With the launch of Intel's Alder lake series of chipsets, the price-to-performance ratio has never been better. Budget-conscious buyers are going to have a tough time choosing from what seems to be the greatest lineup of chipsets in recent memory.
However, the GPU market is still plagued with availability issues. So, it makes sense to go for an efficient chip that can offer decent performance when paired with a low-end graphics card.
While both camps, Intel and AMD, share some commonalities, the differences for the end consumer might prove to be significant. Ryzen stock coolers, for instance, are remarkably better than their Intel counterparts. Now, in case you don't have the budget for a water/air-cooled system, buying Intel and expecting stupendous thermal performance is going to be counterproductive.
If you're looking to buy a budget CPU, ensuring you get good value for your money can be a difficult task. Thankfully, help is available.
Best budget chipsets in PC gaming
Not everyone can afford to buy high-end products on the market or simply don't want to, and this is why there are products available at different price points.
Today's budget CPUs are more than capable of offering a great gaming experience. And to help you make an educated choice, here are the top five chipsets that are also budget-friendly.
5. AMD Ryzen 5 3600
First things first, Ryzen 5 3600 doesn't have integrated graphics. So, you're out of luck if you're building a PC without a GPU. But on a good day you can find it for as low as $200, and for that price, you're getting AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, six cores/ 12 threads, and an in-box Wraith cooler to help keep thermals in check.
Coupled with a good GPU like the RTX 3050, you will be able to play most games in Full HD at high/ultra settings.
4. Intel Core i3 12100F
A power-efficient, versatile beast that can run the latest and greatest titles while retailing for just $120. The 12100F competes with nothing else. AMD market share in the sub-$180 category is minuscule, thanks to higher-priced Zen 3 chips.
The PC gaming fraternity has always seen the i3 as a mediocre compromise, but now it's bathing in glory.
Featuring 4 cores/8 threads, it handles everything you throw at it like a champ, albeit with a sub-par editing prowess when it comes to handling high-res textures of 4K videos. Moreover, its freakishly low peak power consumption of 89W makes sure it can be used with a low-watt power supply unit.
3. Intel Core i5 12400F
It's safe to say that there isn't a better value-for-money chipset out there right now. The performance of this CPU is so good that it wouldn't even cause a bottleneck when paired with a high-end card like the 3080Ti.
The single-core numbers rival the best out there, including Ryzen 9 5900X and Intel's own Tiger Lake series of chips.
At $180, if this is not a steal, it's hard to tell what is. Compared to the last-gen Tiger Lake, the bus bandwidth sees a significant jump. Furthermore, with B660 motherboards getting cheaper with each passing day, it makes total sense to invest in a smart and sustainable future where you can upgrade every chance you get without burning a hole in your pocket.
2. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
The core count has become a point of debate lately in the world of PC gaming, and there are different schools of thought, each promoting a specific narrative.
However, all that matters is the availability of the PCIe 4.0 interface, frugal power expenditure, and solid multi-threaded power delivery. And when it comes to these features, the 3300X has got you covered.
Legacy hardware users, too, have benefited greatly from this chip, considering that the 3300X still sits on AM4 board sockets.
1. Intel Core i5 12600KF
At $300, this is the most expensive chipset on this list. Sporting 10 cores/16 threads, along with a PCIe 5.0 boost clock of 4.9Ghz, it can handle anything you throw at it.
This chipset is also overclockable, and users have reported a gain of as much as 10 FPS in games like Apex Legends with thermals in check. Enthusiasts, gamers, and content creators, the people that run the PC gaming sphere, have wholeheartedly approved of Intel's Alder Lake surprise, the i5 12600KF.
The budget-conscious buyer doesn't always have to compromise. The current PC gaming landscape is welcoming and offers something for everyone.
Legacy users can still opt for current AM4 chipsets that offer reasonably-priced upgrades for their aging PCs. Meanwhile, budding PC builders can blindly go for the latest Alder Lake goodness from good ol' Intel.
All in all, this is a mighty good time to be a PC gamer.
Poll : AMD or Intel?