Best budget Intel & AMD CPUs for gaming in 2024

Best budget Intel & AMD CPUs for gaming in 2024
Images via AMD | Intel

Written by 

Tarran Stockton

Last updated 

12th Mar 2024 17:02


If you're hunting for a new budget CPU for gaming, there are a good few options across both Intel and AMD to help you save some money (without compromising performance). Although PC hardware has become difficult to get and expensive in recent years, the situation is improving.

CPUs for gaming PCs are much easier to get these days, with plenty of great options from both Intel and AMD, and I've broken down some of the better options for those looking to get into PC gaming or make a budget build below.

How we chose the best budget CPUs for gaming

When adding a listing to our page, I considered a few factors, but prioritised the speed and performance alongside its price point so that it fits into the 'budget' category.

Other important aspects include how hot the CPU runs, how much power it uses, how efficient it is, and how it works for tasks outside of gaming. 

Our picks for the best budget CPUs for gaming in 2024
Click to enlarge

Frankly, there are many things to consider when it comes to CPUs, and as the brain of your PC, it's important to get the best one available for your budget level.

Intel CPUs

Intel Core i5-10600K

an image of the Intel Core i5-10600K, one of the best budget CPUs for gaming in 2024
Click to enlarge

Key features:

  • 4.8 GHz boost
  • Fast mid-range performance
  • Solid thermal performance

My first pick for a great budget CPU for gaming is the Intel Core i5-10600K, an excellent entry-level choice, making it a perfect option to get a little more out of your budget. 

The six-core, 12-thread Comet Lake processor this thing runs on clocks at a standard 4.1 GHz, allowing for a boost up to 4.8 GHz. The price for performance here is excellent, and enough for anyone looking to run the most modern games. 

It cools well, so you don't need the most expensive cooling solution here, but with no bundled cooler you will still need to shed out a little more for a heatsink or water cooler.

Intel Core i7-12700K

An image of the Intel Core i7-12700K
Click to enlarge

Key features:

  • Great multi-threaded performance
  • Fast single-core performance
  • 5 GHz boost

A step up from the previous CPU - but still cheap enough to be considered 'budget' - is the Intel Core i7-12700K.

With 12 cores and 20 threads, it has top-tier multi-threaded and single-core performance and will feed your other components' data at a blazing speed, ensuring optimum performance across the board when paired with similar-quality components. It can even be boosted up to 5 GHz if you want to do some overclocking and get the most bang for your buck.

If you want to opt out of a pricey GPU, the improved integrated graphics on this are still enough for a lot of the most-played PC games and less taxing games from this generation. Overall, this CPU has a lot going for it and is future-proofed enough to last you well for a few years.


AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

an image of the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, one of the best budget CPUs for gaming in 2024
Click to enlarge

Key features:

  • Excellent integrated graphics
  • Great cooling
  • A powerhouse CPU currently at a budget price

The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is a jack of all trades when it comes to its performance, boasting an eight-core, 16-thread chip with a base clock of 3.8 GHz, maxing out at 4.6 GHz. It has some of the best cooling performance and power consumption of the CPUs on this list, but it's best paired with good memory, or some of its efficiency can become redundant. 

Finally, this should be the go-to CPU for players who aren't looking to purchase a dedicated GPU, as it still can handle some of the newer titles out there at 1080p with lower graphic settings.

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I also find AMD CPUs to be far easier to fit into your motherboard due to the simple locking mechanism, as it takes into account if you're building your own.

AMD Ryzen 5 5500

An image of the AMD Ryzen 5 5500
Click to enlarge

Key features:

  • Great overall performance for the price
  • Rapid speeds
  • Low power usage

As the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 runs on the AM4 platform, you can get a much cheaper motherboard to pair with it, meaning this piece of hardware facilitates a budget build from top to bottom. 

With a clock speed of 4.2 GHz, you can expect moderate performance on even the newer games from this generation, and the low power usage makes it extremely efficient for leaving more power to your other parts. 

What is the best budget CPU in 2024?

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

An image of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G, the best budget CPU for gaming in 2024
Click to enlarge

Key features:

  • Perfect mid-range performance
  • Free cooler and excellent thermals
  • Great integrated graphics

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is the best budget CPU for gaming right now, and a cheaper alternative to the Ryzen 7 5700G that still boasts top-tier performance.

You can grab this beast of a CPU for under $150 and it will last you for years in a mid-range build. Much like its bigger brother, it offers fantastic integrated graphics, but these work as well for newer games, making this better when paired with a similar quality GPU.

A big advantage of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is that it features a stock cooler in the box, which should help save a little more money. It already features good thermal performance, but the Wraith Stealth cooler will cool it even further, so you never need to worry about overheating. 

Check out our hardware and lists pages for more guides. Or, you can find our guides for the best RAM for gaming, the best Razer gaming keyboards, and the best 1440p gaming monitors.

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Tarran Stockton
About the author
Tarran Stockton
Tarran is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. He previously wrote reviews for his college newspaper before studying Media and Communication at university. His favourite genres include role-playing games, strategy games, and boomer shooters - along with anything indie. You can also find him in the pit at local hardcore shows.
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