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How important is CPU for gaming

by Linda D. Yelverton

CPU is called the main brain of your computer and there is a very strong reason for this. Everything that your computer does is related to the CPU in some way and is directly or indirectly affected by it.

This importance of CPU becomes more pronounced when it comes to gaming. If you are looking to upgrade to a better gaming computer or are on the lookout for a new computer then you have come to the right place.

Everyone talks about computer models as a whole thing but remember it is the different components of the computer which make the computer. These are:

  1. Motherboard
  2. CPU (Central Processing Unit)
  3. Memory
  4. Storage Drive
  5. Graphics Card
  6. Power supply
  7. Cooling fans

The parts are almost the same for a regular computer as for the gaming computer. When CPU for gamingyou go looking for a gaming computer be careful. Some computers do have impressive specifications but probably they would not be good for gaming. Look for computers which are being marketed as gaming computers.

I have been through this process and ended up buying a computer which was very expensive, had great specifications and seemed just perfect.

When I tried to play some of the new games the results were far from satisfactory. I had to spend more money to get it to the level where I could play all kinds of games easily.

The things to look for in the CPU

When you start to read the different specifications and numbers it may get a bit confusing. Let me give you some basic information which can help you:

  1. Clock Speed

This is the speed at which the chip functions. It is measured in gigahertz. Most of the new CPUs can adjust the speed. So check for the base speed and turbo speed.

  1. Cores

Cores are processors inside the processor. Most modern processors have between 2 and 32 cores. Each one handles its own tasks. The minimum requirement for a decent computer is about 4 cores. The more you want your computer to work the more cores you require. For most gamers, a clock speed ranging from 3 to 4 gigahertz and 4 to 6 cores is enough.

  1. Threads

This denotes the number of processes a chip can handle. Mostly it is the same as the number of cores. However, some processors allow multithreading which means one core can create two threads.

  1. Cache

The onboard cache of a processor is used to speed up the access to data and instructions between your CPU and RAM. You want the CPU to get to the required data as fast as possible.

  1. IPC (Instructions per clock cycle)

Two CPU with the same clock speed can produce different IPC if they are from different companies or two different models from the same company. IPC is mainly dependent on the architecture and design of the CPU. You would not find it in the general specifications and you should go through reviews to find out more.

CPU and Gaming

How important the CPU is for gaming depends mainly on the type of game you are planning to play. When choosing the CPU, make sure that it is compatible with the motherboard. Otherwise, this can cause a slow down of your computer.

As I told you, the type of game you are planning to play is very important. Some games are mostly visual and don’t need much processing power. For example, if you are playing a multiplayer online game, then all the characters are being controlled by different people. Here your CPU does not have to do much. It is the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which is used more.

On the other hand, if you are playing a game which requires more processing then your CPU is going to play a big role. For example, if you are playing a strategy game against your computer then the CPU is used much more. The visuals may not be very good but the processing is very fast. More and more of the modern gaming is now all about the visuals. GPU is far more important than the CPU for these kinds of games.

gaming CPU

Effects of CPU on Gaming

The CPU feeds information to the graphics card. If the CPU is not able to keep pace with the graphics card then your gaming experience will not be enjoyable. In most of the games, it is the GPU which does most of the work.

If you have a slow and weak processor then the graphics card cannot do much. It will just wait for the CPU to send information. Having a good balance and compatibility between the CPU and the GPU is very important. Nowadays, when you go to buy a computer it is your GPU which would cost you the most. If you buy a fast and high performing GPU then make sure that your CPU does not lag behind.

It should keep up with the GPU performance. The newer CPUs are being manufactured with more cores and threads. This is really good for gamers.

Now some CPUs are coming in the market with an inbuilt graphics card. You can get some decent performance without installing a graphics card. These may not be cutting edge technology graphics cards but are good enough for certain games.

Also the prices of Graphics cards are coming down and the performance of CPU and GPU is constantly getting upgraded. The choices are many and if you do your research well and understand your needs then you can easily get what you are looking for.



When I initially went looking for different components for my computer, I did not have much information and made a lot of mistakes. I also lost a lot of money because I had to buy some components more than once.

After going through the information that I have given here, you would find yourself in a better position. You should be able to make the right decision when it comes to choosing a CPU. Before you choose a CPU, be clear about your needs.

What kind of games are you planning to play on your computer is the most important question. Budgeting is also important. You may be buying different components and you should ensure that the balance and compatibility are maintained well. If one component is fast and others are slow then it is a waste. So go ahead and choose the right CPU and enjoy gaming to the fullest.

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