We don’t have much gaming-oriented news to report; the CPU market is fairly stable. Sure, AMD launched its Kaveri-based APUs and some high core count Opterons, while Intel introduced LGA 1150-based Celerons. But those aren’t the CPUs you’re looking for.
If you don’t have the time to research benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right processor for your next gaming machine, fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming CPUs offered for the money.
We begin this month’s update with news from AMD.
Most recently, the company announced 12- and 16-core Opteron processors, which actually host six and eight Piledriver modules, respectively. The 12-core Opteron 6338P (2.3 GHz) and 16-core Opteron 6370P (2.0 GHz) are 99 W CPUs. Of course, these have little bearing on the gaming space. More than anything, I find it interesting that AMD continues working on more complex versions of the processors we’re so familiar with on the desktop, and that enterprise customers are using them specifically to drive servers running many virtual machines.
Of course, on the desktop, we were finally introduced to AMD’s Kaveri-based APUs (check out AMD A10-7850K And A8-7600: Kaveri Gives Us A Taste Of HSA for more). Unfortunately, those two processors sell for $185 and $160. They don’t offer much additional value over the $130 A10-6790K, assuming you want discrete graphics for a true gaming configuration. Also, we noticed that the A4-3300 and -3400 APU families are up about $5.
Intel launched a few new CPUs, marking the introduction of LGA 1150-based Celerons. The G1820 and G1830, both built using the Haswell architecture, are 53 W processors with 2 MB of shared L3 cache running at 2.7 and 2.8 GHz, respectively. Right now, they both go for $60 on Newegg. The Pentium 2030 is an Ivy Bridge-based LGA 1155 part with a 55 W TDP operating at 3 GHz with no Turbo Boost support. It’s selling for $69.
Aside from those few entry-level CPUs, we’re starting to see more companies introducing Bay Trail-based platforms with embedded SoCs based on the Silvermont architecture. They’re not really relevant to gamers, given their emphasis on low power. However, as the foundation for a second or third machine around the house, used to watch video, bang out emails, or browse the Web, the new Pentium and Celeronprocessors are far better than the low-end Atoms they replace.
Some Notes About Our Recommendations
This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, then the CPUs on this list may not be suitable for your particular needs.
The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance. We acknowledge that there are other factors that come into play, such as platform price or CPU overclockability, but we’re not going to complicate things by factoring in motherboard costs. We may add honorable mentions for outstanding products in the future, though. For now, our recommendations are based on stock clock speeds and performance at that price. Remember to check out our new performance per dollar comparison page, where you can overlay the benchmark data we’ve generated with pricing, giving you a better idea where your ideal choice falls on the value curve.
Cost and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t offer up-to-the-minute accurate pricing information in the text, but we can list some good chips that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest (and our PriceGrabber-based engine will help track down some of the best prices for you).
The list is based on some of the best US prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary. Of course, these are retail CPU prices. We do not list used or OEM CPUs available at retail.
|BEST PRICES FOR TESTED PRODUCTS|
|Athlon II X4 750K Quad-core 4 Co||
|FX-6300 Hexa Core Processor (3.5||
|Core i3 i3-4130 Dual-core 2 Core||
|Core i5 i5-3350P Quad-core 4 Cor||
|Core i5 i5-4670K Quad-core 4 Cor||
|Core i7 i7-4770K Quad-core 4 Cor||
|Core i7 i7-4930K 3.40 GHz Proces||