Best Cheap CPU for Gaming 2020

Choosing a CPU for your gaming needs can be a daunting task. A good CPU should meet some minimum requirements for it to support other components of your computer. Whenever you’re choosing a CPU, the processor is the first thing you need to have in mind. Although there are other things to keep in mind, such as the memory, storage, and graphics card, you need to ensure every part of your CPU meets the best quality standards.

Good gaming CPUs are not easy to get. Even when you find one, it will cost you an arm and a leg to get it off the shelves. Therefore, it is advisable that you find out if there is any that is within your budget. Getting a cheap CPU that still offers similar quality can be easy if you do a good background check of the market. In this latest update, we have compiled a list of budget CPUs that you can choose from.

Before we get into the list, here are some features you may consider when choosing the best budget CPU for gaming




Current Price


Intel Core i3-8100

It consumes relatively low power compared to similar CPUs.


AMD Ryzen 3 1200

You can use it to operate USB 3.11 Gen 2


AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Better performance due to the use of AMD SenseMi technology


AMD Ryzen 3 1300X

It overclocks without overheating the components


Intel Core i7-2600

Getting vector extensions is not a problem


Intel Core i5 8400

You can stream or create Ultra 4K HD videos


AMD Ryzen 5 1600

It is unlocked and therefore can hit high clock rates


Intel Core i3 8350K

It can overclock and enhance your gaming experience


Intel Core i7-3770

It has good audio that lets it support up to three independent displays


Intel Core i5-7500 LGA 1151

Supports a 64GB with 4DDR RAMs for a better experience

AMD vs. Intel

As you plan to get an upgrade, you should ask yourself whether you’ll go for AMD or Intel. Price is the differentiating factor among these two. AMD is popular for its low price. If your budget is too low, you can opt for AMD. However, due to its pricing, you should also not expect much from it. Price dictates quality. On the other hand, Intel is a reputable brand that produces the best you can find in the industry. Their CPUs perform highly, and thus their prices are much higher compared to the former.

Due to the need to remain competitive, both companies are making significant changes to their products and pricing. AMD has, in recent times, worked on producing CPUs that perform better than before. Also, Intel has focused on reducing their prices to accommodate people with different buying abilities. It is certainly the perfect time to buy a CPU that guarantees a better gaming experience. The only decision you’ll have to make is either AMD or Intel, which one caught your eye?


The number of cores is another thing you’ll need to look into. Normally, a gaming CPU has four or even more cores. The cheaper models come with a Quadcore, which is enough to support your gaming needs. Despite the difference in the number of cores, those with more function almost similar to the CPUs withy lesser cores.

The number of cores determines the speed of the CPU. Previously, gaming CPUs could run on one core efficiently. However, in recent times, the games played on CPUs have advanced. Also, people enjoy playing games faster, and therefore, the need of using more cores has risen. More cores increase performance and gaming speeds. When choosing a CPU, you should then consider one with more cores.

Clock speed

There are several ways to enhance performance. One of the best is to pair your GPU with high clock speeds. Considering this factor may be tricky at times because some CPUs show a single clock speed. Once this is the case, you can make another consideration to choose the best- Find out if the clock speed is a turbo or base. Experts advise that turbo clock speeds are the best. Your computer can handle the workload of the game and still offer a similar level of performance. It simply adjusts itself to the speeds.

When you are reading through the reviews of various budget CPUs below, you’ll see these factors manifest themselves. They are key in your decision making.

Best Budget CPU For Gaming

1. Intel Core i3-8100 Desktop processor

Intel Core i3-8100 Desktop processor

Design specifications

The processor has four cores that form the main design features. This processor is an eight-generation one that also uses Intel hyper-threading technology. It is reliable for gamers because of its speeds. Ideally, it supports high speeds of 3.2 GHz because it runs on a robust architecture known as Coffee Lake. The speeds not only enhance the gaming experience but also help you to challenge other gamers.

Convenience features

There are many fascinating convenience features that come along with it. The most essential is that it comes with 64 GB of hard disk memory and DDR4 Ram. There are two basic setups that the memory can work on, single or dual channels. Also, to optimize its HDD performance, Intel Core i3-800 features optane technology. The convenience that comes with this desktop processor is worth its price. If performance is something you would rather have, then this processor is perfect for your CPU. The visuals and speeds that come with it may not be available on regular processors within a similar price range.

  • It consumes relatively low power compared to similar CPUs.
  • It’s perfect for games that require four cores to run
  • Comes with a 4k resolution
  • It has a 6MB smart cache
  • Clocks speeds of up to 3.2 GHz
  • No turbo boost technology support

2. AMD Ryzen 3 1200 Desktop Processor

Design specifications

It runs on Zen architecture, one of the best technologies in gaming CPUs. Also, it has features of SenseMi technology. This processor combines both high and low power designs and, therefore, can be used on any computer. Due to this feature, the system can take several commands in a single clock cycle. The most outstanding thing is the system can’t overheat for any reason.

Convenience features

The manufacturer integrated the company’s AM4 platform, which runs on dual memory. Although you may require a new cooler, we highly recommend the Wraith Stealth cooler in this case.

  • It comes with a noiseless cooler
  • It may clock up to 3.4GHz XFR speeds
  • Uses DDR4 memory
  • You can use it to operate USB 3.11 Gen 2
  • Even with big games such as battlefield, it won’t overheat
  • The video quality is a little poor

3. AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor

Design specifications

Trying to play 4K games with this process may be futile. However, you need to appreciate that you can the processor has good graphics coming with it. Zen architecture is a sophisticated technology that powers this integrates good graphics and amazing speed that make the user experience better. With a combination of both Vega, the most recent GPU architecture, and the latest CPU technology, gamers can enjoy its 14nm Raven Ridge. Vega architecture borrows graphics from AMD. It’s quite easy to use the generation graphics in the processors’ chips.

Convenient features

Basing its functionality on the AMD 300 series chipset, the CPU runs on AM4 sockets that already exist. Gamers can save money by pairing the A320 and B350 chipsets instead of going for costly alternatives. Some of the options you may take include the X370 chipsets. Although they are more efficient, you may not find it a costly option, especially if you’re working on a budget.

These convenience features make it the most desired by novice gamers. Instead of paying an arm and a leg to enjoy your first gaming experience, you can take it as a cheaper option. It offers solid performance and enhances your overall gaming experience with features such as the 1280 pixel resolution.

  • Better performance due to the use of AMD SenseMi technology
  • Production of 60 fps in 720-pixel games
  • Its clock can hit 3.5GHz and can also boost frequency to up to 3.7 GHz
  • Enmotus technology comes into play
  • Its installation is a little difficult than for entry-level CPUs

4. AMD Ryzen 3 1300X Desktop Processor

Design Features

It is another cheap with good performance invention by AMD. This CPU has four cores but costs relatively lower than you would expect it to. Also, it features the Zen architecture that gives users a gaming experience of their lives. You will love this model, especially because it will serve you well for graphic design and 3D tasks. Although AMD may produce other models in the future, You will not need to change your CPU. This is so because its design favors VR. Also, it is programmed to a 2+2 design. What AMD has done to it is quite simple, disabling a pair of cores but at the same time, producing more threads.

Convenience features

The base frequency of this CPU hits 3.2HGz. With turbo boost, you can crank it up to 3.6GHz. Also, on XFR, you can get the speeds to 3.9GHz. Therefore, it is one of the most adaptive processors. It can conform to your needs easily. Also, AMD could not forget to configure it to their AM4 platform. It allows you to pair it with multiple motherboards; therefore, increasing its potential.

  • It can get up to 60fms
  • It overclocks without overheating the components
  • It can work conveniently with the cheaper B350 platforms
  • On FXR, the frequencies get to up to 3.9GHz
  • Comes with a good cooler and a fan for additional cooling
  • You cannot multi-thread with this CPU

5. Intel Core i7-2600 Quad-Core Processor

Design Features

Are you a 3D games lover? This processor will serve you well. Intel Core i7-2600 core processor, unlike many processors, uses four threads to give you good user experience. For pro gamers who may be interested in more sophisticated gigs, finding a more expensive CPU may be an option. However, for most gamers, this processor can be a good option.

Convenience features

For a better 3D experience, this processor comes with inbuilt visuals. It may not be a bad option for regular graphic needs, either. Also, it won’t let you down in case you want to have a taste of the VR. It is important to note that one hardware lets you create different virtual environments. With this flexibility, playing on the same CPU each day is not a problem. The convenience features above make this processor fast and high performing. Also, it can multitask and offer you the best visuals. Besides, you can have a better gaming experience because the processor can hit high speeds.

  • Has four cores that can run up to speeds of 3.4GHz
  • Has hyper-threading technology that makes multitasking possible
  • Getting vector extensions is not a problem
  • With its graphics you can manage speeds of up to 850GHz while 1350GHz is possible with turbo speeds
  • You can create virtual environments easily
  • The processors don’t accept DDR4 memory

Best Budget CPU for gaming worth Under $200

6. Intel Core i5 8400 Desktop Processor 6 Cores

Design features

You get an amazing gaming experience when using this processor. It has more threads than most CPUs within the same price range. With less than $200, you can get the Intel Core i5 8400 processor and enjoy playing games. This CPU runs on core chips of the eighth generation and almost resembles the 6th generation Intel.

Intel manufactured this CPU with ten chips. The manufacturing process resembles the one used in manufacturing other processors i.e. 14nm. On a turbo frequency, this CPU clocks up to 4.7GHz speeds. That is mainly because of the excellent designing by the manufacturer. Although it has six cores, the system maintains its TDP measurement at 65W.

Convenient features

It combines several features to give you a non-skewed performance. It features good virtual reality, and that allows the users to have the best experiences with the system. Also, you can easily stream in 4K HD, and that makes the experience better. When trying out new games with it, you can see how this processor enhances the gaming experience. Even though it’s not unlocked, you can still get up to 50% more cores.

  • It hits 4.6GHz of speeds
  • Enhanced performance by the six cores
  • It can support Intel optane memory
  • You can stream or create Ultra 4K HD videos
  • You need to acquire a new Z270 chipset for the system

7. AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor

Design features

It is one of the latest models that has given AMD a completely new image. It has up to six cores that enhance the efficient running of the CPU. Besides, its ratio multipliers are universally unlocked to improve performance. It is based on 1080P gaming, which is common for many gaming CPUs. Therefore, it performs as good as many of the CPUs you’ve come across in the market. Its ability to deliver high rates is an exceptional feature. It can hit up to an average of 40 frames in a second. Experimenting with 1080P games yielded even higher rates of up to 60 frames per second. Despite the fact that it is not the expensive type, it is one of the best-performing CPUs you can buy at a low price.

Convenience features

The manufacturer does not talk about the ability of this processor to support XFR. However, after experimenting, we can conclude that it can easily adjust to high clock ratings. Therefore, even though you want to play a game that requires so much, you will have a good experience with this processor. When trying new clock speeds. You can use another cooler other than the Wraith Spire cooler. That boosts your user experience because the system won’t overheat.

  • It features up to 16MB of cache
  • It is unlocked and therefore can hit high clock rates
  • It can support games with the highest resolution
  • If a game requires more cores, this processor features up to 6 cores
  • It also features XFR technology
  • For a better gaming experience, you can pair it to an advanced GPU

8. Intel Core i3 8350K Desktop Processor

Design features

Even without hyper threading, this desktop processor has up to four cores. If you’ve used earlier versions of core i3, you may have experienced resolution challenges. That is not heard of with this processor. The four physical cores allow it to handle several; high demanding tasks at a go. Also, there are extra features that come with it. You can record your games and even share with friends giving you the best player experiences. Overclocking is not necessary with this processor. It can hit high speeds of up to 4.7GHz even without it. Therefore, integrating it with the latest GPU is simple. Once you integrate the two, you can experience high gaming speeds and better visuals.

Convenient features

This processor lets you tweak its performance so as to have better user experiences. It works best with CPUs that have Intel 300chpsets on their motherboards. Also, it has nonvolatile memory chips that allow it to store data even when the system shuts down unexpectedly. That means the system is of high efficiency. Since it is unlocked, it can hit high speeds making the games even more enjoyable. With its magnificent features, we can conclude that it fits a higher budget than it has.

  • It can overclock and enhance your gaming experience
  • It is also unlocked for higher efficiency
  • It can do up to 12 different tasks at one go because of the hyperthreading technology
  • It has an optane memory
  • It features a UFHD graphics 360 software
  • It does not support turbo speed

9. Intel Core i7-3770 Quad-Core Processor

Design features

It is one of the best gaming processors in the market. It features incredible fps that gives you the best resolutions when playing different kinds of games. It can handle multiple tasks in one go because it has four cores. These cores are further made more efficient with the eight threads that come along with it. If you have no plans to add a GPU, you can still get a good experience with the HD 4000 graphics in the system. It clocks high speeds of up to 3.4GHz. Also, it has a turbo boost that can help the processor to hit 3.9GHz speeds. It is fairly similar to the i7-3770K series. The distinguishing feature between the two is the multiplier feature. In the i7-3770K series, it is unlocked to improve the user experience.

Convenient features

There are three technological aspects that make this processor one of the best. First, it has a smart response that enhances the gaming experience. Secondly, it connects quickly to update apps and other features. Also, the boot times can be reduced highly because of the rapid start feature. Wireless accessibility is made possible with the integrated USB 3.0 support feature. Ideally, this processor not only supports your gaming needs but also can play a great role in many other functions. It features advanced technologies made by Intel, which is arguably the best CPU manufacturer. Therefore, your CPU can hit high clocking speeds, making it reliable for a variety of needs.

  • It integrates the use of 3D transistors
  • It can hit up to 3.9GHz speed
  • It supports PCI Express Gen 3
  • It has good audio that lets it support up to three independent displays
  • Data safety is made possible with the security features
  • It does not overclock because the system is not unlocked

10. Intel Core i5-7500 LGA 1151 7th Gen Core Desktop Processor

Design features

If you are a new gamer, you should try this processor. Building a new game on this processor can be simpler than trying to upgrade an existing one. By itself, it can hit up to 3.4GHz speeds and 3.9GHz speeds on the turbo mode. It may not be the best for big games since it is not unlocked. Therefore, overclocking is not possible with this processor.

Some of the important features are that it comes with four cores and four threads that are basic for better user experiences. Also, it features a 6MB L3 cache that boosts its performance. There’s no need for an additional cooler because the unit TDP rating is 65W. Also, the manufacturer uses the 14nm core process that allows it to work on higher frequencies without using high voltages.

Convenient features

For a good gaming experience, a CPU should be able to hit high speeds. This CPU integrates graphics that offer a frequency of from 350MHZ and can reach maximum levels of 1GHz. It is quite easy to integrate it with other CPUs without any challenges. Even for very demanding games, this processor can produce 26.5fps. For a budget of under $200, this is the best model you can use to build a rig. Your CPU can handle up to 4K video qualities with significant video upgrades. The fur cores allow it to run multiple programs at one go. It does not only give a good resolution with regular games but also more advanced ones.

  • It features a turbo boost 2.0 technology
  • Supports a 64GB with 4DDR RAMs for a better experience
  • It performs excellently when computing
  • It can use the latest video technology that allows upgrades
  • It can stream 4K HDR resolutions
  • The gaming experience cannot be enhanced by overclocking

Buying the best budget CPU for gaming: What to Consider

Once you have an understanding of what you need, you can go ahead and pick the best processor. One of the shortcomings of working with a budget of below $200 is that your choices are limited. First, it is important to understand the benefits of buying a high performing CPU. Read the benefits below.

Improved overclocking

Overclocking is one of the techniques that help improve the user experience. In the past few decades, it has been effective in enhancing gaming performance. The gaming speeds can increase without necessarily overheating the whole system. Also, they come with coolers that prevent overheating and at the same time making it impossible for the system to crash.

Better functionality

The CPU is the main component of a computer system. Games with good graphics require the best visual versions, such as 4K, to enhance user experiences. Also, the CPUs allow you to edit videos, especially the 3D types. If you invest in a good CPU, you’ll not need to buy another one to handle different tasks.

Things To Look Into When Buying a Cheap Gaming CPU


Some CPU use costly sockets. Therefore, it is a factor to look into when purchasing a gaming CPU. The better the socket, the higher the speeds your CPU can reach.

Cache memory

Being one of the most overlooked features, cache memory is very important to consider. It can immensely increase the speeds your computer operates at. If the cache memory is high, your CPU will perform better.

Energy consumption

CPUs that use a lot of energy produce a lot of heat. More advanced models require a lot of energy to operate. Also, the amount of sound they produce is relatively higher once the cooling system gets to work.

Ability to upgrade

You may buy a CPU with plans to upgrade it in the future. If that’s what you intend to do, it is advisable that you buy something compatible. For instance, the sockets should not be those that will change any sooner.

Your budget

Although you may not have a variety to choose from, you can still get a high performing CPU at below $200. What should determine your choice is the type of game you intend to play. Some will require cheap CPUs while the rest require more sophisticated ones.

Final thoughts

Finding a good CPU with a limited budget can be tricky. However, with good efforts, it is possible. This article features a list of some of the best CPUs you can buy within that budget and get the best out of them. Therefore, the price should not discourage you from enjoying games. Research well and get the best CPU for your needs.

Jeff Day
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