Home Linux Gaming The 10 best cheap CPUs for gaming in 2021

The 10 best cheap CPUs for gaming in 2021

by Emmanuel
pc gaming

Not long ago, life was tricky when purchasing a gaming PC or laptop as it was super expensive – beyond the budget for many hardcore gamers. However, as the globe quickly diversified its approach towards the 4K gaming, having an exceptional hardware combination is vital.

In today’s gaming world, if you have the best CPU for gaming, you can easily integrate it with the latest graphics card and find yourself an enjoyment tool for many years without interruption. Previously, there used to be a single CPU ‘intel’ that supported gaming; hence made the gaming world too expensive and unaffordable to many gamers.

However, from the introduction of the Ryzen series of processors AMD, the whole situation has improved. This processor series has released fascinating gaming processor units that match well with Intel processors. They are also found at a very affordable price.

The production of this superb gaming CPU worried Intel, forcing them to lower the prices of the CPUs to match the market competition status. However, this resulted in an advantage to gamers and creative users as it helped them save their cash and use them to purchase other stuff to enhance their CPU performance even further.

Since the processor is everything on your PC, it, therefore, means that to build a solid gaming computer in 2021 and even beyond, you will require a very quality CPU. In other cases, you may find a game that may heavily depend on your graphics card strength, such as the RTS’ and MMORPGs. However, many more calculations need to be completed, requiring a wholesome processor. This should be a considering factor in your decision when looking for the best gaming CPU.

Another additional factor to consider before purchasing a CPU is the total budget you have planned to set for your build. You will not obliviously spend, for instance, $200 to buy a CPU that you need to support a $500 gaming PC, which can be described as a poor budget.

10 best cheap CPUs for gaming in 2021

To find yourself the best CPU for your computer, read through this article since it has covered a good number of the best CPUs in the market right now. 

1. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Ryzen 3 3300X offers a new level of its own performance for a budget that all gamers or users can afford. The CPU comes with 4 cores and with threads that can support middle-range graphics cards to their end of the stretch. In addition, the processor uses the Zen 2 architecture supported with the 7nm process to boost its performance to a whole new level, thus enabling or rather supporting new features for slower processors.

The processor’s four cores work at a ticking speed of 3.8 GHz clock rate, which can also be boosted to 4.3 GHz, hence providing a high-performance threaded application for games.

The AMD comes with a Wraith Spire cooler processor that functions as the processor’s cooler. Still, though, you might consider buying a better low-end processor cooler in case you want to unlock the full-performing potential of this CPU. This particularly applies to users who are overclocking in most instances.

Speaking of overclocking, this outstanding CPU can overclock to the highest all-core frequencies, thus grading itself among the best chips for supporters. However, compared to other current generational CPUs, you will require to pair this very processor with a discrete iGPU; additionally, the low-price allocation gives you an extra room in the budget for a more compelling graphics card.

Some of the great reasons to convince you to purchase this superb chip include:

  • It supports overclocking.
  • It has a low price which is crucial.
  • It has a superb gaming performance.
  • It has an older TIM.
  • It has a power efficiency.
  • It has PCIe 4.0 interface.


  • Architecture: Zen 2.
  • TDP: 65W.
  • Cores: 4.
  • Threads: 8.
  • Frequency: 3.8 GHz.

Those are some of the features and specification that this CPU come with. You really should give this CPU a try because it is worth owning.

2. Intel Pentium Gold G5400

Intel Pentium Gold G5400

Intel Pentium Gold G5400

The Pentium Gold G5400 is among the first-class Pentium processors available in the market. Thus, the CPU’s price is low and can easily be accessed by anyone with a low budget for gaming purposes. Furthermore, with the 3.7 GHz clock frequency and the 4MB SmartCache properties, it makes this an ideal processor one would love to work with daily.

Additionally, the processor supports hyper-threading that allows smooth gaming transitions throughout the game.

If you search for a general-purpose CPU that you don’t want to spend a lot of cash in, then Pentium Gold G5400 would be the best shot for you. With the nowadays core-branded chips on the market, you might be shocked to hear the name “Intel Pentium” now, but the processor in real sense has some great life in it.

While still only a dual-core processor, this Intel Pentium Gold G5400 supports hyperthreading and a clock speed to compete with the Core i3. In every place, whether home or office, this processor is adequate for all these areas. Who on earth, when told to recommend this kind of processor, won’t recommend it? With all these features and reliable cost price, then you really should own this. However, this has also some pitfalls just like any other processor, some of which include;

  • Limited to DDR4-2400 memory.
  • Has only two cores.

3. AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

With the advancing technologies and high cost of living standards, getting money is tight, meaning you are forced to play your game without graphics. This means that you need to save a large sum of money to find yourself an appealing graphics card. Additionally, with the soaring RAM prices, those working with small budgets need to do all they can to match the standards before playing those games.

However, we have done our exploration and found you a solution. The four-core, threaded Ryzen 3 2200G should be the ideal option for you as it is specifically designed to cater to the budget of gaming builders and those upgrading their gaming status.

The chip offers a compact 720p performance thanks to its Vega chip graphics. In addition, the processor has a decent CPU muscle that handles stuff such as mainstreaming tasks. Interestingly, the chip can be used by the 300-series motherboards; this is achieved after updating the BIOS requisite.

Surprisingly, the chip is unlocked, meaning that you can harmonize the graphics or the CPU with proper cooling to give the best outcome performance that probably suits your needs.

Below are some of the critical factors that will convince you to purchase this chip:

  • It has a favorable price.
  • It has unlocked multipliers.
  • It has higher frequencies.
  • It has a 720p gaming performance.

However, with all the listed advantages, the chip also has some pitfalls that you may want to avoid. Some of which include:

  • Surety of motherboard and BIOS compatibility.
  • Requires an enhanced heatsink for overclocking.
  • Has eight lanes for PCIe slots.

The chip’s specification/ features.

  • It has 4 cores.
  • It has a boost frequency of around 3.7 GHz.
  • It has a TDP of 65W.
  • Architecture: Zen.
  • iGPU: Radeon Vega 8.
  • It has a graphics frequency of 1100 MHz
  • It has 4 threads.

4. AMD Athlon 240GE

AMD Athlon 240GE

AMD Athlon 240GE

The AMD Athlon 240GE works pretty well with low-end gaming systems. This should be an encouraging message to those who faded up with their PC systems because of their work rate and performance nature since this chip is integrated with Vega 3 graphics.

These graphics aids in boosting lower resolutions and giving quality settings to your PC. What makes this chip kind of different from, let us say its counterparts, is the 3.5 GHz base clock.

You can harmonize this chip to provide the same top performance as the more expensive chips because of the unofficial support for overclocking. The addition of the unofficial overclocking sweetens this deal even more, plus the graphics processing software since there will be no difference between you and one who owns the most expensive Athlon.

Additionally, if this overclocking was or is not in your plans, then Athlon 240GE is the best budget chip that suits you considering its favorable affordability.

We are going to list some reasons that can make you want to think about purchasing this chip. For instance:

  • Has a weak single-threaded performance.
  • Graphics engine and memory that cannot be overclocked.

Despite some pitfalls of this chip, there are also massive advantages linked with it, as listed below.

  • It has a very attractive and affordable price.
  • All the models provide a look-alike performance rate after overclocking.
  • It comes with a bundled thermal solution.
  • Can handle overclocking despite not being officially supported.

Some of the chip’s specification

  • It has 2 cores.
  • It has a 3.5 GHz boost frequency.
  • It has a TDP of 35 W.
  • It has Radeon Vega 3 iGPU.
  • It has a graphic frequency of 1GHz.
  • Its Architecture is Zen.

5. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

As generations come and go, AMD’s Zen architecture has been improved in every coming age. Upon introducing to the market, this gaming CPU managed to compete favorably in the market knocking out 19% IPC improvement with Zen 3. This clearly shows that AMD can compete with Intel when it comes to gaming without wavering. Although, to be honest, there is so little between these two by now if anyone is claiming otherwise.

Your PC’s processor resolution does not matter with this superb processor since AMD can handle it and keep your graphics card fed with multiple juicy frames. Some of the specification of this CPU include:

  • It has 12 cores
  • Supports a 3.7 G Base Clock
  • It has a 4.8 GHz Boost Clock
  • It supports overclocking
  • It has a TDP of 105 W
  • It has a PCI2 4.0 lanes:20
  • It has 24 threads

What makes this CPU great is that it is a 12-core and a 24-thread monster, meaning that it can handle anything you try to give without struggling. Suppose you have asked yourself where you can find a CPU that can strongly support 3D rendering, video editing that many crave, plus any other serious task, then you need not worry more since this CPU can help you fulfill your dream. Another fact that makes it worth owning is that it won’t hold you back when gaming. This should be one consideration fact that gamers would ever want their computers to have.

6. AMD Ryzen 3 3100

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

Those budget-minded users who missed out on all 3rd generation Ryzen fascinating features should cherish the latest attempt brought to market by this organization. In which way can anyone deny that AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is cost-friendly.

Nonetheless, this (affordable price) does not affect its performance. Indeed, its chip performance competes with those processors that double its price. Moreover, the chip does not consume a lot of power to offer its performance in any way.

The processor is an excellent selection choice for gamers who want to enjoy themselves but at a lower price. Subsequently, we recommend this chip because of the previously mentioned abilities that the chip has. To add to that, the chip can handle the 1080p gaming resolution. Therefore, this means that the chip supports high-definition gameplay, which most gamers would love.

Features and the Chipset

The AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is built on the Zen 2. This is similar to the rest of the AMD Ryzen 3000 series.  Earlier, gamers looking for a Ryzen 3 CPU were forced to choose between the AMD Ryzen 2300X or the AMD Ryzen 3200G based on the 12 nm Zen+ architecture.

Nevertheless, the switch to the new 7nm architecture certified AMD to enable SMT and push clocks to speed higher despite maintaining the same 65 W thermal design power (TDP) on the previous editions of Ryzen 3 processors.

That bundled up with the substantive upgrade in IPC (instruction per clock) performance. Therefore, this means that this chipset’s performance is way more powerful than the Ryzen 3 2300X.

About cache, AMD Ryzen 3 3100 caches is doubled with 18MB total cache, 16 MB of which is L3. Compared to the 8MB of L3 cache that supports Ryzen 3 2300 and the 6MB of cache found on the Intel Core i3-9100.

With all the named features at hand, then your machine’s general performance should be well boosted.


  • It has an affordable price.
  • It consumes less power.
  • It has an excellent performance and work rate.


Not as fast as 3300X.

May jam high-end GPUs


  • It has a 3.5 GHz base clock.
  • It has 4 cores.
  • It has 8 threads.
  • It has an L3 cache: 16 MB.
  • It has a TDP of 65W.
  • It has a 3.6 GHz boost clock.

7. AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

For those looking for the best “cheap” processor to use, then AMD Ryzen 5 3600X should be the best alternative for you. The processor comes with well-integrated graphics and a base clock of 3.8 GHz. The processor’s six cores put out some of the most outstanding performances in the mid-range processor class.

One of the best things that many people like about this chip is its price levels being low. This favors many gamers enticing them to purchase it.

If we, for instance, run a comparison between Intel Core i5-9600k, which may perform better if the comparison relies on the terms of the single-core performance. Ryzen will outdo it if we grade in terms of threads. Ryzen 5 3600 X 12 processing threads overlap the Intel chip putting it far out in front.

Multitasking nowadays is prime in doing office work, home, or even gaming, so with the rise of multitasking pursuit, AMD Ryzen 5 3600X stands out on the merit line before considering its reduced prices.

Despite the lowered price levels, the chip takes into account and doesn’t use this as an excuse of not providing a high-level performance, as it has an increased IPC (instructions per clock) performance. Along with that, the processor has a high clock speed regardless of the price.

What makes this processor even more compelling for gaming is the 6-cores and the 12-threaded processor that are fast enough to provide a pleasant gaming experience without lag.

Compared to the previous versions of this AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, this AMD processor offers enhanced performance with a reduced power consumption TDP (thermal design power) of 65W. In contrast, the 2nd generation chip is rated at 95W.

This works as economic escape support for those who pay electricity bills. In addition, the low rate of power consumption can be used for environmental preservation. This is because it helps keep the environment temperature down, leading to a higher performance rate.

When contrasting about cache, The AMD Ryzen 5 2600X had 16MB of L3 and 3MB of L2 cache, which adds up to 19MB of cache in total. With the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, the cache is boosted to 35MB, 32 MB of which represents L3 and 3MB of L2.

The previously named features offer a massive boost for a superb gaming performance since the processor games at 1080p, meaning the game display is high definition.

To finalize the features and chipset support for PCIe. AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation supports PCIe 4.0, which remarkably boosts bandwidth for PCIe devices such as graphic cards and SSDs. The only graphics that can take advantage of PCIe 4.0 are the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT and RX5700. Better still, SSDs profit the most. This is because the new interface can get up to 51% faster than the non PCIe 4.0 counterparts.


  • It offers outstanding performances.

Has a CPU cooler.


  • It has only 6 cores.


  • It has a base clock of 3.8GHz.
  • It has 6 cores.
  • It has an L3 cache of 32MBs.
  • It has a TDP of 95W.
  • It supports a boost clock of 4.4GHz.
  • It has 12 threads.

8. AMD Athlon 200GE

AMD Athlon 200GE

AMD Athlon 200GE

AMD Athlon is a Zen-based processor that is worth owning. Cheers to its Vega 3 graphics and the 4 computing threads that make the gaming light and play on well-organized settings and resolutions. Some may look at the lightly threaded performance and start judging Athlon; in some scenarios, when you have a lightly performing thread which is obviously not great, but on the other hand, you have spent little on the CPU, then it should be okay. In life, you should at least expect some compromises in some instances.

If your budget can range at around $90, then Ryzen is a much better processor for you. It comes with several cores and beefier graphics. So, when you have the $90, but you only spend only $70 or even less on purchasing this CPU that you are not even adding a dedicated graphics card, then you should really think of the Athlon 200GE.

Gold G5400 and Gold G4560 Intel Pentiums provide an advanced level of CPU performance compared to AMD Athlon 200GE. However, they have higher MSRPs and face a production shortage which lowers their market production consistency.

Speed-wise, the Athlon 200GE’s processing cores work at a fixed rate of 3.2 GHz, with no boost. On the graphics components, the chip has a 1GHz clock rate.

Lately, updates on the motherboard firmware from MSI and Gigabyte made it possible to overclock the Athlon 200GE. Unfortunately, these are the only available updates and are built on AMD’s basic AGESA code. This code is a bootstrap protocol that makes ready the processor core, memory, and the infinity fabric.

Note: The AMD’s warranty cannot be held liable for any overclocking-related damage on any of its processors. The limitation is even severe on the Athlon 200GE since it is officially a multiplier-locked CPU.

The Athlon 200GE is a spontaneous fit for entry-level socket AM4 motherboards that have the A320 chipset. Their advantage is that they offer the elasticity for one to upgrade to a faster Ryzen CPU.

Additionally, you can also benefit from USB 3.1 Gen 2 and NVMe support; the chip comes with 4MB of L3 cache. Interestingly, this processor accelerates the AVX instruction set, contrasting the Celeron CPUs and Intel’s Pentium.

The Chipset plays games at a resolution rate of 720p in eSports games.


  • It has an affordable price.
  • Includes a bundled thermal solution.
  • It supports overclocking despite not being officially supported.
  • After overclocking, all models offer the same performance.


  • Weak single-threaded performance
  • Graphics engine and memory cannot be overclocked


  • It has 2 cores.
  • It has a boost frequency of 3.2 GHz.
  • It uses Zen architecture.
  • It has 4 threads.
  • It has a frequency of 1.1 GHz.
  • Its iGPU is Radeon Vega 3.
  • It has a TDP of 35W.

9. Intel Core I3-8100

Intel Core I3-8100

Intel Core I3-8100

This is one of the CPUs that offers high performance in this roundup. Despite its unmatched performance, this CPU is also very affordable as it is very cheap. In contrast, the CPU outshines Ryzen 3 1300X in both two features (multi-threaded and single-threaded performance) despite both the chips having four physical cores and four threads.

This superb CPU will pair well with a GTX 1050 Ti, not forgetting top-tier 1060 without any compatibility issues. The CPU is excellent when it comes to the gaming sector. Additionally, the processor also fits some other workstation tasks, such as video editing and multitasking. Those workstation tasks are challenging to attain when you don’t have a powerful CPU.

For its price, it’s an outstanding all-around processor. Regrettably, nothing is that perfect, and this chipset is not exceptional. The CPU has some pitfalls that we thought you should be aware of. The CPU is not shipped with a stock cooler from the manufacturer. This means that you will have to invest a little more in an aftermarket CPU cooler.


  • It has 4 threads.
  • It has a base/boost frequency of 3.6GHz
  • It Has a TDP of 65W.
  • It uses Coffee Lake Architecture.
  • It has an iGPU of 630 Graphics UHD.
  • It has 4 cores.


  • It has four physical cores.
  • It is suitable for gaming plus workstation tasks.


  • Does not support hyper-threading.

10. AMD Ryzen 3 1300X

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X is another CPU that is worth trying if you are a gamer. The CPU is shipped with a stock cooler in the box that works pretty well to meet your PC’s cooling needs. In the real sense, this will save you approximately $20 because the cooler shipped with the CPU is around $20. $20 is money that you can spend on other stuff than rebuying a CPU cooler.

Unfortunately, the device does not have integrated graphics, which you should keep in mind since this feature can only be found with second-generation Ryzen chips. However, this should not be a red flag, albeit because any gaming PC should have a dedicated video card anyways.

Cost-wise, this Chipset is way better than the Intel Core i3 CPUs; we say this because of the approximated $20 you will incur to buy a core i3 Intel CPU a stock cooler.


  • It has a socket AM4.
  • It has 4 cores.
  • It has a base boost of 3.5 GHz.
  • It has a TDP of 65 W.
  • Its Architecture is Zen.
  • It has a boost frequency of 3.7 GHz.
  • It has 4 threads.
  • Its iGPU is Radeon Vega 8.


  • The CPU is very cheap.
  • It has high clock speeds.
  • It has unlocked multipliers.


  • It has compatibility issues with older designs of motherboards.

Some of the facts you need to consider

Intel vs. AMD

A while ago, all gamers and the gaming community would probably agree that Intel CPUs had dominated the gaming market by producing very great CPUs at the moment. Unfortunately, at the time, AMD only offered slow and outdated CPUs.

This went on until the intro of Ryzen CPUs to the market kicked off in the summer of 2017 that instantly made them a viable option for both gaming and workstation-related jobs.

When you want to select between the two companies, the choices trickle down to several important factors.

  1. Overclocking

When comparing the two CPUs in terms of overclocking, the AMD Ryzen outperforms Intel in overclocking potentiality. Even the cheapest design of Ryzen CPUs ship factory unlocked has a superb overclocking compared to the Intel CPU. Additionally, the Ryzen stock coolers are good enough for light overclocking.

Contrastingly, Intel CPUs mostly have cheaper but locked models and more expensive and unlocked models. Even the unlocked Intel CPU models don’t always offer the enhanced performance that Ryzen CPUs can give.

Furthermore, many Intel CPUs lack the stock coolers, and even the ones they have can barely be compared with the stock coolers bundled with Ryzen CPUs.

2. Base Performance

When it comes down to the base performance, Intel CPU has better single-core performance, while Ryzen CPU, in this comparison, provides a superior multi-core performance.

Note: Between the two (single-core and multi-core performance), the single-core version is good compared to multi-core performance in gaming. As single-core gets a more significant share when it comes to gaming, multi-core tends to have a tremendous impact on workstation tasks. So, when specifying the base performance, we will recommend you go with the Intel CPU.

3. Integrated Graphics (iGPU)

It is not an important feature that much when it comes to expensive CPUs; however, it matters most when budgeting CPUs. The 2nd generation of Ryzen line CPUs has integrated Vega graphics onboard, which outdo Intel’s integrated graphics.

With the 2nd generation Ryzen Vega graphics, you will play games smoothly without buffering or lagging in 720p.

Integrated graphics should only be applicable on an extreme budget. Therefore, this means that if you decide to stick with integrated graphics other than purchasing an additional dedicated graphics card, then don’t expect to play any of the demanding games.

4. Pricing

In terms of prices, AMD CPUs are often cheaper than Intel CPUs. If you are on a budget, the AMD CPUs will serve you best because of their affordable prices and significant performance options when assembling a cheap gaming PC. This comprises the things we earlier mentioned: advanced stock coolers, better graphics, and great unlocked overclocking.

Alternatively, if you are not planning on overclocking, Intel CPUs will be the best shot for you because it is powerful compared to the AMD CPUs. However, if you are preparing for overclocking, then the scale tips in towards AMD.

Final thoughts

This article has gone through the best and, at the same time, cheap CPU that is affordable to anyone. We have also covered the different CPUs plus their features, advantages, and disadvantages.

At the end of this article, we also have diversified our thinking to comparing the Intel and AMD CPUs in terms of pricing, where we opted for AMD to cater to everyone’s budget. In this integrated graphics unit, we selected the Vega graphics of the AMD CPU.

In the base performance, where we looked at the two options (the single-core and multi-core base performance), we opted for the single-core when it comes to gaming and multi-core base performance when looking for a workstation CPU. Additionally, we selected the AMD when we compared the two chips in terms of overclocking.

We hope that our combined list helps you select the best and most affordable CPUs in this gaming era. Please feel free to share your views with us in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

You may also like

Leave a Comment



FOSS Linux is a leading resource for Linux enthusiasts and professionals alike. With a focus on providing the best Linux tutorials, open-source apps, news, and reviews written by team of expert authors. FOSS Linux is the go-to source for all things Linux.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, FOSS Linux has something for everyone.

Follow Us


©2016-2023 FOSS LINUX



“Linux” is the registered trademark by Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.