The CPU market has been quiet for a while now. We have seen no new launches this year until now, in the desktop space at least. This phase is probably the calm before the storm as AMD is expected to reveal the Ryzen 3000 lineup based on the 7nm Zen2 architecture this June at Computex. And Intel’s 10nm process will finally be ready by next year as well. Intel has been stagnant since the introduction of Skylake with only minor increments in IPC, or per core performance.
With a lot to come down the line, the current AMD CPU prices have dropped to unbelievable lows and it is the best time to buy a new CPU for your gaming rig. Prices on the Intel side have been inconsistent though, with only a few good value options. We have put together the best options for a Gaming CPU in 2019 for you, so take a look before pulling the trigger.
Best CPUs for Gaming (April 2019)
Intel Core i7-9700K
If you’re looking for the best frame rates possible from your gaming PC, the 9th gen i7-9700K is your best bet. It’s a recent product and this time around Intel has upped the core count by 2 making it an 8-Core monster. Say goodbye to hyper-threading in the mainstream gaming CPUs from Intel, however. This leaves us with a complex comparison of the 9700K against the 8700K from the last generation. The 8 cores plus minor generational improvements do put the 9700K ahead in most games but the difference is far from noticeable.
The cheaper price tag (especially in countries other than the US) makes the 8700K or the 8700 a better option if you are on a strict budget. And if you are a content creator or do any kind of production work that can take advantage of hyper-threading, there is no point in spending more on the newer processor because the 8700K actually beats the 9700K in Blender CPU benchmark.
Best Value for Most People:
Intel Core i5-9400F ($174/₹12,250)
The Core i5s have been the go-to gaming processors for a long time now. The i5-9400F takes the legacy forward and breathes along the same lines. It seems to be the only CPU not affected by Intel’s ridiculous pricing and is a very fair deal for the price. If your only focus is gaming, you can even pair this mid-range i5 with a high-end RTX graphics card without worrying about any serious bottlenecking.
The i5-9400F packs some serious gaming punch and considering the asking price, this is the best gaming CPU of 2019 so far. The value for money factor takes it ahead of anything else.
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AMD Ryzen 5 2600 ($164/₹16,599)
Red team’s counterpart for the i5, the Ryzen 5 2600 has been around for quite a while but got a lot of attention only recently after the shortage of Intel CPUs. Most people never considered Ryzen CPUs for gaming because of the relatively mediocre gaming performance comparison to Core i5s and i7s. While that still stands true, the Ryzen 5 2600 has been topping the best-selling CPU list for a long time.
With the advancement of computer hardware, the lines between a Gaming and a Content Production PC are blurred. And this is where the Ryzen 5 2600 shines, it offers a mid-range option to people looking to game and edit/render videos on the same system, that too for a mere 164 bucks. If you are all focused on achieving the maximum gaming performance, pairing RAM with high clock speeds such as 3000 or 3200 MHz in dual channel with a Ryzen CPU can push frame rates up to the level of Intel CPUs.
Intel Core i9-9900K ($494/₹45,990)
The Gaming CPU for rich enthusiasts, the Core i9-9900K is an absolute beast when it comes to gaming. It seamlessly sways anything else on the gaming market, which is for the most part expected from the most expensive consumer CPU in the market.
Unlike the latest generation i5s and i7s, the i9-9900K still keeps hyper-threading. The 8 cores and 16 threads help it push ahead not only in gaming but also in streaming and productive workloads like video editing, 3D modeling or rendering. The weak point, however, is the price tag it carries. It is far from the reach of a common individual and thus scores low at the value proposition test.
Best Entry Level Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G APU ($94/₹8,130)
When it comes to budget gaming, there are not many options for a graphics card other than a GT 1030 or an RX 550 both of them coming in at around 90-100 dollars. The Ryzen 3 2200G provides you the option of not having to spend on a GPU altogether. The Vega 8 iGPU on this processor is a very capable contender in the entry-level gaming space.
The results in gaming with Vega 8 graphics are quite similar in performance to a GT 1030. Given that it uses system-memory and Ryzen is highly sensitive to ram, providing this APU faster and dual channel ram in plenty, say 16GB of 3200 MHz memory, it will have no issues at all in beating any gaming configuration at a similar price point.
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Wait. So, the r5 2600 is 10$ cheaper than the i5 9400f in the states, while the former is more than 4000 Rs. expensive than the latter in India? This is simply unacceptable. Whoever is responsible should drive the price down. This should get to AMD’s notice. At this point, who would even buy a ryzen 5 other than an AMD fanboy in India.