Core i7 processors have been great at handling games that need multiple cores to run smoothly. Well, not all the CPUs in the i7 family are meant for gaming due to their limited number of cores. So which i7 processors are best for gaming nowadays?
To find out, we researched and reviewed many gaming CPUs from Intel in the market. In our research, we found that the most powerful i7 CPUs to game on have at least six cores.
This leads us to the fact that the latest generation of i7 processors can deliver higher frame rates as compared to the previous generations. However, the latest gen i7 gaming CPUs might need you to throw away your old motherboard due to socket compatibility issues.
You will need a powerful i7 gaming processor that doesn’t bottleneck your graphics card at all costs.
Best i7 Processors for Gaming
Below are some of the top-rated Core i7 CPUs to play games on higher FPS. You can choose the one that falls under your budget and performance needs.
Games now a days require more than 4 cores. So we have focused on Core i7 processors with numerous cores for amazing gaming experience.
1. Intel Core i7 9700K | The Best Overall Gaming Processor
Base Speed: 3.6/4.9 GHz
Turbo Clock: 4.9 GHz
L3 Cache: 12 MB
Without any doubt, the Intel Core i7 9700K is the most affordable and powerful gaming processor in the market. We found it similar in performance to its bigger brother, the Core i9 9900K. It has the same clock speed and cores as the i9, but it lacks hyper-threading.
Though it is an exceptional case where intel hasn’t enabled Hyper-Threading in a Core i7 CPU, but it still doesn’t affect the performance by any means. However, without hyper-threading, you can expect stable temperatures without using any high-end CPU cooler.
The 9700K is faster than the previous generation processors, especially, the i7 8700K. This processor comes with 8 cores and threads to deliver faster frame rates when playing games on higher settings.
It might not be wrong to say that the Core i7 9700K makes a perfect sweet spot between price and performance. On top of all, you can give it a boost up to 5 GHz for improved gaming experience. However, it is important to choose the most compatible gaming motherboard for 9700K to avoid any issues while overclocking.
2. Intel Core i7-8700K | Best Gaming CPU for the Money
Base Clock: 3.7 GHz
L3 Cache: 12 MB
If we talk about the Core i7 processors that are ideal for gaming, we cannot complete our list without 8700K. It is one of the most advanced gaming CPUs in the market to play games at higher settings.
With six cores each clocked at 3.7 GHz, you will see smooth gaming performance. With hyper-threading enabled, you might see a bit rise in temperature when gaming at higher clock speeds, but you won’t feel any difference.
The i7 8700K comes with 12 MB of L3 cache that makes it a perfect multitasking CPU as well. You can play games and edit videos with this processor to upload them later on the internet.
3 Intel Core i7-10700K | Highly Recommended i7 Processor for Gamers
Base Speed: 3.8 GHz
Max Speed: 5.1 GHz
L3 Cache: 16 MB
With the arrival of the 10th generation CPUs, Intel has taken back its crown from AMD for producing the processors with higher clock speed. The Core i7 10700K is one of the most expensive gaming processors from Intel so far to hit the market.
It packs 8 cores with 16 threads clocked at 3.8 GHz for better gaming performance. No doubt, Intel’s single-core performance has been better than many AMD chips. However, the thing that makes i7 10700K an ideal choice for gamers is the ultimate potential to overclock up to 5.1 GHz.
With this processor, there won’t be any problem while playing games at 4K settings. As the latest gaming titles demand CPUs with at least eight cores, so this processor will be enough to keep that juice flowing.
This CPU supports the Intel Optane Memory to access multiple applications quickly without any lag. With UHD 630 chipset, this is one of the best CPUs with integrated graphics to play mid-level games without any external graphics card.
4. Core i7-7700K | Reliable Processor for Ultimate Gaming
Base Speed: 4.2 GHz
Max Speed: 4.5 GHz
L3 Cache: 8 MB
CPUs with multiple cores are no doubt in high demand in the gaming industry, still the single-core performance matters a lot while playing games. Cores with higher speed play important role in improving the frame rates while playing intense graphical games.
The Core i7 7700K comes with the base speed of 4.2 GHz right out of the box. This means you don’t have to overclock to play games at higher clock speed. However, the i7 7700K lets you overclock it a bit more to 4.5 GHz.
As the 7700K doesn’t give you enough room for overclocking, we can still rely on its base speed to play games at higher settings. On the other hand, fewer cores may limit the performance of this CPU with the most advanced gaming titles.
If you pair this processor with a high-end graphics card, you might be able to play the latest titles like Witcher 3 at medium-high settings. Moreover, with the hyper-threading, you can push each core for better performance.
Although the 7700K is good at gaming, it still has thermal issues if you enable the hyper-threading feature. But you can take off that heat by installing any low budget CPU cooler.
How We Test & Choose Processors
We carry out a deep research in finding the best processors for gaming in the market. We ourselves test the CPU and get considerable recommendations from the gamers in our community.
Moreover, we did run several benchmarks to test the performance of gaming processors. If we don’t have any processor available in our lab, we opt for trustful online sources to get real benchmarks.
After testing the benchmarks of the processors, we compare the positive and negative reviews of the gamers who bought those CPUs.
Things to Consider While Buying Core i7 Processor for Gaming
It is quite hard to choose a gaming processor if you are a beginner. It is quite common for beginners to fall for i7 processors if they want to build a gaming PC.
As we have discussed earlier that not every Core i7 from Intel lineup is meant for gaming. To find the best i7 processors for gaming, you have to look at certain factors.
Cores & Threads
Just like an old saying, ”Two brains are better than one”, the same for the CPU cores. The more the cores, the better is the performance of CPU in games. Threads act like virtual CPUs or assistant for the main core. Threads are the number of tasks that a single core can handle at a time.
Clock Speed or Frequency
Clock or frequency refers to the speed of each core inside a CPU. Higher the clock speed, the faster is the processing power of CPU. For gaming, the clock speed of frequency matters a lot for stable frame rates.
Look out for the i7 processors that are ”Unlocked” (Ready to Overclock) to achieve higher clock speeds.
Both the cores and clock speed together decide the performance of a gaming CPU. Another thing that is worth noting at this point is the single-core performance of a CPU. Intel CPUs like Core i7 are way better in single-core performance as compared to Ryzen 7’s from AMD.
Finally, these were some of the best i7 processors for gaming available in the market. We highly recommend you to go for the i7-10700K if you have a lot of cash to throw on the table. Other than that, the i7-9700K can also be a good choice for gamers who are tight on budget.