Next-gen budget processors for PC gaming in 2022

With the launch of Intel’s Alder Lake series of chipsets, the price/performance ratio has never been better. Budget-conscious buyers will find it hard to choose from what seems to be the largest range of chipsets in recent memory.

However, the GPU market is still plagued by availability issues. So it makes sense to go for an efficient chip that can deliver decent performance when paired with a low-end graphics card.

Although both camps, Intel and AMD, share some commonalities, the differences for the end consumer could prove significant. The original Ryzen coolers, for example, are remarkably better than their Intel counterparts. Now, in case you don’t have the budget for a water/air cooled system, buying Intel and expecting prodigious thermal performance is going to be counterproductive.

If you’re looking to buy a budget processor, making sure you get good value for money can be a difficult task. Fortunately, help is available.


Best Budget Chipsets in PC Gaming

Not everyone can afford to buy premium products in the market or simply does not want to, and that is why there are products available at different prices.

Today’s budget processors are more than capable of delivering a great gaming experience. And to help you make an informed choice, here are the top five chipsets that are also budget friendly.


5. AMD Ryzen 5 3600

The Ryzen 5 3600 is progressing (Image via AMD)
The Ryzen 5 3600 is progressing (Image via AMD)

First off, the Ryzen 5 3600 doesn’t have an integrated graphics card. So you’re out of luck if you’re building a PC without a GPU. But on a good day, you can find it for as low as $200, and for that price you get AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, six cores/12 threads, and an integrated Wraith cooler to help control thermals.

Coupled with a good GPU like the RTX 3050, you’ll be able to play most games in Full HD on high/ultra settings.


4. Intel Core i3 12100F

The Core i3 has entered its glory days (Image via Intel)
The Core i3 has entered its glory days (Image via Intel)

A versatile, power-efficient beast that can run the latest and greatest titles while selling for just $120. The 12100F rivals nothing else. AMD’s market share in the sub-$180 category is tiny, thanks to the more expensive Zen 3 chips.

The PC gaming fraternity has always considered the i3 a mediocre compromise, but now it’s basking in glory.

Featuring 4 cores/8 threads, it handles anything you throw at it like a champ, but with sub-par editing prowess when it comes to handling the high resolution textures of 4K video. Plus, its incredibly low peak power consumption of 89W ensures it can be used with a low wattage PSU.


3. Intel Core i5 12400F

The Core i5 has always been a favorite among gamers (Image via Intel)
The Core i5 has always been a favorite among gamers (Image via Intel)

It’s safe to say that there isn’t a better value for money chipset out there right now. The performance of this processor is so good that it wouldn’t even cause a bottleneck when paired with a high-end card like the 3080Ti.

Single-core numbers rival the best, including Ryzen 9 5900X and Intel’s own Tiger Lake series of chips.

At $180, if that’s not a steal, it’s hard to tell what is. Compared to the last generation Tiger Lake, the bus bandwidth sees a significant jump. Plus, with B660 motherboards getting cheaper with every passing day, it makes perfect sense to invest in a smart, sustainable future where you can upgrade every chance you get without burning your pockets.


2.AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

The 3300X comes with an original Wraith cooler (Image via AMD)
The 3300X comes with an original Wraith cooler (Image via AMD)

Base counting has become a topic of debate lately in the PC gaming world, and there are different schools of thought, each promoting a specific narrative.

However, all that matters is the availability of the PCIe 4.0 interface, frugal power consumption and solid multi-threaded power supply. And when it comes to those features, the 3300X has you covered.

Legacy hardware users also benefited greatly from this chip, given that the 3300X still relies on AM4 card sockets.


1. Intel Core i5 12600KF

At $300, it’s the most expensive chipset on this list. Featuring 10 cores/16 threads, as well as a 4.9Ghz PCIe 5.0 boost clock, it can handle anything you throw at it.

This chipset is also overclockable, and users have reported a gain of up to 10 FPS in games like Apex Legends with thermals under control. Enthusiasts, gamers and content creators, the people who rule the PC gaming sphere, have wholeheartedly approved of Intel’s Alder Lake surprise, the i5 12600KF.


In conclusion

The budget-conscious buyer doesn’t always have to compromise. Today’s PC gaming landscape is welcoming and offers something for everyone.

Legacy users can still opt for the current AM4 chipsets which offer reasonably priced upgrades for their aging PCs. Meanwhile, budding PC builders can blindly opt for the latest Alder Lake goodness from good old Intel.

All in all, it’s a great time to be a PC gamer.


Edited by Soumyadyuti Ghosh

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