The best gaming processors for $100 to $200 in 2016 are a great option for those who want to get into PC gaming, but don’t have the budget for a full-fledged system.

The CPUs that cost between $100 and $200 are the finest for gaming, in my opinion. Above that is just for the enthusiast, but testing processors in this price range showed me that a CPU doesn’t have to be as costly no matter what kind of gaming PC one is constructing. Going below the $100 level, however, we have to make some sacrifices with CPUs like the Pentium and FX series. Things got much easier with the introduction of Ryzen CPUs, and we now have a variety of choices to select from. So, I’ve compiled a list of top-of-the-line CPUs that are suitable for both gaming and work.

Intel Core i3 8100 processor

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Without a doubt, the greatest cheap gaming CPU right now is the i3 8100. It’s a quad-core i5 CPU with 6 megabytes of cache. Intel has raised the number of cores in the i3/i5 and i7 processors by two over prior versions. An i3 CPU used to feature two cores and four threads, giving it a virtual four-core processor, however this divided the processor’s resources, resulting in poorer performance.

I had stopped promoting i3s for a time due to the Pentium G4560 and G4600, which both have two cores and four threads and provide almost identical gaming performance. However, since the i3 8100 now has genuine four cores, you should buy it if you’re creating a cheap gaming PC.

This processor is clocked at 3.6GHz and is locked, which is standard for i3s, but for a price of around $130, you can’t complain. It lacks turbo boost technology but does come with Intel UHD 630 graphics. In gaming, this is quicker than Ryzen 3 CPUs, however it requires a Z370 motherboard to run. Because there is no other suitable socket than Z370, purchasing this CPU will also result in a higher motherboard cost, but I believe it is still worthwhile if you just get a Gigabyte Z370 motherboard.

This will be excellent for 1080p and 1440p gaming if combined with a graphics card such as the GTX 1060 or GTX 1070.

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AMD Ryzen 3 1200 processor

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AMD Ryzen 3 1200

Right now, the Ryzen 3 1200 is the most affordable Ryzen CPU, costing less than the Intel Core i3. The architecture of this CPU is its strongest point. AMD has previously released CPUs with 4 or 6 cores for $100, so we may anticipate a 4 core processor from them. This time, though, it has significantly improved single and multi-core performance. Switching from the AM3 platform to the AM4 platform results in a totally new chip with superior architecture and much lower TDP. In reality, Ryzen CPUs are on par with Intel’s most recent processors in terms of power efficiency.

This CPU is clocked at a respectable 3.4GHz, and since it is unlocked, it can easily be overclocked to 3.8GHz. However, this is not the ultimate core clock; users may overclock it to approximately 4.0GHz with an aftermarket cooler, but I suggest doing so. Also, if you’re new to overclocking, the standard AMD heatsink will suffice for a few hundred Mhz. You won’t have to spend a lot of money to keep the temperature under control.

On the other side, cache memory is enormous. This processor has a total L2+L3 cache memory of 10MB, which is 6MB more than the Core i3 7100, indicating that it is a fast processor. With four cores and four threads, it is a true quad-core chip that is much faster in applications and processing than an i3 from the previous generation, such as Skylake or Kabylake. The main drawback is that it does not outperform the i3 in gaming.

True, it has excellent specifications, but the single core performance of the i3 7100 is still superior, but overall performance is considerably better. If I had to pick between the i3 7100 and the Ryzen 3 1200, I’d go with the Ryzen since it has four cores and a few more frames won’t harm. However, with the introduction of the i3 8100, choosing between the two has become more difficult. However, I think that either Intel or AMD Ryzen are excellent choices. Simply choose the one that you have the most faith in.

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AMD Ryzen 3 1300X processor

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AMD Ryzen 3 1300X

The 1300X is the big brother of the Ryzen 3 1200. With a base speed of 3.5GHz and a boost clock of 3.7GHz, this chip is now a bit faster. You can overclock it to 4.0GHz, which is comparable to the Ryzen 1200. The highest clock speed for a Ryzen 7 CPU is also 4.0GHz, implying that it will be almost as strong in gaming as a Ryzen 7 processor with certain cores deactivated.

It’s also a quad-core processor with a 10MB cache memory. Other specifications, such as maximum temperature and TDP, are same to those of the Ryzen 1200, although it offers superior single core performance. It’s not because it’s built on a new technology, but since it’s clocked faster, you’ll notice better gaming performance. It’s also excellent value for money at $130, and it comes with a Wraith stealth CPU cooling, which lowers the total cost if you’re building a budget gaming PC.

One thing I didn’t mention was the lack of any built-in visuals. While the Intel Core i3 7100 comes with an Intel HD 630 GPU, if you’re constructing a PC, you’ll need to purchase a separate graphics card for a Ryzen 3 CPU. So it’s a disadvantage for someone who doesn’t have enough cache, but if gaming is your main goal, you’ve probably already decided to buy a dedicated GPU.

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AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor

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AMD Ryzen 5 1400

The Ryzen 5 1400 is the entry-level chip in the Ryzen 5 family, costing less than $170. It was released after the popularity of Ryzen 7 processors, and it is built on the same architecture as Ryzen 7 but with certain cores deactivated. It is hyperthreaded, like the Ryzen 7 CPUs, and therefore offers benefits over the Ryzen 1200 or 1300X. This CPU has the same 4 cores and 8 threads as an i7 processor but costs half as much. Although it cannot be compared to an i7 since it has much lower single-core performance, it is nevertheless similar to i7s in multi-core performance and is an excellent budget productivity processor.

It features a base speed of 3.2GHz and a boost clock of 3.5GHz. Here’s when it gets interesting. In games, the slower clocks make things a bit slower. It would be the best of the best if it had excellent clocks like the Ryzen 3 1300X, however owing to lower clocks, its single core performance falls short of high-end Core i5’s. Although increasing the clock to 3.7GHz or higher is always a possibility, increasing it to 3.9GHz requires increasing the voltage to approximately 1.40V since higher clocks need more power. My PC froze when I overclocked my Ryzen 7 1700X due to insufficient voltage, which I kept at 1.35V, but the problem is this: If you are a newbie and don’t want to take any chances, keep the clocks at a maximum of 3.7Ghz or you will have a lot of problems, and troubleshooting Ryzen is not easy at all. Bios tuning requires time and a trial-and-error approach.

So, clockwise has certain drawbacks, but since it’s hyperthreaded, it removes any potential bottlenecks and makes multitasking a lot easier. In terms of gaming, it should perform similarly to the Ryzen 3 1300X, and it also comes with a Wraith Stealth cooler.

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AMD Ryzen 5 1500X processor

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AMD Ryzen 5 1500X

This is the final item on the list, and I’m assuming you were anticipating one of the i5 processors. For various reasons, I did not add any of them, including the i5 7500. The first is that it’s just a quad-core processor with no hyperthreading and only 6MB of cache. The absence of overclocking is the second drawback. The i5 7600K is the only CPU in the i5 series that can be overclocked, while the i5 7500/7600 cannot. The third factor is the price. Because the Ryzen 5 1500X costs almost the same as the Ryzen 5 1400, it’s preferable to go for a quad-core hyperthreaded CPU that’s even better.

This CPU has almost identical specs as the Ryzen 5 1400, however it has twice the L3 cache capacity. As a result, its total cache memory is 2+16= 18MB, while Ryzen 5 1400’s is 2+8= 10MB. When you compare the two in gaming and apps and overclock them to the same clock, you’ll see the difference. Ryzen 5 1500X is clocked at 3.5GHz out of the box, with a boost speed of 3.7GHz, which is much higher than Ryzen 1400. So, even if you don’t overclock it, you’ll get a better experience and performance. Because it’s an unlocked processor, you can easily overclock it to 4.0GHz, and it comes with a unique CPU cooling, the Wraith Spire. Despite the fact that both heatsinks are stock, there isn’t much of a difference.

In terms of price, it is comparable to a 1400, but it is a better CPU to purchase under $200.

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The best processor for gaming 2021 is a question that has been asked by many. There are many processors in the $100 to $200 range, but it is hard to find which one would be the best.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best CPU for $100?

The best CPU for $100 is the Intel Pentium G4560.

Which processor is best for high end gaming?

It depends on what you are looking for. For example, the Intel Core i7-8700K is a great processor for high end gaming.

What is the best gaming PC under $200?

The best gaming PC under $200 is the GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4. This PC offers a lot of power for a low price, and has a great cooling system as well.