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Best CPU Under $300 in 2021 – Top 6 Mid-Range Processors Reviewed |

I searched for “Best CPU Under $300 in 2021” on Google, and I came across several results. However, most of them are computer manufacturers’ own suggestions. I have analyzed many of the best CPU under $300 in 2021 on the Internet, and listed them for you. I hope you will like them.

Your computer is one of the most important devices you own and you want it to last as long as possible. Of course, you also want to keep up with the latest hardware and software and nothing spoils a gaming experience more than a bad gaming PC. For that reason, we have taken the time to review the best processors you can buy under $300 in 2021.

In the past, when looking for a mid-range processor, the only option was to go for a quad-core processor with a lower clock rate. Sadly, this is no longer the case, as these days you have to be a little more optomistic because a dual-core processor is still a good deal for a mid-range processor. These days, a dual-core processor is a great deal because you can get a lot of performance from it while still being able to get a good level of multi-tasking performance. The same can be said for a quad-core processor, although admittedly it has to be overclocked overclocked to get the best performance out of it.. Read more about best budget cpu 2021 and let us know what you think.

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You’ve come to the right place if you’re a first-time enthusiast PC builder or just need to replace parts on a higher-end machine and need a high-performance CPU that’s not too expensive.

I’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of some of the best CPUs under $300 in 2021. I prefer to think of CPUs in the $200-$300 range as “entry level pro processors,” so this knowledge will come in handy.

If you’re looking for a processor at a lower price point, check out my articles titled Best CPUs Under $200 and Best CPUs Under $100.

Round Up of the Best CPUs Under $300 in 2021

The table below provides a quick overview of our top picks for the best CPUs under $300 currently on the market. Simply click on ‘review>>’ in the appropriate row to read the entire review.


 


1. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor

Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65W | Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65W

AMD Ryzen 7 3700XIDEAL APPLICATIONS 

  • Apps for advanced office use
  • Gaming
  • production of video
  • Editing of video
  • Rendering and animation in 3D

Our score is 9.9 out of ten.

The Ryzen 7 3700X is an 8-core, 16-thread processor with a 3.6 GHz base clock and a 4.4 GHz peak clock. It comes with 128 GB of DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz. It’s the third generation of Ryzen processors, and it’s based on the 7 nm Zen 2 architecture.

When compared to the other processors on this list, the Ryzen 7 3700X is the multi-tasking champion.

In many benchmarks, octa-core speeds are no longer adequate to grasp the potential of this CPU; instead, we look at user benchmarks of 64 core speeds to see when the 3700X truly shines.

When it comes to single core performance, the 3700X matches the Intel i7-9700F with a score of 135 points based on user benchmarks.

When you look at the 64 Core speed ratings from user benchmarks, the 3700X comes in at 1,408! When compared to a non-multithreaded 8 core CPU like the i7-9700F, this is almost 50% quicker on demanding multithreaded applications.

If you’re a professional content producer or artist, this is the cheapest CPU that will be able to withstand the multi-threaded abuse you’ll be subjecting it to in your line of work.

While the 3700X excels at multitasking, its single-core performance is among the best you’ll find in the sub $300 price bracket. With this configuration, it may function as a gaming computer as well as a productivity machine.

If you’re a gamer who also streams, this processor is a fantastic tool since it allows you to do both at once without missing a beat.

It is compatible with PCIe 4.0 thanks to AMD’s Gen 3 architecture. PCIe 4.0, for those who don’t know, transports data from and to your PC’s components to the CPU. PCIe 4.0 can carry twice as much data as PCIe 3.0, giving Zen 2 processors a considerable edge over other CPUs on the market today.

Many component manufacturers have yet to begin producing PCIe 4.0 compliant components, thus this is more of a future-proofing issue. However, with the upcoming release of graphics cards this year, PCIe 3.0 may hit its limitations in many industrial systems that use several GPUs.

The fastest graphics card on the market currently uses too much bandwidth for PCIe 3.0 in an 8x setup. In a nutshell, PCIe 4.0 may be a game-changer in the coming months.

All things considered, the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is your best option if you’re searching for the finest CPU you can buy for around $300.

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2. Intel Core i7-9700F processor

Coffee Lake Architecture | LGA 1151 Socket | 8 Cores | 8 Threads | 3.0 GHz Base Frequency | 4.7 GHz Max Boost Frequency | 65W TDP

Intel Core i7-9700FIDEAL APPLICATIONS 

  • Apps for advanced office use
  • Gaming
  • production of video
  • Editing of video
  • Rendering and animation in 3D

Our score is 9.7 out of ten.

The Intel Core i7-9700f is an eight-core, eight-thread processor with a base speed of 3.0 GHz and a peak rate of up to 4.7 GHz. The i7-9700f is a Coffee Lake processor, which means it will fit into an LGA 1151 socket with an Intel 300 series chipset.

The first Intel i7 processors are becoming accessible in the under $300 price range, while the i5s hold the below $200 Intel CPUs.

What are the advantages of the i7 processors?

Look for more cores and faster processors in general, since this is the start of Intel’s premium line of consumer and prosumer CPUs.

The i7-9700f does not come with integrated graphics, which is becoming more popular in enthusiast-grade CPUs, so you’ll need to have or buy a separate graphics card.

People that perform significant graphics-intensive activities, such as video editing and 3d video production, as well as gaming, often utilize enthusiast-grade PCs and CPUs.

The i7-9700f has a decent single-core performance of 135 points, as determined by people measuring own builds, and an octa-core benchmark score of 972 points (64 core score is 968 points).

With 8 cores of rapid speed, this is an excellent place to start for vloggers, YouTubers, and 3d animation artists that spend hours each day rendering and editing films. If you’re a gamer, you’ll like both the single-core and multi-core experiences.

While the i7-9700f supports 128 GB of DDR4-2666 MHz memory, with a little overclocking expertise, this memory can be pushed considerably higher.

If you intend to put a lot of stress on this CPU, you might consider purchasing an aftermarket cooling system to assist keep the temperatures down, since the standard cooling fan is very tiny.

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3. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X processor

Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 105W | Architecture: Zen+ | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 105W

AMD Ryzen 7 2700XIDEAL APPLICATIONS 

  • Apps for advanced office use
  • Gaming
  • production of video
  • Editing of video
  • Rendering and animation in 3D

Our score is 9.6 out of ten.

The Ryzen 7 2700X is an 8-core, 16-thread CPU with a base frequency of 3.7 GHz and a peak rate of 4.3 GHz. The previous model Ryzen in this series, the 2700X, has been replaced by the Ryzen 7 3700X.

The 2700X is based on the Zen+ architecture, which is only compatible with PCIe 3.0. The 2700X’s single-core speed is 118 points, according to user average benchmark scores, but because to the large core count, it performs well with 64 core speeds of 1259 points on the same user average benchmarks.

This Zen+ CPU, like the others, is built on the AM4 socket but is designed for AMD’s 400 series chipsets, such as the B450 and X470. Due to AMD’s backwards compatibility, the motherboard chipset is not as difficult to find as it is with Intel devices.

More functions are available when the most recent CPU is paired with the most recent motherboard. You may not get all of the new advantages provided each year if you use backwards compatible motherboards with newer CPUs or vice versa, but it is still feasible to utilize, unlike Intel changing models.

This PC will sprint away from almost everything you can throw at it because to its high core count and multi-threading capabilities. It is capable of handling large professional content creation workloads with ease.

For pros, the sole reason I suggest the 3700X above the 2700X is the low cost of upgrading to the next generation CPU. The wraith cooler that comes with the 2700X is more than sufficient for default settings, but if you want to overclock it to its maximum potential, you may add extra aftermarket cooling.

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4. AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT processor

Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.5 GHz | TDP: 95W | Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.5 GHz | TDP: 95W

AMD Ryzen 5 3600XTIDEAL APPLICATIONS 

  • Apps for advanced office use
  • Gaming
  • production of video
  • Editing of video
  • Rendering and animation in 3D

Our score is 9.5 out of ten.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT CPU has six cores and twelve threads. It features a 3.8 MHz base frequency and a turbo boost of up to 4.5 MHz.

The XT designation denotes that this Ryzen is based on the Zen 2 architecture, which has been updated. This isn’t a new or different architecture than, say, the 3700X, but rather an optimized variant of the same CPU design. Why did AMD take this step?

This is a little upgrade over the Ryzen 3600X, which was evaluated in the article “Best CPUs Under $200 in 2021.”

What has changed?

The increased frequency enabled faster single- and multicore performance, with benchmark gains of 2-4 percent over the 3600X. The single-core average user benchmarks score 141 points, making it one of the quickest single-core speeds among all CPUs priced under $300.

If you’re a gamer or a budget-conscious overclocker, this may be crucial to getting the most performance for your money. If you’re on a budget and the 6 core CPU fits your requirements, the 3600X is a good option.

This is another CPU that, like other higher-end processors, lacks built-in graphics and requires a separate graphics card to operate. This, like other Ryzen products to far, is designed for the AM4 socket, however to take advantage of PCIe generation 4.0, you’ll need a 570 or 550 series motherboard. The CPU will handle 128 GB of 3200 MHz DDR4 memory out of the box.

Again, this CPU is not for the ordinary consumer or even professional PC users; the main purpose for purchasing it is to achieve extreme benchmarks on a budget.

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5. Intel Core i7 6700K processor

Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base Frequency: 4.0 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.2 GHz | TDP: 91W | Architecture: Skylake | Socket: LGA 1151 | Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base Frequency: 4.0 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.2 GHz | TDP: 91W

Intel Core i7 6700KIDEAL APPLICATIONS 

  • Apps for advanced office use
  • Gaming
  • production of video
  • Editing of video

Our score is 9.1 out of ten.

The Intel Core i7-6700K is a four-core, eight-thread CPU with a 4.0 GHz base clock and a 4.2 GHz turbo clock. It is the oldest generation on the list, since it is part of the Skylake CPU family, which is based on the LGA 1151 socket and is compatible with Intel chipsets from the 100 series.

Despite the processor’s age, it still supports DDR3L-1333/1600 MHz and DDR4-1866/2133 MHz RAM.

In typical user benchmarks, the i7-6700K offers extremely good single-core performance, scoring 124 points. Despite its age, it still provides excellent performance for people on a budget and is a straightforward substitute for other Intel 100 series processors.

It’s worth noting that the 6700K is outperformed by nearly every CPU on our list in this price range when it comes to multi-faceted tasks and multi-threaded apps.

If you decide to buy this CPU, I would advise you to double-check the source of your purchase since it is no longer available. Many customers have reported receiving old processors when they expected a new one in the package.

When I consider the price of this CPU and the capabilities of both Intel and AMD processors on this list, I find it difficult to suggest it unless there is a very particular use case.

Because of its binning and capacity to withstand overclocking, Intel’s “K” series CPUs are dubbed “enthusiast” processors. To be honest, this CPU was one of the best of its day and is still useful today; it has just been surpassed by more modern technology.

There’s nothing wrong with going with a straight replacement for an older 6700 or 6700K CPU if you just want to make a quick swap. If you have another 6th generation Intel CPU and don’t want to go through the hassle of potentially mismatched chipsets or BIOS upgrades, I doubt you’ll be dissatisfied. However, if you’re searching for a motherboard and other components for your computer, you should look at the various choices available here.

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6. Intel Core i5 7500 processor

Cores: 4 | Threads: 4 | Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 3.8 GHz | TDP: 65W | Architecture: Kaby Lake | Socket: LGA 1151 | Cores: 4 | Threads: 4 | Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 3.8 GHz | TDP: 65W

Intel Core i5 7500IDEAL APPLICATIONS 

  • Apps for advanced office use
  • Gaming

Our score is 8.9 out of ten.

The Intel Core i5-7500 is a four-core, four-thread CPU with a base speed of 3.4 GHz and a boost speed of 3.8 GHz. The Kaby Lake i5-7500 was released in the first quarter of 2017 and is part of the Kaby Lake family.

Users benchmarked the single core clock speed at 106 points, putting this CPU in the lower range of overall speed on the under $300 list. When multitasking, the 4 non-threaded cores will be taxed, although the i5-7500 has long been a favorite among gamers playing single-core-optimized games.

This CPU will be severely strained in 2021, and many of today’s graphics cards will become bottlenecked. This was a popular gaming processor in 2017, but not so much in 2021. Kaby Lake denotes an Intel CPU from the 7th generation.

The i5-7500 supports both DDR3L and DDR4 memory, much as the 6700k on this list (which is a 6th generation Intel CPU). DDR4 supports a maximum speed of 2400 MHz.

This CPU should be limited to replacement applications in today’s market, particularly for systems that need DDR3 memory.

Why should this be confined to the category of “replacement”?

Simply said, since technology has progressed so much, the speeds and multitasking skills have greatly increased. This is not a low-quality processor, and it is a highly recommended purchase for people who are shopping at the moment. Apart from that, unlike current CPUs, the i5-7500 only supports 64GB of RAM, which is much more than enough for virtually any task.

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You may also be interested in: Best PSUs Under $100

What Should I Look for in a Computer Processor?

When it comes to constructing a PC or changing a critical component like the CPU, the process may be intimidating.

The most difficult issue is knowledge overload, and analytical paralysis is as simple to fall into as breathing. It may also be intimidating since you may make a choice based on a fixed pricing point, only to discover that the next CPU beyond your budget provides features that can save you hundreds of hours in productivity time throughout the processor’s lifetime.

The first thing you should do is figure out what you’ll be using the processor for.

This is problematic since it’s all too easy to go out and purchase a CPU for the sole purpose of editing movies without considering that you’ll also be listening to music, playing games, and perhaps using the PC for school or work. So, if you got the ideal PC, figure out what you would do with it first. Then figure out what the PC needs to perform its job effectively.

Begin preparing your budget once you’ve decided what it needs to accomplish. If you’re constructing a new computer from the ground up, your budget will be quite different than if you’re updating an old computer. The fun starts after you’ve truly narrowed down your budget and have all of the processor’s capabilities that you need and desire.

You should consider if this is a one-time buy or something you want to update every year or every five years. This makes a difference when deciding between AMD and Intel since AMD has had less socket modifications recently, allowing me to retain the same motherboard and upgrade to newer CPUs at a lower cost.

After you’ve determined your future upgrade plans, you’ll want to start looking at benchmarks. Reduce the number of processors you consider to those that will perform the jobs you need at the price you desire.

Start putting these processors into an online search at this point to see how quickly they compare to one another. Check to see whether they can multitask well, if that is required. Start by examining core counts and multi-threading.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of video editing, gaming, and productivity tools at the same time, you’ll want to get the most cores you can afford and make sure they’re multi-threaded so you can do more things at once.

The availability of onboard video is the next item on my checklist. Many higher-end CPUs lack integrated video, which means you won’t be able to turn the computer on without a separate video card. With any transaction, I’d want to know what upgrade choices I have so I don’t buy the end of a series that can’t be readily updated if I need more power in the future.

Heat production is one of the final issues I consider. This is highly dependent on the processor’s TDP (Thermal Design Power). If I’m using a smaller case or can’t afford an extra cooling solution, a CPU with a high TDP may lead me to pass on it.

Because a new generation of graphics cards will be launched in the next months, PCIe 4.0 is becoming more of a looming issue for high-end computer systems.

If you’re a pro with multiple graphics cards, the usage of two graphics cards on most CPUs under $1000 will be in an x8 by x8 arrangement. On PCIe 3.0 computers, the Nvidia 2080ti graphics cards have already exceeded the bandwidth limit for this configuration. Any future graphics card advancements will be a limiting issue, while PCIe 4.0 will have no trouble managing it.

If you can determine a suitable budget, upgrade plans, required and desired use, single-core and multi-core performance, as well as heat production, and answer the PCIe 4.0 question and its future proofing, the processor will practically choose itself as to which CPU is best for you.

Don’t spend your time asking others about this; it’s like asking a buddy what kind of tires to buy when you’re driving a truck and he’s riding a motorbike. People’s brand loyalty bias may be so pervasive that it can cloud the facts and sway you one way or the other based on something totally unrelated to you.

If you invest a little time in your research, you may be able to save hundreds of hours of computer time over the following several years. Nothing is more frustrating than investing a lot of time and work constructing a computer only to be disappointed by its performance once it is turned on.

Doing some research can save you a lot of time and money, not just for the purchase, but also for the hours and years you’ll be using the CPU in the future.

You may also be interested in: The Best PC Cases for Water Cooling

Since the release of Intel’s 8th Gen Core i5/i7 processors, there has been a whole lot of confusion about which CPU is the best for gaming. The 8th Gen chips are the first to feature the Speed Shift technology that Intel calls Hyper-Threading, which allows one CPU core to handle two tasks at once. Some say it improves gaming performance, others say it’s not much of an improvement. There’s also concern about the high prices of these new processors.. Read more about best gaming cpu and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best mid tier CPU?

The best mid tier CPU is the Intel Core i5-8600K.

What is the best budget CPU in 2021?

The best budget CPU in 2021 is the AMD Ryzen 3 2300x.

Which is the best budget CPU?

The best budget CPU is the AMD Ryzen 3 1300X.