If you are on a low budget, one of the 10 processors below is right for your budget PC build. These are the best cheap CPUs for gaming. You will find at least one of these CPUs in the vast majority of all the latest budget PC builds. They all have the power to provide great gaming and all-around system performance, without breaking the bank.

Additionally, the CPU is arguably the most important component of your PC build. And when it comes to budget CPUs, there are key features and in some cases, lack of features mentioned below that will help make your decision easier. Below is a review of the 10 best budget gaming CPUs currently available on the market.

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Best Budget CPUs for Gaming:

  1. AMD Ryzen 5 2600

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler - YD2600BBAFBOX

AMD’s been on quite a roll since the release of their Zen architecture back in 2017.

Starting with the Ryzen 1000 series CPUs, nearly every one of AMD’s offerings in recent years have been an excellent value for the money, even at launch and at launch prices. So, it’s only natural that the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 finds its way on our list.

The 2600 sports just as many cores and threads (6 cores and 12 threads) as the more recent 3600. It also sells for right around $70 to $100 less since they’re on clearance sale prices already.

This makes the 2600 a great choice for gamers who are tight on funds, or simply those who are frugal with their spending habits. Also, because both CPUs run on the same AM4 socket, along with other Ryzen CPUs, upgrading to the more recent 3600 or another faster Ryzen CPUs will not be a problem.

Perhaps the only issue you’re likely to encounter with the 2600 is if you run it with something like a GTX 2080 Ti. This is where its “older” architecture lags behind. But, if paired with a more sensible choice of a graphics card, like, for example, a GTX 2060, the difference in performance between the 2600 and 3600 in gaming becomes negligible.

Finally, the 2600 comes with some overclocking potential and ample headroom. If you were to, say, spend that extra $70 or so you saved by buying the 2600 over the 3600 and invested it in a moderately powerful CPU cooler, overclocking the 2600 to hit 4.0GHz on all cores (a whopping 600 GHz boost) is a rather realistic if not easy goal.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Specs:
ArchitectureZen +
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads6 / 12
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.4 GHz / 3.9 GHz
Memory Speed / Controller2933 MHz / Dual-Channel
Cache19MB
Integrated GraphicsNo
Unlocked MultiplierYes
TDP65W
Process12nm
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  1. AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G 4-core, 8-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon RX Graphics

For those who are truly on a budget, few can equal the Ryzen 5 3400G. As a CPU alone, the 3400G doesn’t carry much value. It’s actually slower than the 2600 and also more expensive at the same time. However, pure performance isn’t the reason why you’re going to buy the 3400G. This is because the true value of this budget CPU lies in its rather potent integrated graphics card.

Compared to the Intel UHD 630 found in comparatively priced 8th and 9th Gen CPUs offered by Intel, 3400G’s Vega 11 Graphics is comparable to an $80-ish graphics card.

Unlike the Intel UHD 630, which struggles to perform smoothly at 720p at the lowest settings, AMD’s Vega 11 can actually handle games at 1080p with smooth framerates at low to medium settings.

By buying the Ryzen 5 3400G, you’re easily looking at a potential savings of $100 because you don’t have to buy a graphics card anymore.

A word of advice: the 3400G is best paired with a more affordable B450 board. Because, unlike the more expensive X470/X570 boards, which usually don’t come with HDMI and/or DisplayPort outputs, the more budget-range motherboards will have everything that you’ll need to build a complete system using the 3400G.

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Specs:
ArchitectureZen +
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads4 / 8
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.7 GHz / 4.2 GHz
Memory Speed / Controller2933 MHz / Dual-Channel
Cache6MB
Integrated GraphicsYes
Unlocked MultiplierYes
TDP65W
Process12nm
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  1. Intel Core i3-9100

Intel Core i3-9100 Desktop Processor 4 Cores up to 4.2 GHz LGA1151 300 Series 65W

While Intel’s bread and butter is certainly the high-end market, there’s an argument to be made about their entry-level CPUs, which are often great options for a cheap gaming CPU. The i3-9100, which is one of Intel’s 9th gen Coffee Lake CPUs, is one of those cheap options, but it’s still great for people who don’t play very demanding titles and want something that’s reliable.

You have a four-core, four-thread configuration with pretty good clock speeds. The base frequency is 3.6 GHz, but it can easily turbo up to 4.2 GHz if necessary. When you factor in the asking price, this is a very reasonable configuration.

The i3-9100 is made on a 14nm process, and it supports a maximum of 64GB of RAM in a dual-channel configuration. A thing to note is that it also supports ECC memory, too. It makes use of Intel’s LGA1151 socket, and has PCIe 3.0, with a maximum of 16 lanes. All things considered, this is a great CPU for gamers on a budget, provided you don’t play AAA titles.

Intel Core i3-9100 Specs
ArchitectureCoffee Lake
SocketLGA1151
Cores / Threads4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.6 GHz / 4.2 GHz
Memory Speed / Controller2400 MHz / Dual-Channel
Cache6MB
Integrated GraphicsYes
Unlocked MultiplierNo
TDP65W
Process14nm
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  1. Ryzen 3 3200G

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon Graphics
While everyone is busy with the high-end Ryzen 3 CPUs that AMD just released, they actually thought about the budget-oriented gamers as well. The latest budget model from AMD is the Ryzen 3 3200G, a quad-core CPU that’s meant to push modern games at decent framerates, all while keeping the cost as low as possible.

We mentioned the four cores, and the Ryzen 3 3200G also has four threads. The frequencies are pretty decent – you have a base clock of 3.6 GHz, and the maximum boost clock is 4 GHz. What’s interesting is that this is an unlocked CPU, but we aren’t really sure how far you would get with overclocking. Unlike the more powerful versions that are all made on a 7nm process, the 3200G is made on a 12nm FinFET.

An interesting addition is the Vega 8 graphics, which is an integrated GPU with eight cores and a frequency of 1250 Mhz. If you don’t want to get a dedicated GPU right away, this allows you to play some less demanding games if you want to.

Included is a Wraith Stealth cooler, which will keep the CPU cool considering the relatively low 45-65W TDP. All things considered, this is one of the best cheap CPUs for gaming if you’re an AMD fan. Certainly, give it a shot if you’re budget-constrained.

Ryzen 3 3200G Specs
ArchitectureZen 2
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.6 GHz / 4 GHz
Memory Speed / Controller2933 MHz / Dual-Channel
Cache4MB
Integrated GraphicsRadeon Vega 8
Unlocked MultiplierYes
TDP45-65W
Process12nm
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  1. AMD Ryzen 5 1600

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler (YD1600BBAEBOX)

The AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor is one of the best performing CPU on this list. This CPU is quite the bargain as it has 6 cores and 12 threads. It features a base clock frequency of 3.2GHz, a precision boost frequency of 3.6 GHz along with fantastic single and multi-core speeds.

Additionally, this processor provides fantastic all-around CPU performance on a budget as it is great for gaming, multitasking, video editing, and more. With this CPU, you can even do some live streaming on platforms such as Twitch, which is fantastic at its low price point. The Ryzen 1600 comes with a very good Wraith Spire Cooler for sufficient cooling. It is also unlocked for overclocking to further increase its performance if need be.

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Specs
ArchitectureZen Core Architecture
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads6 / 12
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.2GHz / 3.6GHz
Memory Speed / ControllerDDR4-2667MHz / Dual-Channel
L3 Cache16MB
PCIe LanesPCIe 3.0 x16
Integrated GraphicsN/A
Unlock MultiplierYes
Lithography14nm
TDP65W
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  1. Intel Core i3-8100

Intel Core i3-8100 Desktop Processor 4 Cores up to 3.6 GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95WThe Intel Core i3-8100 is the previous generation version of the i3-9100. However, it is still a very powerful budget CPU, especially for gaming. I say this because the i3-8100 outperforms the Ryzen 3 1300X in both single and multi-threading even though they both have 4 cores with 4 threads. This makes the i3-8100 the best budget gaming CPU on the market performance-wise. It’s great for gaming, multitasking, video editing, and provides fantastic all-around CPU performance. In fact, its performance is on par with the Core i5-7500.

The main problem with this CPU is that it doesn’t include a CPU cooler, meaning that you would have to pay at least an extra $20 if you want a good CPU cooler.  Therefore, the i3-8100 and a separate CPU cooler will cost a bit more than the Ryzen 3 with its included CPU cooler. This is something thing that you would have to calculate when deciding which CPU to buy. However, I firmly believe that this CPU’s performance justifies that extra cost over the Ryzen 3 1300X.

Core i3-8100 Specs
ArchitectureCoffee Lake
SocketLGA 1151
Cores / Threads4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.6 GHz / (N/A)
Memory Speed / ControllerDDR4-2400 / Dual-Channel
Cache6MB
PCIe Lanesx16 Gen3
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630
Unlock MultiplierNo
Lithography14nm
TDP65W
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  1. AMD Ryzen 3 1300X

Ryzen 3 1300XAMD’s Ryzen 3 1300X is a true 4 core CPU with 4 threads and is based on AMD’s advanced 14nm “Zen” architecture. A base frequency of 3.5, boost frequency of 3.7, and XFR (Extended Frequency Range) of 3.9 makes it great for gaming, video editing, and other CPU intensive tasks. Right out of the box, the Ryzen 1300X is unlocked for overclocking with no manual alterations required by the user to obtain those higher frequencies.

The Ryzen 3 1300X also comes with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler that provides ample cooling even when overclocking. The only negative of this CPU is that it lacks integrated graphics. However, if your build includes a GPU (which a gaming PC should), the absence of integrated graphics is not a problem at all. Also, take into account the cost of a Ryzen 3 CPU (cooler included) and its motherboard. Then compare that total to the cost of the i3-8100 CPU, it’s motherboard, and a CPU cooler that has to be purchased separately. You will notice that the Ryzen 3 CPUs are the better choice cost wise. Therefore, if you’re trying to buy a 4 core 4 thread budget CPU, the Ryzen 3 1300X is currently the best value for your money.

Ryzen 3 1300X Specs
ArchitectureZen
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency / XFR3.5 GHz / 3.7 GHz / 3.9 GHz
Memory Speed / ControllerDDR4 – 1866 to 2677 / Dual-Channel
Cache10MB
PCIe Lanesx16 Gen3
Integrated GraphicsNo
Unlock MultiplierYes
Lithography14nm GloFo
TDP65W
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  1. AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics - YD2200C5FBBOXThe AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) meaning that it contains both a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single die. This 4 core CPU is also unlocked for overclocking to obtain its max boost frequency of 3.7GHz.

Like the Ryzen 3 1300X, the Ryzen 3 2200G comes with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler that provides good cooling even when overclocking. However, where the Ryzen 3 2200G separates it self from Ryzen 3 1200 is that it has integrated graphics that is very good. This means that you can build a decent low cost gaming PC without having to purchase a GPU. If the Ryzen 3 1300X and i3-8100 are out of your price range, this CPU should be your next choice because it provides great performance at a lower cost.

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Specs
ArchitectureZen
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.5 GHz / 3.7 GHz
Memory Speed / ControllerDDR4 / Dual-Channel
Cache6MB
PCIe Lanesx16 Gen3
Integrated GraphicsYes
Unlock MultiplierYes
Lithography14nm
TDP65W
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  1. AMD Ryzen 3 1200

AMD Ryzen 3 1200As the little brother of the Ryzen 3 1300X, AMD’s Ryzen 3 1200 only provides about 10% less performance than its older sibling, while costing around $30 less. In fact, when the Ryzen 3 1200 is overclocked (which can be easily done) its performance is on par with the 1300X. The 1200 is also a true 4 core CPU with 4 threads and is based on AMD’s advanced 14nm “Zen” architecture.

This is unlocked for overclocking to obtain its max precision boost frequency of 3.45 out of the box. It also comes with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler that provides good cooling even when overclocking. The only negative of this CPU is that it lacks integrated graphics. However, if your build includes a GPU (which a gaming PC should), the absence of integrated graphics is nothing to worry about. If the Ryzen 3 1300X and i3-8100 are out of your price range, the 2200G above would be the best choice over the 1200.

Ryzen 3 1200 Specs
ArchitectureZen
SocketAM4
Cores / Threads4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.1 GHz / 3.45GHz
Memory Speed / ControllerDDR4 / Dual-Channel
Cache10MB
PCIe Lanesx16 Gen3
Integrated GraphicsNo
Unlock MultiplierYes
Lithography14nm
TDP65W
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  1. Intel Pentium G4560

Intel Pentium G Series 3.50 GHz Dual-Core LGA 1151 Processor (BX80677G4560)Intel’s Pentium G4560 currently provides good value for your money when it comes to budget gaming CPUs. It is based on Intel’s 14nm Kaby Lake architecture and implements Hyper-Threading, meaning that its 2 cores and 4 threads act as though they are true four cores. Which makes the G4560 good for gaming and all-around decent PC performance.

The Pentium G4560 also has a respectable base and max frequency of 3.5 GHz and implements Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 610. However, The Ryzen 1200 costs just $15 more and performs much better given the fact that it is a true four core, four thread CPU. Therefore, it doesn’t make any sense to buy this CPU over the Ryzen 3 1200 unless you are on a really tight budget. This CPU will only be of great value if or when the price drops to around $80, otherwise we strongly advise you to go with one of the Ryzen 3 CPUs or the i3-8100.

Pentium G4560 Specs
ArchitectureKaby Lake
SocketLGA 1151
Cores / Threads2 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency3.5 GHz / (N/A)
Memory Speed / ControllerDDR4-2400 / Dual-Channel
Cache3.5 MB
PCIe Lanesx16 Gen3
Integrated GraphicsHD Graphics 610
Unlock MultiplierNo
Lithography14nm
TDP54W
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Read Another Related Article: 10 Best CPU for Video Editing – Complete Guide 2020

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