The most CPU-intensive games in 2020

Gaming has changed exponentially over the years. It was once known that games relied more on the CPU for system requirements. However, thanks to the evolution of gaming over time, this is no longer the case – in most scenarios.

Games these days rely much more on the GPU when it comes to in-game performance and frame rates. Apart from that, there are still some games that have similar CPU requirements to the GPU.

The following guide takes a closer look at some of the most CPU-intensive games, followed by some notable CPUs that can more than meet the required requirements.

So let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!

Total War: Warhammer 2

As many know, Total War: Warhammer 2 is one of the latest versions of the hugely popular Total War series. The strategy game developed by Creative Assembly is a turn-based tactical strategy game in which users take control of an empire and try to take over the world. This particular version takes place in the Warhammer universe and has a much deeper background story than you would normally expect from a game in the Total War series.

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The physical gameplay of Warhammer 2 is divided into two clear areas. One is building and managing your army, the other is leading your army into battle and fighting enemies.

The latter is the most fun from a player’s perspective, but is also the most strenuous when it comes to the demands your CPU places on it. The size of the two armies obviously plays an important role in this particular division, with larger armies needing more CPU power to run at an optimal level. Ultimately, Total War: Warhammer 2 is a fantastic game, but it’s one of the most demanding when it comes to your CPU. For those who want to get some extra FPS, we recommend reducing some in-game settings, including resolution and texture details.

Best CPU for Total War: Warhammer 2

Since Total War: Warhammer 2 is one of the most CPU-demanding games out there, you’ll need one of the most powerful CPUs to run it – especially the big battle scenes that can scale thousands of units. That’s why we chose the 3900X as the best CPU when it comes to this particular game. It will have more than enough power to power large armies and should scale well with the Ryzen’s high core count.

Rainbow Six Siege – single core

Rainbow Six Siege is a competitive tactical online first person shooter game developed by Ubisoft. It was first released in December 2015 and quickly rose to the competitive gaming scene and soon became one of the largest online games ever.


The classic counter strike format focuses teams on attack and defense situations. The players have to complete various missions, e.g. B. Rescue hostages or defuse a bomb to win the round.

While this game is fairly simple in terms of design and function, it belongs to the older generation of games that require more from the CPU than the GPU. While this is ideal for people who play on PCs that don’t have a high-performance GPU installed, it can still be a burden for those who don’t support single-thread performance. As always, we recommend lowering the resolution and some of the shadow detail settings if you want to get a few extra frames per second.

Best CPU for Rainbox Six Siege

The Ryzen 3300X is a good choice for the less intense Rainbow Six Siege. It offers good single-core performance and should be able to achieve high frame rates in 1080p – the most commonly used resolution when it comes to this older competition title.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game in which the main character Lara Croft explores the tropical regions of America on her quest for Paititi – the legendary lost Inca city. Along the way, she will fight the paramilitary organization Trinity and try to end a Mayan apocalypse that has unleashed her.


As always, Lara has to cross the dense landscape during her mission and fight enemies with both firearms and stealth looting. You’ll explore half-open hubs and raid challenging graves to unlock new rewards and side missions as you search for resources that can be used for craft supplies and useful items.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the latest game in the long line of the Tomb Raider series, which puts a particular strain on your CPU. While this game offers some of the highest levels of immersion you can experience in an action adventure game, it also puts one of the most demanding pressures on your hardware. Like many modern open world titles that use complex, densely populated scenes, Shadow of the Tomb Raider can put a particular strain on the performance of your CPUs. During benchmarking, the jump in performance from 4 to 6 cores resulted in an increase in performance of almost 20%. After that, the performance increase was much less obvious. Ultimately, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an extremely demanding game when it comes to CPU performance.

Best CPU for Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a fairly demanding title that requires good multi-core processing to get the highest possible frame rates. That’s why we chose the 3600 as a balanced, affordable CPU option for this game. Not only does it offer good single-core performance and overclocking capability, it also takes full advantage of SOTTR’s demand for numerous cores.

Far Cry 5 – single core

Far Cry 5 was released in 2018 and is a first person shooter action game published by Ubisoft. The game takes place in Hope County, a fictional region of Montana, and surrounds a doomsday cult led by its powerful leader Joseph Seed.

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Her character is a nameless deputy sheriff who is quickly trapped in this hostile region and has to team up with factions of resistance to free the county from Seed’s rule.

This hugely popular first person shooter is based on an open environment where players can explore the landscape on foot and in different vehicles. During the exploration, you’ll have to take on Seeds Army and Edge Gate to win back the region. You have access to a number of different explosives to accomplish this. This series title focuses on close combat.

Unlike most of the other titles in this article, Far Cry 5 seems to thrive on single-core performance. While others have distributed their AI across numerous cores and threads, Far Cry 5 seems to focus all of its requirements on one core. This is ideal for Intel CPUs as they excel in this area. However, for AMD users, you may not be so happy – especially if you use one of the less powerful offerings.

Best CPU for Far Cry 5

For Far Cry 5, we chose the Intel Core i5-10600K, one of the best gaming CPUs on the market. With excellent single-core performance, you will not get stuck in the demand that this more intense title places on your system. In conjunction with a great GPU, high resolution and high graphics settings are also achieved.

Red Dead Redemption 2

The hugely popular Rockstar Games title is a sequel to the 2010 game Red Dead Redemption, which takes place in a fictionalized version of the Wild West from 1899. The game revolves around the outlaw Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, who is currently surviving the decline of the West, fighting government forces, rival gangs and a number of other opponents.

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The action adventure game is played from both the first and third person perspective. The open world style allows players to move freely on foot or on horseback. It offers a single player campaign mode as well as a less popular online mode where players can roam landscapes and fight with enemies using melee, firearms and explosives.

As an open world title, the game places most of its CPU requirements – although it still requires decent graphics. Unlike the previous title, which makes better use of single-core performance, Red Dead Redemption 2 is better equipped with multi-core CPUs – especially with 6-8 cores.

Best CPU for Red Dead Redemption 2

Finally, we have Red Dead Redemption 2. Like Total War, this is another very demanding game that requires the most powerful CPU to run optimally. Because of this, we have once again I think the 3900XT is the right choice. With a high number of cores and an excellent clock frequency, this game runs more smoothly than ever.

Best CPUs for CPU-demanding games

These are some of the most CPU-demanding games currently, but they’re not the only ones. And who knows what kind of games will be released in the future – it’s always worth making sure that you have the best CPU for these demanding games. For this reason, we recommend one of the following CPUs, although many of the above titles can be played with fewer components to get the best experience with your games. We have divided the CPUs into certain price categories, including information about how they are supposed to work.

Low end

The 3300X offers good services for less intensive games like CS: GO and Rainbow Six Siege. The use of 1080p and medium graphics should give about 60 fps in these titles.

Middle class

For more intense games that require multi-core performance, the Ryzen 5 3600 is an excellent CPU choice. It will reach around 100 FPS in smaller titles and will perform well for games that share their AI across multiple cores / threads.


For the best gaming performance, the Intel Core i5-10600K is one of the best gaming CPUs on the market. It immediately delivers excellent performance and can be overclocked to a similar (single core) performance as that of the 10900K.

Related pages

Understanding how games work and the demands they make on your PC is a pretty steep learning curve – especially if you are new to creating PCs and computers in general. That’s why we’ve created a ton of content to make your life a little easier. Below are some of our most popular:


So there you are, folks, our comprehensive summary of 2020’s more CPU-demanding games. While there are other notable mentions in this category – Assassins Creed Odyssey and Kingdom Come Deliverance, to name a few – the games are that we’ve shown, some of if not the most demanding ones out there.

If you think we missed games, drop us a comment in the section below. Better yet, visit our Community Hub, where you can discuss games-related things with like-minded people.

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