Today we are looking at the best budget CPU for gaming. The CPU in a gaming PC makes up for a crucial part of a system’s overall performance. Unfortunately, with the variety of options out there, choosing one can be challenging due to the variety of opinions on the best processor available in the market. The best CPU according to one person doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you, especially if you’re looking to get the most power for your budget. In this article, we’ll help you narrow down some of the best CPU buys currently available in the market that provide top performance per dollar spent.
If you’re looking to build a $300 gaming PC and have a tight budget, you can check out the Pentium G4400 and the AMD A8-9600 processors among the best budget CPU for gaming.
- Pentium G4400 – The cheapest gaming processor that simultaneously provides a decent amount of processing power, the Pentium G4400 is the perfect entry-level gaming processor available for the Skylake platform. Clocking at 3.30 Ghz, the G4400 is a dual-core processor and has a small cache of 3MB. It also has a TDP of 54 Watts, making it power efficient and an excellent choice for the entry-level gamer. The processor can run older and less demanding games like CS:GO, Minecraft, and Roblox. If you’re willing to shell out a little more for a good GPU, it’ll give you excellent performance for games like Overwatch, and Rocket League. Make sure to not go with high end graphics cards (like GTX 1060) though as it tends to bottleneck and won’t be sufficient to handle games like GTA V and The witcher 3.
- AMD A8-9600 – Available for about $71, this is another processor you should consider if you don’t mind spending a little more. The CPU has clocks in at 384 SPs at 900 MHz, though you have the option of upgrading to 384 SPs at 1029 MHz for $20 and 512 SPs at 1108 MHz at $40. This processor can handle most E-sports titles (CS:Go, Overwatch), Minecraft, and others efficiently at medium 1080p settings, though newer titles might need a downgrade to 720p. It is highly recommended to couple the processor with a dual channel memory kit, such as a 2x4GB kit to get the best gaming performance.
For people looking to build a $600-700 gaming PC, they can have a look at the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X and the Intel Core i3 8100 as options for the best budget CPU for gaming.
- AMD Ryzen 3 1300X – The best choice in terms of money and performance this mid-tier CPU costs about $130, which is about the same as the Intel Core i3. The processor features four cores and four threads, has a very big cache memory (about 8MB), and very good clock speeds (3.5-3.7 Ghz). The CPU also has a TDP of 65Watts, previously uncommon with AMD processors. To get the best out of the Ryzen 3 1300X, you might have to take a look at overclocking activity and consider spending a little extra on the motherboard for a better CPU cooler.
- Intel Core i3-8100 – The latest generation processor from Intel, i3 comes with 2 cores and 4 threads, making its performance similar to a previous gen i5. The processor has about 6 Mb of cache and has a clock speed of 3.6Ghz. Coupled with a mid-high end GPU like GTX 1060, one can expect to achieve about 60+fps at 1080p. Retailing at about $135-$140, this is a good bang for your buck, especially since you might have needed to shell out about $200 for the previous generation Intel’s of 4 core-4 Thread CPUs.
Willing to bust out more for the best budget CPU for gaming and the best performance? Consider the AMD Ryzen 5 1600/1600X or the Intel Core i5-8400 CPUs if you’re looking to build a $1000 gaming PC.
- AMD Ryzen 5 1600/1600X – Priced reasonably at $180, the AMD Ryzen 5 1600/1600X is a step up in the Ryzen series, packing an Intel Core i7 (4 cores with 8 threads). It has a base clock of 3.5Ghz and can be overclocked to 3.9Ghz. Its TDP is about 65 Watts and has a cache memory of a whopping 16MB. Compatible with most latest generation hardware, the processor gives better multitasking performance, is hang proof, and is amazingly quick at rendering videos. The Ryzen 5 should provide an excellent gaming experience for a 1080 environment and should be ideal for a gamer who is interested in streaming and multitasking.
- Intel Core i5-8400 – The Core i5 has a six-core, six thread processor that offers a 9 Mb cache. Despite its low 2.8 GHz base frequency, the all-core turbo frequency is at 3.8 GHz, which on par with the AMD Ryzen 5. The TDP and price are also the same, at 65 Watts and $180, respectively. The i5 processor also offers a robust motherboard ecosystem, providing multiple storage and faster Ethernet options. Unfortunately it’s hard to find stock for the Core i5-8400, which can kick up its price when available in sparse quantities.