5 best budget CPUs for gaming in 2024

Budget CPUs like Core i5 and Ryzen 5 can game pretty well these days (Image via Amazon and AMD)
Budget CPUs like Core i5 and Ryzen 5 can game pretty well these days (Image via Amazon and AMD)

With all the advancements in single-core performance lately, budget CPUs have become a good choice for gaming in 2024. Both Intel and AMD, the leading players in the chip market, have launched several options that can deliver top-notch performance while not costing a hefty premium. Some notable examples are the Intel Core i5-14400 and the AMD Ryzen 5 7600.

Choosing the best CPU that is fine-tuned for your gaming requirements can be a bit tricky. Both Intel and AMD have several options within a few dollars of each other which makes the process even more difficult. A good example of such variants is the Ryzen 5 7600 and the newer Ryzen 5 8500G.

To help you buy the best CPUs, this article will list the ideal chips available today. We will go over all sorts of requirements, from the bare minimum for gaming on a budget to chips that can double up as a workstation.


Budget CPUs are great for gaming today

5) Intel Core i3-13100 ($109.99)

The Core i3-13100 is the best budget CPU for around $100 (Image via Amazon)
The Core i3-13100 is the best budget CPU for around $100 (Image via Amazon)

The Intel Core i3-13100 is a fantastic budget CPU for gamers. The reason we are including the older 13100 instead of the Core i3-14100 is because of the value for money. For just $109.99, the older processor delivers enough power to meet the requirements of the average video game.


Core i3-13100
Core count4
Thread count8
Max. boost clock4.50 GHz
Memory supportUp to DDR5 4800 MT/s, up to DDR4 3200 MT/s
TDP60W

Under its hood, the i3-13100 bundles four cores and eight threads. Since it is based on the Raptor Lake architecture, you can expect superb single-core performance marks, which helps the chip stand out in gaming applications. It can be comfortably paired with an RTX 4060 Ti without any significant bottlenecks.

Pros:

  1. The Core i3-13100 is a superb budget CPU in the $100 range.
  2. Motherboards for the 13100 are cheap.
  3. It supports cheaper DDR4 memory.

Cons:

  1. Just four cores isn't enough for productivity work.
  2. The i3-13100 doesn't feature core overclocking. Memory overclocking support is limited.

4) Intel Core i5-14400 ($199.99)

The Intel Core i5-14400 is a superb $199 gaming CPU (Image via Newegg)
The Intel Core i5-14400 is a superb $199 gaming CPU (Image via Newegg)

The Intel Core i5-14400 is the latest in the line of the most popular budget CPUs in the market. The chip is a balance of computing power, price, and system requirements, making it a fan favorite. The newer Raptor Lake Refresh edition offers boosted core counts and operating clock speeds.


Core i5-14400
Core count10 (6P+4E)
Thread count16
Max. boost clock4.70 GHz
Memory supportUp to DDR5 4800 MT/s, up to DDR4 3200 MT/s
TDP65W (148W turbo power)

Under the hood, you get a total of ten cores, six of which are high-performance 'P' rated and the rest are efficient 'E' cores. The processor features a total of 16 threads, which comes in handy in productivity work. Intel pairs the UHD 730 with the chip, which is only good for basic video output. If you plan on adding a discrete GPU, we recommend the 14400F, which costs $20 less.

This budget CPU can be paired with up to the RTX 4070 Super or the Radeon RX 7800 XT on the AMD side without any significant bottlenecks.

Pros:

  1. The Core i5-14400 features 10 (6P+4E) cores.
  2. The chip can easily be cooled.
  3. Motherboards for the 14400 can be plenty cheap.

Cons:

  1. No CPU core overclocking support. Limited memory overclocking options, unlike the competition.

3) AMD Ryzen 5 7600 ($199)

The AMD Ryzen 5 7600 is an alternative to the Core i5-14400 (Image via Amazon)
The AMD Ryzen 5 7600 is an alternative to the Core i5-14400 (Image via Amazon)

The AMD Ryzen 5 7600 is the direct competitor to Intel's Core i5-14400. The chip is also aggressively priced at $199, making it one of the cheapest latest-generation budget CPUs you can find in the market. It is based on AMD's latest Zen 4 architecture that brings superb single-core performance to the table, making the processor a great choice for gamers.


AMD Ryzen 5 7600
Core count6
Thread count12
Max. boost clock5.10 GHz
Memory supportUp to DDR5 5200 MT/s
TDP65W

The Ryzen 5 bundles six cores and twelve threads, like any other chip launched in the lineup. It boosts to 5.0 GHz and draws just 65W. The 7600 is easy to tame with just an air cooler, and it ships with the Wraith Stealth out of the box. Moreover, you get full core and memory overclocking support with it.

The Ryzen 5 7600, like the 14400, can easily handle up to an RTX 4070 Super or RX 7800 XT.

Pros:

  1. The Ryzen 5 7600 is a budget CPU with superb single-core performance.
  2. It supports full core and memory overclocking.
  3. The chip can be paired with a cheap A620 motherboard.

Cons:

  1. It only supports the more expensive DDR5 memory.
  2. You get fewer motherboard options than the Intel alternative.

2) AMD Ryzen 5 8600G ($229)

The AMD Ryzen 5 8600G is the latest APU from Team Red (Image via Best Buy)
The AMD Ryzen 5 8600G is the latest APU from Team Red (Image via Best Buy)

The AMD Ryzen 5 8600G is one of the latest budget CPU launches from Team Red. The processor shares a similar architecture with the Ryzen 5 7600, despite being named a generation ahead. As the name suggests, this chip is an APU. It packs a powerful graphics processor ⎯ the Radeon 760M ⎯ under the hood, which makes it a solid option for those looking for a full setup under $500 total.

AMD Ryzen 5 8600G
Core count
6
Thread count
12
iGPURadeon 760M
Max. boost clock5 GHz
Memory supportUp to DDR5 5200 MT/s
TDP65W

The 8600G is close to the 7600 in terms of specs. It features the same six Zen 4 cores and twelve threads and boosts to 5.0 GHz. Both chips can run off the same motherboard and RAM too. However, what makes the difference is the 760M iGPU, which can comfortably play all of the latest titles at 720p and 1080p.

If you're planning to pair the 8600G with a discrete graphics card, it can easily support up to an RTX 4070 Super or the RX 7800 XT. The 4070 Ti Super will be a stretch, but it's doable with this chip.

Pros:

  1. The Ryzen 5 8600G is a $230 budget CPU that packs the capable Radeon 760M under its hood.
  2. It can easily be paired with a cheap A620 motherboard.
  3. At 65W, the 8600G can be paired with a cheap air cooler and can make do with even a 450W power supply.

Cons:

  1. CPU performance of the 8600G isn't any better than the cheaper Ryzen 5 7600.

1) Intel Core i5-14600 ($255)

The Core i5-14600 is a budget alternative to the 14600K (Image via Intel)
The Core i5-14600 is a budget alternative to the 14600K (Image via Intel)

The Intel Core i5-14600 is the perfect budget CPU for those looking for a mix of high-end performance on a tight budget. It's competitively priced at $255 while only being a slightly cut-down version of the higher-end 14600K. You get the same fourteen cores and twenty threads with the chip, alongside the superb single-core performance the 'K' chip is known for. This makes the 14600 the best buy for budget players.


Intel Core i5-14600
Core count14 (6P+8E)
Thread count20
Max. boost clock5.20 GHz
Memory supportUp to DDR5 5600 MT/s, up to DDR4 3200 MT/s
TDP65W (up to 154W turbo power)

The chip, however, requires a decent cooler and motherboard for full performance. Although it supports DDR4 memory, you must pair it with DDR5 to utilize 100% of what it has to offer. Moreover, the CPU also requires at least a 550W power supply since it goes well past its 65W rated limit under full load.

You can pair up to an RTX 4080 Super or RX 7900 XTX with this CPU. However, we recommend not going over an RTX 4070 Ti Super or RX 7900 XT.

Pros:

  1. The Core i5-14600 is a superb budget CPU with 14 cores and 20 threads.
  2. It is power and thermally efficient.
  3. Multiple affordable motherboards are available for it.

Cons:

  1. The 14600 requires good cooling and a capable power supply.

These budget CPUs provide the most bang for the buck in today's market. We have fine-tuned the list with those options that help you save the most without compromising on gaming performance. Feel free to opt for any of these for your next build according to your budget.

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Edited by Siddharth Satish
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