Best Gaming Processors from $100 to Under $200 in 2017

While you may not believe it, but PC processors that can be bought under $200 can easily run all the latest games on almost maxed out settings. Resolutions of 1080p and even higher can be easily achieved by joining the right kind of graphics card with these processors.

In reality, a processor for gaming doesn’t matter as much as the graphics card or VRAM does. All of these are almost as good as core i7s but they lack a minor boost which Intel’s core i7 has. Intel and AMD both have developed processors with cores ranging from 2-8 in a price range of $110-$170. My personal recommendation to you would be Intel however. Regardless of personal preferences though, here’s a list of PC gaming processors that should be worth the cash if you go for them:

#1. Intel Core i3 7100

i3 7100 gaming processor for pc

The new Kaby Lake i3 7100 replaces our previously recommended i3 6100. For me, this is the best possible processor in affordable pricing for any medium to high-end gaming machine.

Intel’s core i3 7100 features the latest 7th generation series which comes with a dual core. In my previous experiences I have been spending more on motherboards than the processors which didn’t turn out to be a very good idea.

A decent processor is crucial for good gaming performance as it affects not only basic processing speeds but also memory bandwidth. The i3 7100 does feature a small base clock-speed boost over the predecessor and costs roughly the same. It is however more expensive than the competing FX 8300, but not by much.

Frame-rate wise you should do well on most games like GTA V, Skyrim, Overwatch and so on as long as you tweak graphic settings and resolution.

Power consumption is still as good as ever with the i3 7100 and it excels when compared to AMD offerings with a base clock of 3.9 GHz but a TDP of only 51W.

The i3 7100 also gives you an opportunity to utilize the new and improved Kaby Lake gaming configurations with 2400 MHz DDR4 memories.

All in all, the twin core and 4 thread build of i3 7100 allows it to produce comparable performance results to that of an i5, making it the best gaming CPU choice on a budget.

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#2. AMD FX-8320

AMD FX 8320 Gaming Processor

The FX 8320 black edition is one of AMD’s latest additions to the processor market. It can easily manage load of multiple applications or games at the same time thanks to a ton of cores. FX-8320 is an octa-core processor (8 cores) which comes in very cheap as compared to Intel’s offerings. I haven’t used it yet but a few of my friends did and the reviews have been more than satisfactory.

Recommended for you: Best Budget Graphics Cards for Gaming Under $150

The default clock rate of this processor lies at 3.5GHz but it is unlocked, and after over clocking it, you can get speeds as high as 4.5GHz. 8 Mb cache sizes of both L2 and L3 make it faster than Intel CPUs in certain use cases.

All the latest games these days have a processing requirement under 4 cores. This means you can play any game you want and still have 4 cores to spare for other tasks. This particular version is the black edition too btw, which is designed for more performance. But overall, don’t expect a miracle with this processor because few games can tax multiple cores at the same time. Overall, this is more than sufficient for your gaming needs.

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#3. AMD FX-8350

AMD 8350 Gaming Processor

This CPU has been built to trump the AMD 8320 mentioned above. The FX-8350 has all the features of the 8320 and a few additional ones. Both the L2 and L3 caches are 8 Mb and the processor is completely unlocked. The base clock rate has been revved up to an additional 500 MHz giving up to 10% enhancement in performance.

The 4 GHz default clock in this game can be over clocked to an amazing high of 5 GHz. With such high speeds, it is recommended to utilize a liquid cooling setup.

However, even at stock speeds, this processor is going to be more than enough for gaming and an upgrade from the 8320 that will cost you around $20 more.

When compared to the Intel i3 7100, you get higher clock speeds with the Fx 8350 but it draws a lot more power than the former and lacks in memory bandwidth. It also costs a bit more than the Intel offering, but should do well for your gaming needs if you’re looking for a budget AMD CPU under $200 for gaming.

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#4. Intel Core i5 4590

Intel i5 for Gaming

Before you start wondering, yes this is an older processor – a 4th generation chip to be precise and it is still going strong and is a beauty when it comes to gaming performance, costing well under $200. This i5 has been my own personal favorite when it comes to gaming processors, running 4 cores on the Haswell architecture.

It comes with a stock frequency of 3.3 GHz but can be overclocked to 3.7 GHz easily. If you’re looking for a workhorse processor that will run all your games for under $200 – this is a good, classic bet but take note that it will need a 1150 socket motherboard as opposed to newer CPUs running on the LGA 1151 sockets.

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#5. Intel Core i5 6500

Intel i5 gaming processor

This processor is the best budget CPU for gaming that Intel’s i5 series has to offer. Though the i5 4590 is a popular one, this processor has better specs as compared to all previous versions. It runs on a 14nm architecture in competition with the 22nm die being used in the older versions from Intel. This means less power consumption and heat generation and more bang for your buck.

It performs at 10% faster than the 4590 and in short, when it comes to a collective 4-core performance, the i5 6500 beats all previous generations except for the newer Kaby Lake i5 7500, which will be on our list as soon as the price drops under $200.

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That’s all for now folks – if you’re looking for the best gaming processors under $200, this list is your best bet. Usually gaming CPUs between $100 and $200 are budget offerings but they are more than adequate for running most new games on decent settings. If you have any doubts, questions or concerns, please free to leave a comment below and we will get back to you! Happy Gaming on a budget!

About The Author
Chris Madsen
Chris loves gaming and is a pro at FIFA. He has built his own computers since he was 15 and is his neighborhood's go-to guy for all tech related problems.
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