Looking for the best CPU under $250? If you’re a gamer and you need a new CPU, you’ve come to the right place! Gaming CPUs are often more expensive than non-gaming ones, but our team has done exhaustive research and found some best CPUs under $250 for gaming that are a good fit for a gamer on a budget.
We all know how important a computer is for our personal and professional lives, but that doesn’t mean we want to spend a fortune in order to get the best performance from our machine.
The eight best CPUs under $250 for gamers that we recommend for gaming are not just some tedious benchmarks or tech jargon. Each of these low-cost processors has been able to handle many games like Overwatch, PUBG, COD: WWII, and Fortnite without any issues.
Over the past few years, however, as the demand for PC components has steadily increased, more and more mid-range CPUs are being made available to game enthusiasts. We’ve put together a list of eight processors that won’t break the bank without sacrificing performance.
So without further ado, let’s begin our list of the best CPUs under $250 for gamers out there:
Best CPU Under $250 for Gamers
Finding the best CPU for gaming is not an easy job, especially for people on a budget under $250. Some might choose to go for the most cost-effective but some choose to go for the best processor of its kind. Either way, if you are looking for a gaming CPU that you will enjoy while saving on your pockets, we have got you covered.
Our team has done all the restless legwork for you in order to find the best CPU under $250 for gamers. So without further ado, let’s begin the list of best CPUs under $250 for gaming.
1. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Unlocked CPU for Gamers with 6 Cores & 12 Thread, 4.6GHz Boost Clock Speed, 35MB of Gaming Cache, and Wraith Stealth Cooler
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is one of the most powerful processors for gaming and video editing available for less than $250. Compared to its predecessors or their most popular Ryzen 5 2600X processor, it is much more powerful.
It comes with 12 processing threads which will improve your multitasking performance and help you run multiple programs at the same time. With a boost clock speed of up to 4.6GHz, this processor can handle some of the more intensive apps you might have on your PC.
One of the main reasons we included this CPU in our list is because it comes with a Wraith Stealth Cooler from AMD which will allow you to overclock this CPU accordingly for optimal utilization and performance in your games and video editing app.
It might not be as powerful as some i9 chips, but it is much cheaper and more effective when it comes down to gaming and video processing. It doesn’t come with an integrated GPU so you’ll need an additional graphics card for your gaming needs or if you want to use it for your computer-related tasks such as Photoshop or video editing.
Performance-wise, the Ryzen 5 5600X is every bit as good in games and applications as you would expect from a six-core, twelve-processing thread CPU. It can handle everything from video editing to light gaming, and it still manages to run cool and quiet under full load.
The Wraith Stealth cooler also aids in the management of your CPU’s heat while overclocking. This makes it one of the best stock coolers we’ve ever seen in an AMD chip. The included software allows users to overclock this processor up to 4.7GHz when used with an X470 or Z570 motherboard or 4.4GHz when used with other motherboards that support overclocking via Precision Boost Overdrive (which bumps up CPS clock speeds).
A great choice for gamers and video editors who want the best processing power for less money.
What We Liked Most in AMD Ryzen 5 5600X?
Well, in this amazing CPU there is nothing that you can dislike. It is amazing in almost every aspect. You get all the features that you can ask for in a CPU in this price range, and it delivers on them in such a way that it becomes hard to think of any other CPU in this price range.
The Ryzen 5 5600X is an unlocked CPU that allows you to overclock it according to your needs, and the Wraith Stealth cooler ensures that you can do so without any problems and that your CPU will still run at a decent temperature.
When it’s a matter of speed, It has a turbo boost clock speed that is the quickest of its kind in this price range, and it includes 12 processing threads, so no matter how much work you give him, he can handle it like nothing.
- It comes with a Wraith Stealth Cooler which maintains the temperature of the CPU.
- It has a turbo boost clock speed of 4.6 GHz which is the fastest in this price range.
- Also, this CPU includes 35MB of gaming cache.
If you are looking for a CPU with a lot of cores and threads, then the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is one the best choice available in the market. It will fulfill almost any need you have and if you purchase it, you will be pleased with your decision.
It’s a beast that delivers excellence in performance, and it never disappoints when it comes to power. It has an amazing cooling system that ensures your chip does not overheat even while overclocking.
2. Intel Core i5-11600K Desktop CPU with 6 Cores – 12 Thread, 4.9GHz Boost Clock Speed, 12MB of Intel Smart Cache Memory, and 125W Thermal Design Power (TDP)
The Intel Core i5-11600K is another one of the most powerful processors that you can buy for under $250. It comes with six cores and twelve processing threads, with the ability to overclock it according to your needs.
With a base clock speed of 3.9GHz and a boost clock speed of up to 4.9GHz, which makes it is the fastest gaming CPU for under 250 dollars. It’s built to ensure that you aren’t held back while accomplishing your tasks or having fun. It can handle any type of demanding application or game while still maintaining optimum efficiency and performance.
This CPU is compatible with lots of motherboards but we do suggest pairing it with a 500 series & 400 series chipset-based motherboard such as Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme or MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge. As a result, you’ll be able to squeeze the greatest potential from your CPU.
If you look at the specifications, you’ll notice that it has a thermal design power (TDP) of 125W. This means that it will need a compatible cooling system that can keep up with the TDP and helps your CPU run at a lower temperature and make sure that it doesn’t overheat. Unfortunately, the intel does not include the cooler with this processor, so you’ll need to buy one separately.
This CPU is also an unlocked CPU, which means you may overclock it to your liking. This is a really nice feature in a value-packed build. Apart from that, it has all the useful feature that you requires for better and fastest performance along with 12 MB of smart cache memory and Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0.
What We Liked Most in Intel Core i5-11600K?
We really liked how this processor has a high base and boosts clock speed, so you know it will keep up with whatever tasks you throw at it. And when you add in the fact that it can be overclocked with ease, you have a really powerful computer at an entry-level price.
This CPU works with a variety of motherboards, but when you connect it to a 500 series or 400 series chipset-based motherboard like the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Extreme or MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge, you will be able to take full advantage of the features and capabilities that this processor has to offer.
- It has the fastest boost clock speed up to 4.9 GHz on our list.
- These 6 cores and 12 threads make it a powerful CPU.
- It also has 12 MB of L3 smart cache memory.
- Plus this CPU support PCIe 4.0 with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0.
- This CPU has a TDP of 125W, which will cause a heating issue.
- Intel does not include a cooling system to deal with its high TDP.
The Intel Core i5-11600K is a great CPU for any user looking to upgrade or build a new PC. It has a high base and boosts clock speeds of 4.9 GHz which means it’s capable of handling any workload you give it.
If you pair it with the perfect motherboard compatibility, this CPU will give you the best performance and all the power you need to get things done. However, you’ll need to purchase a compatible cooling system if you plan on overclocking this CPU because of its high 125W TDP.
3. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Unlocked Gaming CPU with 6 Cores & 12 Thread, 4.4GHz Max Boost Speed, 19MB Cache Memory, Advanced AM4 Socket, and Integrated Radeon Graphics
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a great product that is designed to make your PC run at its maximum efficiency. If you’re looking to build a desktop PC using the AM4 socket, then this processor should be considered.
This is because the processor has an unlocked multiplier that allows for overclocking and near-desktop performance. It has six cores and 12 processing threads, which means that it is capable of handling any kind of task without breaking a sweat.
It has a TDP of 65 watts, meaning that it will need an efficient cooling system, which is great because it means your CPU will have plenty of room to breathe and run at its full potential. Fortunately, the processor comes with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, which is a great performer that can efficiently cool your CPU.
This processor has a high base and boosts clock speed of 3.8GHz, which can be boosted up to 4.4GHz. It also has 19 MB of cache memory, an advanced AM4 Socket, and DDR4-3200 support. All of this means that you’ll be able to run the latest games like PUBG, COD WarZone, and many more without any hiccups.
In terms of graphics, this processor has integrated AMD Radeon graphics with 7 graphics cores and up to 1.9 GHz graphics boost speed. Which will help you run your favorite games and apps without requiring an additional graphics card.
However, if you want to play games like PUBG, Assassin’s Creed, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, more effectively, then you’ll need to buy a graphics card to take full advantage of the processor’s gaming capabilities.
What We Liked Most in AMD Ryzen 5 5600G?
We really like the performance of this AMD Ryzen 5 processor, especially when you consider its price. This processor’s boost clock speed is 4.4GHz, allowing it to tackle any type of workload that you give it.
We adore the integrated AMD Radeon graphics in this CPU, which will allow you to play your favorite games without having to spend extra money on a graphics card. It also includes an AMD Wraith Stealth heatsink, which will assist you in maintaining an ideal temperature for your CPU and preventing overheating.
When you combine all these features with an affordable price tag of under $250, you have one amazing value-packed processor that is well worth your money.
- It comes with a 4.4 GHz boost clock speed and 19 MB of cache memory.
- This CPU has integrated AMD Radeon graphics, Precision Boost 2 technology, and AMD StoreMI.
- The AMD also includes a wraith stealth cooler for heat better managment.
- It is perfectly compatible with 500 & 400 series motherboards.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a low-cost CPU that provides all of the power you’ll need to get things done. With its six cores and 12 threads, this processor can handle any high-end workload with ease.
This processor comes with cool features such as Precision Boost 2 and AMD StoreMI. Together, these two technologies help improve system responsiveness and performance by making data retrieval faster.
The Ryzen 5 5600G also has an AMD Radeon graphics chip and a Wraith Stealth cooler, making it one of a kind in the CPU market. For this reason, we recommend this processor to anyone who wants to make the most of their money.
4. Intel Core i7-10700F Unlocked CPU for Gamers with 8 Cores & 16 Thread, 4.8GHz Boost Clock Speed, 16MB of Cache Memory, and 65W TDP (Compatible with Intel 400 Series Chipset)
The Intel Core i7-10700F is another great choice for gamers who are looking to create the best gaming PC in 2023. The processor comes with 8 cores and 16 processing threads, which means that you’ll be able to play the latest games without breaking a sweat.
Since it has an advanced LGA 1200 socket, it can be used with most Intel 400 series chipset motherboards. Once you’ve found the motherboard for this processor, then you can install it easily without any problems.
Once installed, you’ll notice that the processor has a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and a 4.8GHz boost clock. It also has a total of 16MB of cache memory and DDR4-29332 memory support. Moreover, it comes with a 65-watt TDP as well as an Intel Optane Memory Support that allows you to effectively run the programs without having to worry about any hiccups.
However, this processor does not have integrated graphics and requires a dedicated graphics card to run games. The company’s main objective is to provide outstanding performance for gamers who want to build a desktop PC with a 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor.
Fortunately, it includes a CPU cooler, so you won’t need to buy a separate one, which will save you some money and help your CPU run at its full potential.
In terms of price, this is reasonably affordable for a processor with 8 cores and 16 threads. Considering that many processors come with far less processing power but are more expensive. Then this product is definitely worth looking into if you’re trying to build a high-end gaming PC.
What We Liked Most in Intel Core i7-10700F?
We really liked how this processor has up to 4.8GHz of a boost clock, which makes it the 2nd fastest CPU on our list. That will help you to play the latest games without any lag or slowdown during high-action scenes.
This is fascinating because a core i7 CPU or any other processor with 8 cores and 16 threads under $250 is relatively unusual to see in this budget. This is why it is worth mentioning. If you have a powerful graphics card and an adequate amount of RAM, you’ll be able to run most graphics-intensive games without issue.
In terms of compatibility, this processor is compatible perfectly with all Intel 400 series chipset motherboards. It also comes with a number of other features that make it easier to use and perform at its best. Quite impressive isn’t it?
- This CPU comes with 8 cores and 16 superfast threads.
- This CPU also has the latest LGA 1200 socket type.
- It is capable to give you up to 4.8 GHz boost clock speed.
- It has a CPU cooler included for better thermal control.
- Doesn’t come with an integrated graphics card.
If you are looking for a 10th generation core i7 CPU or any other CPU which has 6 cores and 12 threads for under 250 dollars, then I’m really happy to inform you that your wait is finally over.
This Intel Core i7-10700F Unlocked CPU is a suitable choice for beginners and advanced gamers who want to build a PC with a powerful processor. The reason is that I believe this processor comes with a tremendous amount of value and performance. Its 4.8GHz boost clock speed, 8 cores, 16 threads power, and tech specs make it stand out from the rest of the CPUs on our list today.
However, this processor does not have integrated graphics. So you will need a dedicated graphics card to run games, which can be a little bit of an issue. But, considering the total value you get with this product from Intel, it is still very worthwhile.
5. AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Unlocked Processor with AM4 Socket, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 4.2GHz Boost Clock Speed, Combined Cache Memory of 19MB, and Wraith Spire Cooler (YD260XBCAFBOX)
The AMD Ryzen 2600X is the 5th best option on our list that you can choose on the market. This is because the processor has an unlocked multiplier that allows for overclocking and near-desktop performance. It comes with six cores and 12 processing threads, As a result, it is capable of handling any situation without hitting a snag.
It has a high TDP of 95 watts, which means that it will need an efficient cooling system, which will ensure that your processor runs at its peak efficiency. Fortunately, the processor comes with an AMD Wraith Spire cooler included which will help you manage your CPU temperature.
This product has a high base and boost clock speed of 3.6GHz, which can be boosted up to 4.2GHz. It also has 19MB of cache memory, an advanced AM4 socket, and DDR4-3200 MHz support for your motherboard. All this means that you’ll be able to run the latest games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), Minecraft, and many more without any problems.
However, if you want to utilize the processor’s gaming capabilities, such as playing games like PUBG, Assassins Creed, Fortnite, or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, you’ll need a graphics card to exploit the processor’s gaming potential.
Additionally, this amazing CPU also has AMD senseMI and storeMI technology, which will help you manage your files, load times, boot times, and system responsiveness. In brief, this processor is an affordable option on the market as it has a lot of features included.
What We Liked Most in AMD Ryzen 5 2600X?
The first thing we noticed about this CPU is that it has six cores and twelve processing threads, allowing it to tackle any challenge you give it. This CPU is also overclocked up to 4.8GHz, which means that you can play or run other programs without difficulty.
And, because this CPU is from AMD and has a TDP of 95 watts, you’ll need to use an effective cooling system to keep your processor running at peak efficiency. Thankfully, it comes with an included AMD Wraith Spire cooler which will make sure that your processor doesn’t overheat.
This chip also comes with AMD’s SenseMI and storeMI technologies, which will help you keep track of your files, load speeds, boot times, and system responsiveness. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with this processor.
- This CPU has many useful features like AMD’s senseMI and storeMI technologies.
- It comes with an advanced AM4 socket and superfast 6 cores – 12 threads.
- It also has 19MB of gaming cache memory and 95W TDP with included AMD Wraith Spire cooler.
- If you add a few bucks, you can get a better CPU like AMD Ryzen 5 5600G than this.
In my view, the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X is a powerful CPU with a lot of features, such as an unlocked rate multiplier that allows for 4.2GHz clock speeds, making it ideal for overclocking your CPU to its peak performance potential.
This CPU even has an AMD Wraith Spire Cooler, which keeps the processor cool while you’re working so it doesn’t overheat. And because this CPU is made by AMD, it includes some features that no other processor offers.
AMD’s software will guide you through the customization procedure and let you know where it’s all going. For example, AMD senseMI technology will help you manage your files, load times, boot times, and system response speed, which is a standard feature in all of AMD’s products. It also includes AMD storeMI technology, which allows you to combine the SSD and regular hard drive into one fast system drive.
6. Intel Core i5-11400F Desktop Processor with 6 Cores – 12 Threads, Boost Clock Speed Up to 4.4GHz, LGA1200 Socket Type, and 65W TDP (Compatible with Intel 500 & 400 Series Chipset)
The Intel Core i5-11400F is another mid-range processor that you can choose on the market. This is a sixth-generation processor that comes with a base clock speed of 2.6GHz and a turbo boost clock speed of 4.4 GHz. It has 12MB cache memory, which is more than enough in comparison to other processors on this list with a similar price range.
Thanks to Intel Optane Memory, you’ll be able to enjoy faster boot times and enhanced system responsiveness. It also has PCIe Gen 4.0 support, which means that you’ll be able to run the latest graphics cards without any problems.
Intel Core i5-11400F offers you a lot of bang for your buck, especially since it comes with an Intel thermal solution included. This feature helps the processor work at its maximum potential without heating up to unacceptable levels.
Besides that, this processor has Intel Turbo Boost technology 2.0 and a 65W TDP. This will make it easy for you to manage your CPU temperature using the bundled thermal solution. If you want to play video games or edit videos, then you will need a quiet cooling system that will allow you to reduce noise levels as well as manage your CPU temperature.
However, if you choose this product, pay attention to the compatibility with your Motherboard chipset as not all motherboards are compatible with this CPU. This processor is perfectly compatible with 400 and 500 series chipset-based motherboards.
In short, if you want a powerful processor with a lot of features included at an affordable price, then this is the perfect processor for you.
What We Liked Most in Intel Core i5-11400F?
We really liked the fact that this processor offers you a lot of power at a reasonable price, and also comes with Intel Optane Memory for faster boot times and responsiveness.
Furthermore, it supports PCIe Gen 4.0, which means it can run the latest graphics cards with no problems. Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a processor with a lot to offer and a good value for money, then this CPU is worth considering.
It is important to pay attention to the compatibility of your motherboard chipset because not all motherboards are compatible with this Intel Core i5-11400F Processor.
- This CPU comes with LGA 1200 socket type.
- It comes with a 4.4GHz boost clock speed and 65W TDP.
- Compatible with Intel 500 and 400 series chipset-based motherboard.
- It also has Intel Optane Memory Support and Thermal solution included.
- Dedicated graphics cards are required to play AAA games along with this CPU.
During our testing, we were pleasantly surprised by how well this processor performs, especially for its price. We found that it delivers a very powerful performance with a great overclocking ability to match.
It has all the power you need to have an amazing experience while using your computer for everyday tasks as well as video games or editing videos. The amount of features included is definitely impressive.
In terms of pricing, this Intel Core i5-11400F processor is not that expensive. You can get this amazing CPU for under $150, which is very reasonable in comparison with other processors with similar specs.
7. AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with 3.9 Boost Clock Speed, 6 Cores & 12 Threads, 16MB L3 Cache Memory, and Wraith Stealth Cooler (YD2600BBAFBOX)
The seventh-best CPU under 250 dollars on our list is AMD Ryzen 5 2600. It is a multi-core processor that comes with six cores and twelve processing threads. Thanks to its maximum boost speed of 3.9 GHz, you’ll be able to play games and accomplish demanding tasks without having to worry about performance loss.
It also has 16MB l3 cache memory, which is more than enough for everyday tasks. This means you’ll have fewer chances of encountering lag during gameplay, multitasking, or when you’re running several applications.
Performence-wise, it comes with a 65W thermal design power. This means that the processor has optimal cooling to ensure that you get decent performance without having to worry about your CPU overheating and not delivering the desired output due to high temperatures.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that it is an unlocked processor, which means you can overclock it according to your needs. Therefore you can achieve the base clock speed of 3.4 GHz and boost the clock speed to 3.9 GHz. This is a really nice feature since you’ll be able to squeeze all its potential using the bundled overclocking software or tools that come with your motherboard.
So, if you’re looking for a high-performing processor with decent specs, then the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 will be the appropriate choice for you. This is why we recommend this CPU to you and people who don’t have a budget of $250 and struggle to get a powerful CPU for gaming setups. You’ve been waiting a long time for this, and it’s finally here: an affordable CPU under $200. So, there’s no need to wait any longer.
What We Liked Most in AMD Ryzen 5 2600?
We really liked how this processor is another most powerful CPU that you can get for under $200. It’s a great option that will give you decent performance without breaking the bank.
It boasts a max boost clock speed of 3.9 GHz, which means it will keep up with whatever tasks or games you throw at it. Also, we liked how it is unlocked so you can overclock it and get even more performance out of your rig.
The 65W thermal design power ensures that your CPU won’t be overheating and causing it to function at lower levels. So you’ll get better overall performance with this processor. While it’s not the fastest, it is reliable and is a good option for an entry-level gaming setup.
- It comes with 16MB of gaming cache memory and an advanced AM4 socket type.
- It has 6 cores and 12 threads along with 3.9 GHz Max. boost clock speed.
- This also supports DDR4 2933 MHz.
- Additionally, it has 65W TDP, 203°F / 95°C maximum temperature, and a Wraith Stealth cooler.
- With this CPU, you will not be able to play AAA-level games without a video card.
The AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is by far the 2nd cheapest processor you can get your hands on. It is the second most powerful CPU under $200 and one of the decent options you can get if you don’t want to break your budget. It comes with six cores and twelve threads, so it is capable of handling heavy workloads with ease.
When it comes to performance, its maximum boost clock speed of 3.9 GHz ensures that you won’t have to deal with lags during gameplay or when you’re multitasking or running several applications.
So, the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 will be perfect for those on a tight budget since it delivers decent performance that will allow you to play games and run heavy applications without having to worry about slowdown or frame rate issues, such as stuttering.
8. Intel Core i5-9600K Desktop CPU with 6 Cores & Threads, 4.6GHz Turbo Clock Speed, LGA1151 Socket Type, and 95W TDP
The Intel Core i5-9600K is another decent choice for processors under $250 on the market. This processor is one of Intel’s 8th generation Coffee Lake series. It comes with a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and a turbo boost clock speed of 4.6 GHz.
It uses an LGA1151 socket type and has an Intel Smart Cache memory of 9 MB that helps improve the performance of your computer. It’s also one of the best Intel processor models for gaming and processing multiple tasks at the same time. That’s because it comes with 6 cores and 6 threads, which makes it an ideal choice if you want to multitask without experiencing any lag.
Furthermore, this processor is capable of supporting two channels of DDR4-2666 memory type, which means your computer will run at a faster speed. It uses 14nm lithography technology, which means that it will be a more power-efficient processor.
The best thing about this CPU is that it’s unlocked & overclockable, which means you can further increase the performance of your computer by overclocking it. Since it has an unlocked multiplier, you can do this manually by increasing the clock speed and finding your sweet spot (at least that’s what I’ve experienced about overclocking).
If you’re not into overclocking, then don’t worry because there are plenty of other things to like about this chip such as the support of Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology, Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics, Intel vPro platform technology, Intel virtualization technology (VT-x), and many more.
Although this CPU is a bit expensive, it is not suited for budget-conscious consumers. Alternatively, you can get a better CPU for the same price in this budget. Still, this is not a terrible deal at all.
What We Liked Most in Intel Core i5-9600K?
When we tried this amazing CPU, we were amazed by its fast 3.7 GHz base and 4.6 GHz boost clock speeds that help improve the performance of your computer. It has six cores and six threads, which means it’s great for multitasking without slowing you down.
It’s also unlocked & overclockable, which means that you can further increase the performance of your computer by overclocking it. Since it has an unlocked multiplier, you can do this manually by increasing the clock speed and finding your sweet spot.
However, we think there are better alternatives in this price range such as the Intel Core i5-11600K and AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processors. This CPU is superior to the one you’re looking at because it has better specifications and is a superior alternative if you’re seeking a superb performance within the same price range.
- This CPU has Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 630.
- It comes with 6 cores & threads along with a 4.60 GHz boost clock speed.
- Compatible only with motherboards that use Intel 300 Series chipsets.
- It also has 95W TDP with a maximum temperature of 212°F / 100°C and PCG 2015C thermal solution.
- This is a bit pricey.
The Intel Core i5-9600K is a decent 9th-generation Coffee Lake chip for just a little more than $200. It has 6 cores and 6 threads which makes it that decent CPU for optimal performance.
It has unlocked multipliers and a respectable 3.7 GHz base speed with a 4.6GHz boost to improve computer efficiency in addition to that. However, if you want a product with value for money, we recommend upgrading your processor instead of using this one.
What You Need to Check Before Buying the Best CPU Under $250 for Gamers – Buying Guide
When it comes to picking the best CPU for gaming under $250, there are a few important things that you need to take into consideration before you make your purchase.
This article will walk you through What to Look for Before Buying a CPU? How to Choose the Best Gaming CPU for You? Which CPUs Do We Recommend? So, without further ado, let us get on with it!
1. Cores & Thread Count
Choosing the best CPU for gaming under $250 involves knowing how many threads you require for your gaming setup. High-end games can utilize multiple cores in parallel with each other to boost performance and provide you with an enhanced experience. The higher the number, the better your PC will perform, especially in gaming, processing, and handling complex tasks.
So, how many cores and threads should you choose? It all depends on your budget and what you’re gaming on. If you need a processor that can handle demanding games and applications, then going for a CPU with more than six cores is a wise choice, such as the Intel Core i7-10700F.
If you’re not planning to play high-end games like COD Warzone and PUBG, we recommend getting an Intel Core i5-9600K or AMD Ryzen 5 2600X since each of them has 6 cores and 12 threads.
2. Frequency Speed
The frequency speed of the CPU is another main thing that you should check before buying. This is also known as the clock speed of your processor because every processor has its own “Boost Clock Speed” and “Base Clock Speed”, which is measured in GHz.
For example, Intel Core i5-9600K’s frequency speed or as known as clock speed is 3.7 GHz Base clock speed & 4.6 GHz Boost clock speed, while the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X’s base clock speed is 3.6 GHz & 4.2 GHz Boost clock speed which is higher than that of Ryzen 5 2600X.
The higher the frequency speed, the faster it can operate and process tasks and games more efficiently and effectively. This way you can comfortably enjoy the latest AAA games without having to worry about any problems or lag.
However, you should note that there are some processors that have only one frequency speed with no options to change it. So if your processor does not support overclocking then you should look for a CPU that has an unlocked multiplier which we mentioned above, as it will allow you to overclock the CPU and get better performance.
3. Socket Type
Socket type is another thing you should consider before buying a CPU. All motherboards have their own socket-type support and the motherboard compatibility with the processor should be taken into consideration so that you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues when it comes time for installation.
The processor that costs less than $250 these days is most likely to be an LGA 1151, AM4, or LGA 1200 socket type. Now you may be wondering, what’s so special about socket types? Well, to put it simply, one socket type cannot be used on any other motherboard and vice versa even though they may look the same.
Let’s assume you bought an Intel Core i7-12700KF CPU with an LGA 1200 socket, but then you purchased a motherboard with an LGA 1151 chipset. So in that case, You wouldn’t be able to use that processor because the socket type was not compatible with the motherboard.
4. L3 + L2 Cache Memory
Having a higher cache generally means that it will be able to store more information and execute tasks faster. A CPU’s L3 + L2 Cache Memory is one of the main factors that determine how fast your PC can respond when you play games or run high-end software.
But, there are some CPUs that have a lower cache memory, which means they will perform slower according to the higher cache memory’s CPU when it comes to processing data and making games run smoothly.
So, you should base your purchase decision on the number of cores & threads but also check if the CPU has a high L2 or L3 Cache Memory so that your PC can respond faster while you play games.
For example, the Intel Core i5-9600K has a 9MB Cache Memory while the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X has 16MB Cache memory which is higher than that of Ryzen 5 2600X.
Another thing that you should check is whether or not your selected CPU can be overclocked. This is very important when you are looking for a CPU for gaming purposes.
Overclocking is basically an easy yet effective method to help boost your processor’s performance by increasing its clock speeds beyond its out-of-box settings.
In other words, overclocking is basically getting more out of your CPU by increasing the multiplier to a specified level that provides you with higher frequencies speeds which enables a processor to work faster and process tasks quickly without lagging.
6. Thermal Design Power (TDP)
You should also consider the thermal design power of your processor. This is measured in Watts and refers to the amount of energy a processor needs to dissipate after being subjected to heat.
The lower it is, the better it is since processors get hotter over time and will work more efficiently when they are cooler. So it’s better to invest in a processor that has a lower TDP if you want something that will run smoothly on your PC.
However, if your processor does not support overclocking then this specification won’t affect performance. The CPUs with high TDP aren’t suitable for overclocking anyway without any cooling system.
Here’s the thing: for managing your CPU temperature and for overclocking, the best option is the liquid cooling system (e.g, Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L). In the worst-case scenario, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to spend on a liquid cooling system, then it would be wise to look for Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB and Vetroo V5 White CPU Air Cooler so that you don’t do any damage to your CPU.
If you’re looking for a cheap CPU cooler with a good reputation, I’d recommend the Cooler Master i71C RGB. Which will provide you with excellent air circulation while also looking fantastic.
7. Cooling System
When you are looking for a CPU for gaming purposes and overclocking then it is important to have a cooling system in place. This is because if you overclock your CPU it will use more power than the base clock speed due to which it will produce more heat and you don’t want this to happen in an uncontrolled manner.
A high TDP (Thermal Design Power) CPU is also caused some serious heating problems due to which they are difficult to cool down properly. Some CPU comes with an air cooling system along with the CPU which is good.
However, if your CPU doesn’t have any cooler included so it is necessary to have a good cooling system like water cooling or air cooling, for that matter since both of them are effective in keeping your CPU cool while it is working on some complex tasks.
8. Integrated Graphics Card
The integrated graphics card (IGC) of your CPU is also very important because it plays an integral role in how well the computer runs. It really depends on what type of games and apps you’re running.
Generally, integrated graphics cards are not meant for power-intensive games like Call of Duty, Dota 2, PUBG, and many more, but if you’re not interested in heavy gaming and only need the fastest performance from your PC to work with documents, browse the internet or watch movies, then getting an IGC is a smart choice.
Alternatively, if you intend to play high-end games or run apps that need top performance then you should consider buying a dedicated GPU (e.g, Best RTX 2080 or Best RTX 2070). As a result, you’ll be able to play all of your games at the highest settings with this. It will work in tandem with your integrated graphics card and provide a significant boost in performance as well.
9. Your Budget
Your budget plays an important role when it comes to buying a CPU because you cannot just go ahead and randomly purchase any processor that has the features you want.
It’s important to find the perfect balance between your requirements and affordability so that you can get the best deal in your budget. For example, if you want a CPU for gaming (e.g, Dota 2, Call of Duty, and all AAA types games) and multitasking then I’d recommend going for CPUs in the $250 to $500 price range.
On the other hand, if your requirement is not that high and you just want a CPU for browsing the web, watching movies, and for day-to-day life, then you can go for a CPU in the $100-$200 price range.
Gaming is an amazing experience, but it can be ruined if you don’t have the right equipment. If you want to take your gaming experience to the next level, then make sure that you choose one of the best gaming CPUs for under $250 for gamers.
And if you ask for our personal favorite CPU under $250 then we’ll suggest you choose the Intel core i7-10700F processor, because we already used this amazing processor and we are really happy with the overall performance when playing AAA games.
That’s it for this guide. We hope that this article has helped you in making your final decision about choosing one of the best CPUs under $250. If you have any kind of questions or queries feel free to ask in the comment section below.
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