The absolute best gaming CPUs to buy in 2023

By Kenneth Williams


Dec 25, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

Upcoming games in 2023 will require the very best CPUs to run at max graphics, and these three options are the best tools for the job.

Upgrading the CPU is one of the most treacherous parts of updating a gaming rig. It often means replacing several parts from the motherboard to the RAM, giving gamers with deep pockets plenty of opportunities to spend. If money is no object and you want the absolute best CPUs on the market in 2023, here are three options to consider ranging from reasonable to ridiculous.

The Threadripper PRO 3995WX is too much CPU for gaming

If you’re looking for the absolute most powerful CPU on the market, your journey ends at the Threadripper PRO 3995WX. This third-generation Threadripper is the uncontested most powerful processor on the market, with 64 cores and 128 threads running at 4.5 gigahertz max frequency. This CPU is designed to power entire office buildings, but there’s nothing stopping you from using it to play Minecraft.

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All of that insane power comes at a reasonable price of $7,000. In addition, gamers will need to shell out at least a thousand more for a TRX40-compatible motherboard, a giant power supply, and enough RAM to keep it all running. AMD recommends 280 watts for just the CPU, which is as much power as some entire low-end systems. On the bright side, budget CPU shoppers can at least keep their DDR4 RAM for their $7,000 3995WX. 

The i9 13900K is Intel’s top-tier gaming CPU

If a Threadripper is out of the question, Intel offers a much more reasonable choice for a top-of-the-line gaming computer. The i9 13900K from Intel represents the peak of the brand’s gaming options. With eight physical cores and 24 total threads, this Raptor Lake flagship has more than enough power to produce max settings for nearly every game, assuming it’s paired with suitable DDR5 RAM and a GPU of similar strength.

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Its relatively-low 3.0 gigahertz clock speed also helps conserve power, with Intel recommending just 125 watts to start. The 13900K also boasts 38 megabytes of cache space between its L2 and L3 storage, which is leagues above CPUs just one step down on the ladder. All of these features come in at just $600, which is practically a steal compared to the Threadripper option.

The 7950X is the best value for 2023 gaming CPUs

While AMD’s absolute strongest CPU is meant for rendering Pixar movies, its gaming offerings also pack quite a punch. The Ryzen 9 7950X represents the pinnacle of the current generation of AMD CPUs. This consumer-ready CPU packs 12 cores at a maximum frequency of 5.7 gigahertz into the Zen 4 architecture. It also sells for slightly cheaper than the Intel option at $573 on Amazon.

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In addition to its insane single-core gaming performance, the 7950X is also geared towards content creation with tuning for Blender, Maxon, Arnold, Corona, and other rendering and production programs. Just make sure to get a beastly CPU cooler, preferably one with water, to keep this monster from spontaneously combusting. Remember to leave room in your budget for a snazzy motherboard if you don’t already have an AM5-compatible machine.