Best CPU for Warzone 2

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Warzone 2 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 2 covers top picks Call of Duty pros are using to dominate matches. In this buying guide, we also cover essential Warzone 2 CPU insights to ensure you can confidently buy the right CPU the first time. Let’s get it!

Table of Contents

Best CPU for Warzone 2

Pro tip

Our Warzone 2 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 2 competitively at 144 FPS. These are some reasons why each pick in this guide includes at least eight CPU cores, even though Warzone 2 can run on fewer cores.

Best overall
Intel Core i9-10900K
Pros:
  • Highest pick rate among Call of Duty players
  • Great performance for the price
  • High base clock speeds
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • Can be beaten by newer-gen Intel processors
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
Check Price
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 best Intel CPU for Warzone 2.

This processor is still incredibly popular with Call of Duty players due to its performance and pricing. In fact, 20% of pro Call of Duty players and streamers we track play on this CPU. If anything, the decreasing price over time has made it one of the best bang-for-your-buck picks.

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 2, 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 2.

Paired with the best Warzone 2 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.

Alternate pick
Intel Core i9-12900K
Pros:
  • Supports DDR5 memory
  • Eight performance and eight efficiency cores chew through workloads
  • Generational jump in overclocking performance
  • Can support competitive gaming at 2K
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • May need to upgrade your motherboard
Check Price
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 flagship, 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 2 only requires 8 cores to run on ultra settings. But we look at it a different way.

Investing in a good CPU for Warzone 2 (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.

Bleeding-edge pick
Intel Core i9-13900K
Pros:
  • Insane gaming performance
  • Impressive generational efficiency gains
  • Supports DDR5 memory
  • Can support competitive gaming at 2K, perhaps even 4K in some scenarios
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • May need to upgrade your motherboard
  • Needs to be adequately cooled
Check Price
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 2, 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 2 pro to increase since Intel’s 13th-gen CPUs have only been on the market for a few months as of this piece being 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 CPU
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Pros:
  • 12 cores and 24 threads pump out great gaming performance
  • Can support competitive gaming at 2K
  • Built on newer Zen 3 architecture
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
Check Price
Cores  12
Threads 24
Clock Speed (Base | Boost) 3.7 GHz | 4.8 GHz
Overclocking Yes
Socket AMD Socket AM4
TDP 105w
Memory Support DDR4

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU is the best AMD CPU for Warzone 2 and the most popular AMD processor among Call of Duty pros we track. That’s not surprising considering its price compared to equivalent Intel CPUs and its impressive performance. The base clock speed beats out other CPU picks that are sometimes double the price.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is also built on AMD’s newer Zen 3 architecture, which improves generational performance. Without going into too much detail, each of the cores is now able to directly access more L3 cache than CPUs built on AMDs Zen 2 architecture. Accessing more L3 cache is critical for demanding games.

But if you’re looking for the highest boosted clock speeds out there and support for DDR5 memory, you’ll want to look elsewhere. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X doesn’t support DDR5 memory kits and the boosted clock speeds will be beaten by newer-generation CPUs, including AMDs.

Great price to performance
Intel Core i7-12700K
Pros:
  • 12 cores are great for gaming performance
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • May need to upgrade your motherboard
Check Price
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 2.

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
Pros:
  • Offers great value for the price
  • High base and boosted clock speeds
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
  • Future-proofing is limited for demanding games
Check Price
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 2 in the Intel family. What we look for in any good CPU for Warzone 2 is a processor with at least eight cores. This ensures that your CPU can take advantage of Warzone 2’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
Pros:
  • Offers great value and performance
  • Overclockable
Cons:
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
  • Future-proofing is limited for demanding games
Check Price
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 2. We give that honor to the AMD Ryzen 7 5700X.

Importantly, this CPU has the minimum number of cores we recommend to run Warzone 2 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, and future-proofing is important to consider when investing in a new CPU for Warzone.

Intel vs. AMD: Which is best for Warzone 2?

Our Call of Duty player data tells a clear story of whether you should buy an Intel or AMD processor for Warzone 2. An overwhelming 71% 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 2 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 in the budget, you still can’t go wrong with a good AMD CPU.

What CPUs do Call of Duty pros use?

A comparison of CPU series and Intel vs. AMD pick rates:Core i9 70% Core i7 3% Ryzen 9 24% Ryzen 7 2% Other 2% Intel vs. AMD 71% vs 29%
Source: Setup.gg in-house player data.

As mentioned before, 71% of Call of Duty pros pick Intel over AMD chips. But what specific model CPUs are the best Warzone 2 players using?

Our Warzone 2 player data below shows the specific processors used by popular Call of Duty pros and streamers.

CPU Pick Rate
Intel Core i9-10900K 20%
AMD Ryzen 9 5950x 11%
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 11%
Intel Core i9-12900K 9%
Intel Core i9-13900K 9%
Intel Core i9-9900K 6%
Intel Core i9-10850K 6%
Intel Core i9-12900KS 5%
Intel Core i9-12900KF 5%
Intel Core i9-13900KF 3%
Intel Core i9-11900K 3%
Other Intel or AMD CPUs 14%

If wanting to dive deeper into how pros are using their CPUs to improve their gameplay, check out our pro Warzone 2 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 2 more dependent on CPU or GPU power?

Call of Duty Warzone 2 is both CPU-intensive and GPU-intensive. Warzone 2’s detailed environments and rendered shadows, textures, and details are meant to mimic real life. Add in the fact that Warzone 2 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 2 smoothly without stutters and crashes and at competitively-high FPS.

CPUs with at least eight cores can best take advantage of Warzone 2’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. Check out our guide for the best Warzone 2 graphics settings to learn how to improve your FPS without buying new PC components.

RAM and GPU considerations for Warzone 2

CPU, GPU, and RAM are the three most important PC components to focus on when buying a gaming PC with Warzone 2 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 2 is an RTX 3060-series GPU or higher.

Warzone 2 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 2 FOV and the best NVIDIA filters for Warzone 2 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.

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.

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