Gaming CPUs to Look for in 2017

The CPU market has taken a huge step forward ever since the launch of Ryzen 3. PC gaming on a budget has never been easier.

The last time I made a list of the top 5 best gaming CPUs, Ryzen 3 wasn’t released. Actually, I didn’t even include Ryzen 5 in my list. As this is obviously unacceptable, it’s time for the top 5 best gaming CPUs of 2017.

Keep in mind that this list isn’t necessarily in order from worst to best, but more so in order of price to performance. These are the best CPUs for gaming in 2017.

These aren’t necessarily the fastest processors in the world, but they’re the best bang for your buck.

5. Pentium G4560 ($80)

The Pentium G4560 definitely still has a place on the top 5 list. This CPU is less than $100, and still can compete with i3 CPUs.

Pentium G4560

In fact, it can keep up with CPUs such as the Intel i3-7100 in gaming related tasks. Furthermore, for $80, it really holds its own in other workstation tasks as well.

Intel definitely saw Ryzen coming and decided to implement hyperthreading with their Pentium CPUs. This blurred the lines between Pentium and core i3.

Especially after the release of Ryzen 3, it makes no sense to purchase an i3 CPU. Either go for the Pentium G4560, or go for the Ryzen 3.

The reason the Pentium G4560 made the list is because of its insane price to performance ratio. Since it has 4 threads, it performs extremely well in gaming.

We’d recommend spending the extra money on the Ryzen 3 1200, but if you really can’t afford it, the Pentium G4560 will do just fine.

The Pentium G4560 may not be as powerful as the i3-7100, but it’s extremely close. Furthermore, if you look at it from a price to performance standpoint, the G4560 makes much more sense.

If you want the most bang from your buck, go with the Pentium G4560. Below is a graph comparing the multithreaded performance of the Pentium G4560 and the i3-7100.

Considering the CPU is hyperthreaded, multithread performance is important.

G4560 Performance Graph

As you can see in the graph above, the i3-7100 is only 12% faster than the Pentium G4560, but it is 28% more expensive.

Evidently, the i3-7100 is not worth your money, especially considering Ryzen 3 outperforms it in nearly every aspect for a lower price tag.

In conclusion, if you’re on an extremely low budget, the Intel Pentium G4560 is your best friend.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Operating Frequency: 3.5 GHz
  • Cores: 2
  • Lithography: 14 nm
  • TDP: 54 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: Yes
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: Yes
  • Maximum Supported Memory: 64 GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 610

View on Amazon

4. Ryzen 3 1200 - $110

The Ryzen 3 1200 is easily one of the best choices if you’re on a budget.

Ryzen 3 1200

Though the performance is similar to the core i3-7100 before overclocking, the Ryzen 3 1200 significantly outperforms the i3-7100 in nearly all aspects when overclocked.

After overclocking, the Ryzen 3 1200 achieves similar performance the the 1300X for a much cheaper price tag.

Moreover, the Ryzen 3 1200 and 1300X significantly outperform both of Intel’s closest offerings.

Ryzen 3 Stats

Ryzen 3 has 4 true cores, unlike both of Intel’s closest offerings. It is also made up of two of AMD’s new CCXs or Core Complexes.

This means that even though the Ryzen 3 1200 only has half the cache of the Ryzen 5 and 7, it still has all of the same features.

This includes SenseMI, Precision Boost, and XFR. Considering you’re getting all of these awesome features at such a low price, it really is a great value.

In addition, Ryzen 3’s stealth coolers are far better equipped than Intel’s stock coolers. They provide quiet and adequate cooling. They even support light overclocking.

Ryzen 3 is the king of budget gaming CPUs. If you’re on a low budget, I’d highly recommend this CPU.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket: AM4
  • Operating Frequency: 3.1 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 3.4 GHz
  • Cores: 4
  • Lithography: 14 nm
  • TDP: 65 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: Yes
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: No
  • Integrated Graphics: No

View on Amazon

3. Ryzen 5 1400 - $160

Ryzen 5 1400

The Ryzen 5 1600 is an excellent choice for a gaming CPU. It is unchallenenged among enthusiast CPUs.

However, if you can’t afford the $220 price tag, the Ryzen 5 1400 is a much more budget oriented option.

This quad-core CPU is great for those who can’t afford the extra $50 for a Ryzen 5 1600. If you’re on a tight budget, the extra $50 can be allocated in a more important part of the build, like the GPU.

Still, the Ryzen 5 1400 is a great chip. Compared to Intel’s closest offering, the core i5-7400, the Ryzen 5 1400 outperforms team blue once again.

Techspot wrote a great article about this CPU, and provided the chart below.

Cinebench 1400

As you can see from the chart above, they found that the Ryzen 5 1400 is 26% faster than the i5-7400 in multi-threaded workloads.

They also found that overclocking this chip improved performance by 25%. Once again, the easy overclockability of the Ryzen chip proves a strong advantage.

In addition, the Ryzen 5 1400 features simultaneous multithreading. This means that it has four physical and four theoretical cores, for a total of 8 functional cores. This helps the CPU not only in gaming, but workstation tasks as well.

The Ryzen 5 1400 destroys the competition, giving it the number 3 spot on this top 5 list.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket: AM4
  • Operating Frequency: 3.2 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 3.4 GHz
  • Cores: 4
  • Lithography: 14 nm
  • TDP: 65 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: Yes
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: Yes
  • Integrated Graphics: No

View on Amazon

2. Ryzen 5 1600X - $230Ryzen 5 1600X

Yes, another Ryzen CPU is on this list. I’m sure you’ll be able to guess what the number 1 CPU on the list will be.

Ryzen has secured four out of five of the spots on the list because AMD took a huge step forward. They destroyed all of the competition from team blue.

They Ryzen 5 1600X is easily the best choice for anyone looking to build a great gaming PC.

This CPU has six cores and twelve threads, rendering it not only excellent for gaming, but able to dominate workstation tasks including streaming, recording, editing, etc.

The Ryzen 5 1600X has a massive 16 MB cache. In addition, it has all of the features of Ryzen 7.

The Ryzen 5 1600X is a great chip, especially when overclocked. I’d recommend overclocking any Ryzen chip you have, as this is how they really outperform Intel CPUs.

In terms of performance per dollar, the Ryzen 5 1600X is unrivaled by any gaming CPU on the market.

Though this chip is not necessarily as powerful as a Ryzen 7 chip, it gets the job done. You don’t really need the fastest CPU on the market for gaming. In fact, as long as your CPU doesn’t bottleneck, it’ll be fine.

However, if you want the best possible performance, obviously a faster CPU is optimal. If you’re spending over $200 on a CPU, your budget is probably high. That being said, a faster CPU provides a better experience in workstation tasks, as well as in CPU demanding titles.

Remember, of course, that any well optimized PC game will mainly utilize the GPU. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to get a slower CPU and a faster GPU. However, if the Ryzen 5 1600X is in the budget, it’s definitely a great choice.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket: AM4
  • Operating Frequency: 3.6 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 4.0 GHz
  • Cores: 6
  • Lithography: 14 nm
  • TDP: 95 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: No
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: Yes
  • Integrated Graphics: No

View on Amazon

1. Ryzen 7 1700 - $290

Ryzen 7 1700

The number one spot on this list goes to the Ryzen 7 1700. This CPU is an excellent choice, as it keeps up with the core i7-7700k for a lower price.

Since it has 8 cores and 16 threads, it’s an extremely futureproof chip.

I recommend you overclock the Ryzen 7 1700 to get the best performance per dollar. Though it falls behind the i7-7700k in some titles, it’s not by much.

In terms of performance per dollar, the Ryzen 7 1700 is definitely the way to go, especially from a long term perspective.

It is easy to see games in the future utilizing more than four cores. That being said, this CPU will last you a long time.

The 8 core, 16 thread CPU is perfect for heavy hitting workstation tasks. It is excellent for streaming, rendering, editing, and recording; it’ll tackle anything you throw at it.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket: AM4
  • Operating Frequency: 3.0 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 3.7 GHz
  • Cores: 8
  • Lithography: 14 nm
  • TDP: 65 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: Yes
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: Yes
  • Integrated Graphics: No

View on Amazon