CHOOSING A PROCESSOR FOR GAMING
If you’re going to play games at any kind of decent detail level, you should certainly buy a dedicated graphics card, but the choice of processor will also make a difference. You don’t want your enthusiast GPU to be hobbled by a slow CPU, after all. You don’t need to go overboard, though.
For example, you usually won’t gain much by choosing a Core i7 chip over a Core i5, as Hyper-Threading makes little difference in most games. Even complicated titles such as Battlefield One only really take advantage of four cores, so the extra four virtual cores Hyper-Threading provides won’t be much use. There are exceptions, though. The latest Total War games appear to benefit from a Core i7’s power due to the sheer number of units interacting with each other on the battlefield.
If you’re buying a desktop processor to play games, and aren’t into hugely epic strategy titles, we say get a quad-core Core i5, and preferably the top-spec Core i5K. If you ever find this processor is holding you back, you can always overclock it well beyond what it originally came as.
WHICH PROCESSOR SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Intel Core i3
Coming in at the cheapest price, the i3 is a great chip for low-end desktop builds that will mainly be used for word processing and web browsing work. It's capable of some decent single-core performances, too which is perfect for most games as they only take advantage of dual core processors.
Intel Core i5
Rather more expensive, the i5 K version is a great all-rounder, which makes it an excellent choice for gamers building a system , and if you're going to be overclocking you'll want to buy a fairly serious piece of kit to keep temperatures low. If you're not looking to overclock and want something a bit cheaper, the i5 is a great alternative.
Intel Core i7
The big daddy of Intel's line, the i7 is a great processor for those who have high-end multimedia workloads (such as game streaming and video editing), or who just want to show off. It has overclocking ability, and you'll need to buy a separate cooler for it. As discussed above, if you're going to just be gaming, a Core i5 is a much better value bet.