Top 5 desktop CPUs for cheapskates (2017)

If you’re a poor college student, an aspiring bitcoin miner, or you owe me money, you might be in the market for a cheap-o CPU. Luckily, there are some good options out there these days, and if paired with a decent graphics card, should even allow you to run good ol’ GTA V on low settings (just kidding! medium, probably).

We’ve rounded up the top 5 cheap, but well-loved, CPUs for 2017. Each of these have received glowing user reviews and will set you no more than $70 (about the same as a poorly conceived night at the local watering hole). So let’s have a look, it’s time to get cheap:

# 5 The AMD A4-7300 Richland

This older, cheap-o processor sports two cores and an integrated Radeon HD 847OD accelerated processing unit (APU). The latter is especially beneficial for you real cheapskates out there who don’t want to buy a dedicated graphics card. Admittedly, however, your gaming prowess will be quite limited. At $65 it is also one of the more expensive cheap CPUs we considered. All in all, it’s recommended you check out the newer, quad-core offerings (such as the X4 950), unless you know you’ll be working with programs using just one or two cores (lame) or have an older FM2 motherboard.

Price: $65 | Cores: 4 | Speed: 3.9 GHz | Power: 65w | Socket: FM2

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# 4 The AMD FX-4300 Black Edition

If you need a bit more power, but you’re just slightly too cheap for the FX-6000, by all means consider the AMD FX-4300. This fiesty, black edition (and thus unlocked) processor has four beefy cores, but drains a bit more power at 95 watts. It’s not the best processor to setup a server with, and that sort of thing, but it makes for a fairly decent cheap gaming CPU when paired with a dedicated graphics card. Keep in mind that this is not an APU like the A4-7300. As a socket AM3+, this chip is starting to show its age, so consider all your options before plucking down the $65 or so.

Price: $65 | Cores: 4 | Speed: 3.8+ GHz | Power: 95w | Socket: AM3+

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# 3 The Intel Celeron G3930

Intel Celeron CPU G3930It’s a 7th generation Intel CPU for under $40, what else could you ask for? A Ryzen Threadripper or Core i9, you say? Well dream on, dude! Also, you’re looking at the wrong list. This one is for the true hardware cheapskates out there who only have $500 to spend, and they know they’re putting at least $400 into their GPU (that’s you, right?). The good news is, this processor is really not a terrible option as long as your expectations aren’t completely out of whack with reality. It sports dual-cores at 2.9 GHz and fits nicely onto the LGA 1151 board.

Price: $39 | Cores: 2 |Speed: 2.9 GHz | Power: 51w | Socket: LGA 1151

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# 2 The AMD Athlon X4 950

AMD Athlon X4 950 Bristol Ridge Quad-Core 3.5 GHz So you didn’t think they made Athlons anymore, huh? Well you’re wrong! So wrong. The Athlon line is still kicking with the X4 950 quad-core CPU. It has the distinction of being one of the few quad-core processors out there for under $70. It has a acquired a small, but loyal, cult following, with cheapskate gamers everywhere rejoicing in its quad-core goodness. Still, most recommend sticking to 1080p gaming here, though, if you’re reading this, you probably already knew that.

Price: $59 | Cores: 4 | Speed: 3.8 GHz | Power: 65w | Socket: AM4

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Intel Pentium Processor G4400# 1 The Intel Pentium G4400

For less than $50, Intel’s Pentium G4440 is quite the satisfactory cheap-o CPU that has successfully run a number of modern game titles when paired with a decent graphics card. And, as a socket LGA 1151 chip, you can always swap this guy out later for a much faster quad-core (or better, ha!) processor when you win the lottery or something. Overall, this chip probably gives you the best bang for your money, running a bit faster than the Celeron on slightly less power. Either chip is a great choice, though, for the cheap… I mean, budget-minded consumer.

Price: $49 | Cores: 2 | Speed: 3.3 GHz | Power: 47w | Socket: LGA 1151

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Well, that’s our list. If we’ve left out any cheap-o CPU winners, please let us know below. Best of luck, cheapskates!


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