Despite the fact that the gaming performance of a computer is primarily determined by the graphics card installed in it, the processor is also very important.
- Which processor is best for gaming: how to choose
- Manufacturer, socket, generation and family
- Gaming functions
- Features of choosing a gaming processor for a laptop
Which processor is the best for gaming: how to choose?
First of all, it is worth remembering that the higher the performance of the video card, the more powerful the processor is needed. That is, for example, NVIDIA Titan XP – the most powerful graphics accelerator for 2017 – will require a Intel Core i7-7700K chip. This processor is also the best gaming processor at the moment.
When choosing a processor, it is worth starting from the following characteristics:
Vendor and Socket – These determine the compatibility of the processor and motherboard;
Generation and family – they determine the performance of the chip;
'Gaming' features like an unlocked multiplier or no integrated graphics card.
Manufacturer, socket, generation and family
Processor and motherboard compatibility is determined by two parameters – manufacturer and socket. That is, only an AMD chip can be installed in the socket for an AMD chip, and only Intel in Intel. If you want to change the manufacturer, you will have to buy a new motherboard.
The socket is a little more complicated. Different processor families are designed to fit in different sockets. So:
Intel Haswell, Intel Broadwell – to socket LG A1150;
Intel Skylake, Intel Kabu Lake – to socket LG A1151;
Intel Coffee Lake – to socket LG A1151-v2 (limited support LG A1151 present);
AMD Phenom II, AMD Athlon II – to socket AM3;
AMD FX – to socket AM3 + (limited support for AM3 is present);
AMD Ryzen – to socket AM4.
Limited support means the processor will either not be operating at full capacity or will require a flashing B IOS of the motherboard for compatibility.
The best solution for the upgrade is to install the most powerful processor compatible with the socket being used. So:
For LG A1150 – Intel Core i7-5950HQ;
For LG A1151 – Intel Core i7-7700K;
For AM3 – AMD Phenom II X6-1100T;
For AM3 + – AMD FX-8350;
For AM4 – AMD Ryzen 7 1800X.
Ultra-flagship configurations such as Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950 X are not recommended for gaming. The fact is that the game developers themselves have not yet had time to optimize their products for a 10- or 16-core configuration, respectively. Therefore, these processors in 2017 show less performance in games than the i7-7700K and Ryzen 7 1800X.
If you really want to, it makes sense to buy them for a computer “for growth” and hope that in the future there will still be games for these ultra-powerful configurations.
Moreover, buying even the most powerful processors within a generation is a challenge for enthusiasts. For most users, less powerful chips are enough – which will still provide a pleasant enough gaming experience.
So, the following processor models are recommended for purchase:
Top segment – processors for 4K gaming and virtual reality: Intel Core i7-7700K and AMD Ryzen 7 1700;
The productive segment is for absolutely all modern games, but without 4K 60fps and other 'bells and whistles': Intel Core i5-7500, AMD Ryzen 5 1600X;
Middle segment – processors for modern games at Full HD 30fps and without 'maximum speed': Intel Core i3-7100, AMD FX-6300;
Low-end segment – processors for modern games at medium or low graphics settings: Intel Pentium G4560, AMD Athlon X4-860K.
Hybrid processors deserve a separate mention – these are chips that are suitable for some modern games without a discrete graphics card. Of course, getting 4K 60fps on them is basically impossible, but it will be quite possible to 'run' in some CS: GO with medium settings. Unless you have to take care of the processor cooling.
And here AMD becomes the leader. Intel just don't have processors with powerful integrated graphics. AMD A10-7890K and AMD A10-7860K are recommended for purchase.
Both processor manufacturers produce models designed specifically for gamers. So, you can distinguish a 'gaming' chip from a regular one by marking and additional functions:
Unlocked multiplier. This is intended for self-overclocking of the processor – increasing the clock frequency. Processors Intel with an unlocked multiplier are marked with the letter K in the name (for example, Intel Core i7-7700K). AMD supports overclocking almost all of its chips (perhaps not as simple as with an unlocked multiplier), so there is no separate marking;
Lack of an integrated video card. This allows you to slightly (very slightly) increase the performance of the processor. But, for example, graphics technologies such as OpenGL almost require an integrated graphics card. So buying a processor without an integrated GPU is recommended exclusively for enthusiasts.
Features of choosing a gaming processor for a laptop
If, when replacing a processor in a desktop, it is enough to take into account the socket, and everything else, such as a cooling system or a video card, will “follow” – this can be replaced with a more productive one – then it is more difficult with laptops.
In order to make a laptop a gaming laptop – or to upgrade a gaming laptop – you will have to change not only the processor, but also the video card – and take into account the performance of the cooling system. The total power of the CPU and GPU should not exceed the TDP for which the cooler and radiator are designed. Otherwise, overheating will occur.
In addition, you need to consider the types of connection of the processor and video card to the motherboard. If they are installed in sockets, then you can replace them yourself – of course, by purchasing chips suitable for these connectors. If they are soldered with a bead array (BGA), it is best to replace them at a service center.
In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose the right processor for your computer and the secrets of choosing a processor for a laptop.
Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.