5 Best CPU for CSGO in 2021 Reviewed

Last Updated on May 30, 2021

If you an avid CS:GO player building or upgrading your current system with the right CPU, then this guide will help.

Whether you are building a budget CSGO build, or building an extreme gaming PC worthy of playing on 4K displays with 240Hz frame rate, here we have a look the best CPU for CSGO from different price categories.

Just as is the case with almost all games, the performance of the CSGO is more reliant on the GPU than the CPU. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that a better processor does not contribute to the performance enhancement fro the game.

There is a certain minimum and recommended performance that a processor must meet in order to the game to playable at different graphics settings, resolution and frame rates.

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Comparison of Top Processors for Counter Strike Global Offensive

AMD Ryzen 5
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Core i5
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Core i5
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Core i3
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Ryzen 7
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List of Best CPU for CSGO in 2021

The following are our most recommended CPUs for CS:GO. We look at processors from different price ranged, but we mostly look at mainstream processors.

  1. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 – Well Rounder and Popular CPU for CSGO
  2. Intel Core i5-10600K – Mainstream Processor with Excellent Single Core Performance
  3. Intel Core i5-10400 – Low Level Mainstream Processor
  4. Intel Core i3-10100 – Budget CSGO CPU
  5. AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT – Recommended High Performance CSGO Processor

Processor Requirements for the CS:GO

Mini CPU requirements for CSGO
Source: Store.Steam

The official minimum system requirements for CSGO highlight fairly old processors. These are mostly defunct and not found in the market. After all, the game was launched in 2012 (almost a decade ago).

On top of that, if you an enthusiast gamer, then you will certainly not opt to go for mere minimum requirements.

Back then, there was very little notion of 4K gaming that too at very high frame rates (beyond 60 FPS). However, at today, gaming with multiple 4K screen, along with more than 120 FPS is quite the norm.

Hence here we talk extensively about the CPU requirements and the model that are suitable for professional and casual CSGO gamers TODAY.

What Processor to Get for CS:GO?

Generally we recommend going for the middle of the line mainstream processors such as AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 processors.

However, even in the mainstream processors there are different models that vary in performance. Depending upon your budget, if you are going for a mid range build, you cannot go wrong with these processors.

If you couple them with a good graphics card, you can easily achieve more than 120 FPS on a 4K resolution.

best CPU for CSGO
CPU benchmark at 4K resolution. Source: Techgage.com

However, if you are on a tight budget, then even the lower models such as the Intel Core i3 or and AMD Ryzen 3 processors would do just fine.

Even the entry levels Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processors are far more powerful than the system requirements stipulated in 2012 when the game was released. For instance, the very old AMD Phenom X3 8750 has a passmark score of 1188, whereas the latest gen Intel Core i3-10100 has a passmark score of  8963. Hence, the current entry level processors are light years ahead in terms of performance.

On the other hand, if you have decent budget, you can always go for high performance CPUs like the Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processors. These generally have a higher core count than the mainsream processors. This helps them in multitasking.

AND if money is not a concern to you at all then by all means aim for mid-workstation grade processors like the Intel Core i9-10900K processors. Do not that while there certainly will be a performance improvement in CS:GO, it won’t be as drastic as you would expect.

In the section below we talk about whether a higher core count improves the CS:GO performance or not.

Does Counter Strike Global Offensive Use Multiple Cores? If So How Many Cores Does CS:GO Use?

Yes, as stipulated in the minimum system requirements, CS:GO uses 2 cores atleast. Single core processor will simply not work.

With that said, CS:GO does benefit from core scaling to a limit. The optimal number of cores required for CS:GO is 4. Higher number of cores with provide only a very slight improvement which would barely be noticeable.

The good news is that almost all of the newer processor today, even from the entry level AMD Ryzen 3 and Intel Core 3 offer 4 cores.

The following video delves deep into the Core requirements as well as the question of whether enabling hyper-threading for Counter Strike Global Offensive is a good idea or not (generally it is believed that keeping hyper threading enabled can very marginally decrease performance).

Single Core vs Multi Core Performance for CS:GO

CS:GO, like most games, can benefit a lot from a good single core performance. Basically, the higher clock speed (mainly), cache memory, lithography etc of a processor, the more it will benefit in terms of performance.

When given a choice between a higher single core performance and a higher multi-core performance, opt from the former while making sure you meet the minimum requirements of two cores.

GPU is Still the Reigning Deciding Factor

While there should be balance between the GPU and CPU so that they do not bottleneck each other, investing in a good GPU is still the deciding factor for performance improvement when investing in the right CPU for CSGO.

What this means that you are better of investing in a high end GPU then investing in a high performance CPU like an Intel Core i9, if budgeting is a concern to you.

This also does not mean that you should couple an NVIDIA RTX 3080 with a mere Intel Core i3 processor. A parity between the two components should definitely exist, but since here we are talking about gaming, GPU should be the primary component where you should maximize your spending.

Processors for Counter Strike Reviewed

1. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 – Well Rounder and Popular CPU for CSGO

Here we have one of the most recommended processor of the current generation not just for CSGO but for multitude of scenarios. So much so that it is almost a norm that whenever in doubt, just go for AMD Ryzen 5 3600.

It is by far one of the most capable gaming processors out there hence it only makes sense that we list this among the best CPU for CSGO as well.

AMD Ryzen 3600 is basically a mainstream processor generally preferred by gamers trying to build mid-high range gaming PC.

This processor offers 6 cores and 12 threads, which is already an overkill for CSGO with 4.2 GHz max clock speed. On top of that it also supports 4th generation PCIe and offers native memory speed of 3200 MHz.

Also the fact that this is unlocked allows it to be easily overclocked – something which only a certain few Intel processors offer.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Cinebench R20 Benchmark

  • Single Core: 472
  • Multi Core: 3689

2. Intel Core i5-10600K – Mainstream Processor with Excellent Single Core Performance

The Intel Core i5-10600K is the Intel equivalent of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 line of processors. If you want to build a mid-high performance Intel PC for CS:GO, then this is a CPU with, hands down, one of the best performance / dollar value.

Depending upon the stock availability and when you buy the CPU you can actually find this at a cheaper price tag compared to the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 above.

But the point to note here is that you cannot go wrong with either of the two mainstream processors. They have a phenomenal overall performance for gaming and for CSGO in particular.

This processor excels in single core performance which, if you recall from earlier, is a very important characteristics to gauge the CPU performance for CSGO by. This is attributable to the fact that it has a much higher max clock speed of 4.8 GHz per core.

It also an unlocked processor meaning you can overclock it and milk the performance even more, granted you have an adequate cooling solution.

Intel Core i5-10600K Cinebench R20 Benchmark

  • Single Core: 501
  • Multi Core: 3629

3. Intel Core i5-10400 – Low Level Mainstream Processor

Next up we have a low key mainstream processor. This is excellent for those who want a decent performance out of the processor but do not have the budget to spend on a processor like Intel Core i5-10600K or the AMD Ryzen 5 3600.

While it still maintains 6 cores and 12 threads that you’d expect from an i5 processor, it has a lower single core performance. Compared to 4.8 GHz on the Core i5-10600K, this has a max core speed of 4.2 GHz.

Nevertheless, for the price that it comes at, it has an excellent value for gamers and CSGO players.

If you are building a mid range build and if you want a decent processor so that you can maximize your budget for the GPU, then this is one of the best CPU for CSGO.

Intel Core i5-10400 Cinebench R20 Benchmark

  • Single Core: 450
  • Multi Core: 3197

4. Intel Core i3-10100 – Budget CSGO CPU

If you are absolutely trying to save up as much as possible and you have a limited budget, then this is one of the best CPU for CSGO.

This is an entry level processor, but make no mistake, if you couple it with a decent enough graphics card, you can still get well beyond 120 FPS while gaming.

That is because it is far far more capable than the processor highlighted in the minimum system requirements for CSGO.

Despite being an entry level CPU, it offers 4 cores and 8 threads – a testament to the fact of how far the CPU have come since the release of CSGO.

It features an excellent 4.3 GHz making its single core performance almost on part with the more expensive mainstream Intel Core i5-10400 above.

Hence, if you are on a budget and are looking for a capable CPU for Counter Strike Global Offernsive, then we recommend this in a heart beat.

Intel Core i3-10100 Cinebench R20 Benchmark

  • Single Core: 448
  • Multi Core: 2284

5. AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT – Recommended High Performance CSGO Processor

While the processor above was for budget builds, this is on the other side of the spectrum.

If you want to build a high performance system then this is one of the best CPU for CSGO in our opinion. While you will definitely see a performance improvement with this CPU, calling this an overkill for CSGO would be an understatement.

This is a CPU not just capable of playing all the latest graphic intensive AAA titles of today, but is also great for low level workstation builds.

Hence, if you need a CPU for gaming as well as for professional work, productivity and great multitasking, then you can look into this.

AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT Cinebench R20 Benchmark

  • Single Core: 539
  • Multi Core: 5122

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Final Words

Here we reviewed some of the best CPU for CSGO while keeping in mind the minimum processor requirements as well as the current processor generation and gaming trends.

Gaming today is a lot different than it was when CSGO was released in 2012. Back then getting 60 FPS at 1080P was what everyone chased after.

These days, gamers aim for much higher. Multiple 4K gaming displays trying to achieve beyond 120 FPS is a fair norm these days. Hence, the processors here reflect both the casual and enthusiast CSGO gaming requirements of today.

Atif Qazi

Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGearLab. He is a PC enthusiast as well as engineer with a keen interest in PC hardware and all stuff related to tech and games.

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