How Much Does Your CPU Matter When Gaming In 2018?

A CPU is an integral part of a gaming PC and does a lot of work like feeding information to the graphics card and perform user input.

A CPU is an integral part of a gaming PC and does a lot of work like feeding information to the graphics card and perform user input. While these are not the only things that the CPU does, you do get the idea. So how important is the CPU when gaming? Here we are going to talk about that.

Effects Of CPU On Gaming?

The CPU has to feed information to the graphics card and the CPU can be a limiting factor in gaming, if the CPU cannot keep up with the graphics card. You need to keep in mind that in most games, it is the graphics card, not the CPU that is doing most of the heavy lifting. Most games are not CPU intensive. The graphics card is doing most of the works when you play a game.

What happens when you have a weak processor? If the CPU is not able to keep up with the graphics card then the graphics card will be sitting around doing nothing, waiting for the processor to send it information. The opposite is the case when the GPU is weak. The processor can be sitting idle, waiting for the GPU to finish its processing.

So what should you look for in a processor and GPU combination when making or ordering a gaming PC? The simple rule of thumb is that your graphics card should be the most expensive part of your build. Provided that you are buying new parts. This could be different if you are buying used hardware, but the same rule should apply in most cases, when using used parts or new ones.

You need to have a well-balanced system, you can go a long way with an older CPU provided that it has reasonable performance and specifications. Reasonable specifications in gaming would be 4 cores and a base clock speed of around 3.2 GHz. This is a decent processor for gaming. 4 cores is a standard and while you should get away with 2 cores in some games, you will feel that your CPU lags behind in games that are more CPU intensive.

If you are on a budget then you really need to spend most of your money on the graphics card as it will be doing most of the heavy lifting, as mentioned before. The CPU maxes out in games such as city building games and simulators like racing games. Having that said if you are playing online multiplayer games then you should be fine with a dual-core processor and a decent graphics card, something on the lines of a GTX 1050.

In 2018, we see that the mainstream processors now feature way more cores and threads as compared to before. Why is that a good thing for gamers? Well, with the introduction of up to 8 cores and 16 threads, the entry-level processors now feature 4 cores as a bare minimum. Talking about the 8th generation core i3 series from Intel, as well as the AMD Ryzen 3 series, both these series of processors feature 4 cores.

Keeping that in mind, you are getting 4 cores in around $150, in some cases you pay even less. The AMD Ryzen 2200G is a great example. It also comes with AMD Vega graphics so you can get some serious performance without even installing a dedicated graphics card. Prices of graphics cards are also coming down, so it is a great time to build a new gaming PC. The only major problem is the high price of DDR4 memory.

You need to keep in mind that this information is for gaming PCs. If you do more than gaming, like rendering videos and editing pictures then you will need a strong CPU. Rendering is a CPU intensive task and while graphics acceleration is an option that you get nowadays, you will notice that it will not help much unless you have a powerful CPU. If you are rendering then you will be able to take advantage of the multiple CPUs that come with more than 4 cores.

Let us know what you think about the role of a CPU in gaming in 2018 and whether or not this article has made things a bit clearer for you.

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.