Moving up to 1440p can be a sort of fence for PC gamers. On one side there’s the group that remains happy with their current 1080p 60Hz monitor, and on the other, there is the group who see 1440p as an upgrade, but only at 144Hz. This raises the question: What CPU is best for 1440p 144hz gaming?
I’ve already covered the Best Processor for Gaming, so this guide is going to focus on those who want to play games at 1440p and 144Hz. This article will not be looking at how well a certain CPU can do running programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro. There are plenty of other articles on that out there.
An important thing to note before making any decisions is that this guide will be looking only at games running at 1440p with a refresh rate of 144Hz. If you are planning on getting a monitor capable of over 60FPS, then it would be wise to buy the best CPU for gaming so you can maximize your experience. Another thing to consider is that this is a separate article from the Best Processor for Gaming. The Intel Being number one on both of these lists doesn’t mean it’s the best choice, just that it is the best-suited processor for 1440p 144hz gaming.
Requirements for Gaming at 1440p 144hz
A very common question as seen in the comments of the best CPU for gaming post is whether or not you actually need a powerful processor to game at 1440p 144hz. This question comes about as these gamers either already have a strong enough setup and are wondering if they can benefit from an upgrade or those that don’t want to spend money on a good processor when their current system still manages high frame rates in most games.
For some clarification as to why there’s such a big difference between 60Hz and 144Hz we’ll be taking a look at this article: Hz vs FPS: The Battle Between Monitors, Graphics Cards and Games. It looks like the monitor is the biggest contributor, but it goes into more detail than I’m going here. So first off, If you’re buying a 1440p 144hz monitor and you want to game at these settings, then yes, you will need a processor that can handle games running at 1440p and 144FPS. The higher the refresh rate, the more demanding it is on your CPU.
Secondly, we should look into what FPS (Frames per Second) means for gamers:
“The standard 60Hz monitor refreshes 60 times every second. The issue here is that when rendering high action sequences such as in first-person shooters (where fast movement might be happening close up to the camera or moving across large distances), sometimes your frames drop below 60 FPS resulting in screen tearing.” – Hz vs FPS: The Battle Between Monitors, Graphics Cards and Games
Playing at a high frame rate means you will have a smoother experience when things get intense. If you want to play games in 1440p 144hz, then it is best to have a good CPU so that when your graphics card sends frames faster than the monitor can keep up with, they don’t get bottlenecked due to being sent from the CPU and not having enough power to push them out quickly. This leaves you at risk of stuttering and lagging due to slow processing speeds. This will result in either screen tearing or dropped frames (also known as micro stuttering), both of which we try to avoid.
10 Best CPU for 1440p 144Hz Gaming
Choosing the best CPU for 1440p 144hz gaming can be tricky, especially if you don’t know what to look out for. There are a few factors that come into play when deciding on which will allow you to game at 1440p and high refresh rates.
The first factor is cores vs clock speed. It’s obvious that the more cores you have the more FPS you will get, but this doesn’t always mean it’ll be better. If you already have a good CPU and want to know if an upgrade would benefit you, check out this guide: What CPU Should I Buy? The second factor is hyperthreading. Hyperthreading allows your CPU to do twice as much work by sending tasks to two threads simultaneously. This is especially helpful when gaming at high refresh rates, but you should bear in mind that not all games are optimized for this feature and it can sometimes cause more problems than it solves. The third factor is overclocking. If your CPU doesn’t have an overclocking feature or you don’t know how to overclock, then it isn’t the best option for gaming at high refresh rates. This doesn’t mean you have to overclock a CPU in order to get these speeds, just that it’ll be easier with an unlocked model.
The fourth and final factor is price. You can get a cheaper processor or a very expensive one depending on your budget. If you’re gaming on a tight budget then it might be best to stick to 60hz for now and save yourself the trouble of looking for parts that will cause problems later down the line (especially if you don’t know what you’re doing).
1. Intel Core i5 8600K –
Best 1440p 144Hz CPU This is one of the best CPUs on the market for gaming at this resolution/refresh rate. It has 6 cores and can be overclocked, which means it will have no problem keeping up with your 144hz 1440p monitor.
2. Intel Core i5 7600K –
Runner Up This is another great CPU by intel that will allow you to play games at 144hz in 1440p. It is slightly worse than the 8600K when it comes to gaming but still has 6 cores and can be overclocked for even better performance.
3. Intel Core i7 7700K –
Best Value This is one of the best value CPUs available right now, with 4 cores that are hyperthreaded to 8, allowing you to do twice as much at once compared with the 7600K. It can also be overclocked and is a great choice for gaming.
4. Intel Core i7 8700 –
Best Overclock This CPU has 6 cores and 12 threads (hyperthreaded) and has a high base clock speed of 3.2GHz which allows it to outpace any other CPU on this list in single-threaded tasks, such as games that don’t support hyperthreading or those that are not optimized for it yet. As well as this, it is unlocked meaning you can overclock it yourself if you feel like getting more performance out of your system without spending extra money on a better CPU at the moment.
5. AMD Ryzen 5 2600X –
Best Ryzen CPU for Gaming This is one of the best CPUs available right now, with 6 cores and 12 threads (hyperthreaded) it can easily outperform many other CPUs on this list. It’s also unlocked meaning you can overclock it yourself to get more performance out of your system.
6. AMD Ryzen 5 2400G –
Best APU for 1440p 144hz This is an APU so it doesn’t come with a CPU cooler and must be bought separately, but it will allow you to play games at high refresh rates in 1440p without having to upgrade your current CPU which is great if you’re on a budget or just don’t want to spend any extra money right now. This would be my top choice if it weren’t for the fact that it doesn’t have a built-in graphics card, meaning you’ll have to buy one separately from somewhere like Newegg or Amazon.
7. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X –
Best Overall This is another great all-rounder CPU by AMD with 8 cores and 16 threads (hyperthreaded) that can easily outperform Intel’s offerings in multithreaded tasks such as games that support hyperthreading. It’s also unlocked so you can overclock it to get even better performance out of your system.
8. Intel Core i3 8350K –
Budget 1440p 144Hz CPU Although this isn’t an expensive CPU when compared with other options on this list, I decided against putting in any CPUs under the $150 mark. This is because you’ll most likely need to upgrade it relatively soon, whereas, with the CPUs above this price, you can keep it for 3+ years before needing to upgrade. As well as this though, it doesn’t have hyperthreading so you won’t be able to experience the same performance as other CPUs on this list when multithreading games or using multiple applications at once.
9. AMD Ryzen 7 1800X –
Best Multi-Threaded CPU This is one of AMD’s best multi-purpose CPUs with 8 cores and 16 threads which will allow you to run any game or application that utilizes either an Intel core or thread count. However, there are mixed reviews about its overclocking capabilities since it is still a new CPU so if you have experience with overclocking, this would be a better purchase than one of the others on this list.
10. AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X –
Best Multi-Threaded CPU This is another great option from AMD that can compete with Intel’s best multi-threaded CPUs as it has 12 cores and 24 threads which will allow you to run any application without slowdown. The only downside is that it isn’t much more powerful than the 2700X, whereas the 1950X offers a much greater increase in performance for those who need it.