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tech consumer guide

Last updated on September 1st, 2020 at 03:41 pm

Complete List Of Best CPU for VR Gaming in 2020

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Last updated on October 22nd, 2020 at 12:59 am

Virtual reality technology has been in use for decades, but consumer virtual reality headsets became available in the 1990s.

However, it wasn’t until 2016 when VR boomed as over 230 companies were making VR products. Since then, hardcore gamers have been quick to adopt VR headsets, and it has proven to be a worthy investment.

Unfortunately, VR gaming is expensive, which is why the uptake of VR products was slow from 2016-2018. This changed in 2018 when companies began releasing standalone VR headsets, which were cheaper than tethered headsets.

However, if you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ll need the tethered headset. They are expensive but more powerful than standalone VR headsets. The downside is that they are tethered to a PC.

You’ll need a powerful PC but be sure to check the manufacturer’s minimum requirements before investing in a CPU.

We researched and tested some of the best CPU for VR gaming and came up with a list of CPU worth buying. They include:


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor, Without Cooler
Intel Core i7-9700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.7 GHz LGA1151 300 Series 65W
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler
What You Need To Know About The CPU

High clock speed, plenty of cores, plenty of threads. Nothing will go wrong when it comes to performance.

The Intel Core i7 is a performance beast that has very very fast performance.

Best budget CPU for VR gaming from team red.

Prime
-
Position
First Place
Snapshot
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor, Without Cooler
What You Need To Know About The CPU

High clock speed, plenty of cores, plenty of threads. Nothing will go wrong when it comes to performance.

Prime
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
Intel Core i7-9700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.7 GHz LGA1151 300 Series 65W
What You Need To Know About The CPU

The Intel Core i7 is a performance beast that has very very fast performance.

Prime
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler
What You Need To Know About The CPU

Best budget CPU for VR gaming from team red.

Prime
-

Last update on 2020-10-25 at 20:05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Preview
Name
Rating
Operating Frequency, Max Frequency & L3 Cache
 
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor, Without Cooler

3.5Ghz | 4.7GHz | 64 MB
Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W

3.7Ghz | 5.3GHz | 20MB
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler

3.9GHz | 4.5GHz | 32MB
Intel Core i7-9700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.7 GHz LGA1151 300 Series 65W

3.8GHz | 5.1GHz | 16MB
Intel Core i5-10400 Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.3 GHz  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 65W, Model Number: BX8070110400

4.1GHz | 4.8GHz | 12MB
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler

3.8 GHz | 4.4GHz | 32 MB

List Of The Best CPUs For VR Gaming

Pros

  • Fits in an AM4 socket
  • Excellent for VR gaming
  • Excellent base clock speed
  • Multithreading beast

Cons

  • Needs additional cooling
  • High power consumption

Operating Frequency: 3.5Ghz | Max Frequency: 4.7GHz | Number of Cores and Threads: 16/32 | L3 Cache: 64 MB | TDP (Thermal Design Power): 105 W

Towards the end of 2019, AMD released the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, which has 16 cores and 32 threads. Such a combination would warrant a high price, but they are decently priced at around $750.

The 3950X and the 3900X have similar specifications except for a few differences in core, threads, base, and boost frequency. The 3900X received a lot of criticism as it didn’t hit the stipulated 4.6Ghz boost frequency. It was expected that the 3950X would have similar issues.

Fortunately, AMD fixed the problem, and the 3950X will hit boost frequency and surpass it.

The 3950X doesn’t come with a cooler; thus, you’ll need to get a cooler and preferably a beefier cooler. This will help you unlock better performance, especially if you want to hit 4.7GHz or even higher.

It also has an average refresh rate of 117fps and can hit up to 145fps. This refresh rate is more than sufficient for any VR headset and can generate a stable frame rate even for high-end headsets.


Pros

  • Impressive gaming performance
  • Multipliers unlocked
  • Integrated graphics
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • High power consumption
  • Needs a new Z490 motherboard

Operating Frequency: 3.7Ghz | Max Frequency: 5.3GHz  | Number of Cores and Threads: 10/20 | L3 Cache: 20MB |TDP (Thermal Design Power): 125 W

The Intel i9-10900K is arguably the best CPU for VR gaming. It’s increased frequency, and thermal management puts it in the same category as the Ryzen 3950X. Its performance is slightly lower than the 3950X, but it outmatches the 3900X in some areas.

Its predecessor had 8 cores and 16 threads, Intel added two cores and four threads to the 10900K. They also added innovation to help improve clock-speed management.

This means that the 10900K can hit the high clock speeds and hold on to them for extended periods. It also results in a more efficient spread of the frequencies among the 16 cores.

However, it has a few downsides, one of which is that you’ll need a new motherboard. If you’ve decided this is the CPU you want and are willing to spend extra cash to get another motherboard, then do it.

You also have to decide whether the two additional cores and four threads justify the extra cost.

Does it perform well in VR gaming? Absolutely. Is it worth buying compared to its predecessor, the Intel i9-9900K? Now that’s debatable.


Pros

  • Exceptional multithreading
  • Improved Zen 2 IPC
  • Better overall performance compared to the Core i7-9700K
  • Bundled cooler
  • Unlocked multiplier

Cons

  • Needs the X570 motherboard
  • Runs warm even when idle

Operating Frequency: 3.9GHz | Max Frequency: 4.5GHz | Number of Cores and Threads: 8/16 | L3 Cache: 32MB |TDP (Thermal Design Power): 105W

It comes with the refined 7nm Zen 2 architecture combined with incredible single-core performance. It has a stock cooler, but it’s underwhelming, especially against the heat generated by the TDP.

An aftermarket cooler is better as it will take up less space, run quieter, and looks better.

The AMD Ryzen 3800X features the finest implementation of the 8C16T blueprint, which is endeared by gamers. Benchmark tests show that it lags behind the i9-9900K in several areas but also proves that it’s ideal for multitasking.

The 3800X offers great all-round performance and is said to be the best CPU for VR gaming in terms of versatility, powerful processor technology, and price.

It’s reasonably priced and could hold up well against future Intel and AMD competitors. It uses Zen 2 architecture, thus will serve you well even in the foreseeable future.


Pros

  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Impressive single and multi-core performance
  • Turbo boost Max 3.0
  • Reasonable cooling temperatures

Cons

  • No bundled cooler
  • Requires new motherboard

Operating Frequency: 3.8GHz | Max Frequency:  5.1GHz | Number of Cores and Threads: 8/16| L3 Cache: 16MB |TDP (Thermal Design Power): 125W

The Intel Core i7 10700K offers a gaming performance that can rival the core i9 10900K and costs about $100 less. As you’d expected, its single-core performance is incredible, but even better is its multi-core performance.

The i9 10900K is dubbed Intel’s best processor for gaming but can be rivaled by this processor. It can hold its own against AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900X and 3800X.

The i7 10700K is incredible in many ways except one- it uses Intel’s aging 14nm architecture. This architecture is old and can’t compete with AMD’s architecture.

The i7 10700K still manages to put up a good fight against the AMD CPUs but still falls behind. However, in terms of performance per core, the 10700K performs better than AMD’s Ryzen 3800X.

Should you buy it? Yes, if you want impressive single and multi-core performance. It, however, is not suitable for anyone looking to buy a CPU for their existing build.


Pros

  • Good thermal performance
  • Excellent single and multi-core performance
  • Cool temperature throughout
  • Integrated graphics chip
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • No support for PCIe 4.0
  • Requires new motherboard

Operating Frequency: 4.1GHz | Max Frequency: 4.8GHz  | Number of Cores and Threads: 6/12 | L3 Cache: 12MB |TDP (Thermal Design Power): 125W

Intel has struggled against AMD, especially in the midrange category, and released this model, hoping it would be the answer to AMD’s competition.

This was like a dream come true for budget-midrange consumers as Intel typically reserves hyperthreading for higher-end CPUs.

The Intel i5 10600K has the same number of cores and threads as the Ryzen 5 3600X. It costs less than $300, which puts it in the same price range as the 3600X. However, it doesn’t support PCIe 4.0, and it might be a deal-breaker for some.

It has impressive clock speeds that peak at 4.8GHz on a single-core Turbo boost and maxes at 4.6GHz for all core Turbo boost.

In terms of VR gaming, the 10600K can keep up with the more expensive 10900K. This makes it one of the best CPUs for VR gaming in the midrange category.

You don’t need to spend $2,000 on a rig when you spend less than half of that and get an incredible VR experience.

Pros

  • Stock cooler
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • Power consumption

Cons

  • No GPU

Operating Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Frequency:4.4GHz  | Number of Cores and Threads: 6/12 | L3 Cache: 32 MB |TDP (Thermal Design Power): 95W

Intel was dominant in the $200-$300 price range until AMD released the Ryzen 3000 series. The new series became the go-to processors for most gamers looking for budget-friendly options that don’t sacrifice performance.

Among this is the Ryzen 5 3600X, which has six cores, twelve threads, and the 7nm process coupled with the Zen 2 microarchitecture.

This combination ensures that the Ryzen 5 3600X delivers unrivaled performance in gaming and productivity work. It also supports the PCIe 4.0 interface.

However, it costs more than the non-X variant, the 3600, which offers the same performance or even better.

You decide if you prefer the base model or the 3600X, which has a 200MHz base/boost advantage over the base model. Overall, the best cheap CPU for VR gaming.


What Processor Do I Need For VR Gaming?

Among the biggest barriers to entry in VR gaming is the hefty cost of investing in high-end CPUs.

Fortunately, HTC and Oculus are doing their best to lower their respective VR technologies’ minimum requirements. This means that many of the available CPUs can handle VR gaming.

However, there is a huge difference between high-quality VR experience and minimum requirements experience.

If you’re fine with the latter, you can check your headset’s minimum requirements and get a CPU that fits the requirements.

If you want to enjoy a more immersive experience, we suggest that you consider some of the aforementioned CPUs for VR gaming.

Also, check if the CPU can generate the frame rate required by the headset. Anything less will ruin your VR experience; thus, you might want to consider the minimum requirements of the headset.

Minimum requirements aren’t good enough, especially if you hope to play current and future games. The VR industry is fast evolving, and your minimum specs CPU might not cut it in 2-3 years.

What CPU is Best for VR Gaming?

Your biggest headache will be whether to invest in AMD processors or Intel processors. Your budget will also factor in the decision.

AMD offers cheaper alternatives such as the 3600/3600X, 3900X, and 3800X. If you are willing to spend more, then you can opt for Intel CPUs such as the 9900K and 9700K.

In addition to the AMD vs. Intel consideration, you’ll need to think about RAM and graphics cards. Some CPUs have integrated graphics cards while others don’t.

For a smooth and enjoyable VR experience, you’ll need both the CPU and graphics card to perform well.

The recommended RAM is 32 GB, but if you’re going for the minimum, 16GB should be sufficient.

However, according to HTC and Oculus, the minimum RAM is 8GB, but it will struggle against Rhino, Prospect, and even Revit. This is why you need at least 16GB RAM.

Does CPU Matter for VR?

Yes, it does, but you also have to consider the GPU. They are both just as important, and if you’re running higher resolution headsets, you’ll need a powerful GPU.

Keep in mind that VR runs two displays, one for each eye; thus, demand on your graphics card will be extremely high.

High resolutions are common in PC games, and their importance is more pronounced in VR gaming. This is because VR headsets demand high refresh rates and if you want an immersive experience, invest in a system with a higher frame rate per second.

Don’t choose the bare minimum, instead opt for higher fps, preferably 144fps, to eliminate the feeling of dizziness or nausea while in the virtual world. This is generated by the GPU; thus, you’ll need to invest in a good-quality GPU as you get your CPU.

Final thoughts

You have plenty of options ranging from budget, mid-range to high-end CPUs. Some will cost a few hundred dollars, and others will top a thousand dollars.

If you’re an avid gamer looking to invest in a good CPU that offers a solid performance, you can get the Ryzen 9 3950X.

Its high-end specs will handle any game with ease, and when you switch back to regular use, you’re guaranteed impressive speeds.

If all this is too much for you, you can always buy a VR ready PC. However, it’s not as fun as building your PC and getting to choose the different parts. You’ll have your way when picking each of the individual components, such as the fans, cooler, GPU, CPU, etc.

Your choices become even more evident when you want to overclock. If you can’t build, you can pick the parts and hire a professional to assemble it. That’s it for the best CPU for VR gaming.

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