaming performance too – it’s just not the very fastest.

The key factor with this processor, though, is how little power it uses. In our tests, it used just 208W under full load which compares to 331W for the Core i5-13600K. What’s more, for those times when you do want to crank up the clock speed this chip overclocks well, so you get the easy choice of power-saving or extra performance. All that and it’s fairly cheap too and includes a CPU cooler.


  • Decent multi-threaded performance
  • Cool-running
  • Very power efficient


  • Core i5-13600K is faster and potentially cheaper
  • Socket AM5 is expensive
  • Limited benefits to manual overclocking

AMD Ryzen 7700 specs:

Architecture Zen 3
Cores 8
Threads 16
Base clock speed 3.8GHz
Boost clock speed 5.3GHz
Platform Socket AM5

Price: Expect to pay $345 USD / £315 GBP.

How we test the best CPUs for gaming

At Custom PC, we want you to be confident that our reviews are trustworthy, reliable and repeatable so that you can easily compare products and find the best CPUs for your needs.

We’ve been reviewing the latest CPUs since 2003, and we’ve tested and overclocked hundreds of CPUs, going right back to the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP era. We’ve developed an expert testing methodology that covers all the key areas of performance, including single-threaded and multi-threaded performance, as well as gaming:

Our benchmarks include our very own RealBench suite, which had a GIMP image editing test that stresses single-threaded performance, and a Handbrake H.264 video encoding test to gauge multi-threaded performance, as well as multi-tasking tests.

We also use the single and multi-threaded tests in CinebenchFar Cry 6 and Watch Dogs: Legion. For our game tests, we record the 99th percentile and average frame rates. We also measure the idle and load total system power consumption at the wall, while running Prime95’s smallest FFT test with AVX disabled.