7 Best Intel & AMD CPU Under 200 Dollars in 2021

(Image credit: AMD)

You finally took action and decided to join the PC gaming community, but you are wondering which CPU to purchase. There are plenty of options out there, and each one can serve you for a specific purpose. But what if we told you that you could enjoy an excellent gaming experience as well as multi-tasking with your CPU without crossing the 200 dollars price point. Yes, it’s possible. If you are familiar with the hardware market, you have definitely noticed how tough the competition is between AMD and Intel.

A few years ago, building a powerful gaming machine with a CPU at this price point would be impossible. Still, things have changed, and the competition took a different path, which has given us some excellent opportunities. These opportunities have allowed us to gather some excellent CPUs for both casual and hardcore gamers at under 200$.

Some of these CPUs will also allow you to join the Twitch community by streaming your preferred titles. It’s indeed going to be a tough challenge to stream demanding AAA titles. However, if you do have an Nvidia RTX card, streaming should be smooth thanks to Nvidia’s encoder (NVENC)

Some of these CPUs may exceed their original price, so keep an eye on the market.

Model
Best Overall
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
For Productivity
AMD Ryzen 7 2700
For Gaming
Intel Core i5-9600KF
Best APU
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
Best Value
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Design
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Processor with Wraith Spire LED Cooler - YD2700BBAFBOX
Intel Core i5-9600KF Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.6 GHz Turbo Unlocked Without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 95W
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G 4-core, 8-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon RX Graphics
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler - YD2600BBAFBOX
Socket
AM4
AM4
LGA1151
AM4
AM4
Cores
6
8
6
4
6
Threads
12
16
6
8
12
Base Clock
3.6GHz
3.2GHz
3.7GHz
3.7GHz
3.4GHz
Boost Clock
4.2GHz
4.1GHz
4.6GHz
4.2GHz
3.9GHz
Best Overall
Model
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Design
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler
Socket
AM4
Cores
6
Threads
12
Base Clock
3.6GHz
Boost Clock
4.2GHz
For Productivity
Model
AMD Ryzen 7 2700
Design
AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Processor with Wraith Spire LED Cooler - YD2700BBAFBOX
Socket
AM4
Cores
8
Threads
16
Base Clock
3.2GHz
Boost Clock
4.1GHz
For Gaming
Model
Intel Core i5-9600KF
Design
Intel Core i5-9600KF Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.6 GHz Turbo Unlocked Without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Socket
LGA1151
Cores
6
Threads
6
Base Clock
3.7GHz
Boost Clock
4.6GHz
Best APU
Model
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
Design
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G 4-core, 8-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon RX Graphics
Socket
AM4
Cores
4
Threads
8
Base Clock
3.7GHz
Boost Clock
4.2GHz
Best Value
Model
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Design
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler - YD2600BBAFBOX
Socket
AM4
Cores
6
Threads
12
Base Clock
3.4GHz
Boost Clock
3.9GHz

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1-AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (Best Overall)

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is by far our 1st recommended CPU. It’s the best in his league, offering excellent performance in games as well as in application. Whether you are looking to build your system for gaming, multitasking, or both, you can be confident that this CPU will offer you the best user experience.

First of all, the Ryzen 5 3600 is a 6 cores CPU with hyperthreading. It has a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4.2GHz, while it consumes only 65W. It also arrives with a great stock cooler on top of its amazing performance, allowing you to save money for another important part such as GPU.

Moreover, the Ryzen 5 3600 is compatible with the AM4 socket. The AM4 socket is one of the best sockets on the market as it supports all Ryzen generations. And by going with a good B450 motherboard, you will benefit from excellent features, overclocking capabilities, and the ability to upgrade your CPU without the need to replace the motherboard.

Besides, as AMD Ryzen CPUs are unlocked, you can overclock them for an extra free performance. However, we highly recommend purchasing an aftermarket cooler for the Ryzen 5 3600 if you are looking to do some overclocking.

Overall, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 clearly worth the money. It’s by far the best mid-range CPU. And with the release of AMD Ryzen 5000, you can expect some price cuts in the future, making it an unbeatable option.

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2-Intel Core i5-9600KF (Best For Gaming)

Intel has always been at the top of the line when it comes to gaming performance. And if your utilization will be for gaming only, then the Intel Core i5-9600KF may worth your attention.

First of all, the Intel Core i5 9600KF is the real competitor for the Ryzen 5 3600. This CPU comes with 6 cores that can boost up to 4.60GHz. It also can be overclocked up to 5GHz, which will benefit you from a significant performance gain. Besides, the Intel Core i5 9600KF does provide a better gaming experience compared to the Ryzen 5 3600. However, it does fall behind in multitasking.

Moreover, unlike the Ryzen 5 3600, the Intel Core i5 9600KF doesn’t feature a stock cooler. Nevertheless, you can easily maintain a low temperature with a good budget cooler. Besides, the “F” on the CPU’s name means that it doesn’t possess an Integrated Graphics.

Overall, in terms of value for money, Ryzen 5 3600 is the true winner. However, if you want the best gaming performance possible for a midrange gaming PC, then the Intel Core i5 9600KF is a perfect choice.

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3-AMD Ryzen 7 2700 (Best For Productivity)

Who could imagine that one day a powerful 8 cores CPU like the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 will be as affordable as now? The AMD Ryzen 7 2700 is the best for gamers that are also content creators. Its 8 cores with hyperthreading will offer you outstanding performance in both gaming and multitasking.

First of all, AMD Ryzen 7 2700 comes with 8 cores and 16 threads. It can boost up to 4.1GHz, and it does also feature a good stock cooler. Unless you want to overclock the Ryzen 7 2700, the stock cooler is more than enough for normal usage and gaming.

Furthermore, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 also can be used for streaming. Its core counts and threads should be more than capable of offering an excellent gaming experience.

Does the Ryzen 7 2700 worth the extra cost compared to other CPUs? If you are a content creator or want to start streaming then, it definitely worth it. However, if your main utilization will be only for gaming, then a 6 Cores CPU such as Ryzen 5 3600 will be more than adequate.

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4-AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Back in the days, a powerful 4 cores CPU with hyperthreading had a significant price tag. However, AMD has opened the door for budget gamers to build amazing gaming machines at a low price point with its new powers and budget CPUs.

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is an excellent gaming CPU. It does provide a stellar gaming experience similar to some high-end CPUs at a budget price. It also features a stock cooler, which makes it an unbeatable budget option. The secret behind the huge performance gain relies on the new AMD architecture. The new architecture, which can also be found on the Ryzen 5000 CPUs, has significantly reduced the latency. And this has led to a meaningful performance gain.

What is also interesting with AMD Ryzen CPUs is the wide range of motherboards. Since AMD Ryzen 3 3300X support AM4 socket type, you will have plenty of options, from B350 up to B550. However, we highly recommend getting at least a B450 motherboard such as B450 Tomahawk. These motherboards highlight excellent features, they are affordable, and on top of that, they support Ryzen 5000.

Therefore, the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is a stellar option for a good entry-level gaming PC. It does provide excellent gaming performance, comes with a stock cooler and an upgradeable platform.

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5-Intel Core i5-10400

Intel has stepped toward midrange gaming CPUs with the comet lake lineup, delivering an excellent value CPU for money. The Intel Core i5-10400 highlight similar specs compared to the Ryzen 5 3600. However, it does slightly fall behind in gaming performance, yet it’s still considered an excellent Intel midrange gaming CPU.

First and foremost, the Intel Core i5-10400 comes with 6 cores with hyperthreading, which can boost up to 4.30 GHz. However, it can not be overclocked, so its boost clock is the highest core clock that this CPU can achieve.

Moreover, the Intel Core i5-10400 features LGA 1200 socket type. According to Intel, the LGA 1200 is going to support the upcoming Rocket Lake Intel CPUs. In other words, purchasing a good B460 or Z490 motherboard can serve you in the future if you decide to upgrade to the next generation.

Even though we always recommend purchasing the best value product for the money, some people are loyal to a specific brand. And if you are a team’s blue side, then the Intel Core i5-10400 is an attractive CPU which will offer a stellar performance for its cost.

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6-AMD Ryzen 5 2600

AMD’s previous Ryzen generation is more than capable of offering quality performance. Whether it’s for gaming or multitasking, it will get you the result you are looking for. And one of the best CPU that is also an unquestionably great value option is the AMD Ryzen 5 2600.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is a 6 cores and 12 threads CPU. It does have a base clock of 3.4GHz, and a boost clock of 3.9GHz. You also can push the clock speed beyond the boost clock by doing some overclocking. Even though the stock cooler can handle the CPU during the overclocking process, we recommend getting a decent aftermarket cooler to maintain a good temperature.

Besides, since all Ryzen CPUs share the AM4 socket type, finding a good motherboard should be easy. Plus, our first recommendation of motherboards for the Ryzen 5 2600 will be a B450 chipset. B450 motherboards are one of the best AMD boards ever released. They highlight quality features, excellent build quality, and on top of that, they support all Ryzen CPUs.

Overall, the Ryzen 5 2600 is clearly the best bank for the buck. It’s by far our best recommendation for those who want to build a good gaming machine without overspending. The 6 cores and 12 threads are more than adequate for current games, while the stock cooler will save you some extra money for something else.

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7-AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

For those who are not familiar with PC hardware, building a good gaming PC will look like spending a significant amount of money. But in reality, you can build a gaming machine for e-Sport games with a low budget. And in order to achieve this, all that you are going to need is the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G.

First and foremost, the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G comes with 4 cores and 8 threads that can boost up to 4.2GHz. Besides, this CPU feature integrated graphics which is the Vega 11. The iGPU is more than capable of handling most of the eSport games without any issues. It can also run some AAA games by lowering the settings and maybe the resolution in some cases.

What is also interesting with this APU is the stock cooler that it comes with. As most Ryzen CPUs include a stock cooler, you can invest the extra money for another important component. Also, overclocking the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G allows you to increase the performance of both the CPU and the iGPU. However, we highly recommend avoiding overclocking the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G in case you are not familiar steps that are required.

Does the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G worth it? If you are looking to build a good entry-level gaming PC and don’t have the budget for a Graphics Card, it is definitely worth it. It will offer you a smooth multitasking experience with its 4 cores and 8 threads, along with a good gaming experience with the Vega 11 Integrated Graphics.

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Conclusion

After going through the CPUs mentioned above, you should know by now that building a good gaming PC can be done without overspending. Also, what you should focus on is to get the best value for your money. It doesn’t matter if you choose AMD over Intel or vice versa; what matters the most is to get the desired performance.

We hope we have brought you the information you were looking for, which will help you purchase the right CPU for under 200 dollars. We will highly appreciate it if you let us know which CPU you decided to purchase in the comment below.

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