Why is CPU Important for Gaming? (6 Reasons)

Processors or CPUs (Central Processing Units) are equipped with numerous features and specifications when they are specifically designed for gaming.

If your CPU was not designed for gaming, you need to check your system specifications every time you play a new game.

6 Reasons Why CPU is Important for Gaming

Why is CPU Important for Gaming

Before purchasing a new computer or CPU for gaming or upgrading to a better CPU in order to play all games you like without any issues, you need to know why CPU is important for gaming.

1. Games are Designed to be CPU Intensive

To get an idea of whether a particular game would utilize your CPU heavily, look for certain signs that indicate how complex it is.

Everything here will be simplified in order to give you a basic understanding of how it works since there are too many variables involved.

When playing a game, you may notice whether there are any physics components.

In Grand Theft Auto 5, for example, you would see NPCs wandering the streets randomly and doing their own thing.

In Demon Souls, you would see similar activities being performed with a special set of moves.

You would see enemies wandering around their city in Grand Theft Auto 5, while they would be occupied in a similar manner in Demon Souls.

In Grand Theft Auto, if you defeat a random enemy, this game will attempt to mirror real life by simulating what you did.

When you attempt to run over a random person in GTA, they will be sent flying.

There is not much game physics involved when you fight demons in Demon Souls. Even if they are being hit, there is not much computational processing required by your CPU.

It is important to take into account how AI is programmed in a game. Your CPU is being asked to calculate and process a lot of things, including monsters’ individual movement patterns and attack sets.

Your CPU also gives orders to your GPU on what to show on your screen. After that, your GPU goes to work and puts on all finer details of what is about to be shown on your screen.

If you are wondering what CPU usage should be when playing a game, it’s nearly impossible to calculate.

To estimate, they must take into account a game’s complexity and extra details it adds.

When considering system requirements, you should be able to estimate how much CPU use a game will require by looking at its list of requirements.

Most game settings, when lowered, will reduce the load on your GPU and CPU.

There are a few other variables to consider when discussing a game’s performance.

The first is the amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) and game file storage memory (hard drive or solid-state drive).

When you install a game, you choose a storage location for this game’s installation files.

When you boot this game, your computer cannot run all of this game’s assets. Because your CPU processes data from RAM, it can include temporary data from RAM.

This includes anything listed previously, but there are also other data types.

Let’s take a look at a game like Civilization 6 as an example. Every single one of your computer-controlled rulers’ turns will involve hundreds of possible actions.

As you move through the later stages of the game, those hundreds of possible actions will grow to thousands.

Your CPU will control all of this ruler’s decisions. Due to the work of your CPU, your GPU will not be able to function without it.

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Your CPU will process these actions you take in your game and forward this information to your GPU for processing.

This is why your GPU cannot function without your CPU. To keep your computer running at a steady clip, you must make sure your CPU is powerful enough.

Even though the CPU is less important than the GPU when playing games, it still needs to be balanced.

An excellent GPU paired with a poor CPU will create a bad system. Even though the CPU is less important than the GPU, it still needs to be balanced.

An excellent GPU can work a lot of data very quickly. If your CPU is too weak, it will be unable to keep up with your GPU, resulting in reduced performance.

A bottleneck will occur in your computer if both parts have differing capabilities.

Even if you have a top-of-the-line GPU, it will not operate at its best if the CPU can’t keep up with its speed.

This only leaves you with performance that is better suited to a low-end GPU.

2. Games Require Complex Calculations

All the calculations that need to be performed by the CPU to run a game are handled by it. A faster CPU means a better gaming experience.

CPUs have multiple processing cores in the present day. CPUs today consist of multiple cores that can execute multiple instructions concurrently, making them appear as a single CPU in spite of their multiple cores.

PCs typically come with two or four cores. Higher-end processors may have up to 64 cores. While 6 cores are considered standard, 8 cores and up are more advanced.

Multithreading also is used in a lot of processors. Imagine a single CPU core that may execute two lines of code simultaneously.

It appears as two “logical” cores to the operating system. It does not have the same number of resources as a physical core, but using compatible software may increase its multitasking performance.

When looking at CPUs, clock speeds are often prominent. A “gigahertz” (GHz) number tells you how many instructions a CPU may process per second, but from a performance perspective, it is a lot more.

From an economic standpoint, clock speed is often an issue. A faster clock speed means a faster processor, but his 3GHz processor in 2010 did less than his 2GHz processor in 2020.

You can save costs by not utilizing the most recent hardware and instead utilizing the most recent generation CPUs.

To save costs, don’t utilize newest hardware and instead utilize newest generation CPUs.

Core i7-6820HK is a 6th generation chip, but Core i5-10210U is a newer 10th generation chip.

In AMD’s analogy, Ryzen 5 2500X is a second-generation chip that uses ‘Zen+’ core design while Ryzen 9 3950X is a third-generation chip.

Ryzen 4000 APU was released in addition to being a laptop chip line, making it debatable whether Ryzen 5000 is a 4th or 5th generation Ryzen CPU. AMD recently released Ryzen 5000 under its banner, making it it’s newest one.

AMD’s Ryzen 4000 APU line includes integrated laptop, APU, and desktop platforms.

Your CPU’s importance depends on the task at hand. However, CPUs are still critical to performance and speed of computers, whether it is for gaming or more serious jobs such as CAD or video editing.

Keep in mind that your CPU is part of your system. So, you need to make sure you have enough RAM and fast storage to feed your CPU.

Perhaps the biggest question mark comes down to graphics cards, as PCs require some balance in terms of both performance and cost.

Now that you understand the role of your CPU, you can make informed decisions about your computer hardware.

To truly grasp how important PC components are to games, you must comprehend the sophistication of work being done behind the scenes.

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Games are forced to be intensive when you play them because you are tracking a lot of different things.

Graphical aspects are the first thing that come to mind when you view a game. Complexity of a game is also a major concern.

Your GPU is one of the most crucial components in gaming, but it is not the most important one.

There are numerous reasons why terms GPU-intensive or CPU-intensive are used.

Games mostly utilize both components, but some require more from your CPU than your GPU and vice versa.

3. Smoother Gaming Experience  

The better a CPU can handle complex game worlds and calculations, the smoother your gaming experience will be.

CPU performance is vital for gaming because it can handle more complex game worlds and calculations, resulting in a smoother game experience.

As game demands become more and more complex, a good CPU is crucial for gamers who want to stay ahead of the curve.

Today’s fast-paced games, including first-person shooters (FPS), multiplayer games, open-world games, and others, rely on the latest CPUs and their multi-cores and threads to play well.

In fact, they are necessary if you want them to play well.

For example, the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 multiplayer game recommends at least a quad-core processor: either the Intel i5-2500K, which has four cores and four threads, or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X, which has twelve threads and six cores.

In World of Warcraft, for competitive players using high refresh-rate monitors (1080p), the game actually proposes an AMD Ryzen 1800X (8-core processor with 16 threads) or an Intel i7-8700K (6 cores and 12 threads).

The 8th Generation Intel i7-8700K is one of the fastest processors with some of the highest clock speeds (boost speed at 4.7 GHz) that Intel offers for gaming and streaming.

Grand Theft Auto V, one of the most popular online open-world games, recommends an Intel i5 3470 (4 cores, 4 threads) or AMD FX-8350 (8 cores, 8 threads). In Fortnite Battle Royale, the epic battle royale game, at least an Intel i5 2.8 GHz processor with 4 cores and 4 threads is required.

4. CPU Affects Frame Rate

A powerful CPU can also help to improve the quality of the graphics in games. It can help to increase the frame rate and decrease the load time.

Faster CPU processing speed is one factor that contributes to increased FPS (Frames Per Second).

Although the GPU is the main source of high FPS, a slow CPU can obstruct the GPU and thus lower FPS.

A CPU with enhanced processing speed is crucial for game quality in the event that your PC has integrated graphics instead of a discrete graphics card.

FPS drops have the ability to significantly reduce the quality of your game. It also causes stutters and sometimes makes a game unplayable.

The best way to increase your FPS is to acquire a better GPU with more processing power.

Alternatively, you can also overclock your current GPU to boost its performance.

However, overclocking could require you to get a better cooling system as it can dramatically raise the temperature of the GPU.

5. CPU Controls Graphics

A gaming PC is a personalized computer designed for playing video games that demands a lot of processing power.

A more powerful CPU is generally required for a gaming PC than for a normal workstation.

Gaming PCs are more suitable for gaming than normal computers because of their high-end graphics cards.

They also commonly include other features that make them better for gaming.

If your GPU is more advanced than your CPU, it will certainly influence your whole system in negative ways.

The CPU handles so many other functions of a computer besides just working on graphics jobs that it has been described above.

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The CPU, since it handles so many different functions, will likely bottleneck the GPU. You should upgrade your CPU to overcome the bottleneck.

When your CPU is greater than your GPU, the result is a GPU bottleneck.

This is much more desirable than a CPU bottleneck because the GPU handles the visual aspect alone, while the CPU handles the central processing of your computer.

If you demand too much of your CPU, you will have a lot of tasks that can be disrupted.

Not only does your computer run ineffectively and your CPU might get overheated as a result of processing a lot of requests, but your CPU might also get overheated.

In order to avoid this, you should try to keep your CPU as cool as possible when you’re gaming.

If your GPU is not overclocked and isn’t overheated, you should be fine with a GPU bottleneck.

Whenever your GPU works at 100% efficiency, you’re utilizing it to its full potential and your PC is running smoothly.

You’re using your GPU to its full potential and your PC is running smoothly.

All you need to do is monitor everything and make sure your GPU bottleneck isn’t a problem.

6. Game Specifications for Hardware

When choosing a CPU for gaming, it is important to consider the kind of games you want to play and your budget.

Upgrading your CPU can significantly increase gaming performance.

A CPU with a higher core count will allow you to run multiple tasks alongside gaming, including streaming, without sacrificing performance, and a higher clock speed will improve in-game features like AI, draw distance, and FPS.

While knowing the best CPUs available is a good starting point for choosing a new CPU, it is far more important to know how to make decisions for yourself.

To pick out a CPU, you need to look at two major factors: clock speed and core count.

A CPU’s clock speed is how fast it can perform tasks. Gigahertz (allocated to billion cycles) are used to measure how fast a CPU can perform tasks.

While gaming, a higher clock speed usually translates to higher FPS. A processor with more cores can multitask better.

A processor with more cores can concurrently perform more calculations, boosting its multitasking performance.

When choosing between several processors for a gaming computer, focus on the highest clock speed and at least dual or quad-cores.

When you are choosing a CPU for gaming, it is necessary for you to consider the type of games you want to play as well as your budget.

For example, if you want to play the latest titles, you will need a more powerful CPU than if you’re just playing indie games.

Similarly, if you are on a tight budget, you need to choose a less powerful CPU.

Even the most powerful CPUs, however, can’t run all games at the highest settings, so it’s also important to consider your graphics card when choosing a CPU for gaming.


Now that you know why CPU is important for gaming you know how to choose a new one or modify your existing CPU to support all games you wish to play.

If you want to run other applications you need to know their hardware specifications after which you can decide your CPU’s specifications so that you can multitask without any lagging issues.

About Puja Chatterjee

Puja ChatterjeePuja Chatterjee is a technical writer with extensive knowledge about computers. She graduated from BIMS. Her expertise includes technology writing and client relationship management gained through over 12 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin.

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