Does a CPU Matter for Gaming & How it Affects Performance

Does a CPU Matter for Gaming & How it Affects Performance

Modern CPUs have a lot going for them regarding advanced design and power efficiency. Gaming-oriented CPUs have come a long way in the last decade as core count and cache increase their size on most CPUs.

The major contributor to increased CPU performance is better-performing architecture on a smaller, iterated dye. Adding a CPU cache allows faster response time for gaming and significantly boosts performance. How many cores a CPU has also determines the performance, as multicore utilization has become prominent in most graphically demanding games.

This guide will review the importance of a good gaming CPU and its effect on performance.

How the CPU Affects Game Performance

The CPU directly affects gaming performance by the number of cores with a certain clock speed and cache. This relation to performance correlates with using cores and cache. Different CPUs will vary in performance depending on the number of monitors and their resolution. Here’s a better breakdown of each variable.

Core Count 

Core count is an important factor depending on your anticipated workload. For gaming specifically, CPU usage co-processes significant amounts of data per core for the GPU and RAM—the number of CPU cores has makes the process significantly easier depending on settings.  

Clock Speed

Clock speed determines the pace at which the system completes units of work. CPU speed is not a linear measurement across all models. Different generations of CPU architecture typically follow a clock speed graph that sets them apart within the same generation.

Cache Size 

The last significant difference in these latest generations of CPUs is cache utilization. The cache consists of three major segments that work together and total a specific size, typically in the MB. A larger cache size for gaming is better due to more critical info staying in the CPU, not the RAM.

The Difference a More Powerful CPU Makes 

With more cores, clock speed, and cache, getting a powerful CPU will allow more multitasking at a relatively higher speed. While increased multitasking and responsiveness are good, pairing it with an ill-equipped GPU and RAM will limit the system's performance. 

Problems Arising from Weaker CPUs

Balancing the system's capabilities with all connected hardware is crucial when attempting to game at higher resolutions or for extended periods. Let’s look at common symptoms of bottlenecked CPUs and how upgrading can alleviate them. 

Identifying CPU Bottlenecking

Identifying a bottleneck is reasonably straightforward. The first sign of a CPU bottleneck when gaming is a significant stuttering or frequent crash to the game or your PC. Stuttering occurs when the GPU or RAM is waiting to fully utilize the CPU's capacity.

Damage Over Time

While most CPUs have safety features to prevent lasting damage, the older a processor gets, the more likely it will not function due to everyday use. Activities like overclocking often speed up this process as pushing more voltage than designed puts stress on millions of transistors within the CPU. Enough wear and tear over time may turn the CPU bad, leading to replacement.

AMD vs. Intel CPUs

Between AMD and Intel, CPU architectures fall prey to the same issues over time. What becomes different between the two is their respective design and support options for continuously upgrading hardware with their associated AIB (Add in Board) partners like ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, and many others responsible for motherboards, graphics cards, RAM, and other computer hardware.

Performance to price in the current market consistently changes from one company to another with every new CPU release.

Summary of How Much a Good CPU Affects PC Gaming Performance

Understanding what makes a good CPU perform well starts and ends with the anticipated workload and accompanying hardware. Understanding and avoiding bottlenecks with all connected hardware is essential to getting the most out of your gaming system. Consider your playtime, and how many monitors you intend to use will determine whether you need an entry, mid, or high-performing CPU accommodating air or water cooling.  

At Apex Gaming PCs, we offer multiple CPUs for entry, mid, or high performance in gaming or workstation applications. Options like our Apex Platinum offer the best of both worlds regarding upgradeability or stock components that run modern titles at 1080p or 1440p. Whatever your CPU needs are, we hope to be of service at Apex!

Written By William Wilson

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