When people start building their gaming PC, the primary focus for many of them is naturally the graphics card. As important as getting the right graphics card is for a build, it’s not the only thing you should be paying attention to.
Often referred to as the heart or the brain of a computer, a CPU is a vital part of any PC and should be of primary consideration when you come to build any new computer.
Choosing the right CPU for your PC should be near the top of your to-do list. After all, the best graphics card in the world won’t deliver the performance you want unless your processor is up to scratch.
There are many reasons why CPUs are important for gaming and this article will take a look at some of them.
The Power of Draw Calls
The most important thing to know about a CPU when it comes to gaming is that a CPU is responsible for draw calls. A CPU must tell a GPU what to display (draw) on the screen and how because a GPU is not capable of accessing this information alone.
In this sense, the CPU is essentially the boss when it comes to funnelling information through the PC. If the CPU cannot perform this task well enough, the GPU will only be able to work with the information it’s given.
Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider along the way which affect the draw call and the relationship between the CPU and the GPU.
Whether games are optimised or threaded well is also important. Single-threaded games will use one processor’s core count, often to the maximum extent. Multi-threaded games will require the use of multiple cores working alongside. Some processors with lower core counts will struggle to run multi-threaded games because they require the use of multiple cores.
Therefore, if you want to play more demanding games, the ability for the CPU to leverage the cores is vital to performance.
The Future Of Multi-Core
As new games become more and more demanding to run, you will need a PC that can keep up with them. The future of gaming looks like it will have many more multi-core reliant games, this will result in modern CPUs needing to be capable of efficient multi-core processing to run them.
If you have a low budget, opting for a dual-core processor may be your only option, but you will experience a noticeable drop in gaming performance. In most cases, you will need a quad-core processor, but more modern CPUs can offer up to eight cores and beyond.
Games such as first-person shooters and multiplayer games will especially benefit from CPUs using multi-core processing, so if those are the types of games you enjoy playing, the importance of a multi-core CPU cannot be overestimated.
Another important task that the CPU is responsible for is handling and processing the audio in your games. Audio is not something that should be overlooked if you’re looking for an immersive gaming experience.
If your CPU isn’t up to speed, it will struggle to process both the gameplay and audio at the same time at the quality you want. This means that your gameplay might not be the only thing to suffer if your CPU is not well matched to other components or is particularly old.
General Handling Of In-Game Functionality
As the brain behind the machine, the CPU is responsible for sending and processing all rendered information to the graphics card.
If your CPU can’t handle the amount of processing a game requires of it, the whole system will slow down and you will experience poor gaming performance.
So, while a graphics card may be important to running games, it’s the processor that makes this all possible from behind the scenes. If the processor cannot keep up, your game will run slowly or not at all.
As you can see, how well a gaming PC operates hinges on the performance and capabilities of the CPU. If your processor is not well matched to supporting components, particularly the graphics card, then the PC will struggle to run the way you need it to.
This could lead to a lot of disappointment when you sit down to play a new game – even after investing in an impressive GPU. Having the CPU bottleneck your gaming performance is both frustrating and expensive to fix. It’s important to do a bit of research before committing to a build to make sure that your not only going to buy the best CPU for gaming, but also one that will work well together with your other components.