If you’re a gamer, then you fully know the importance of performance when it comes to hardware. For PC gamers, this is even more so true. There are memory, video and CPU speeds to be concerned with. Admittedly, casual games aren’t as demanding, yet regardless of the game – serious gamers want the fastest machine regardless. For hard-core game enthusiast, here are 3 top of the line CPUs (Central Processing Units to Consider).
Many gamers enter the PC market buying the highest end systems they can afford, and over time, they “mod” (modify) them. Other gamers prefer to build their ultimate gaming machines from scratch. These custom made systems provide endless high-end experiences, and quite often bragging rights. Video cards rank right near the top of in-demand hi-end components. However, the number one piece of hardware to consider is the CPU.
Without a great CPU, other system components simply won’t function as intended, or to full capacity. In plain English, having a poor CPU with other hi-end quality components is like having a completely modified race car with an everyday average engine. As expected, in such a scenario, performance is lost – with only one component to really blame.
When it comes to CPU shopping, there are two long standing brands to consider, AMD, and Intel. Both have been manufacturing CPUs since long before the era of the Pentium class systems. Not only have they been around for a while, but they have both manufactured a countless number of processors over the years, some geared directly towards gaming.
While this article will focus on a few top of the line CPUs with straight out of the box specs, when shopping for a CPU there are a few other determining factors to consider. Supporting motherboard chipsets and CPU sockets, for example, are important factors to many who get down into the detailed specifics, any there are dozens upon dozens of motherboards available to choose from. As far as a CPU itself goes, as of this writing, here are some of the newest and best for gaming.
Intel gaming CPUs: i7-970, i7-980 Extreme, i7-875K
At the moment, Intel has grabbed the industry spotlight with its recent release of i7 processors. Although there are a few in the line, the heaviest hitter in the bunch is the Core i7-970. This CPU hits the streets while just coming short of overthrowing Intel’s flagship gaming CPU, the i7-980 Extreme. The 970 comes fully loaded like the 980 with 12MB of L3 cache, has six-cores running twelve threads – yet it does not have its multiplier unlocked. With a fractional difference in speed between the two (133 MHz) comes a slight cost savings as well. The Extreme has a suggested retail price of $999, with the 970 costing around $900.
Similar to the 970/980 rivalry, the i7-870 has recently experienced a price drop while making way for a recent new-comer, the i7-875K. This new CPU has an approximate retail price of $350 and has its multiplier unlocked as well for an increase in speed.
Here are the detailed specs:
Intel Core i7-970
The 970 is a six-core CPU based on the 32nm Gulftown manufacturing process. It has whopping 12MB L3 cache for faster local processing, and it also includes Hyper-Threading technology that doubles the output of the six physical cores. Running at 3.2 GHz, this 130W CPU supports triple-channel DDR3 memory. Average retail price as of this writing: $900.
Intel Core i7-980 Extreme
Also built on Gulftown specs, this CPU is Intel’s first six-core CPU based on the 32nm technology. This is a LGA 1366 (Socket B) CPU that includes Hyper-Threading for a total of 12 threads. Running at 3.33 GHz and supporting DDR3 memory at up to 25.6 GB/sec memory bandwidth, this CPU has an estimated retail price as of this writing of $999.
Intel Core i7-875K
Based on the Lynnfield specs, the i7-875K features 45nm quad-core technology. An 8MB L3 cache improves performance along with the CPUs unlocked multiplier which allows for extreme overclocking capability. This LGA 1156 95W CPU has an estimated retail price as of this writing of $350.