If you are on a low budget, one of the five processors below is right for your PC. 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, 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 five best budget CPUs for gaming currently available on the market.

Best Cheap CPUs for Gaming

  1. Intel Core i3-8100

Intel BX80684I38100 8th Gen Core i3-8100 ProcessorThe Intel Core i3-8100 is arguably the best performing CPU on this list. 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 Video Review:

Core i3-8100 Specs
Architecture Coffee Lake
Socket LGA 1151
Cores / Threads 4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.6 GHz / (N/A)
Memory Speed / Controller DDR4-2400 / Dual-Channel
Cache 6MB
PCIe Lanes x16 Gen3
Integrated Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 630
Unlock Multiplier No
Lithography 14nm
TDP 65W
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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
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency / XFR 3.5 GHz / 3.7 GHz / 3.9 GHz
Memory Speed / Controller DDR4 – 1866 to 2677 / Dual-Channel
Cache 10MB
PCIe Lanes x16 Gen3
Integrated Graphics No
Unlock Multiplier Yes
Lithography 14nm GloFo
TDP 65W
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  1. AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor with Radeon Vega 8 GraphicsThe 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
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.5 GHz / 3.7 GHz
Memory Speed / Controller DDR4 / Dual-Channel
Cache 6MB
PCIe Lanes x16 Gen3
Integrated Graphics Yes
Unlock Multiplier Yes
Lithography 14nm
TDP 65W
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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
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 4 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.1 GHz / 3.45GHz
Memory Speed / Controller DDR4 / Dual-Channel
Cache 10MB
PCIe Lanes x16 Gen3
Integrated Graphics No
Unlock Multiplier Yes
Lithography 14nm
TDP 65W
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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
Architecture Kaby Lake
Socket LGA 1151
Cores / Threads 2 / 4
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.5 GHz / (N/A)
Memory Speed / Controller DDR4-2400 / Dual-Channel
Cache 3.5 MB
PCIe Lanes x16 Gen3
Integrated Graphics HD Graphics 610
Unlock Multiplier No
Lithography 14nm
TDP 54W
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