Is Clock Speed Important For Gaming?

Gamers are always trying to get the most frame rate possible, and they do this by putting together the right components. Core clock speed is often said to be the most important factor for gaming, this is because a lot of games are coded for single-core performance. This is why you won’t see a lot of games benefiting from multiple cores.

Lower core clock speeds are often associated with having less FPS, and this is the last thing gamers want. So we’re going to go over whether having more cores is beneficial, what a good clock speed is, and if you should pick Ryzen or Intel. By the end of this post, you should know what the best processors are for gaming, and you’ll learn that clock speed isn’t always a determining factor.

Answer: In general, core clock speed is important for gaming, this is because games are single-core coded therefore they can only benefit from higher clock speeds. but this isn’t always the case, older processors with higher clock speeds still lose to newer processors with lower clock speeds, so what’s the deal? Well it has something to do with a processor being more efficient.

Clock Speed Vs Cores For Gaming

ryzen processor

Games will see having more cores as redundant as most games can only use one core at a time, 60% of games today are actually coded to be this way. Therefore, higher clock speeds means more FPS compared to core count, it’s the only performance metric that has an impact on gaming performance. But in general, we recommend at least 6 cores to handle the operating system, and background tasks.

This is also a reason why you’ll notice that hyperthreading has no impact on gaming, this is due to games not being multithreaded coded. Hyperthreading usually gives a 30% boost to performance, but in the case of gaming, it can cause slightly higher frame rates, slightly lower frame rates but more often cause no difference. Having hyperthreading enabled again can help with background tasks and other multitasking, so we recommend keeping it on.

Due to core count having no impact, you’ll often find gamers spend their money well by purchasing mid-tier processors with a decent amount of cores, but really high core clock speeds. This is a great tactic as it saves you money that you could use to purchase better components. Such processor could be the Ryzen 5 5600x, it has 6 cores, 6 threads, and a single-core performance that comes close to the I9 9900K.

What Is A Good Clock Speed For Gaming?

A good clock speed for gaming is typically 4GHz and up, this ensures that your processor has sufficient single core performance, anything lower and you may start to bottleneck your graphics card. Bottlenecking your graphics card is when the processor prevents it from reaching 100% usage rate, at this point, you’re leaving a lot of performance on the table.

Although clock speed does impact the gaming performance, we don’t always recommend you focus only on the core clock speed, this can cause you to make really bad decisions which results in less frame rates. There is a hidden metric called IPC which stands for instructions per clock, simply it means how much work can be done per clock cycle. Having a higher IPC means the processor’s architecture is probably newer and more efficient resulting in higher frame rates.

When it comes to picking between Intel and Ryzen, Intel usually has higher IPCs, but the Ryzen 5000 series surpassed the Intel 10th generation of processors. It has an estimated 15% IPC increase compared to the Intel 10th generation chips. However, Intel has made a massive comeback with the Intel 12th series chips resulting in higher IPCs taking back their place being the single-core performance kings.

Also Read: What Is A Good Clock Speed

Intel Vs Ryzen For Gaming

intel vs ryzen clock speed

When it comes to Ryzen, they are usually made for multithreaded applications because on average they come with more cores. Intel on the other hand can come with a decent amount of cores, but they’re mostly single-core optimized making them the ideal processor for gaming. The Intel I9 12900K surpasses the Ryzen 9 5900x in gaming performance, in most games, you’ll find the I9 12900K 20FPS ahead of the Ryzen 9 5900x.

Ryzen is still a great choice for gaming, usually for budget-mid tier gaming builds, but they’re often best for multithreaded applications such as video editing, and streaming. Ryzen has some affordable processors for gaming such as the Ryzen 5 5600x which offers decent single-core performance as well as having 6 cores and 12 threads. But for the ultimate top-tier gaming performance, Intel wins 9/10.

Ryzen processors can be a great option if your PC build is more multi-tasking orientated but you want to game on the side. For example, if you want to game and stream, then the Ryzen 7 5800x can be a great processor for you. It comes with 8 cores and 16 threads with a boost clock speed of 4.7 GHz, it’s also quite affordable making it a great multipurpose processor.

Is Overclocking Good For Gaming?

Is Overclocking Good For Gaming?

If you’re really looking for more gaming performance, we recommend overclocking, this is because it has a direct impact on the FPS. Overclocking your processor and your graphics card will always result in you having more frames per second, this is why it’s a popular choice among most gamers. It’s quite easy to overclock your GPU, but for the processor you will have to enter the BIOS.

The good thing about Intel processors is that they come with high clock speeds natively, so overclocking might not be necessary. But if you have an Intel ‘K’ processor, then overclocking will allow you to get the most out of this chip resulting in massive FPS gains. If you’re not looking to overclock, then you can save money by not purchasing a processor denoted with a K at the end.

Overclocking can seem scary because you’re essentially pushing the processor past its rated limit, but once you achieve a stable overclock, your processor should perform faster but slightly hotter. The lifespan of the CPU shouldn’t be affected, but it will run hotter therefore you should have a decent cooling solution beforehand. Also, you will need a motherboard that is overclocking capable, usually having a decent number of VRMs


The verdict is that higher clock speeds usually mean higher FPS, but this isn’t always the case. For example, purchasing an old processor with high clock speeds rather than purchasing a new processor can result in less FPS. This is due to IPC increases, processors become more efficient overtime allowing for more instructions to be executed per clock cycle.