- When choosing the best AMD processor, there are several factors to consider, including price, performance, motherboard capability, and future-proofing.
- The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X was voted the best overall AMD Processor.
- If budget is not a concern, AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5975WX may be for you.
When it comes to the best CPU for gaming, it’s all about making sure you have the best performance possible for your budget. You also want to balance gaming performance alongside your regular computer needs. Your central processing unit (CPU) isn’t just an integral piece of any computer. It’s often the integral piece, as it integrates with system memory and your hard drive.
AMD has come a long way in recent years and has not only caught up to Intel for the best processors but also surpassed them in some ways. That’s great news for gamers looking for alternatives to Intel but also for those knowing they want to be future-proofed against games that are not yet announced (or even developed).
For gamers of all types, here are our choices for the best AMD processors for gaming:
- Best Overall: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- Best for Integrated Graphics: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
- Best 12-Core: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- Best for 3D Stacking: AMD Ryzen 5800X3D
- Best Middle Ground: AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
- Best Intel Alternative: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- Best High-End: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
- Best Unlimited Budget: AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5975WX
Best Overall: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- 6 cores and 12 processing threads, which provide impressive multitasking capabilities
- Reaches 100+ FPS
- The AMD Wraith Stealth cooler is included
- Supports DDR4 memory, with a max boost of 4.6 GHz and 35 MB of cache
- Compatible with PCIe 4.0 on X570 and B550 motherboards
Built with AMD’s Zen 3 CPU architecture, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X introduces the best balance of power in AMD’s processor lineup, making it the top choice overall for gaming.
As AMD’s fastest 6-core processor, it adds 12 processing threads making it ideal for delivering over 100 plus frames per second while playing some of the world’s most popular games.
Best of all, it comes with its own AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, which is ideal for keeping things cool while you’re on a gaming hot streak. The Ryzen 5 5600X can hit a max boost clock of 4.6GHz while overclocked, which adds to the idea that you have plenty of power available. You’ll also have 32MB of L3 cache at your disposal and support for PCIe 4.0, which delivers higher overall transfer rates than the previous generation AMD processors.
Even without integrated graphics, for its roughly $200 price point, there are few CPUs on the market that can offer the same benchmark performance.
You can find it on Amazon here.
Best for Integrated Graphics: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
- Enjoy 1080p gaming with no graphics card required
- AMD Wraith Stealth cooler included
- Unlocked to allow overclocking up to 4.4GHz
- Supports DDR4-3200
While many gamers will want to separate out their CPU and graphics card, that’s not true for everyone. For those that want a standout AMD processor with an integrated graphics card, look no further than the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G.
For light gaming, you won’t find a better value with its 6 cores and 12 threads running at a base clock of 3.9GHz. And, if you want to max out performance, set up your overclock and hit a max boost of 4.4Ghz for getting the absolute most out of the Ryzen 5 5600G.
All of AMD’s 5600G CPU power combines with 7 Radeon graphics cores for excellent 1080p gaming performance. That you can spend around $150 for this card, get integrated graphics, and a Wraith Stealth Cooler to keep things cool at 65W of power is a huge win for basic gaming.
Should you ever want to customize the Ryzen 5 5600G’s performance, the included Ryzen Master software allows you to tweak your settings for a fully customized experience.
Get it on Amazon here.
Best 12-Core: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- The world's best gaming desktop processor, with 12 cores and 24 processing threads
- Can deliver elite 100-plus FPS performance in the world's most popular games
- Cooler not included, high-performance cooler recommended
- Max Temperature- 90°C
- 4.8 GHz Max Boost, unlocked for overclocking, 70 MB of cache, DDR-3200 support
- For the advanced Socket AM4 platform, can support PCIe 4.0 on X570 and B550 motherboards
Yes, it’s true that 12 cores are probably a few too many for many of today’s PC games, but it’s definitely future-proof. It’s also perfect for anyone who wants to game and stream simultaneously as the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X will ensure you can do both at once without skipping a frame.
Assuming you are willing to throw down for the $400 price tag, the Ryzen 9 5900X handles 100 plus frames per second with absolute ease.
Featuring 12 Zen 3 cores and 24 threads, even editing your footage after your hot streak ends on the 5900X is so strong that it’s no match for this CPU. That’s even true when compared to Intel’s latest Core i9 processors, which are on par or even performing slightly slower than the 5900X.
Owners of any Zen 4 motherboard are likely already compatible with the 5900X, which can be a huge benefit with any upgrade costs.
You can get it on Amazon here.
Best for 3D Stacking: AMD Ryzen 5800X3D
- 3D stacking technology
- 8 Cores and 16 processing threads
- 4.5 GHz Max Boost, 100 MB cache, DDR4-3200 support
- Can support PCIe 4.0 on X570 and B550 motherboards
An engineering effort the AMD team can be proud of, the Ryzen 5800X3D is one of the best AMD processors on the market today.
As one of the fastest gaming CPUs on the market, the 5800X3D is led by its 3D technology, which adds an eye-popping 96MB of L3 cache. That’s good enough to perform better than the almost twice as expensive Intel Alder Lake Core i9-12900K CPU. Everything with the Ryzen 5800X3D centers around AMD’s 3D-stacked SRAM all while maintaining a low-power chip that won’t be quick to overheat.
You’ll really see the strength of the 5800X3D with 1080p gaming where you can save almost 30% over the price of competitive Intel options while seeing, at minimum, 9 to 10% more performance.
Beyond its incredible 3D stacking performance, you also receive 8 cores, 16 threads, and max boost performance with overclocking of 4.5GHz. The only real downside to the Ryzen 5800X3D is that it doesn’t come with AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler so you have to provide your own high-performance cooler for optimal CPU health over the long term.
You can find it on Amazon here.
Best Middle Ground: AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
- 8 Cores and 16 processing threads
- Bundled with the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler
- 4.6 GHz Max Boost (unlocked for overclocking)
- 20 MB cache, DDR4-3200 support
Adding a little more CPU and GPU power over the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, you get a total of 8 Radeon graphics cores over the 5600G’s 7. Additionally, the 5700G graphics cores run at 2,000Mhz, whereas the 5600G runs at 1,900MHz. That little bit of extra power is going to be helpful to get as much 1080p gaming power as you can before needing a dedicated graphics card.
Beyond integrated graphics, the 5700G also adds 8 cores and 16 threads, all while keeping things cool at 65 watts with its Wraith Stealth cooler.
A max boost of 4.6GHz (with overclocking) is more than enough power to justify the Ryzen 7 5700G’s $250 price tag. That’s especially true when you throw in 20MB of L3 cache and DDR4-3200 support.
Get yours on Amazon here.
Best Intel Alternative: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
While every AMD processor on this list qualifies as a strong Intel alternative, the best among equally great processors is the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X.
Pitted against Intel’s 10th generation CPUs, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X will come out on top thanks to the Zen 3 architecture in the 5800X. Multithreaded performance is a true highlight for the price just as much as it is for single-core performance.
At the time of its release in November 2020, the 5800X was AMD’s fastest 8-core processor with 16 processing threads. Delivering a 4.7GHz max boost with overclocking, the 36MB of cache ensures that 1080p gaming is handled with ease.
PCIe 4.0 support is enabled through the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, though it lacks a dedicated cooler, so you must provide one on your own. Compatibility with any AMD 500 series motherboard is as easy as a simple BIOS update.
Find it on Amazon here.
Best High-End: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
- 16 cores and 32 processing threads
- 100+ fps performance
- Cooler is not included
- Up to 4.9 GHz max boost
- Compatible with any AMD Series 500 motherboards with a BIOS update
- PCle 4.0 support
Rest assured that even with a $550 price tag for the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, it’s worth every single penny. You can throw just about any game you want and the 5950X’s 16 cores and 32 processing threads are ready to deliver.
Offering a max boost of 4.9GHz with overclocking plus 72MB of L3 cache, 100 plus frames per second at 1080p for most games should be no problem.
Both its single-core and multi-core performance are among the best in class, and that’s true well beyond gaming. You’ll be thrilled with its performance should you ever want to try your hand at video rendering for uploading well-edited clips of your Call of Duty gaming matches.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is compatible with any AMD 500 series motherboard with a quick BIOS update.
If the 5950X has one downside, it’s that it doesn’t come with a cooler from AMD, so providing your own is a must.
You can get it on Amazon here.
Best Unlimited Budget: AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5975WX
- 32 cores and 64 threads for demanding software and apps
- High memory capacity, 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes
- Based on AMD "Zen 3" architecture
- 4.5 GHz Max Boost, 144 MB cache, DDR4-3200 support
When you are ready to break open the piggy bank or skip a couple of mortgage payments, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5975WX is ready for you. With a price tag over $3,000, this is absolutely a CPU for gaming enthusiasts who want the absolute best AMD has to offer.
Well, there’s still the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX, which costs a little over $9,000 so the Threadripper PRO 5975WX is actually the second best AMD can offer.
For the ridiculous price tag, you get a monster 32 cores of performance and 64 processing threads all based on the AMD Zen 3 architecture. Combined with a 4.5GHz max boost and 144MB of cache, you should be able to handle 1080p gaming and even 4K with a high level of frames per second.
Unless you have computing needs that go well beyond gaming, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5975WX is likely overkill for most gaming titles. There’s a point of diminishing return here where the higher core count can eventually negatively impact single-core performance and lead to fewer frame rates with some games.
You can find it on Amazon here.
How to Pick the Best AMD Processor for Gaming in 2023
Picking the right AMD gaming processor is definitely not an easy decision. The fact that there are a few really great options makes it more difficult than choosing between AMD and Intel alone. For most buyers, you should consider a few factors.
When you are picking an AMD processor, price is definitely a factor. You can get as low as $150 dollars and as high as $580. Of course, this excludes the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5975WX, which is a ridiculous $3,200. If you spend less on a processor, you might be able to buy more hardware for your PC build, including a better graphics card and accessories like LED lights.
On the other hand, spending a little more, like on the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, will help keep you future-proofed and only set you back $250. On the other hand, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X will set you back another $130 ($379 total), but you’ll be future-proofed against games that have not yet been announced.
Price and performance really go hand in hand, so it’s easy to lump these two together. However, performance can vary with price, as you might want to look beyond gaming as well. The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X will set you back $550, but it’s also an investment if you want to get into video editing or Twitch streaming.
Things get a little trickier when you look at AMD processors like the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, which is one of their best values. What you don’t get here is a cooler, so you need to provide your own, which is where price and performance really go hand-in-hand. If you can get on board with adding your own cooler, you will get one of AMD’s fastest 8-core processor CPUs.
It’s hard to say with any level of certainty that every processor on this list is future-proofed. Given that they are all less than two years old does make it feel like you should be able to get plenty of time out of them.
However, gaming needs change fast, so you want to consider future performance when buying. This is another scenario where prices come into play as the more you spend, the more performance you receive today, and the more future-proof you are in for tomorrow.
What to Know Before Buying an AMD Processor in 2023
There is one big thing that you need to know before buying any AMD processor for gaming in 2023, and that is motherboard compatibility. AMD makes it a point to say that most of the cards on this list are compatible with the AMD 500 series motherboard. However, not everyone has that motherboard in use or plans to buy one, so it’s critical to make sure any processor you buy is compatible.
For example, if you have a B450, B550, or X570 motherboard, it’s compatible with the Ryzen 5 5600 series but not compatible with similarly priced Intel 12th generation CPUs. Finding out what is compatible is relatively easy, so researching shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, but it’s important that you do so before adding any of these AMD CPUs to your Amazon shopping cart.
Using an AMD Processor for Gaming in 2023: What It’s Like
We had the good fortune of being able to test all of these processors out over the course of a month, with the exception of the Threadripper. Overall, we found that our expectations for each were pretty well matched to what was said about all of them online prior to testing.
We experimented with games like Fortnite, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Minecraft, Forza Horizon 5, Far Cry 6, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Some of these titles were played from our own collection, where games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Forza Horizon 5 were from Xbox GamePass.
Between these games, we saw frame rates hold fast to our expectations, with only a few drops to 60 frames per second without overclocking. With overclocking, we did see many of these titles exceed the promised 100-plus frames per second AMD claims. That’s not to say they didn’t heat up the respective hardware they were playing on, but they did match expectations.
At the end of the day, choosing the best AMD processor for gaming in 2023 is tough, but the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the best bang for your buck. Unsurprisingly, spend more, and you get better performance, and spend less, and you see why the 5600X is a popular choice.
It’s an easy recommendation, and with a sub $200 price tag, it’s not going to ask you to stop paying your mortgage like the Threadripper.
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