Is The CPU Important For Gaming?

I understand where this question comes from because CPUs aren’t really marketed for gaming the same way that GPUs are. This is for good reasons. Not everybody is a gamer, in fact, most people use their PC’s for work, whether it be the design work, architecture, or anything like that. With that being said, let’s have a look at whether the CPU important for gaming?

The CPU is one of the most important parts of a PC when it comes to gaming. If the CPU is too slow or doesn’t have enough cores and threads, it won’t be able to perform all the actions and instructions that a game requires to run. The faster the CPU and the more cores and threads it has, the better a game will run on it.

If you’re asking these kinds of questions, it means that you are curious, and that’s a great thing, in my opinion. In this article, I am going to go through everything that you need to know about the CPU, what it does, and how it affects gaming. I will also talk about how it stacks up against the other components of your PC. For everything you need to know, keep reading.

What is a CPU?

CPU stands for “central processing unit.” You can think of it as the brains of a PC. It has several components to it but to keep things simple, I will tell you what it does.

In short, the CPU executes a sequence of commands, and those commands make your PC do everything you tell it to do.

To better understand this, we need to look at the CPU’s main functions. The CPU has four main functions that make it work. I will try to keep it as simple as possible; after all, this is a gaming site. These functions are as follows.

The four main functions of a CPU

  • Fetch instructions from the memory: The first step that a CPU takes when executing an instruction is to “fetch” data from the main memory. Once it has done that, it stores the data in its own temporary memory known as the “Cache.”
  • Decode into Binary instructions: Now that the CPU has the data/information, it needs to figure out what to do with it. The CPU will now decode the data. Within that data is a small set of instructions that tell the CPU what it should do.
  • Execute the action and move on: So, the CPU has gathered the data, decoded it into instructions, and now it will execute the instruction.
  • Write output to memory: All the calculations and computations that the CPU does is stored in its register.

Understanding those functions is pretty much all you need to know about a CPU in order for you to understand what it does.

What does the CPU do in gaming?

Now that we know what a CPU is and what it does, it will be easier to understand how it performs all the actions mentioned in this section.

When you open a game, the CPU works when you click on anything in its menus and launch yourself into a match. Even the small things like telling your player to walk and shooting your gun are all instructions that get sent to the CPU. Your CPU then executes all these instructions.

Even background operations like loading in the map, loading in the world, loading in different game assets, loading in NPC characters, it’s all instructions. The CPU needs to execute all of these. The bigger, better, and faster your CPU is, the more actions it will be able to calculate in a single moment. That’s why having a good CPU makes for a better gaming experience.

This was just a short answer to what a CPU does for gaming, there is a lot more to it, but this was the important stuff.

Does the CPU make a difference in gaming?

Now that you know how the CPU works, it helps you understand why having a faster, bigger, and better CPU makes for a better gaming experience.

With a faster CPU that has more threads and more cores, it can execute instructions a lot faster and more of them at the same time.

We spoke about things like loading assets into the map, making a character move, controlling NPC’s. When it executes all of these instructions, there is a limit to how much the CPU can do at once. Having a better CPU will increase that limit.

Can CPU affect FPS?

The CPU can most definitely affect the frames per second. Even though gaming is not the primary function of the CPU but rather the GPU, the CPU does a lot of the leg work. If it isn’t able to perform the number of actions necessary to run a particular game at a certain given moment, then it will cause lag.

The lag I’m referring to will be a massive drop in your frames per second. It may also cause your PC to crash. Think of this type of crash in human terms. If we push ourselves too hard, we “crash.”

Can a bad CPU cause low FPS?

By bad CPU, I’m going to assume that you are referring to a CPU that has taken strain or isn’t working up to its full capacity. A damaged CPU.

A bad CPU can do more than just affect gaming; it could affect your entire PC. It can also cause temperatures to increase in your PC, and this slows it down even more and poses a bit of a threat to all your other components. Especially your motherboard.

In short, a bad CPU is very bad for gaming and your PC.

If you were referring to a bad CPU in the sense that it’s a cheap CPU, then yes, it can affect gaming because it won’t be able to calculate and execute instructions as fast as a better CPU. It can cause a bottleneck for your other components.

Side Note: The term “Bottleneck” refers to when one component’s output is hindered by another one. An example would be the GPU, The GPU can be as fast as you like, but if the CPU can not send data to it fast enough, you are restricted to the lowest common denominator.

Which is more important for gaming?

Now it is time to see how the CPU stacks up against other components of your PC. This section is designed for anyone who is considering buying a gaming PC. I want to help you figure out what you should spend more money on.

Is RAM or CPU more important for gaming?

I’m not actually a fan of questions like this because I believe that a computer needs to run like clockwork. Each component needs to pull their weight, and each is as important as the other because, without one, the other won’t work. It’s kind of like most things in life, really.

All of that being said, the CPU is more important than the RAM. See, RAM is only important up to a certain point. Just because you have a certain amount of RAM does not necessarily mean that your computer will run any faster.

Let’s say, for example, you have 32 gigabytes of RAM, but your system is only utilizing 8GB. Having those extra gigs isn’t going to make your PC run faster.

If you are talking about the frequency of the RAM, then yes, having faster RAM will make your PC feel and run better. Let’s say you have 3200mhz instead of 2300mhz. That will make your PC run faster, but it is nowhere near as important as the CPU.

Is 32GB RAM overkill?

For gaming, I think in 2020, having 16 gigs of RAM is enough for doing almost anything. That being said, having 32 gigs of RAM is not overkill. You are basically just ensuring that your PC will be able to run the latest games without running out of RAM.

Think of it as future-proofing your PC. While you may not be utilizing all of that RAM right now, in the future, you never know what resources games would need. If the present is anything to go by, games are just gonna keep getting bigger, keep getting better, and the graphics are gonna keep improving.

If you are using the PC for intense graphical rendering, architecture work, or video/photo editing, 32GB of RAM might actually not be enough, and you should look at 64GB of RAM.

Is GPU or CPU more important for gaming?

After all the praising I’ve done of the CPU in this article, the time has come to answer one of the most asked questions there is when it comes to gaming PCs. Is the GPU more important than the CPU for gaming? Let’s find out.

The GPU is the most important part of a gaming PC, hands down. It is what drives the games we play. However, it is important to note that it works together with the CPU.

How does a graphics card work?

It all starts with the CPU. We have discussed how the CPU interacts with data and information. If you have a GPU, the CPU will send certain data to it. The GPU then decodes that data to display an image.

How fast and well a GPU can do this depends on how fast it is and how much Graphical RAM it has. The RAM also needs to be optimized by the GPU manufacturer. Rendering graphics is one of the most intensive workloads that a PC can do. Having a capable GPU will make your gaming experience much better.

The role the CPU plays in that process further proves my point as to how important a good CPU is to a gaming machine. It also shows how a PC does not rely on one single component. It proves the point I made earlier about how a PC needs to run like clockwork.

Does the GPU affect FPS?

The GPU most definitely affects the frames per second. While the CPU and GPU work together to produce and run the game as it should be, which is at a stable FPS.

The GPU is what does most of the labor here. It does not matter how fast the CPU can send data to the GPU; if the graphics card cannot handle the workload, the game will suffer in performance.

Should you spend more on the CPU or GPU?

If you are building a gaming PC, you should most definitely spend more on the GPU than you do on the CPU. This is because the GPU will determine which games you can run and how you can run them, more than the CPU will.

It is also easier to upgrade your CPU than it is to upgrade the GPU. I should actually say, it is cheaper to upgrade your CPU then it is your GPU. A good graphics card can cost a few hundred to over one thousand dollars.

A gamer should build his gaming PC around a GPU and not the other way around.

Are gaming PC’s worth it?

This is another question that I love answering because it gets asked so much. Gaming PCs are not cheap. We all know that, and with consoles becoming more and more competitive with every new generation or mid-generation launch, you might be concerned. This does make the question, “are gaming PCs really worth it?” even more relevant.

As strange as it sounds, a gaming PC is more than just a gaming PC. It is a machine that you can do just about anything you want on. From work to school to media and playing games, the PC is a lot more versatile than other gaming options out there. That does not mean we don’t love consoles, because we do.

There’s also a wider variety of games that you can play on your PC. If you enjoy MMO style games, survival, or games like that, those games usually release on PCs first until they clean out all the bugs and optimize them for consoles. So in terms of games, there is more to do on a PC.

You also don’t have to pay to play online, so that is a saving right there. To further add to the savings, games are a lot cheaper on a PC, and with epic games now giving away a new game every week for free, it just keeps getting better and better.


Sometimes I just sit and I think about where technology is going and how the ingenuity of human beings is improving things like the CPU, GPU, and RAM every day. Access to good technology is becoming increasingly easier and more convenient.

Games are getting bigger, games are getting better, and they are also becoming more and more resource-hungry. They also look better every year, and to keep up with this, CPU manufacturers have their jobs cut out for them. Making an already small but fast CPU faster and smaller, at this stage, is becoming increasingly more difficult.

Here at Never Press Pause, we take our hats off to the talented people who make this possible.

One thing for sure, though, is that CPUs are very important for gaming. They might not seem as important as a GPU, but trust me, every component in the PC works together, and a fast CPU can make your life a whole lot easier and make your games run a whole lot better.

Hopefully, you found this article helpful. If you did, be sure to bookmark us as we release new articles every week.

David Sacks

I have worked in the IT industry since 2011 and have been an avid gamer my whole life. My first consoles were the sega genesis and the Nintendo SNES. I play both console and PC games, I love both. I decided to become combine my passion for gaming with my passion for writing.

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