12th Generation Intel Alder Lake CPU best gaming sale
Image credit: Intel.

The best CPUs for gaming are on huge sales for the holidays

Price matching might be available if you're not near a Micro Center.
This article is over 2 years old and may contain outdated information

The holiday buying season is in full force at this point, and it’s nearly time once again to bask in the glow of RGB lighting adorned on evergreen conifers. If you’d rather bask in the glow of a spruced up gaming PC, we certainly don’t blame you. This time of year is when most tend to treat themselves to upgrades and the like, and we’ve found some amazing deals on the best gaming CPUs at prices that’ll make you jump in your sleigh and rush to your nearest retailer.

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If you’ve had your eyes on Intel’s latest and greatest Alder Lake CPUs, now’s your first major chance to get one on a steep discount. Micro Center is already selling the i5-12600K for just $229 (MSRP $320) and the i7-12700K for $299 (MSRP $450). Intel’s i5-12600K sports six big cores plus four small cores and gaming performance that generally competes with older eight-core CPUs. Likewise, the i7-12700K hangs with previous generation i9s with its eight big cores and four little cores. Both of these processors also have significantly improved multi-threaded performance this generation to assist in multi-tasking without disrupting framerates in your games. Apps like Discord, gameplay capture software, RGB software, peripherals, and more are sent to the small cores so your games remain nice and smooth.


Additionally, Intel’s new CPUs support PCIe 5.0 for the primary GPU socket and the Z690 chipset supports PCIe 4.0 so you can add the fastest SSDs to your system. Just keep in mind that you will need to purchase a new Z690 motherboard, or wait for the B660 and H-Series boards which are expected to be revealed at CES 2021. As for the memory, you can keep using your DDR4 memory without much worry since DDR5 is pricey and widely sold out at the moment. Just be sure to choose the right motherboard for your RAM.

If you’d rather stick with AMD, there are also some fresh new deals for the Ryzen 5000 Series. You can grab the efficient six-core 5600X for a mere $249 (MSRP $300), or the stout 5800X eight-core for $299 (MSRP $450). Performance enthusiasts can also opt for the 12-core 5900X at $449 (MSRP $550) or the flagship 16-core 5950X for $670 (MSRP $800). Just like the Alder Lake Z690 motherboards, the AMD X570 platform also supports PCIe 4.0 SSDs, though DDR5 support and PCIe 5.0 support are unavailable. Fortunately, these bleeding edge features aren’t necessary for a great gaming experience at this point in time.

Choosing a CPU winner is easy this winter

All of these CPUs are among the best for gaming, so you’ll just need to decide how much fps you want, how much multi-tasking you want to do, and how much money you want to spend. Regardless, these deals will help you save some precious dollars this holiday season and get better performance. Keep in mind that if you don’t live near a Micro Center, you may be able to price match with competitors such as Best Buy and more. Now you have leftover cash to elevate your holiday-themed RGB glow.

Please note that all prices are in USD. We do not receive a commission for sales through these links. 

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Kevin Foley
Senior Staff Writer with PC Invasion since 2020, advocate for playing on the hardest difficulty options, and a graphics fanatic. Kevin's go-to gaming genres are shooters, RPGs, tactical strategy, and environmental puzzlers. His favorite franchises of all time include Halo, Mass Effect, Portal, KotOR, Super Smash Bros., Fortnite, and The Elder Scrolls. When he's not writing about games, he's investigating PC tech to see how it can improve gaming experiences.