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The Best Intel CPUs for Gaming (2023)

Find out which Intel processors are best for gaming.

Intel Core CPU Box Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: January 18, 2023

Written by Kevin Jones

As your demand for high-quality gaming experiences grows, finding the best CPU for gaming becomes essential.

When selecting a CPU for gaming, the most important characteristics are the clock speed (or frequency), number of cores and threads, cache size, and type of memory it supports. Additional considerations like integrated graphics and overclocking needs may also influence your selection.

This article will discuss these key CPU characteristics and, based on them, provide an overview of the best Intel CPUs for gaming.

Top Intel CPU

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gaming CPU

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Cache Size

A CPU's cache is a small amount of memory, close to the CPU cores, containing recently used data.

Games performance can improve as cache size increases, as it will reduce delays when retrieving commonly used game assets from memory.

An L3 cache capacity of at least 20 MB is ideal for game performance.

Core Count

Increased core counts can improve the performance of games that use them, but most modern games don't benefit from having more than 6–8 cores. Remember that cache sizes often increase along with core counts, so if you want to increase your L3 cache, you may need to get a CPU with more cores.

Clock Speed

Single-core performance is essential for some games, as many don't take full advantage of multiple cores.

Boost frequencies are only achieved under ideal circumstances. The safest strategy for consistent gaming performance with a basic cooler is to get a higher base clock speed processor. However, with adequate cooling, you may be able to maintain speeds near the max boost frequency.

DDR Support

Faster PC memory can improve game performance and frame rates, but using the fastest RAM may not have as much of an impact as upgrading your CPU and graphics card or adding more RAM.

Learn more about DDR in DDR4 vs. DDR5? Which You Should Buy.

The Best Intel CPUs for Gaming

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Intel Core i9-13900KS:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-13900KS CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-13900KS Intel Core i9-13900KS Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.20 GHz base frequency

  • 6.00 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.40 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13900KS in our article, Is the Core i9-13900KS CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13900KS.

Intel Core i9-13900K:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-13900K CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-13900K Intel Core i9-13900K Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.00 GHz base frequency

  • 5.80 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.40 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13900K in our article, Is the Core i9-13900K CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13900K.

Intel Core i9-13900KF:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-13900KF CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-13900KF Intel Core i9-13900KF Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.00 GHz base frequency

  • 5.80 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.40 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13900KF in our article, Is the Core i9-13900KF CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13900KF.

Intel Core i9-13900F:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-13900F CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-13900F Intel Core i9-13900F Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 2.00 GHz base frequency

  • 5.60 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13900F in our article, Is the Core i9-13900F CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13900F.

Intel Core i9-13900:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-13900 CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler.

  • 36 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 2.00 GHz base frequency

  • 5.60 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13900 in our article, Is the Core i9-13900 CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13900.

Intel Core i7-13700K:

  • When using Intel's Core i7-13700K CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i7-13700K Intel Core i7-13700K Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.40 GHz base frequency

  • 5.40 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.30 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13700K in our article, Is the Core i7-13700K CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13700K.

Intel Core i7-13700KF:

  • When using Intel's Core i7-13700KF CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i7-13700KF Intel Core i7-13700KF Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.40 GHz base frequency

  • 5.40 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.30 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13700KF in our article, Is the Core i7-13700KF CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13700KF.

Intel Core i7-13700F:

  • When using Intel's Core i7-13700F CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i7-13700F Intel Core i7-13700F Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 2.10 GHz base frequency

  • 5.20 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.10 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13700F in our article, Is the Core i7-13700F CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13700F.

Intel Core i7-13700:

  • When using Intel's Core i7-13700 CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler.

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 2.10 GHz base frequency

  • 5.20 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.10 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 5600 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 13700 in our article, Is the Core i7-13700 CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 13700.

Intel Core i9-12900KS:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-12900KS CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-12900KS Intel Core i9-12900KS Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.40 GHz base frequency

  • 5.50 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.20 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 4800 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 12900KS in our article, Is the Core i9-12900KS CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 12900KS.

Intel Core i9-12900K:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-12900K CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-12900K Intel Core i9-12900K Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.20 GHz base frequency

  • 5.20 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.10 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 4800 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 12900K in our article, Is the Core i9-12900K CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 12900K.

Intel Core i9-12900KF:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-12900KF CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-12900KF Intel Core i9-12900KF Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 3.20 GHz base frequency

  • 5.20 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.10 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 4800 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Overclocking support can be excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 12900KF in our article, Is the Core i9-12900KF CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 12900KF.

Intel Core i9-12900F:

  • When using Intel's Core i9-12900F CPU for gaming, you can expect excellent game performance with a high-performance CPU cooler or good game performance with a basic or stock CPU cooler. Intel Core i9-12900F 16 Core 2.40 GHz Processor Intel Core i9-12900F 16 Core 2.40 GHz Processor Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

  • 30 MB of L3 cache is excellent for performance

  • 8 Performance cores allow for excellent performance

  • 2.40 GHz base frequency

  • 5.10 GHz single-core max turbo boost frequency is excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • 5.00 GHz max turbo boost frequency of the Performance cores are excellent for performance (requires a high-end cooler)

  • DDR5 support with a max stock speed of 4800 MHz can be excellent for performance

  • Lack of overclocking support cannot benefit performance

  • PCIe 5.0 support can be excellent for performance (with the fastest SSDs and GPUs)

  • You can learn more about the 12900F in our article, Is the Core i9-12900F CPU Good for Gaming?

  • Check out our recommended Motherboards, CPU Coolers, Power Supplies, and RAM to pair with the 12900F.

Other Considerations When Building a PC

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