Last Updated on December 29, 2021
If you are 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 for the game.
There is a certain minimum and recommended performance that a processor must meet in order for the game to be playable at different graphics settings, resolution and frame rates.
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Comparison of Top Processors for Counter Strike Global Offensive
|Intel Core |
|3.70 - 4.9 GHz|
- 6P Cores
- 4E Cores
- 16 Threads
|Intel Core |
|3.9 - 4.9 GHz|
|2.60 - 4.40 GHz|
|3.60 - 4.30 GHz|
|Intel Core |
|3.60 - 5.0GHz|
- 8P Cores
- 4E Cores
|AMD Ryzen |
|3.80 - 4.60 GHz|
Processor Requirements for the CS:GO
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750 – 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 are 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, today, gaming with multiple 4K screens, 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 line 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.
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 entry level 10th 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 mainstream processors. This helps them in multitasking and is thus great for gaming and streaming CS:GO.
I generally would not recommend going for the mid-workstation grade Ryzen 9 or Intel Core i9 CPUs. They are way over the top and the performance gains are only minimal.
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 will provide only a very slight improvement which would barely be noticeable.
The good news is that almost all of the newer processors 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 answers 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, and smaller the transistors size 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 at a certain budget, opt for the former while making sure you meet the minimum requirements of two cores.
Generally, in a given generation, the single core performance of the CPU is quite similar. For instance, the single core performance of an Intel Core i5-11600K is very similar to the Intel Core i7-11700K despite the latter being more expensive.
What differentiates the 11700K from its i5 counterpart is the core count. The 11700K has a higher core count and thus scores better in multi-core performance.
I recommend following the Cinebench Single Core and Multi Core performance scores to understand how a certain CPU fares.
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 for any game including CS:GO.
What this means is that you are better off investing in a high end GPU then investing in a high end CPU like an Intel Core i9 or an i7, 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. Intel Core i5-12600K – Fastest Gaming Processor at the Moment
A very popular middle of the road mainstream processor for CSGO and for gaming in general.
With Core i5-12600K. Intel has finally taken the lead against AMD in the mainstream processors markets beating the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X by a good margin.
While AMD hasn’t yet released its newer gen CPU yet, with the 12th gen CPU, Intel currently makes the most sense if you are planning on building a mainstream gaming build either for CSGO or for gaming in general.
It is priced at the same range as AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, yet it offers a much better performance in comparison. At the same time, unlike the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, it also features an integrated graphics card.
It is also an unlocked CPU meaning you can overclock it.
The processor offers a unique core configuration never seen on PC CPUs before. It offers 6 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores (so a total of 10 cores). Depending upon the workload, the relevant cores will kick in.
But in the end, if you have a decent budget to spare for a CPU, I highly recommend this as the best CPU for CSGO.
You would however, need to upgrade you motherboard in case if you already have one, since it requires the newer LGA1700 socket.
Intel Core i5 12600K Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 741
- Multi Core: 6702
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 604
- Multi Core: 4562
The Intel Core i5 12600K has made giant leap in performance gains as compared to the top of the line mainstream AMD counterpart.
2. Intel Core i5-11600K – Mainstream Processor with an Excellent Value
A mainstream CPU with a great performance / dollar value
The Intel Core i5-11600K is the Intel equivalent of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and inferior to the 12600K both in price and performance.
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.
At an average, you can easily find the Intel Core i5 11600K at a much cheaper price tag as compared to the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. However, the actual listing price does depend upon the stock availability.
But the point to note here is that you cannot go wrong with either of the two mainstream processors Core i5 11600K or the Core i5 12600K. They have a phenomenal overall performance for gaming and for CSGO in particular.
While this CPU is marginally weaker than the Ryzen 5 5600X, the fact that it is relatively cheaper AND also features an integrated graphics card makes this a great overall deal in my opinion.
It is also an unlocked processor meaning you can overclock it and milk the performance even more, granted you have an adequate cooling solution.
For mainstream CPU, my first recommendation would be to go with the Intel Core i5 12600K. However, if you have a smaller budget then this is the best CPU for CS:GO if you take performance / dollar value.
Intel Core i5-11600K Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 598
- Multi Core: 4320
3. Intel Core i5-10400 and Intel Core i5 11400 – Low Level Mainstream Processors
A weaker and an affordable mainstream CPU from 11th Gen. Has a better performance compared to the Core i5 10400, but costs more
The affordable mainstream CPU counterpart from the 10th gen
Next up we have a recommendation for two low key mainstream processors.
The 11th gen Core i5 11400 is more expensive but offers a better performance, whereas, the Core i5 10400 is cheaper. Yet they both are excellent not just for CSGO but also for gaming in general particularly if you couple them with a good graphics card.
The best part about these CPUs is that despite being cheaper than there “K” series counterparts, they still maintain the 6 core and 12 threads configuration.
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 i5-11400 Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 529
- Multi Core: 3888
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 CPUs 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 at a high resolution.
Despite being an entry level CPU, it is light years ahead of the processor highlighted in the minimum system requirements for CSGO. It offers 4 cores and 8 threads – a testament to the fact of how far the CPU have come since the release of CSGO.
Again, if you want to build a light gaming PC, then this is one of the most capable CPUs for Counter Strike Global Offensive.
Intel Core i3-10100 Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 448
- Multi Core: 2284
5. Intel Core i7-12700K – High Performance CPU for CSGO Gaming and Streaming
A high performance CPU for CSGO which makes sense only if you stream.
An Intel Core i7 isn’t generally intended for gaming. Why? because most of the games do not really scale well with a high number of cores and thus the value of a Core i7 diminishes.
This is particularly true with older titles such as CS:GO that aren’t designed to leverage the high core count.
However, there is ONE reason why investing in the likes of Core i7 12700K would make sense, and that is streaming.
If you are a professional CSGO who also streams on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, then you will see first hand benefit from a CPU with a high core count.
Hardware encoding, particularly with the best stream settings, can eat up your core count and therefore to get the best experience while gaming on CSGO and simultaneously streaming it live, you will benefit from this CPU.
Like the rest of the 12th gen, this also has an interesting core arrangement. It has 8 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores which kick in depending upon the type of workload.
Currently, this is the reigning king in the high performance market beating the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X by a good margin both in single core and multicore performance.
Intel Core i7-12700K Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 757
- Multi Core: 8750
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 628
- Multi Core: 5725
6. AMD Ryzen 7 5700G – Graphics Card Replacement CPU
A powerful CPU with a powerful integrated graphics card which can save you from investing in a dedicated graphics card.
Unlike with Intel where majority of the CPUs do feature an integrated graphics, with AMD only a few do and these CPUs have a specific ‘G’ suffix in their name.
Yet the catchiest aspect of these CPUs is that they feature some of the most powerful integrated graphics cards in the market.
Currently, the Vega 8 graphics as found in the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is the reigning king of iGPUs so much so that it can even beat the entry level AMD Radeon RX 550 and NVIDIA GT 1030 in performance.
Watch the Vega 8 graphics in AMD Ryzen 7 5700G in action here (Watch CS:GO at full graphics at 20:30 timestamp)
Do note, however, that while the iGPU here is great for online and older titles, it will NOT be sufficient for the newer and demanding AAA games.
The processor features 8 cores and 16 threads putting it in the league of Intel Core i7 CPUs, however, when taking sheer CPU performance the ‘G’ series AMD CPUs are NOT on part with the non-‘G’ series CPUs.
Again, for a builds without a dedicated graphics card, this is the best CPU for CSGO in my opinion.
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G Cinebench R20 Benchmark
- Single Core: 588
- Multi Core: 5517
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.