This page lists the best CPUs for 4K gaming on your PC. We have recommended many options that prioritize essential things, such as budget, premium gaming, and the latest technologies. Let’s get started.
Best 4K Gaming CPUs (Our Top Favorites)
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Best for Power
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Best for Budget and Power
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Table of Contents
- The Best CPU for 4K Gaming
- Frequently Asked Questions
With every new generation of gaming, many technical upgrades are applied to PCs and consoles. These include better graphics, larger worlds, realistic physics, and, most importantly – higher resolutions. We started with tiny CRT televisions and have grown past that significantly.
For the past decade, most of us have comfortably used 1080p as our immediate resolution for gaming. But as of today, it’s undeniable that 4K gaming has become the new standard as it dramatically improves everything that we see in terms of scale and detail. Not only that, but many modern-day monitors also support 4K by default.
Whether you’re getting into 4K PC gaming for the first time or upgrading your hardware to support it – it’s essential to have a great CPU that can handle your 4K resolution and textures in all its glory. After all, if you have a low-end processor but a great 4K GPU, it will simply cause a bottleneck, forcing you to play on low settings.
It’s the perfect time to invest in a great CPU that will help you play video games at 4K gaming with utmost convenience. And, of course, such a powerful processor will perform beautifully in everyday computing tasks besides gaming.
The Best CPU for 4K Gaming
Let’s look at our recommendations for the best CPU to help you play 4K games at their peak performance. We have processors from Intel and AMD, both of which are excellent brands that are currently leading the 4K gaming market – and then they are separated into categories of budget and high-end gaming.
If you’re already using an older CPU, the boost in performance you will feel by upgrading to a CPU that supports 4K gaming will be immaculate. And even if this is your first time getting into PC gaming, with any of these processors, you will understand why PCs are considered the powerhouse of the gaming industry.
1. Intel Core i9 11th Generation (Best Power & Recency Combo)
- One of the most powerful processors that you can buy right now
- Perfect for playing video games on the highest settings and 4K if paired with the right GPU
- Amazing max clock speed and is easily available in the market.
- Might be overkill if you’re not trying to build the strongest PC, as 4K is achievable by weaker CPUs too.
When it comes to the latest generations of Intel processors, it’s hard to go wrong. And for now, the 11th generation of i9 processors are the king of the hill. It’s incredibly powerful and features eight cores that go up to 5.3 GHz when unlocked – which is perfect for gaming and intensive office work simultaneously.
Every game that requires a powerful CPU runs beautifully on this processor, especially when retaining the highest graphical settings while keeping your resolution locked at 4K.
Whether you’re a long-time user of Intel CPUs or someone who is looking for an excellent start for their gaming PC – if you have the budget and want as much power as you can get – then the Intel Core i9 11th gen CPU is what you need for your 4K gaming PC.
Remember that this is the best deal for affordable 4K gaming. If you wish to only aim for sheer power, then 13th generation i9 CPUs would be what you need.
2. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (Best for Power)
- One of the strongest processors today
- Incredibly powerful with 16 cores and 32 threads
- Max clock up to 5.7Ghz
- Latest in line of AMD CPUs and perfect for 4K.
- Easily overkill for 4K gaming alone if that’s all you need
- It’s somewhat pricey.
If you don’t care about having a budget and want an absolute powerhouse of a CPU, then the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is what you need. It has 16 cores, and 32 threads unlocked for the consumer, with a max speed of 5.7 GHz.
When gaming on the highest settings, 4K resolution, and amping up every possible option, such as using RTX and other enhancing technologies, this CPU will not bottleneck any GPU, you throw towards its way.
It’s certainly a pricey option, but calling it expensive would be unfair because of all that it has to offer. Just ensure the proper power supply is attached and apply liquid cooling when you buy the processor because of how extensively you’ll put it to its limits – which we’re reasonably expecting of someone buying such a piece of hardware.
And last but not least, it’s not solely tuned for gaming, and it will also serve you perfectly in work-related tasks.
3. Intel Core i7 11th Generation (Best for Budget)
- Powerful enough to run all the latest games on 4K
- Max clock speed is up to 4.0ghz
- Very affordable and reasonably priced
- It does not require too much power or extensive CPU cooling.
- The i7 is slightly older now compared to the i9 13th gen.
The first thing that you need to know about 4K gaming is that even though you do need a great processor – it’s more GPU dependent at the end of the day.
Thus, getting a slightly older CPU like the Intel Core i7 11th generation is still good enough for your everyday gaming needs. After all, this processor is only weaker in comparison to the latest Intel processors and not otherwise.
I’ve used the Core i7 11th gen for a good while on one of my computers, and even in the current generation of gaming, it holds up pretty well. All the latest games run at the highest settings, and it does not bottleneck the 4000 series of Nvidia GPUs at all.
Thus, if you are on a budget and need 4K gaming, this CPU is the perfect option for you – especially since it holds up well in office-related tasks too.
4. AMD Ryzen 5 7600X (Best for Budget and Power)
- Great cores and threads combo
- Unlocked clock speed that goes up to 5.3Ghz
- Reasonably priced and one of AMD’s best CPUs
- Readily available in the market.
- Needs external cooling if you wish to push it to the limits.
The AMD Ryzen 6 7600X is far from their latest processor, but it’s one of the best ones they’ve released – especially in terms of the price. And, of course, it’s still proudly supported by them in their official stores too. It comes with six cores and 12 threads, which make up a great combo and go up to a maximum clock speed of 5.3 GHz.
This CPU can easily support the latest GPUs from both AMD and Nvidia in terms of 4K gaming and easily supports every newest game that has come out in this generation.
While having the latest GPU is always a good idea for 4K gaming – the CPU is a different story, and that’s why this is still a great option. And when you need your computer for some serious work, it holds up pretty well in running the latest software.
As usual, you’ll need to put in more effort in the cooling department than Intel CPUs, so make sure to buy a cooler, as it’s not included in the package.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best CPU for 4K gaming?
There are many great CPUs for 4K gaming, and the factor that helps you choose the best one is preference. Budget, what GPU you will pair it with, and what brand you like play a significant role in the best CPU for 4K gaming.
Should I buy a new CPU for 4K gaming?
Yes, it would be best to buy a new CPU for 4K gaming, as older processors cannot keep up with such a demanding resolution. However, if you only recently built your gaming PC, there might be a chance that you already have a sufficient CPU. In that case, compare your CPU to those in our guide and see if it’s better or worse.
What do I need for 4K gaming on PC?
First, you need a good computer for 4K gaming, meaning your graphics card, processor, and RAM should be very high. And pairing it all with a great SSD will make your experience even better too.
Secondly, you need a good monitor that can correctly display 4K resolution and visuals. It would be best if you had a monitor with 4K support and nothing less than that. Otherwise, you won’t be seeing true 4K picture quality, and it will cause problems like screen tearing too. So, if you have an older monitor, it’s time to buy a 4K supporting one instead.
That’s the end of our recommendations for the best CPU for 4K gaming PCs that you can buy right now.
With any of these processors, you can run every modern-day video game in 4K resolution with the best quality and framerate for several years. And when you upgrade in the future, you won’t be getting bottlenecked.
We hope you found this helpful guide and are already purchasing the 4K CPU that best suits your gaming PC. While you’re still here, check out some of our other helpful PC gaming guides, too – especially those that deal with the latest 4K GPUs!