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Introduction

One of the most common questions any computer expert is used to hearing is if it’s worth it to spend more money investing in a high-end CPU when you are building a gaming computer. Today, we will test if a high-end processor can bring more performance in games (i. e., frames per second) than a mainstream or even a basic one. Check it out!

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that, as in the former tests, this test has the only objective to satisfy our curiosity.  We’re testing a myth. And the tested CPUs are not direct competitors, since we included a discontinued processor and some CPUs from different price ranges, that are not direct competitors.

It is also important to remember that the Core i7-4770K is not, obviously, the most high-end CPU available today, since there are newer models like the Core i7-4790K, the Core i7-5775C, the Core i7-6700K, and even the socket LGA2011-v3 CPUs like the Core i7-5960X. But the Core i7-4770K is still a high-end processor, at least for the purpose we are testing it.

As we are trying to see if it’s worth it to buy a high-end CPU for a budget-conscious gaming computer, we chose to use a mainstream video card (a GeForce GTX 750) and disable the integrated video. We made this decision because, if you can afford one, you are probably not worried about spending some more bucks on the CPU. So, the question we are actually trying to answer is if is a high-end CPU a good investment when you are using an average video card or, in other words, if the CPU is a “bottleneck” when you build a computer with a mainstream video card.

Besides the Core i7-4770K (a high-end CPU), we included a Core i3-4150 (mainstream), a Pentium G3320 (entry-level) and a Core 2 Quad Q8300 (representing the old mainstream/high-end CPUs). Unfortunately, we did not have an available Core i5 CPU at the time we collected the data. We also did not include AMD processors because we are not trying to compare different brands, just to bust a myth (or to confirm it).

Figure 1 shows one of the processors we used: the Core i3-4150, which is a typical average CPU nowadays.

Is a high-end CPU a real need for a gaming computer?Figure 1: one of the CPUs tested

Let’s compare the main specs of the reviewed CPUs in the next page.

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Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master’s degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.