There has never been an appropriate time to buy a cheap gaming CPU. The popular CPU brands in the gaming niche are on each other’s throats in a fierce competition to tap into the segment of affordable CPU chips. Hence, it’s now possible to purchase a gaming-capable CPU for as low as US$100. AMD’s newer processors have brought disruption in the low-cost segment by getting even more competitive and retailing at slightly less than US$100. Intel has responded by bringing the concept of hyper-threading (splitting a CPU’s cores into two virtual cores to allow each core to perform two tasks simultaneously) to its famous low-end Pentium CPUs and two extra cores to its Core i3 line. This revamp has improved performance the performance of the budget chips although they still face significant graphics challenges

Category US$100 – US$130

Core i3 family of processors from Intel provides the impressive single-threaded performance to accomplish light gaming tasks on web browsers and playing light games on the PC. They come with an integrated graphics engine. AMD’s Ryzen 3 family of processorsis competitive in that it comes with several unlocked ratio multipliers to give you the freedom to overclock it. They, however, don’t come with an integrated graphics unit.

1. Intel Core i3-8100


  • 3.6GHz frequency
  • 4 threads and 4 cores – not hyper-threaded
  • Bundled coolers
  • UHD Graphics 630 processing engine

The fact that this processor comes with an integrated graphics engine means you don’t need to incur extra costs to acquire a video card. The four cores take its performance a notch higher. Intel Core i3-8100 retails at US$130.

2. AMD Ryzen3 1300X


  • 4 physical cores
  • Unlocked multipliers
  • Bundled coolers
  • Supports overclocking especially on the cheap Socket AM4 motherboards that work best with B350 chipset

This processor’s performance is remarkable, more so if you are thinking of tunning your gaming system. The absence of an integrated graphics engine is a major setback though. AMD Ryzen3 1300X retails at US$125

Category US$85 – US$100

We place more scrutiny on integrated graphics engine as go down the pricing range. Few AMD processors provide impressive graphics horsepower for light gaming needs.

1. AMD Ryzen3 2200G

When gaming on a budget, playing without separate graphics card can be a money saver. The on-chip Vega graphics engine is capable of flawlessly delivering 720p performance. Better yet, you can fit it to the readily available and inexpensive 300-series motherboards, albeit with a BIOS update, to create a high performance and low-cost gaming PC. AMD Ryzen3 2200G has a price tag of US$89.

2. Intel Pentium 65600 Gold

This processor comes with an array of awesome goodies onboard: 4 logical threads, 4 megabytes of L3 cache, 2 physical cores, and a 3.9GHz clock speed. Pair this processor with a discrete graphics engine brings a great performance. Sadly, you can’t overclock it.

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