Best CPU Under $100 For Gaming in 2021

(Image credit: AMD)

Building a gaming machine doesn’t have a fixed budget. It can be done with a few hundred up to thousands of dollars. And when looking to build a PC, the first two components you will have to look for are the GPU and CPU. Whilst we have already spoken about the budget graphics card, today we decided to bring you some fantastic CPU under $100.

Most people get afraid of bottlenecking issues when purchasing a budget CPU. While this problem can occur, it doesn’t mean that all affordable CPUs will prevent you from getting the best performance out of your GPU. Actually, you can have a fantastic gaming experience with an entry-level gaming machine. Nevertheless, we highly recommend using SystemReqs in order to know what to expect from your budget PC.

1-AMD Ryzen 3 3100

AMD Ryzen 3000 line-up has known huge success thanks to their new optimized architecture, which allowed them to offer competitive gaming performance. And while most of the light was taken by their high-end CPUs, the entry-level processors also scored some fantastic performance during our benchmarks.

First of all, the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 comes with 4 cores and 8 threads, all you need to enjoy an outstanding gaming experience. Like all Ryzen CPUs, the Ryzen 3 3100 has unlocked chips. And therefore, you can push it beyond its 3.9GHz boost clock by doing some overclocking.

This will allow you to get additional free performance. However, we highly recommend getting an aftermarket cooler if you want to do so.

Furthermore, this CPU supports the AM4 socket. And if you have been in the market, you have definitely noticed how wide it’s the number of motherboards compatible with the Ryzen 3 3100. In addition to that, most AM4 motherboards support the Ryzen 5000 CPUs.

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2-Intel Core i3-9100F

Even after the release of AMD CPUs, the previous generation of Intel processors still remain a fantastic option despite their old architecture. And one of these amazing CPUs is the pocket-friendly Intel Core i3-9100F.

The Intel Core i3-9100F also features 4 cores. Yet, unlike the Ryzen 3 3100, this CPU doesn’t have hyperthreading. In other words, it comes with 4 threads instead of 8. However, the lack of hyperthreading didn’t prevent it from offering an amazing gaming performance. In fact, even with its core counts and threads configuration, it manages to compete ahead to head with the Ryzen 3 3100 making it another perfect budget option.

Like every Intel CPU that ends up with an “F,” the Intel Core i3-9100F doesn’t have integrated graphics. And therefore, an external graphics card will be required.

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3-AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

Thanks to the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, building an entry-level gaming PC has never been as easy as it’s now. This APU will allow you to join the gaming community and benefit from a playable gaming experience at a minimal cost and without the need for an external graphics card.

The AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is an APU (Accelerated processing unit), which means that it includes both CPU and GPU in a single chip. While the performance it will offer you will not allow you to run all AAA titles at maximum settings, you will still have an enjoyable gaming experience by tweaking the game’s settings.

Moreover, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G comes with 4 cores and 4 threads. It also embeds a stock cooler. AMD stock coolers are more than capable of handling their CPUs at their stock speed. But when it comes to overclocking, we highly recommend getting a 3rd party cooler.

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4-AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Supplied with a stock cooler along with an iGPU, the Ryzen 3 2200G remains a solid option for gamers that don’t have quick cash to spend on a discrete graphics card. While its integrated graphics aren’t very powerful, it’s still capable of offering an enjoyable gaming experience, mostly at eSport titles.

Just like other Ryzen CPUs, the Ryzen 3 2200G shares the same AM4 socket. While there is a wide range of motherboards that accommodate this socket, we highly recommend getting at least a B450 motherboard, especially if you intend to upgrade your CPU in the future.

Even though it’s a 2nd generation Ryzen CPU, the Ryzen 3 2200G is designed with ZEN architecture. However, even with its old architecture, it is capable of handling some complex multitasking.

Despite its low core counts and threads configuration, this CPU is capable of providing you with a good performance for less demanding tasks such as light video editing.

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5-AMD Athlon 3000G

Created primarily for budget users, the AMD Athlon 3000G will save you a lot of money for your next build. With its 2 cores and 4 threads, this CPU will allow your daily activities and light games to be smooth, and therefore enjoyable.

The AMD Athlon 3000G does support Vega 3 Integrated graphics for those who want to play some light games. However, for a better gaming experience, we highly recommend getting a discrete graphics card.

With such a low price tag, it’s obvious that you will see some compromises. With the AMD Athlon 3000G core counts and threads, you shouldn’t expect great multi-tasking results nor running demanding titles. Nevertheless, it remains a great option for those who want to build an entry-level PC.

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Bottom Line

Whether you are looking to purchase one of these CPUs for light gaming or daily activities, you should expect a great result. Plus, they all come with a stock cooler, and therefore you can save your money for a discrete graphics card.

It’s crucial to know that while these CPUs represent great value for money, you can’t expect much from them when it comes to playing demanding titles unless you got a good discrete graphics card. Other than that, by going with one of these CPUs, you can be confident that you are getting the best value for your money. And if you wish to push the budget a bit further, you can visit our recent guide about the best CPUs under $200.

Don’t forget to let us know your opinion about these budget CPUs. We will also highly appreciate it if you let us know below which CPU has caught your attention. And if you are building a new budget-friendly gaming PC, then we highly recommend taking a look at our $300 gaming machine.

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