What’s the best CPU for gaming? AMD and Intel picks for 2022


It’s a rough time to build a gaming PC on a budget, especially given the availability and pricing of graphics cards. One workaround is to purchase an APU, or CPUs with supercharged integrated graphics. Both the $260 Ryzen 5 5600G and $360 Ryzen 7 5700G processors let you play most games at 720p or 1080p resolution. And after you snag a graphics card, you can simply drop it into your system, because the CPU cores are very good for mainstream gaming, as our Ryzen 7 5700G review showed.

The 5600G offers 6 cores and 12 threads, paired with 7 Radeon graphics cores clocked at 1.9GHz. The step-up 5700G bumps that up to 8 cores and 16 threads, alongside 8 Radeon cores running at 2GHz. Most shoppers on a budget are better off with the cheaper part, unless you have a specific need for the higher CPU core count in the Ryzen 7 chip.

How we test CPUs

We evaluate CPUs based on the benchmark results that span multiple use categories. Gaming performance is a key focus, and we run both synthetic tests (that is, dedicated benchmarking programs) and in-game benchmarks in a variety of modern titles. Our current suite includes Far Cry New Dawn, Gears Tactics, Horizon Zero Dawn, Metro Exodus, CS: Go, Red Dead Redemption, Ashes of the Singularity, and Rainbow Siege Six.

Test PCs are built with the CPU’s capabilities in mind—for example, Intel’s Core i9-12900K supports DDR5 RAM. Rival and older chips used for comparison are retested at the same time, with a similar use of appropriate contemporaneous hardware. In all our test rigs, we use a current high-end flagship graphics card to better isolate differences in the CPUs’ performance.

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