5 Best Budget CPU

Best Budget CPU

When shopping for PC parts, it’s very tempting to go for the latest and best hardware you can find, but there’s a threshold of diminishing returns that is easy to cross.

This is more evident in recent months due to the shortages of both CPUs and GPUs. 

For most people, apart from hard-core gamers, intensive media editors and PC overclockers, it’s not necessary that they invest in high-end PC components such as CPUs.

So budget CPUs can offer plenty of processing power for a wide variety of tasks.

Although you can find perfectly good reasons sometimes to spend extra for a high-end CPU, one of the budget-friendly alternatives can help you spend the extra cash on other PC parts such as GPUs or put it back in your pocket.

Often the biggest deciding factors when buying a CPU are what you plan to use it for and how often. That said, let’s look at the top budget-friendly CPUs available right now. 

5 Best Budget CPUArchitecureBase ClockBoost ClockCores/ThreadsTDPDimensionsWeight
AMD Athlon 3000GZen 23.5Ghz02 & 435W3.35 x 4.49 x 2.36 in. 1.76 oz.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Zen 23.6Ghz4.2Ghz6 & 1265W1.57 x 1.57 x 0.25 in. 1.6 oz.
Intel Core i3-12100Alder Lake3.3Ghz4.3Ghz4 & 860W1.77 x 1.78 x 0.2 in. 15.8 oz.
Intel Core i5-10600KComet Lake4.1Ghz4.8Ghz6 & 12125W1.73 x 4.1 x 4.65 in. 3.53 oz.
Intel Pentium Gold G5400Coffee Lake3.7Ghz02 & 458W4.58 x 2.76 x 3.98 in. 15.8 oz.

1. AMD Athlon 3000G

Best Budget CPU
Best Budget CPU – AMD Athlon 3000G

The AMD Athlon 3000G chip is a great pick if you’re looking for a dual-core and quad-thread CPU built on a decent platform to help you play games with the highest specs.

Its multiple processing threads help it perform better, and the bundled cooling unit makes it a better pick when it comes to cooling than any other CPU on this list.

Most people consider the Athlon 3000G a great pick for games with dynamic graphics support because it can easily support Full HD gaming needs while reducing lag time.

Key Specifications

  • Architecture: Zen 2
  • Base Clock: 3.5Ghz
  • Boost Clock: 0
  • Cores/Threads: 2/4
  • TDP: 35W
  • Dimensions: 3.35 x 4.49 x 2.36 Inches
  • Weight: 1.76 Ounces

2. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 

Best Budget CPU
Best Budget CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 3600 

The Ryzen 5 3600 is a classic pick for budget gamers. This affordable piece of tech is an overclockable 3.6Ghz six-core and twelve-thread CPU that can handle demanding gaming titles such as Civilization 6 at medium to high settings without a fuss.

Unlike more modern processors, the Ryzen 5 3600 runs fairly cool and can be used with its cooler without any issues, although you’ll need a better cooler if you want to overclock.

When it comes to tasks such as video editing, the Ryzen 5 3600 will manage your projects with relative ease if you use it in tandem with pre-existing video rendering techniques.

Key Specifications

  • Architecture: Zen 2
  • Base Clock: 3.6Ghz
  • Boost Clock: 4.2Ghz
  • Cores/Threads: 6/12
  • TDP: 65W
  • Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.25 Inches
  • Weight: 1.6 Ounces

3. Intel Core i3-12100

Best Budget CPU
Best Budget CPU – Intel Core i3-12100

The Core i3-12100 is indeed one of the best budget gaming CPUs available right now, and it’s also good at handling lightly-threaded applications. 

In fact, none of AMD’s budget line CPUs can match the i3-12100 in single-threaded work. So you’ll have to get a more expensive Alder Lake chip to better its performance. 

Key Specifications

  • Architecture: Alder Lake
  • Base Clock: 3.3Ghz
  • Boost Clock: 4.3Ghz
  • Cores/Threads: 4/8
  • TDP: 60W
  • Dimensions: ‎1.77 x 1.78 x 0.2 Inches
  • Weight: 15.8 Ounces

4. Intel Core i5-10600K

Best Budget CPU
Best Budget CPU – Intel Core i5-10600K

The Core i5-10600K desktop processor is the best budget CPU available for gaming right now. It features six cores and twelve threads that offer an amazing display for games.

This CPU comes with an LGA 1200 socket which is good for saving power. Since it can reach boost clock speeds of up to 4.8Ghz, you can expect exceptional performance. 

The Core i5-10600K has an Intel 400 series chipset compatibility perfect for most PCs. So expect top-notch gaming and productivity performance from this CPU. 

Key Specifications

  • Architecture: Comet Lake
  • Base Clock: 4.1Ghz
  • Boost Clock: 4.8Ghz
  • Cores/Threads: 6/12
  • TDP: 125W
  • Dimensions: ‎1.73 x 4.1 x 4.65 Inches
  • Weight: 3.53 Ounces

5. Intel Pentium Gold G5400

Best Budget CPU
Best Budget CPU – Intel Pentium Gold G5400

Intel’s Pentium Gold G5400 desktop processor has impressive features and specifications that can support two DDR4 channels.

This will allow you to boost your RAM capacity later on if you want to or if need be. 

The smart cache technology on the Gold G5400 sets up a defining performance. It can easily escalate with your desktop offering the perfect clock boost when needed.

The Gold G5400 is also a low-wattage CPU, so it doesn’t consume a lot of power.

Key Specifications

  • Architecture: Coffee Lake
  • Base Clock: 3.7Ghz
  • Boost Clock: 0
  • Cores/Threads: 2/4
  • TDP: 58W
  • Dimensions: ‎4.58 x 2.76 x 3.98 Inches
  • Weight: 15.8 Ounces

Final Thought

To sum it all up, a good budget-friendly CPU allows you to multitask and engage in intensive gaming and productivity exploits.

As a result, you won’t spend a lot of cash, and you can reduce lag time in games and rendering, giving you better performance overall. 

See Also

Best CPU Cooler

Best AMD CPU

Best CPU for Gaming

Best CPU for Mining

How to Overclock CPU?

How to Check CPU Temp?