Yes, an Intel Core i7 CPU will be good for gaming. There are a few things to point out, though.
The Intel i7 CPU has been around for a while, and the generation can be determined by the first number in the name. For example, an i7 3xxx would indicate 3rd generation, while the newest is the 12xxx.
If you want a CPU that can hold up to today’s gaming demands, it is best to go with a newer CPU rather than the older one. If you go with an older i7, make sure it is at least the 5th generation if you plan to play modern games.
The 5th generation is compatible with DDR4 RAM, the most commonly recommended RAM type for gaming. The older generation i7 CPUs support the older DDR3 RAM format.
Another important consideration is the other parts you currently have for a PC and/or the parts you plan on purchasing if starting a PC build from scratch. Older CPUs are likely to have a different socket type than newer ones, and the type of socket a CPU has determines the range of motherboards you can use.
In other words, buying an older i7 then struggling to find a motherboard with the required socket type might cost even more money than just buying newer components altogether.
Not only do you have the apparent issue of making sure all the parts are compatible with one another, but you also need to consider the balance, as well.
Choosing an Appropriate i7 CPU
While the latest i7 CPU is undoubtedly way more than enough for gaming (maybe even overkill in many cases), PC performance can be hindered or helped by the other parts you install.
So if you buy the newest i7 CPU but only have 4GB RAM (8GB at minimum is a good standard for today’s gaming), you will not notice the same level of performance as someone with 8GB or more installed.
This is also true if you buy an older GPU like a 1060 3GB, which is under-performing in many of today’s AAA titles, if able to run them at all.
In other words, it does not matter how great a CPU you have if you do not also have components on par with said CPU’s performance. The i7 is definitely a good choice for gaming, but so are other Intel CPUs, like the i5, i9, and even more entry-level i3.
Choosing which one is the right choice comes down to what you plan to do with the PC.
Gaming PC Use
Suppose you plan on gaming and simultaneously streaming said gameplay on a platform like Twitch. In that case, you will automatically be putting much more demand on your computer than someone who is not streaming.
Streaming is a resource-intensive activity, and if you plan on streaming, a newer i7 CPU is a good choice. They have excellent processing power and can handle streaming and gaming demands.
If you plan on doing a lot of video editing, the newest offerings from the i7 lineup are an excellent choice due to the resource-intensive nature of these activities.
On the other hand, if you plan to use the CPU for basic gaming, you might be better off choosing either an older Intel i7 or an i5. Most gamers do not need the performance of the latest i7 and will not notice a decrease in performance if going with an older model or something from the i5 lineup.
In fact, Intel Core i5 CPUs are often some of the most recommended best CPUs for gaming PCs.
Overall, the Intel i7 is an excellent processor for gaming and much more. It is by no means the only good CPU for gaming, however.
Picking a good processor for gaming comes down to your overall plans for the PC, budget (including all parts needed, not just the CPU), and creating a balanced machine that will not be hurt by other components (ex., installing a high-end GPU but low-end CPU would lead to performance deficits).