Best CPU for Game Development


Unreal Engine 5 is CPU dependent. The biggest and most expensive limiting factor in Unreal Engine 5 will always be the CPU. Your GPU is not unimportant, you will still get a lot of mileage out of a good GPU, but the GPU requirements of Unreal Engine 5 are moderate to mild. It is not a heavily GPU influenced platform. You can get by, no, you can max everything out with a Geforce RTX 2080, and you’re sitting pretty. No problems there. But if your CPU is weak, you’re going to have a hell of a time in development, Nicolai.

I need a new PC.


Alright so what we’re hunting for is a few different things here. The best absolute fastest money is no option CPU, the best on the market, at any price. The runner up. We’re also looking for the most economical option, and we’ll be trying on the best value for money option as well.

Before we get going:

Check out my article on GPU’s for Game Dev.

And my article on the best RAM for Game Dev.

What CPU do I need for Unreal Engine 5?

Any of these will run Unreal Engine 5 at max settings:

  • Option 1: Ryzen 9 5950X ($908 USD)
  • Option 2: Intel i9-11900K ($660 USD)
  • Option 3: Ryzen 9 5900X ($635 USD)
  • Option 4: Ryzen 7 5800X ($470 USD)
  • Option 5: Intel i7-11700K ($529 USD)

What CPU do I need for Unity?

If you have a little bit of money to spend, I’d recommend getting something like the Core i5 11400F with 6 cores at 12 threads and 2.6 Ghz, however, Unity is not a very demanding Engine, an i7 7700K @ 4.2 Ghz, a sturdy old processor from the past, will run it comfortably.

What GPU do I need for Unreal Engine 5?

If you’re running Unreal Engine 5 and you want to max out all the settings on Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients, then you should have at least an RTX 2080, or to be safe, an RTX 3080 is a good solid card capable of maxing out everything.

How much RAM do I need for Unreal Engine 5?

Established wisdom, often wrong, tells you that all you need to run Unreal Engine 5 is 8GB of RAM. No, you need closer to 32 GB RAM to max everything out safely without crashes, and I would recommend 64 GB RAM.

The best, the fastest CPU on the market

Ok I’m crowing the winner:

Ryzen 9 5950X ($908 USD)

Read it and weep:

  • 16 Cores
  • Clocked @ 3.4 Ghz
  • 32 Threads
  • Boost Clock Speed @ 4.9 Ghz
  • It’s super expensive

Let’s compare that to the runner up:

Intel i9-11900K ($660 USD)

  • 8 Cores
  • Clocked @ 3.5 Ghz
  • 16 Threads
  • Boost Clock Speed @ 5.3 Ghz
  • It’s super economical

Battle beginning…..

Ok, so on the gaming front, actually I’m giving this one to the i9-11900K.

Odd that, I thought you declared Ryzen 9 5950X the winner. You protest… Yes I guess I did, but we’re looking at Game Development, not Gaming. There are some key differences. One of them being that the Unreal Engine 5 is CPU Dependent, and their recommended requirements clearly state a 12 core processor at 3.4 Ghz. Ryzen stomps that with 16 cores at 3.4 Ghz, furthermore, Ryzen excels in tasks that require a lot of CPU Power which cannot be diverted to the GRAPHICS CARD. IE: Unreal 5 Game Development. If you’re buying a gaming PC, save your money, buy the i9, and put the extra money into your graphics card. If you’re Developing for Unreal 5, shave some money off your graphics card, so you can get the Ryzen 9 5950X.

Now once you do this, there’s no point in having a good processor without having a good Graphics Card, don’t waste all your money on a Ryzen 9, and then forget to pick up a Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090 graphics card, that would be embarrassing. If you are clever, you might go for say, the Ryzen 9 5950X, with a PNY GeForce RTX 3090 24GB XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X RGB Triple Fan Edition, and then you’re working with the highest, fastest, most powerful gaming PC the market has ever conceived of, if you have a lot of RAM, and hopefully 4TB of SSD. You can make games out of HAL’s most brilliant SCI FI NIGHTMARES. You would be future proof for almost 15 years probably…. Be sure not to max out your games, to your own design configuration, or only you will have the specs to play them.

Check out our subscription service:

Before we go any further, I’d like to talk to you about our subscription service, can teach you everything you need to know to make your first game, or to polish your skills if you’re an advanced game designer, we can teach you about Maya and 3D Max, Blender, Unreal Engine 5, Unity, and a whole host of other things. Check it out if you’re just starting out, we can help you build your first game.


Well if you’re in the market to become a professional Unreal 5 Developer, I think you should be able to max out and at least PLAY the Unreal Engine 5’s games, with all the high level features enabled. I don’t know how you’re supposed to design next generation videogames when you can’t even play them. But let’s see, maybe there’s a more economical option, one that will save you a lot of money, if you’re on a budget.

I will only be considering CPU’s capable of running Unreal at max or at least medium settings. This is not how to design a game in 2015 with modern day pricing. We are going to design professional high grade games, with a focus on our career, and making a lot of money as a game designer. This is not our hobby, and we’re not in it to play videogames, this is about investing in your career, so these are the budget options, if you still want to max out Unreal 5, and get a playable FPS with no crashes.

I’m not going below 8 cores. There is no point.

Here are your most sensible options on a budget.

Intel Core i7 11700K ($526 Dollars)

Read and understand,
think and meditate.
Reach enlightenment.
Look up.

  • 8 cores
  • Clocked @ 3.6 GHz
  • 16 Threads
  • Turbo Clock at 5.0 GHz
  • It’s overpriced for what it does

I did not have much choice to get an economical card from Intel on this one. While $526 USD might not seem like much compared to the Ryzen 9 at $908 USD, the drop is price is negligible compared to the i9 11900K at $660 USD. We are talking about chump change here. When you’re dealing with an investment in your career, that will yield benefits and job offers, and higher salaries down the road, do not argue over the difference between $526 USD and $660 USD, just pay the $660 USD to keep your boss happy.

Ryzen 7 5800X ($470 Dollars)

The sages speak of balance.
The finding of the way to peace.
Neither light nor dark, prevails, but balance.
For fools fall in the dark,
And burn in the sweltering heat.
Is not a calm, temperate day better for you?

  • 8 cores
  • Clocked @ 3.8 Ghz
  • 16 Threads
  • Turbo Clocked @ 4.7 Ghz
  • It’s super economical

This is your actual discount option. Here you’re going to get 8 cores at 3.8 Ghz, enough to run Unreal Engine 5 comfortably. You’re not going to get the corner office, but you’ll have plenty of job offers if you’re good at it. Overall, if you’re looking to save money, this is a much better option. It’s cheaper, it runs at a good speed. You can build your game design career with this CPU. Don’t neglect your CPU in an Unreal 5 Marketplace.


Ok, next up, we’ve tried the bargain basement option. We’ve tried the best and fastest CPU on the market, what’s next? Well let’s try this on for size, what is the best value for your money, when buying a CPU geared towards starting a career in Unreal 5 Game Design?

Let’s sit and think about this for a while.

Ryzen 9 5900X ($635 Dollars)

The sages speak of a CPU,
Both powerful and cheap to buy,
It can build a career for you,
But you must first buy this to try.

  • 12 cores
  • Clocked @ 3.7 Ghz
  • 16 Threads
  • Turbo Clocked @ 4.8 Ghz
  • It’s Super Good and Super Inexpensive

I think I’ve found a nice little CPU, the perfect one for me. It’s fast, it has 12 cores so it meets the requirements, unlike the intel i9-11900K at $660 USD. Honestly for gaming the i9 is better, beats it on most performance metrics, but this one has 12 cores, so it meet the minimum requirements to run Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients, the Unreal 5 Feature Demo for the uninitiated. Basically, you can develop unimpeded by resource considerations with this CPU. It is good enough to do your job well. You can use this in your professional career and no one will laugh at you or look at you sideways. People will say, yeah that’s a really good CPU. Employers will be quick to hire you on when they realize you can make games using all the highest level techniques of Unreal 5.

I’m not saying it’s a substitute for skill or that you will just find work magically out of the ether with this CPU, but if you’re a professional developer of any large level of skill, this is appropriate to your station, and you can use all the advanced features of Unreal 5 and max out Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients.


But, let’s say you can’t afford to buy the nice Ryzen 9 with a RTX 3080 and 64 GB RAM and 4 TB of beautiful SSD. But you still want to develop for Unreal Engine 5 and make games with it. Then do I ever have the budget option for you.

This CPU will not only run Unreal Engine 5…..

Actually, yes, that is all it will do.

I think you understand where I’m going with this. That’s right jack, we’re dealing with the i7 7700K CPU at a whopping 4.2 Ghz of pure speed in 2012.

This CPU, will meet, the mandatory minimum requirements to run Unreal 5 without the program crashing. You can even use lumen, and nanite, can be utilized with great discretion and attempts to warn you off of it if you do I can’t stop you but your computer might break.

This cannot unfortunately run Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients, so you will have to just watch trailers and imagine what it would be like to develop games in this environment. You can and will get self employment, and I can even attest that you can get a good job, a very good job, with this CPU.

So what are we waiting for, let’s break down the specs.

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700K CPU @ 4.20 GHz

Far in the distance,
Away from success,
There was a place where failure rests,
Before it stands up,
and tries again,
Failure rests,
Far in the distance.

  • 4 cores
  • Clocked @ 4.2 Ghz
  • 8 Threads
  • Turbo clocked at your own risk
  • It’s pointless waste of time

Yeah, you won’t be getting the corner office with this one….

You won’t be getting any office with this one.

You can design a game with this, if your game is good, you can get a good job maybe. If you make something really nice, and you have a lot of skill, you do what you need to do to get the job done, you consider alternative and novel avenues for finding the doorway to success, all is not lost. You can still develop games with this CPU. You won’t develop the games of your dreams. That’s a given. But if you are allowed the time to sit and work every day, comfy and happy developing games, even with a CPU like this, you can dig yourself out that hole and get yourself a decently paying job. A respectable job.

It won’t be your dream, it won’t be the irresistible allure of modern day game engines maxed out to their saliva inducing full and complete glory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eek out a happy life with this CPU. If you’re allowed to work, develop your games at your own pace, pursue self employment and find a good job. Do your job without interruption or too much stress, yeah you can build a life for yourself, and a career, even with this CPU.

But why you would want to is …. well…..


See my budget…..

I have things I need to buy….

Important things…

I need this particular item.

It’s mandatory.

It costs 2500 dollars and I wont say what it is.

But it is not the gaming PC I could buy with 2500 dollars.

It’s something even better, than a gaming PC.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *