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The Best Budget Gaming Processors Of 2022

The AMD Ryzen 3000 and Athlon series processors (including the unlocked Athlon 3000G) have revolutionized the budget market and brought significant changes to the modern processor hierarchy. True, now there is a widespread shortage of processors and it affects the budget segment especially noticeably.

The manufacturer’s recommended price for 4-core processors with integrated graphics is only $100, and for Athlon processors the price is set below $50, but you will not find them on sale at such prices. In response to competition from AMD, Intel brought Hyper-Threading technology to the lower-end Pentium processors and two additional cores to the Core i3 chips. This greatly improved the performance of its budget models, although the graphics are still not the most powerful.

AMD has not yet released budget models of the Ryzen 5000 series. Right now, the youngest chips here are Ryzen 5. In the future, Ryzen 3 should be introduced, which will change this rating. Intel will release Rocket Lake processors soon, but they will be based on the updated Comet Lake architecture for Core i3 and below, so will have little impact on the status quo.

AMD 200 series processors handle games without separate graphics cards very well. If you want something more powerful without buying a graphics card, the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G is your best bet. The Ryzen 4000 APUs are faster, but they are more expensive and harder to find on the market. The 3400G is going to be a more solid buy, although the performance gains are small compared to previous generations like the Ryzen 5 2400G.

If you are willing to spend more and buy a graphics card for the processor, you can give preference to the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X with a recommended price of $120. The impressive new Intel Core i5-10600KF processor is twice as expensive, but in reality, both are even more expensive. It is hardly worth waiting for the end of the deficit and the return of prices to normal in the near future.

Useful tips for choosing a processor

You can’t go wrong when choosing between Intel and AMD. Both manufacturers produce high-quality budget processors, the difference in speed between them is minimal. If you need the processor primarily for gaming, Intel is a little faster, but the power consumption will be more. In this case, you will need a separate graphics card, while AMD Raven Ridge models like the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G are better at playing games at low settings and resolutions without a separate graphics card.

Clock speed is more important than the number of cores. The higher the frequency, the higher the performance when working in common applications, such as games.

Consider the cost of the computer as a whole. Do not take a powerful processor for a slow hard drive or SSD, a small amount or slow RAM and a weak video card.

Overclocking is not for everyone. However, increasing the performance of an inexpensive processor may seem like a tempting idea. There are no overclockable Intel processors under $125, unlike AMD. For the latter, a regular cooler is enough. The automatic overclocking functionality on most motherboards makes the process easier, allowing even less advanced users to overclock the processor.

Rating of budget processors

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Ryzen 3 3300X takes performance to the next level in budget quad-core processors with eight threads. They can maximize the use of low-end and mid-range graphics cards. The architecture of Zen 2 is made on the 7nm process technology, which allows you to raise the level of performance and expand functionality. For example, there is access to the PCIe 4.0 interface. The clock frequency is 3.8 GHz and can be overclocked up to 4.3 GHz. This provides high performance in applications with a small number of instruction streams, such as games.

The processor comes with a Wraith Spire cooler. You can buy a better cooler to use the potential of the processor in terms of overclocking. Overclocking here is the best among the Ryzen 3000 series, so this is a great processor for PC enthusiasts. Unlike other processors in this line, this model requires a discrete graphics card, but its low price leaves the resources to purchase such a graphics card.

You can install this processor in existing motherboards based on the X470 or B450 chipsets, but then there will be no support for PCIe 4.0. AMD introduced more modern B550 chipsets last year. These boards support PCIe 4.0 at a lower price.

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

If money is tight, you can save on a graphics card and still be able to play. Moreover, the cost of RAM continues to increase.

In light of this, the Ryzen 3 2200G quad-core processor becomes an attractive option for those for whom PC gaming is a priority. The processor delivers good performance at 720p with integrated Vega graphics and a powerful enough CPU for basic tasks. It can be installed in a low cost 300 series motherboard by updating the BIOS. The result is a capable budget computer. The processor has an unlocked multiplier, so with enough cooling it will be possible to make the processor even faster.

AMD Athlon 240GE

AMD Athlon 240GE is the leader of the budget series, offering a lot for entry-level gaming systems. The integrated Radeon Vega 3 graphics deliver decent frame rates at low resolutions and high graphics settings. The nominal clock speed of 3.5 GHz is the only difference between this processor and others. There is unofficial overclocking support, so you can get performance at the level of more expensive processors.

If you are not going to overclock the processor, the Athlon 240GE is the best in its price category. Intel’s Pentium rivals lack the graphical power to lay claim to the wallets of budget-conscious buyers. It remains to find these processors on sale.

AMD Athlon 200GE

The processor offers four computational threads and Vega 3 for games at low resolutions and graphics settings. Performance with a small number of threads is not great, but at this price you cannot count on more. With a compatible motherboard, the processor can be overclocked.

For $100, you can get a much better Ryzen 3 2200G processor with more powerful graphics and more cores. If you’re not willing to pay more and add a separate graphics card, the Athlon 200GE is the obvious choice. Its competitors are Intel Pentium, Gold G5400 and G4560, their CPU performance is higher. However, they are more expensive, and scarcity makes them difficult to acquire.

Performance in games with integrated graphics


There are few games that will perform well at the popular 1920 x 1080 resolution on sub-$80 processors. The $100 AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is the leader in 1080p gaming with integrated graphics. The Athlons also run quite fast in some games on low graphics settings.

Reducing the resolution to 1280 x 720 allows Athlon processors to deliver 50 fps at standard graphics settings and gives a decent speed boost when overclocked. All Athlon processors overclock the same way, so the Athlon 200GE and 220GE reach the performance levels of the overclocked Athlon 240GE, making them much more valuable. The Radeon Vega 8 Ryzen 3 2200G graphics handle this resolution without any problems.

The Intel Pentium line and even the Core i3-8100 are struggling in games. Playing at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 is difficult on them. Few games run well at this resolution on Pentium processors. Lowering the resolution to 1280 x 720 allows the Core i3-8100 and Pentium G5600 to handle games better, but they still can’t match the Athlon in terms of speed. The biggest disappointment was the Intel Pentium G5400 due to its stripped-down UHD Graphics 610 GPU. Can’t recommend this chip for gaming on integrated graphics.

It’s generally difficult to recommend Pentium processors now. Intel is experiencing a shortage of 14nm manufacturing capacity, so this processor is hard to find on sale, and if found, they are too expensive.

Gaming performance with discrete graphics cards


The emphasis in this article is mainly on the speed of integrated graphics in very cheap processors in games. However, nothing prevents us from installing separate inexpensive video cards for these processors. Tested with a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 at 1920 x 1080 to remove graphics card limitations from the results.

The Nvidia GeForce 1080 FE graphics card was also tested to eliminate graphics-related bottlenecks. The difference between processors is reduced when using cheaper video cards, which are most often used in budget computer assemblies. If the difference between performance is small, you can choose cheaper models and play almost at the same level as in more expensive computers.

Intel Pentium Coffee Lake processors received a slight increase in frequency, TDP increased by 3 W, there is a 4 MB L3 cache. These small improvements provide a significant performance boost over previous generation Kaby Lake processors. The Coffee Lake Pentium Gold G5600 outperforms the Kaby Lake Core i3-7100 in most gaming tests, so in one generation, Intel was able to increase performance quite well.

G5600 competes with Ryzen 3 2200G. The latter is easily overclocked with a single mouse click in the BIOS; the cooler included in its package allows for a good overclocking. At stock settings, the 2200G lags behind the Pentium Gold 5600, but the unlocked multipliers give AMD the edge.

The Ryzen 3 2200G also has powerful integrated graphics. It gives good gaming performance at low resolutions and settings. The Core i3-8100 cannot compete in this regard. If you want the best gaming performance with a dedicated graphics card at any price, the Core i3-8100 is your best buy. If you’re looking to make the most of your purchase, or if you’re going for integrated graphics, go for the Ryzen 3 2200G.

Performance in non-gaming tasks


The Core i3-8100 has a good mix of clock speed and instructions per clock. The processor leads in some applications with little multithreading, like Adobe Cloud. It also handles multi-threaded workloads. The Intel Core i3-8100 performs well in applications using AVX instructions. For example, this is the HandBrake program. This expands its diversity even more. Thus, it can be taken not only for games, but also for everyday work.

Even overclocking does not help the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X to compete on equal terms with the Core i3-8100 and justify its higher price and lack of integrated graphics.

The Ryzen 3 2200G comes with a low price, decent performance, and integrated Vega graphics. This makes it the choice of low-end PC buyers who are willing to take on the task of optimizing their settings.

The Pentium processors have an advantage in most applications, but the Athlon processors also perform quite well. Pentiums do not accelerate AVX instructions, which are the basis of many rendering applications. Intel leads in applications with a small number of threads, such as browsers.


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