The Best CPUs for 3XS Dream PCs

Although the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Graphics Cards have the most effect on game performance in a Dream PC choosing the right CPU for your system is still important as it make a difference in some games. Choosing a more powerful CPU with lots of cores will also enable you to do more complex tasks on your PC, such as creating great videos, music and photos.

The market leader in the CPU market is Intel, which offers a massive variety of different processors at from as little as £30 to over £2,000. The reason for having such a wide range is that each of these models is optimised for different tasks, such as browsing the web, creating documents, watching films, playing games or digital content creation such as creating and editing 2D and 3D graphics, video, music and photos.

The latest Intel desktop processors are based on the Skylake and Broadwell-E architecture which providing excellent performance while consuming less electricity than previous CPUs. This is important as it means our latest Dream PCs cost less to run and are quieter than their predecessors. With so many CPUs to choose from here is our guide to the most popular models.

Intel Core CPUs
Celeron, Pentium & Core i3 While these dual-core processors are capable in their own right they don't have the raw performance that a Dream PC should provide and so we don't recommend them.
Core i5 The most affordable quad-core Intel processors, Core i5 CPUs provide excellent bang-per-buck but are not the best choice for a Dream PC as they have relatively little cache memory and don't support Hyper-Threading and so are not suited for heavy multitasking or content creation.
Core i7 These quad-core processors have more cache memory than the Core i5s and also support Hyper-Threading, allowing them to work on up to eight threads simultaneously, making them much more suitable for content creation. A Core i7 is a great choice for a Dream PC.
Core i7 Enthusiast Sitting above the normal Core i7 processors is a special range of Core i7 Enthusiast CPUs which require a LGA2011-3 motherboard. Available with either six, eight or ten cores plus Hyper- Threading these CPUs are incredibly fast, delivering the ultimate performance for your Dream PC.
Intel CPUs

CPU Performance

While the graphics cards have the biggest effects on the performance of a Dream PC, selecting the right CPU is important. For instance, although many games will not run not significantly faster on a Core i7 Enthusiast than a Core i5, the more powerful CPUs will show more of a benefit in strategy games and more complex simulators. Here are some benchmarks of our recommended CPUs for a Dream PC in a variety of games, showing the difference choosing a more expensive CPU may make.

We hand select the best CPUs for our Dream PCs, cherry picking the CPUs that overclock the most and run the coolest – ensuring you get the best experience with your Dream PC.

When gaming you should be looking for a CPU that produces a minimum frame rate of at least 25fps for a smooth experience, anything less than 25fps and games will appear jerky and won't be fun to play. The grey bar indicates this minimum frame rate while the blue bar shows the average frame rate. All benchmarks were carried out at 1,920 x 1,080 with a GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card.

Doom

DOOM Game

Core i7

122
142

Core i7 Enthusiast

120
140

The Division

Division Game

Core i7

78
93

Core i7 Enthusiast

76
90

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider Game

Core i7

63
84

Core i7 Enthusiast

53
74

Grey - Minimum Frame Rate / Blue - Average Frame Rate

CPU Intensive Benchmarks

We've also included benchmark results for two very CPU intensive tasks, 3D rendering and audio editing, in these two benchmarks a higher number indicates faster performance. As you can see the performance difference in these content creation type applications is much more pronounced than in games.

CineBench R15 (3D Rendering)

Intel Core i7 Enthusiast

1850

Intel Core i7

900

DAWBench with 256 Buffers (Audio Editing)

Intel Core i7 Enthusiast

288

Intel Core i7

161

Overclocked CPUs

Dream PCs are all about delivering the maximum performance so we recommend choosing an overclocked CPU in the configurator. Overclocking is the process of increasing the CPU frequency above what Intel normally sets it at. Choosing an overclocked CPU in the configurator does not affect system stability as we stress test all Dream PCs for at least 24 hours before shipping and overclocked systems are covered under our Premium 3 Year Warranty.

While we offer the option to overclock the CPU in our standard gaming PCs, because the water cool the CPUs in our Dream PCs we can offer bigger overclocks and even more performance.

The graphs below show the level of performance gain to be had by opting for an overclocked CPU in the same four games and two content creation applications.

Doom

DOOM Game

Core i7 OC

122
142

Core i7

122
142

Core i7 Enthusiast OC

120
140

Core i7 Enthusiast

120
140

The Division

Division Game

Core i7 OC

79
94

Core i7

78
93

Core i7 Enthusiast OC

77
91

Core i7 Enthusiast

76
90

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider Game

Core i7 OC

63
84

Core i7

63
84

Core i7 Enthusiast OC

53
74

Core i7 Enthusiast

53
74

Grey - Minimum Frame Rate / Blue - Average Frame Rate / OC - Overclocked CPU

CineBench R15 (3D Rendering)

Intel Core i7 Enthusiast OC

2200

Intel Core i7 Enthusiast

1850

Intel Core i7 OC

950

Intel Core i7

900

DAWBench with 256 Buffers (Audio Editing)

Intel Core i7 Enthusiast OC

314

Intel Core i7 Enthusiast

288

Intel Core i7 OC

177

Intel Core i7

161