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Best CPU for Warzone

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In this guide

Warzone is a demanding FPS shooter that requires a snappy CPU to avoid stutters and run at high FPS. Our guide to the best CPU for Warzone covers top picks Call of Duty pros are using to dominate matches. In this buying guide, we also cover essential Warzone CPU insights to ensure you can confidently buy the right CPU the first time. Let’s get it!

Best CPU for Warzone

Pro tip

Our Warzone CPU picks are based on in-house data tracking the gaming PC specs used by pro Call of Duty players. We also include budget CPU options to ensure that all levels of players can run Warzone competitively at 144 FPS. These are some reasons why each pick in this guide includes at least eight CPU cores, even though Warzone can run on fewer cores.

Best overall

Intel Core i9-13900K

  • Insane gaming performance
  • Impressive generational efficiency gains
  • Supports DDR5 memory
  • Can support competitive gaming at 2K, perhaps even 4K in some scenarios
  • Overclockable
  • Expensive
  • May need to upgrade your motherboard
  • Needs to be adequately cooled
Intel Core i9-13900K
  • Cores: 24
  • Threads: 32
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.0 GHz | 5.8 GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • Socket: Intel Socket 1700
  • TDP: 125w
  • Memory support: DDR4, DDR5

We’re seeing a trend in late 2022 where Call of Duty players are choosing the Intel Core i9-13900K as the best CPU for Warzone, passing by other 13th-gen Intel options and other newer-gen AMD chips.

That’s because the Intel Core i9-13900K is on the bleeding edge when it comes to gaming performance. The CPU supports the newest generation of DDR5 memory and packs in big performance cores to support the most intensive workloads.

We expect the popularity among Warzone pros to increase since Intel’s 13th-gen CPUs have only been on the market for a few months as this piece was published in late 2022.

The Core i9-13900K is among the most power-efficient processors around. But keep in mind that CPU makers are dialing up their power limits to get the most performance possible. So, while efficiency is impressive, you’ll still need a powerful cooling solution to get sustained high performance from this CPU.

Best AMD pick

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

  • Exceptional gaming performance for the price
  • Low power consumption
  • Uses the AM4 socket, which can save money if you’re already on the AMD platform
  • Not overclockable
  • Can be beaten in certain productivity-related tasks
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.4 GHz | 4.5 GHz
  • Overclocking: No
  • Socket: AMD Socket AM4
  • TDP: 105w
  • Memory support: DDR4

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU is the best AMD CPU for Warzone by a long shot. This CPU even beats out the newer-generation AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D and AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D when considering price and performance.

Sure, you can pick either of the Ryzen 9 models. But the benchmarked performance improvements in Warzone aren’t big leaps forward, unlike what we’ve seen when jumping up to Intel’s newest chips. Simply, the increased price of the Ryzen 9 models doesn’t justify the increased price for most gamers. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D remains a clear fan favorite.

But what explains its supremacy? There are three primary reasons. First off, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D includes 96MB of L3 cache. Without going into too much detail, the increased L3 cache balances the performance toward heavy gaming workloads over productivity tasks. When it was released in 2022, this CPU outperformed all other gaming-focused chips (including the competing Intel Intel Core i9-12900K) in several gaming benchmarks, such as Tom’s Hardware’s tests.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is also sought after since it’s highly power-efficient with its low TDP of 105w. For comparison, many competing generational CPUs demand much more power upwards of 125w.

Dusting its shoulders off, AMD priced the Ryzen 7 5800X3D at a significant discount to its Intel counterparts, making this CPU the clear winner for Warzone’s demanding workloads.

This CPU isn’t without its downsides, though. You’ll sacrifice some cores compared to more balanced chips that are built to handle productivity and gaming tasks. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is better if you want a chip that’s built for both productivity and gaming.

Alternate top pick

Intel Core i9-12900K

  • Supports DDR5 memory
  • Eight performance and eight efficiency cores chew through workloads
  • Generational jump in overclocking performance
  • Can support competitive gaming at 2K
  • Overclockable
  • Expensive
  • May need to upgrade your motherboard
Intel Core i9-12900K
  • Cores: 16
  • Threads: 24
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.2 GHz | 5.2 GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • Socket: Intel Socket 1700
  • TDP: 125w
  • Memory support: DDR4, DDR5

The Core i9-12900K is Intel’s 12th-gen gaming CPU that is among the most popular processors used by Call of Duty pros. Benchmark tests have consistently shown that this CPU offers some of the best overclocking performance when compared to recent Intel generations.

The 16 combined performance and efficiency cores and 24 threads could be considered overkill when Warzone only requires 8 cores to run on ultra settings. But we look at it a different way.

Investing in a good CPU for Warzone (and other workloads) future proof’s you against the inevitable march upwards of AAA titles becoming more demanding year after year. On that future-proofing theme, the Intel Core i9-12900K offers support for the newest generation of DDR5 memory.

Of course, this type of performance comes at a cost. The Intel Core i9-12900K is still among the most powerful CPUs out there, and that’s reflected in the price.

Consider as well that you’ll likely need a new motherboard when upgrading from a prior-generation Intel CPU. Z690 motherboards are popular options to pair with the Intel Core i9-12900K and they now come in a range of price points.

Popular pro pick

Intel i9-10900K

  • Highest pick rate among Call of Duty players
  • Great performance for the price
  • High base clock speeds
  • Overclockable
  • Can be beaten by newer-gen Intel processors
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
Intel i9-10900K
  • Cores: 10
  • Threads: 20
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.7 GHz | 5.3 GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • Socket: Intel Socket 1200
  • TDP: 125w
  • Memory support: DDR4

The Intel Core i9-10900K was Intel’s flagship gaming CPU when it was introduced in 2020. But don’t let the years fool you. It’s still the one of best Intel CPUs for Warzone.

This processor is still incredibly popular with Call of Duty players due to its performance and pricing.

The Intel Core i9-10900K was the first Intel CPU to hit the mainstream consumer market with 10 cores. Of course, it’s no surprise that the processor excels in Warzone, which only requires a minimum of eight cores running at ultra settings. Combine all the performance metrics and popularity among the best players, and you’ve got an easy pick to consider when buying a recommended CPU for Warzone.

Paired with the best Warzone graphics card and sufficient memory, playing at 1080p or 2K resolution is possible at high FPS.

The Intel Core i9-10900K isn’t without its downsides, though. The Intel Core i9-10900K doesn’t support the newest generation of DDR5 RAM, which is needed to be on the bleeding edge.

Great price to performance

Intel Core i7-12700K

  • 12 cores are great for gaming performance
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory
  • Overclockable
  • May need to upgrade your motherboard
Intel Core i7-12700K
  • Cores: 12
  • Threads: 20
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.6 GHz | 5 GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • Socket: Intel Socket 1700
  • TDP: 125w
  • Memory support: DDR4, DDR5

The Intel Core i7-12700K sits squarely in the sweet spot of great gaming performance for the price. In fact, this CPU can go toe to toe with high-end Intel core i9 CPUs for some gaming workloads, but at a fraction of the price. This is why the Intel Core i7-12700K is commonly found in prebuilt gaming PCs where buyers are price-conscious.

Importantly, the Intel Core i7-12700K packs in eight performance cores and four efficiency cores, which leads to impressive performance in differing workloads, including demanding games such as Warzone.

What’s more, this CPU supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory, which could provide some savings for gamers wanting to stick with their DDR4 kits.

Consider, though, that you may need to upgrade your motherboard since the Intel Core i7-12700K works with Intel’s newer 1700 socket, not the 1200 socket, like older generations.

Best budget Intel CPU

Intel Core i7-10700KF

  • Offers great value for the price
  • High base and boosted clock speeds
  • Overclockable
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
  • Future-proofing is limited for demanding games
Intel Core i7-10700KF
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.8 GHz | 5.1 GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • Socket: Intel Socket 1200
  • TDP: 125w
  • Memory support: DDR4

The Intel Core i7-10700KF is the best budget CPU for Warzone in the Intel family. What we look for in any good CPU for Warzone is a processor with at least eight cores. This ensures that your CPU can take advantage of Warzone’s multithreaded rendering settings to run the game at competitively-high levels.

Of course, the Intel Core i7-10700KF can’t hold a candle to Intel’s 12th-gen and 13th-gen CPUs. But that’s expected in the budget category.

When paired with 16GB of quality memory and a good GPU, the Intel Core i7-10700KF can hit competitively-high FPS without stuttering on select graphics quality settings while on 1080p resolution.

As you move down the price spectrum it’s important to know that you won’t find DDR5 memory support. That’s OK in our opinion. The right amount of DDR4 memory is more than enough to chew through gaming workloads and your money is best spent on CPU or GPU processing power over upgrading to DDR5 memory.

Best budget AMD CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5700X

  • Offers great value and performance
  • Overclockable
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
  • Future-proofing is limited for demanding games
AMD Ryzen 7 5700X
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Clock speed (base | boost): 3.4 GHz | 4.6 GHz
  • Overclocking: Yes
  • Socket: AMD Socket AM4
  • TDP: 65w
  • Memory support: DDR4

Knowing that AMD typically offers a pricing advantage over Intel for equivalent CPUs, you won’t be surprised that there are a number of picks that could be considered the best budget AMD CPU for Warzone. We give that honor to the AMD Ryzen 7 5700X.

Importantly, this CPU has the minimum number of cores we recommend to run Warzone at competitive levels.

You should be able to save some money as well when upgrading. The AMD Ryzen 7 5700X runs on the long-standing AM4 socket, which many gamers may already have on their motherboards.

This AMD CPU also supports DDR4 memory, so you shouldn’t need to upgrade your RAM unless adding more memory or if your gaming PC runs on older-generation memory kits.

Again, as with any budget pick, you won’t find support for the newest generation of DDR5 memory. Future-proofing is important to consider when investing in a new CPU for Warzone.

Intel vs. AMD: Which is best for Warzone?

Our Call of Duty player data tells a clear story of whether you should buy an Intel or AMD processor for Warzone. An overwhelming majority of pro Call of Duty players we track play on Intel CPUs.

This trend isn’t surprising. Intel has taken a clear lead from AMD in the past few years when it comes to performance. Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors are on the bleeding edge and the fastest on the market.

That performance comes at a cost, though. Intel chips are typically priced at a premium over AMD chips. You can likely grab an AMD CPU for a 10% to 30% discount to a comparable Intel CPU.

This explains why AMD CPUs are still a popular choice, even in the face of better potential high-end performance with Intel CPUs.

In the end, the best Warzone CPU for your needs is going to be based on your budget. If your budget can afford an Intel CPU, we see no reason to buy an AMD CPU. If an Intel CPU isn’t within budget, you still can’t go wrong with a good AMD CPU.

Pro tip

If wanting to dive deeper into how pros are using their CPUs to improve their gameplay, check out our pro Warzone settings guide. You’ll find there the important graphics settings pros are using to get high FPS, in addition to other critical in-game sens and FOV settings.

Is Warzone more dependent on CPU or GPU power?

Call of Duty Warzone is both CPU-intensive and GPU-intensive. Warzone’s detailed environments and rendered shadows, textures, and details are meant to mimic real life. Add in the fact that Warzone utilizes a fast gameplay style and you can see why both a snappy CPU and powerful GPU are needed to run the game smoothly with good graphics quality.

When it comes to CPU and GPU processing power, we recommend aiming for a CPU with at least eight cores and a GPU with at least 8GB of video memory to run Warzone smoothly without stutters and crashes and at competitively-high FPS.

CPUs with at least eight cores can best take advantage of Warzone’s multithreaded rendering setting that can improve your FPS. Buying a sufficiently-powered GPU with at least 8GB of video memory ensures you can render quality graphics when running at high FPS.

RAM and GPU considerations for Warzone

CPU, GPU, and RAM are the three most important PC components to focus on when buying a gaming PC with Warzone in mind. Since we already covered our top CPU picks, let’s dive deeper into GPU and RAM considerations.

At a minimum, a good graphics card for Warzone is an RTX 3060-series GPU or higher.

Warzone can run well enough on lower-end graphics cards, but you’re likely not going to sustain good enough graphics at 144 FPS in matches. The lower FPS can put you at a competitive disadvantage when high frame rates can help to kill enemies more easily. Playing on the best Warzone FOV and the best NVIDIA filters for Warzone can also help in racking up kills, all without spending a dime.

The GPU sweet spot, though, for price and performance is actually in the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 lineups. You’ll find graphics cards in those two series at good prices, which is worth the investment for many Call of Duty players.

We recommend pairing your CPU and GPU with 16GB of quality DDR4 RAM, which is in line with Activision’s competitive-level system requirements.

FAQ

  • How many CPU cores are needed for Warzone?

    Gamers will need a CPU with at least eight cores to render Warzone at competitively-high framerates.

  • Is Intel or AMD better for Warzone?

    Intel has the fastest gaming CPUs on the market, but AMD produces several high-performing CPUs as well. Plus, AMD CPUs are typically cheaper than Intel models.

Methodology

We picked the best CPUs for Warzone 2 based on a combination of player data for Call of Duty pros we track, online reviews, performance benchmarking research, and price-to-performance offered. Player data is based on CPUs used by 66 Call of Duty pros and streamers as of November 2022.

What's new?

6/4/24: Internal linking update
5/21/24: Page experience update, no content changes
1/15/24: New page design update
3/28/23: Added the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D as a top pick and removed the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. Added FAQs.

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Nathan Hamilton

Nathan Hamilton is the owner of Setup.gg. He has published thousands of articles that have appeared on sites such as Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, and more. His favorite PC games are Valorant and Flight Simulator. He can be contacted at nhamilton@setup.gg.

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