When assembling a home-grown gaming PC, there are a few components that can make or break a great gaming machine. For example, the choices between available motherboards, CPUs, and graphics cards/GPUs can sometime be daunting, and choosing one of the components incorrectly can cause an unwelcomed dent in a computer’s performance as well as the wallet. In this article, a selection of current CPUs that are ideal gaming are compared based on both features, and price.
For the past few months there has been little activity in regards to any new breaking technologies when it comes to the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Available at retail now are a group of competitive processors that were announced only a few months ago. AMD for example has released three new Athlons this summer, as Intel has also made way for some of their CPUs from the i family of processors.
Looking strictly based on price versus performance, CPUs can easily be broken down into groups. Tom’s Hardware, a well-known and renowned website that rates and reports on computer hardware, reports that for the budget conscious gamer, there are a variety of models to choose from. Of seven CPUs currently available at retail at an approximate price of $150 or under, top honors go to two processors that serve as a representative from each competing manufacturer’s camp. On the AMD side, the new AMD Athlon II X4 640 comes in a close second to the AMD list leader, the AMD Phenom II X4 940/945. Both processors which are quad core and listed as running at 3.0 GHz, are very similar in design, with particular differences being motherboard slot type, and the fact that the Phenom includes a 6MB L3 Cache. Intel’s top CPUs in the group included the Intel Core i3-530, and the Intel Core i3-540. Running as dual core processors with hyperthreading, both CPUs include a 4MB L3 Cache, with the 530 running at 2.93 GHz, and the 540 clocking in at 3.06 GHz for a near $40 more at retail.
For gamers with a fat wallet; Tom’s hardwarelists Intel’s Core i5-730 (aprroximately $200), the i7-930 (approximately $300), and the i7-980 Extreme (approximately $999) as the top picks in the $200 and over group. These CPUs boast 8MB, 8MB, and 12MB L3 Caches respectively, with the 908 Extreme running with 6 cores. With the possibility of overclocking a lower priced model, combined with the fact that all current game titles reportedly run with 3 cores at the most, the Extreme is likely only a fair choice where money is no object.