Intel offers several processors that are widely held to be some of the best CPU's around for PC gaming systems. They exist in a natural progression of both performance and price, but that doesn't mean the most expensive is necessarily the best choice. It's all about what you plan to do with your system and what your long and short term budgets are. For near term budgeting, consider the reasonable life expectancy of your next PC purchase before you will probably want to replace it. For casual gamers purchasing a top of the line machine, this could be 5+ years. On the other hand, casual gamers may find it just as satisfying and cheaper to purchase a middle of the line machine now and replace it with whatever is middle of the road 2-3 years down the line. Hardcore gamers may find themselves upgrading more often, and should budget accordingly.
So what's the best Intel gaming processor? Let's take a look at them:
Intel Core i3 - Intel's Mid Desktop Gaming CPUs
The core i3 processor from Intel is a great CPU for basic gaming and is fantastic for home and office. It's a dual core chip with hyperthreading which is like having four logical cores. It is basically two CPU's in one chip, with each capable of processing two commands at the same time. This multitasking ability means chips can run 4x faster than the actual rated speed when processing software that properly takes advantage of the multithreading capabilities.
Intel Core i5 - Intel's Mid-High Desktop Gaming CPUs
The Intel core i5 processor is a chip suited for mid-high level gaming. It offers true quad-core processing, meaning it has four independent CPU's working in tandem on the same chip. This is a very popular processor for many gamers because it gives excellent performance at a very reasonable price. The core i5 is capable of running just about any game on the market as of this writing, and running even the more demanding games pretty well.
Intel Core i7 - Intel's High-End Desktop Gaming CPUs
Hardcore gamers have serious processing needs, so Intel offers their core i7 processors. If you demand high performance, the Intel core i7 is the way to go. It combines the hyperthreading technology of the i3 with the quad-cores of the i5 to deliver 8 logical cores for staggering throughput. These chips can process at lightning speed and deliver unbelievable performance.
Intel Core i7 980x - Intel's Extreme Desktop Gaming CPUs
For gamers who absolutely need top-top of the line performance, the Intel i7 980x may leave you awestruck. Wit All of the benefits of the standard i7 chips but SIX cores on board, this chip has an amazing 12 logical cores. With truly mind blowing performance, the i7 980x is a must-have processor for the gamer who has everything else.