For those inclined to computer gaming, having a lightning quick computer is a must. It helps to eliminate lag, allows you to run the latest games at their highest resolutions, and allows you to brag to your fellow gamers about how your system pwns all others. There are many components necessary to make a computer a fast for gaming. These include the motherboard, the video card, the central processor, the internal memory, and the speed and capacity of the hard drive.
By focusing solely on the CPU, you may not necessarily end up with a fast gaming computer. However, a powerful CPU is a good place to start when choosing one. If you are looking for the best processors out there, here are my top three:
3) AMD Phenom II X4 965: I know, I know. It’s not a hexacore chip, which, for the gamer that has to have the latest and greatest, will be a turn off. However, this quad-core chip is still a force to be reckoned with. Running at 3.4 Ghz with 6 GB of L3 cache(1) (meaning quicker memory access and greater speed) allows this chip to burn through any game on the market today.
For the price, which a Google search shows to be about $180 at several online retailers, you can’t go wrong with this chip. It is serious gaming power that will be the center of a well-configured gaming desktop, whether you build it yourself or buy one from a computer maker.
2) Intel Core i7-980X: The current king of the processor hill, this hexacore chip runs at 3.33 Ghz with a massive 12 GB L3 cache(2). The question with this processor is not what games it can or cannot run (it can run any game out there), but how many other applications can it run at the same time as your game.
Want to stream stock quotes, carry on a video conference, run weather projections, calculate pi to more places than anybody would ever care to know, and play the most graphically demanding game at the same time? Not that it would be practical, but you could with this chip. The only real drawback here is the price. A search on Google shows this processor will set you back about $1,000. If you can afford it, it will do everything you could possibly hope.
1) AMD Phenom II X6 1090T: In case you are longing for the i7-980X but are a bit short on funds, don’t despair. AMD offers its own hexacore chip that, while not quite equal to the i7-980X, is a worthy competitor. It also costs much, much less.
Yes, the clock speed is a shade lower at 3.2 Ghz, and the L3 cache is only 6 GB(3), but this chip still screams. You might not be able to run 10 applications simultaneously while playing a game, but you can probably run a few. A search on Google shows the price for this chip to be around $300, so with the money you saved by getting this chip instead of the i7-980X, you can hire somebody to figure out pi to as many places as you would like.
These three processors are currently the best picks for a gaming computer, but that will be changing soon. You can already purchase chips with 8, 10, and 12 cores for use on servers, and it is only a matter of time (as in probably 2011) that desktop versions of these chips hit the market.