Let me make it clear from the get-go, League of Legends is not a resource-heavy game. You do not need a top-of-the-line processor in order to enjoy the game at Very High settings with a 60+ frame rate.
This game was released more than a decade ago and while there have been graphical overhauls in between, League of Legends is still profoundly light on the system.
In other words, the best CPU for League of Legends is NOT the most powerful one. It is the one that gives the most value.
This is because having a faster processor than is needed WILL NOT benefit the game in any manner. The gains you’d get from a mid-range processor compared to an entry-level processor will only be minimal, if not at all.
Hence you will notice that most of the CPUs that I review here are entry-level CPUs because quite frankly, you don’t quite need more than an entry-level CPU for League of Legends anyways.
Unless you plan to stream your game and play it at 4K resolution at the same time, a basic processor with or without dedicated graphics cards and a decent amount of RAM would be quite sufficient for LoL gaming.
My recommendation would be to get a low-level CPU with an integrated graphics card, that way you’d save yourself from spending on a dedicated graphics card – League of Legends can work on integrated graphics just fine.
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What are the System Requirements for League of Legends
Gazing over the minimum and the optimal system requirements should give you a better idea about what kind of processor to go for.
According to the official requirements, the recommended system specs are as follows:
|Minimum||3.0 GHz (Supporting SSE2 instruction set or higher)||Shader version 2.0b-capable|
|Recommended||3.0 GHz Dual Core||Nvidia GeForce 8800
AMD Radeon HD 5670
The official system requirements give you a vague idea about what kind of processor to go for. It does not state specific CPU models.
However, as far as the graphics card is concerned, it does tell you that having a dedicated graphics card is recommended. However, as you will see below, League of Legends can perform quite well just with integrated graphics in the newer processors.
How Many Cores Does League of Legends Utilize?
As stated in the system requirements, the maximum number of cores League of Legends utilizes is 2.
This means that LoL, like most games, would not benefit much from a CPU with an overkill amount of cores and threads.
Like most games, LoL too would benefit more from a good Single-Core performance as compared to the Multi-core performance of a CPU.
The game has been intentionally designed to use fewer cores because a majority of the players still use very old systems. Hence, to cater to a greater audience, multi-core scaling is not feasible for most online games.
As far as the current generation of CPU goes, Intel Celeron and Pentium, THE WEAKEST CPU series for PCs, offer dual cores. This indicates that League of Legends demands an entry-level CPU.
Plus, it should be clarified that dual-core CPUs of 2009 (when the game was released) are far weaker as compared to the dual-core CPUs of today.
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 released in 2008 (with a cost of $1499 at the time) has a Passmark score of 2780. The Intel Pentium G7400 released in 2022 has a Passmark score of 6771!
Options for Best CPU for League of Legends
There are only two CPU options that readily come into mind if you are building a new PC TODAY for League of Legends
The first is the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G. It has an integrated graphics card powerful enough to play LoL without the need to pay for a dedicated GPU. AM4 | Vega Graphics | PCIe 3.0 | DDR4 But the best part about this CPU is that it costs LESS than the entry-level Intel Core i3-13100. So basically, you are getting mid-range performance at a cost that is less than an entry-level CPU. The drawback of this CPU is that it supports the older PCIe 3.0 protocol (newer CPUs support PCIe 5.0) and it does not support DDR5 RAM. For a budget or lower-mid-range build, this should not matter much.
6 Core | 12 Thread | 3.9 GHz – 4.4 GHz
~ Cost ($)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
6c /12t – 3.9-4.4 GHz
Intel Core i3-13100
4c/8t – 3.4-4.5 GHz
The first is the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G. It has an integrated graphics card powerful enough to play LoL without the need to pay for a dedicated GPU.
AM4 | Vega Graphics | PCIe 3.0 | DDR4
But the best part about this CPU is that it costs LESS than the entry-level Intel Core i3-13100. So basically, you are getting mid-range performance at a cost that is less than an entry-level CPU.
The drawback of this CPU is that it supports the older PCIe 3.0 protocol (newer CPUs support PCIe 5.0) and it does not support DDR5 RAM. For a budget or lower-mid-range build, this should not matter much.
For a streaming build, you can look into something beefier since streaming can eat through the core count ESPECIALLY if you stream on 4K and 60FPS with software encoding. LGA1700 | Intel UHD 770 | PCIe 5.0 | DDR4/DDR5 If using hardware encoding whereby you use a dedicated graphics card instead of the CPU for encoding your streams, then you DO NOT need a CPU as powerful as this. But of course, you would need to have a powerful GPU. It is worth noting that the Intel UHD 770 found on this CPU is not as powerful as the Vega iGPU found on the Ryzen 5 5600G above, but still, should suffice for very high graphics at FHD.
6 P-Core/8 E-Cores | 20 Thread | 5.1 GHz
For a streaming build, you can look into something beefier since streaming can eat through the core count ESPECIALLY if you stream on 4K and 60FPS with software encoding.
LGA1700 | Intel UHD 770 | PCIe 5.0 | DDR4/DDR5
If using hardware encoding whereby you use a dedicated graphics card instead of the CPU for encoding your streams, then you DO NOT need a CPU as powerful as this.
But of course, you would need to have a powerful GPU.
It is worth noting that the Intel UHD 770 found on this CPU is not as powerful as the Vega iGPU found on the Ryzen 5 5600G above, but still, should suffice for very high graphics at FHD.
Is Integrated Graphics Card Enough for League of Legends?
Yes, IT IS!
The majority of the CPUs released in the last decade or so with integrated graphics cards can support League of Legends.
But, if you have a newer processor with either Intel UHD integrated graphics or an AMD processor with the RX Vega integrated graphics, then you should have no issues running LoL at high graphics and 60+ frame rates.
The following video shows LoL being played on AMD Ryzen3 3200G with RX Vega 8 Integrated graphics card.
You can see that game maintains a higher than 60+ frame rate at very high settings and 1920×1080 resolution.
However, note that not all integrated graphics cards are created equally.
The following table shows performance comparisons between the various integrated graphics cards.
|iGPU||G3DMark Performance Score|
(Ryzen 7 5700G)
(Ryzen 5 5600G)
(Ryzen 5 4600G)
(Ryzen 5 3400G)
|Intel UHD 770
(Intel 13th Gen i7/i5)
|Intel UHD 730
(Intel 13th Gen i3)
|NVIDIA GT 730||823
(Entry level dedicated GPU for Reference)
- Scores are taken from G3DMark
AMD APU vs Intel Processors and their iGPUs
A key point to note here is that unlike Intel processors, most of which feature an integrated graphics card, the same cannot be said about AMD processors.
Depending upon the generation and the type, the AMD or Intel CPU may or may not feature an iGPU.
Here are some points:
For AMD AM4 Based CPUs
- Only AMD G series CPUs such as the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, AMD Ryzen 5 4600G, etc have an iGPU
- Non-G series CPUs DO NOT feature an iGPU i.e AMD Ryzen 5600X etc
For AMD AM5 Based CPUs:
- All feature an iGPU
- 7000 series X and non-X series CPUs feature an iGPU albeit it is weaker than that found in the 5000 series “G” series CPUs.
- All CPUs except the “F” series CPUs feature an iGPU
- Intel iGPUs are weaker than the AMD iGPU at on average.
The general notion is that IF you are planning on getting dedicated graphics, then there is no need to get a CPU with an iGPU to save up on cost.
However, it should be noted that the video output ports that you find on the back I/O panel on the motherboards will NOT work without an iGPU.
Do You Need a Dedicated Graphics Card?
We have already established that for a budget build, iGPU can be quite sufficient.
However, if you are an enthusiast who wants to play on a 4K display or on displays with more than 144 Hz refresh rate and have multiple of those for a multi-monitor gaming experience, then this may warrant an investment in a good mid-range dedicated graphics card.
Streaming Would Require More Cores
If you are a professional LoL gamer as well as a streamer using a service like Twitch to showcase your skills to the audience, then this arrangement would warrant an investment in a decent processor with a fair number of core count.
If you are using software encoding for your streams, then the more cores you have the faster would be your renders.
Hence, while you may still not need an over the top number of cores i.e 8 or 12, a 6 Core CPU for threads would be quite feasible for a streaming LoL build.
This is particularly true if you choose to go for the newer 7000 series AMD or the Intel 13th generation CPUs.
Also Read: Best CPU for Dedicated Streaming
In most cases, a processor with a decent integrated graphics card can suffice for League of Legends players as it will literally save you from investing in a separate dedicated graphics card.
However, if you have robust requirements like gaming on 4K display, or on a 240 HZ monitor and streaming at high quality settings all at the same time, then that would warrant an investment not just in a powerful CPU but also on a decent dedicated graphics card.
In this article, we looked at some of the more reasonable CPUs for LoL if you were building a PC today. I did not delve too much into high-performance Core i7/i9 or Ryzen 7/9 processors because these are overkill for LoL.