There are plenty of CPUs out there and while you can spend exorbitant amounts of money to get the best processors, not a lot of us have the same luxury.
There are those that would consider getting a budget CPU- one that is good enough for gaming without putting a hole in your pocket.
Today, I am going to go over some of the best entry-level CPUs for gaming in 2020 that are perfect for budget PC builds.
Best Budget CPUs for Gaming
1.AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
Most games nowadays utilize more than two cores now and there are also some titles that will definitely use all of the cores that are available in the CPU.
But, the sweet spot for gaming is one that contains at least 4 cores and with some multithreading technology as well.
Well, AMD has been on a roll when it comes to budget-oriented processors and if you are looking to build your budget PC anytime soon, look no further than the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X.
This is the processor to beat in the budget category, specifically because it has everything you need for gaming.
First of all, this is a 4-core, 8-thread chip thanks to the Simultaneous Multithreading feature or SMT feature that can be enabled in the motherboard BIOS. This effectively gives you more than enough cores that can handle even some triple-A games without any problems at all.
I like the fact that it can boost up to 3.8GHz which should be good enough for most titles. Although this doesn’t beat any Intel offering in terms of single-core performance, it does beat any equivalent CPU from team blue in terms of streaming and gaming at the same time due to the higher core count.
One of the things that I love about this CPU is that it comes bundled with the company’s Wraith Spire cooler. It is relatively loud but it does a good enough job of cooling the chip down even under heavy loads.
Since this is a chip that is usually placed in budget builds, you can get a good B450 motherboard with this one so you can eke more performance out of it.
Keep in mind that you can overclock this processor a little bit, though I wouldn’t recommend that you do it with the stock cooler. If you do intend to overclock the chip, you will need a beefier cooler to keep things under control.
Lastly, since 3300X is under the Zen 2 architecture from AMD, you can effectively use its PCIe 4.0 interface since most B450 and X570 motherboards have at least one.
All in all, the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is unbeatable in its price class.
2.Intel Core i5-9400
Ever since AMD was on the rise back in 2016, Intel was forced to create a new line of processors with higher core counts while still maintaining higher single-core frequencies as well.
If you are uncomfortable using AMD’s chips because of its relatively new architecture, then the Intel Core i5-9400 is a great budget option from team blue.
Despite its lack of any hyperthreading feature, it does have six cores right off the bat and it also has six threads as a result as well. In most games, this should be adequate.
This version of the processor comes with integrated graphics so if you are saving some money to get a better discrete GPU down the line, you can use its onboard graphics solution for now until you have enough money to get a dedicated one.
That being said, it is important that you get a good B-series or Z-series motherboard for this one that comes with a display out connector if you intend to use its iGPU for now.
Keep in mind that since this is not an overclockable chip, getting a Z390 motherboard will not make sense because you cannot raise its core frequencies anyway.
The only good reason for getting such a board would be if you have plans of getting a ‘K’ SKU chip in the future.
This is a good budget gaming CPU mainly because it comes with a cooler in the box. It might run hotter than other CPUs in the budget category, but it shouldn’t go over its specs even under load.
3.AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
While I really love the 3300X processor mentioned above, the problem was that it doesn’t have onboard graphics at all. That is only great if you also have the budget for getting a dedicated graphics card as well.
If you want to save up for now but you still want to play some games like Dota 2 or CS:GO, I highly recommend that you get the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G for now.
As you can probably tell, this comes with an integrated graphics processor that should be good enough for medium-high settings.
It only has four cores but thanks to SMT, it does have its thread count doubled to 8 which should provide you with enough power to handle any game out there with considerably good frame rates.
It uses the AM4 platform which means that you can use a budget B450 motherboard without any problems. If you are going to use its iGPU, make sure that you get a board with an external display connector as well.
This is a 65-watt TDP chip that comes with its own cooler and I love the fact that it can boost as high as 4.2GHz, provided that the processor can maintain relatively cool temperatures during its operation.
If you are wondering what its integrated graphics solution is, it uses AMD’s RX Vega 11 GPU solution that should provide adequate performance even in modern games (just don’t expect it to go beyond 60fps).
4.AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD and Intel are going at it in the processor space but AMD is winning in most respects thanks to its price-to-performance value. That being said, AMD is set to release its new processors soon and every time the company does so, its last-generation chips receive a massive price cut and that is why I will also include the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU in this article as well.
This is a 6-core, 12-thread processor that comes with an included wraith stealth cooler that does an adequate job of cooling this multi-core part.
It uses the same AM4 platform as the AMD chips mentioned above so compatibility is not going to be an issue here. Do keep in mind that if you are using a new board (such as X570 motherboards, for example), you may have to flash a new BIOS that supports older generation CPUs.
Anyway, this processor provides amazing value and if you are thinking of building your own PC for streaming, this is the one to get.
Its boost frequency is just capped at 3.9GHz but despite it being lower than any Intel equivalent, it is still pretty good in other aspects (such as streaming or even some video editing if you’re into it).
Do keep in mind that although this particular processor is good in gaming, it doesn’t have an onboard graphics solution which means that if you intend to get this one, you will also have to be willing to spend some money to get a dedicated GPU.
Other than that, the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is a definite steal and one that you should consider getting if you want to game with more cores.
Tips When Buying
When you are going to buy a processor, it is important that you factor in the other components and peripherals you are going to be using on your gaming setup as well. Here are some helpful tips.
1.Consider the Resolution
In most cases, people stick to 1080p gaming because it provides the best graphical fidelity without being too taxing on the system.
That being said, the higher the resolution, the brunt of it would fall on the GPU. However, if you are going to stick to Full HD, the CPU will work harder in this scenario so getting one with a higher core frequency makes sense.
Open-world games will also eat up more CPU processing power as well, so if you intend to play those games, you have to keep this in mind.
2.More Cores Are Not Necessarily Good for Gaming
While it is true that the games in the future will utilize more than 4 cores, most of the games nowadays are still stuck at utilizing just 4-6 cores.
The reason why Intel processors usually take the cake when it comes to gaming performance is that while they do not have the same core/thread counts than equivalent AMD counterparts, each individual core is clocked higher which means better gaming performance.
You might find it odd that I didn’t include any Intel CPU other than the 9400 on this list and that is because most of the processors from team blue are priced above $200 and is not considered a ‘budget’ chip anymore, so I didn’t include any of them on the list.
But in theory, if the purpose of getting a CPU is only for gaming, go with a higher core clock as opposed to more cores.
3.Consider Getting a Better Cooler
Most of the budget CPUs you can find on the market come with its own cooling solution in the box, but if you can spend a bit more money (a $20 cooler should suffice), that would be better.
You see, whenever the processor runs relatively cool even under stress, it can boost more consistently as a result. And, since we’ve tackled that sustained higher core clocks are better for gaming, you would want to cool the chip down using a more competitive aftermarket cooling solution.
Razer Deathadder V2 Pro Review- The Company’s Best Mouse Goes Wireless
Among all of Razer’s peripherals, it is the Razer Deathadder that consistently ranks among one of the best gaming mice on the market for so many years.
Much of it has to do with its design and ergonomics as the mouse is quite comfortable and it suits all grip styles.
The Razer Deathadder V2 Pro just improves upon the original formula by making the mouse a bit more lightweight and it is completely wireless now.
Read my review of this thing to find out if I recommend this one or not.
From a design standpoint, the Razer Deathadder V2 Pro is actually quite similar to the past versions, albeit there are some notable (and welcome) differences.
For one, you now have two DPI profile buttons situated just below the scroll wheel. These two buttons can cycle through the different DPI settings that you’ve configured using the Razer Synapse software (though you can set it to do other commands if you wish).
Second, both the thumb and the ring finger/pinky areas of the mouse now have rubberized textures which can really help gamers with sweaty hands grip the peripheral device better compared to the previous versions.
Lastly, I feel that the Razer Deathadder V2 Pro now has a more textured coating overall which adds to the better feel while you are wielding the mouse.
You also have some RGB lighting on the scroll wheel, as well as the infamous tri-headed Razer logo in the palm area of the device.
On the underside, you will find a switch that allows you to change to different modes depending on what you want to use.
This mouse can be utilized on your tablet, for example, as it now has a Bluetooth connectivity mode just for that.
You can also choose to use this thing with its wireless dongle (which is recommended for maximum performance) and you can even use this completely wired if you want to charge and play games at the same time.
Speaking of charging, while there is an included braided cable that you can insert into the device to charge this thing, it doesn’t come with the wireless charging dock that you can find in the Razer Viper Ultimate. That means that if you want the dock, you will need to be spending more on that as it is sold separately.
If you ask me, I suggest that you get the charging dock as it provides a seamless and convenient way of topping the device up, especially when it is not in use.
Mouse Sensor and Buttons
According to the company, the Deathadder V2 Pro comes with the second version of the company’s optical switches. That means that it is also rated to last up to 70 million clicks, albeit it provides a better feel on every button press.
To be honest, I didn’t really feel any difference between the first version of the optical switches and this one, but I guess you just have to take the company’s word for it.
As for the mouse sensor, the Razer Deathadder V2 Pro comes with the Focus+ sensor that has a maximum DPI of 20,000. The absurd DPI support is mainly for marketing purposes, but the main takeaway here is that the mouse remains fairly consistent from an accuracy standpoint.
Among all of Razer’s new gaming mice, the Deathadder V2 Pro should be in line with the Razer Viper Ultimate, at least, in terms of gaming performance.
Before I begin, let me just say that I have fairly large hands which means that my natural grip style is palm-grip. And, as a palm-grip user, I really love the ergonomics of the Razer Deathadder V2 Pro because it just feels so natural to hold.
This mouse has a grip width of 61.7mm, a height of 42.7mm, and a weight of 88 grams (when used completely wireless). For a wireless gaming mouse, that is pretty impressive.
When you are using the wireless 2.4GHz USB dongle or if you use the company’s included Speedflex cable, the Deathadder V2 Pro performed admirably well in all of the games that I play.
I can now confidently say that people can safely transition to using a wireless gaming peripheral as they are now in-line with their wired counterparts in terms of accuracy and overall performance.
I do have to say that there is a bit of a delay when using this thing on Bluetooth connection, but this is only evident when using it on a mobile device and not on the PC. This is to be expected, especially if you are still using a phone or tablet that uses a Bluetooth 4.2 connection.
Razer said that the Deathadder V2 Pro can last up to 120 hours on wireless mode, but that is only true if you are not enabling its Chroma lighting feature.
When you use the 2.4GHz mode alongside all of this mouse’s RGB goodness, you should be able to get roughly 75 hours of continuous use.
The good thing is that when you are using the charging dock, a 10-minute charge would allow you to use this mouse for 12 hours even with Chroma lighting enabled. That is seriously impressive.
What’s more, you can use this mouse completely wired using the Speedflex cable that is included in the box and you will not see any drop in performance whatsoever. It takes a bit more time to charge the device when using the cable though, but the fact that you can still use it when it is plugged in just means that it is pretty convenient no matter what charging method you want to use.
The era where people are afraid to use wireless gaming mice is over and the Razer Deathadder V2 Pro just proves that it can go head-to-head with wired gaming mice in the market.
There are some notable improvements on this mouse. The textured finish, the optical buttons, and the mouse sensor are great, and I love the fact that the company was able to make this device lighter even though it is a wireless peripheral.
This just reinforces the notion that if it ain’t broke, don’t fit it; just improve upon the original formula and you should have a winning product.
Although I would have loved it if the company had included the charging dock in the package, I guess doing so would jack up the price of this thing considerably.The Razer Deathadder V2 Pro costs $129.99 and for the price, it is actually pretty good for a highly competitive wireless gaming mouse. Do keep in mind that the charging dock is sold separately, but I would still recommend that you get one since it is also compatible with the company’s other wireless gaming mice as well.
Alienware Aurora R11 (2020) Review- Configured to Win
Dell’s subsidiary gaming division, Alienware, is at it again. This time, the company has released the new Alienware Aurora R11 and you can configure it to come equipped with the latest Intel processors along with an Nvidia graphics card of your choosing.
In this article, I will go over everything that you need to know about this gaming PC and find out why you can win with this thing if you configure it properly.
First and foremost, the Alienware Aurora R11 is fully configurable which means that you are in complete control of what chassis you want to use, as well as the components that are going to be installed inside of it.
In my testing, I went with a mid-range model that costs a little over $1,400 and I went with the Intel Core i7-10700F and an Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 graphics card. As you can tell, it is a modest system but it is actually quite competent enough to handle all games with considerable frame rate values.
As you can expect from a product that comes from Alienware, the Aurora R11 has two different design options that you can choose. You can either go with the Dark of the Moon model (as tested) which is a chassis with an all-black aesthetic and the Lunar Light edition which is predominantly white with a black front panel.
Both of the said PC cases have a blue halo light that is reminiscent of old space movies, so you could definitely say that this is ‘Alienware’.
I am happy that you get a wealth of USB ports both at the front and at the back I/O panel which means that there is plenty of room for you to plug in all of your USB peripherals.
There is also an option for you to get one with WiFi connectivity. If you want the cheapest option, you can go with a Dell WiFi AC adapter but if you want to future-proof this device, you can go with the Killer WiFi AX adapter instead. The latter should be considered if you have a WiFi 6 router at home for better data throughput.
Although this thing comes with a Z490 motherboard, the only thing that you can overclock here is the graphics card. You could, however, buy the more expensive Intel chip but you will have to spend quite a bit of money just to get the higher model.
The chassis is quite big in height but I love the fact that it doesn’t take too much space on the desk.
My particular configuration doesn’t come with an overclockable processor which means that in most cases, its performance is a little bit subpar when it comes to multi-core workloads.
That being said, this thing is still no slouch as I’ve scored 33,335 on Geekbench on the multi-core tests and about 4,401 on the single-core benchmark which is still respectable in most instances.
I’ve also tested its mettle using PCMark 10 and it scored a little under 7,000 so you could say that this thing indeed has gaming prowess.
Speaking of games, this configuration can easily go more than 100 frames per second in most titles, while some of the most challenging ones would limit you to just 45-55 fps.
While playing Destiny 2, I was able to get more than 144 frames per second in most areas, while the frame rates dip a little bit when I am stationed in the tower.
I’ve also played Control which is one of the more demanding titles on the PC, and I was still able to get roughly 45-50 fps in max settings which is quite admirable.
Since MOBA games are quite popular, I tested this thing on League of Legends and Dota 2 as well. It’s good to know that this thing can output more than 144 frames per second even in heavy clashes.
So really, even with a modest configuration such as mine, I was still able to play games at really good frame rates across the board.
The Alienware Aurora R11 that I have comes with Windows 10 Home already pre-installed. Because this is a gaming PC from Alienware, the Alienware Command Center also comes pre-installed as well.
The said program can be used to look at the PC’s components at a glance while also changing its performance modes as well.
I find it to be fairly intuitive and I can really see the difference between performance modes. If you want the best of both worlds (meaning, acoustics and performance), setting it to balanced mode should suffice.
However, I find that the balanced mode doesn’t ramp the system’s fans good enough to maintain lower temperatures, so you may want to try out the performance mode while you are playing games.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-10700F
- GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060
- RAM: 16GB DDR4-2933
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD (Boot), 1TB 7200RPM HDD (Storage)
- Chassis: Dark Side of the Moon
- Weight: 39.2 lbs
- Dimensions: 17 x 8.8 x 18.9 Inches
- Operating System/Software: Windows 10 Home, Alienware Command Center
- Ports: [Front] 3x USB 3.2 Gen1 ports (1 port with PowerShare), 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen1, headphone/line out port, microphone/line in port; [Back] 6x USB 2.0, 3x USB 3.2 Gen1, Coaxial S/PDIF port, Optical S/PDIF port, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C), USB 3.2 Gen 2, Side L/R surround port, Microphone port, Front L/R surround line-out port, Line-in port, Rear L/R surround port, Network port
Despite my modest configuration, the Alienware Aurora R11 that I had was an able performer- both in productivity tasks and gaming. The Alienware command center provides a good overview of the system’s components and you can set its performance modes based on what you feel is apt for the moment.
Although it usually comes with crapware, you should blame Microsoft Windows for this and not the company. The good thing is that there are programs that can ‘decrapify’ a common Windows installation, so there’s that.
I love that the chassis doesn’t take up too much desk space, though if you are going to place this inside drawer, you may have to be wary about its height because it is definitely higher than the others.
If you have plenty of money, you can configure it ‘balls to the wall’ with the latest and greatest products from Intel and Nvidia, though keep in mind that because this model was released in 2020, you cannot expect the new Nvidia 3000 graphics cards to be present when you are purchasing this thing.
In summary, the Alienware Aurora R11 is a pretty good gaming machine- both in aesthetics and performance.
Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review- The $75 ‘G Pro’ Lite
The Logitech G Pro is highly praised by the gaming community, especially those that are playing first-person shooters. It is lightweight and it is wireless which is something that was unprecedented before its release.
There is only one issue: That mouse was expensive. Fortunately, you can get the Logitech G305 Lightspeed for a much cheaper price.
Read further to find out why I think the G305 is what I would consider as the ‘G Pro’ lite.
The Logitech G305 Lightspeed looks quite similar to the Logitech G Pro mentioned above. At first glance, you might think that this peripheral is an ambidextrous mouse, but that is actually not the case.
You see, while it has an ambidextrous design, the side buttons are actually located only on the left side of the peripheral. This is an odd choice considering that this can be construed as a mouse that can also be used left-handed, but this is something that you need to know if you are a left-handed gamer.
Its dimensions are 4.59 x 2.45 x 1.50 inches and it weighs 98 grams with the AA battery on. That’s right, you will need a single AA battery for this thing to operate, but the good thing is that a single AA battery can last up to three months with consistent use.
Much of the power-saving features come from the company’s own HERO sensor which doesn’t require a lot of battery to operate while still providing you with a competitive performance in games. More on this later.
This mouse is a bit on the smaller side and is perfectly suited for people who use the fingertip or claw grip styles. This could also work for a hybrid claw/finger grip style as well.
Because of its smaller dimensions, it should go without saying that people with larger hands might have a hard time grasping this mouse, so I wouldn’t recommend this for people that have bigger hands than others.
Despite its much cheaper price, I am glad that the Logitech G305 Lightspeed still feels premium. It is predominantly made with plastic and it has a matte finish so that it won’t easily get out of your grasps when you are playing even with sweaty hands.
On the underside, you will find four mouse feet for easier glide and you can also find the on/off switch as well. I love the fact that you can tell if it is turned on or off based on the color that you see depending on the switch’s orientation.
If you see the switch’s color turn blue, that means that the mouse is turned on. If it is on orange, then the peripheral is turned off.
I should also mention that there is no RGB lighting on this mouse at all and that is okay considering that you are running this thing with non-rechargeable batteries.
The Logitech G305 Lightspeed doesn’t have rechargeable batteries, but you might wonder why there is an included cable in the box. Well, that actually acts as an extender for the wireless USB dongle. This is used for better wireless coverage to ensure that the peripheral’s performance remains consistent across the board.
As mentioned earlier, the Logitech G305 Lightspeed comes equipped with the company’s HERO sensor which is derived from the popular Pixart 3366 sensor. For the people who are familiar with the latter, you know that this thing can perform admirably even in competitive situations.
The good thing about Logitech’s implementation is that the HERO sensor eats so little energy that a single AA battery can last up to 3-4 months with consistent use. That is truly impressive since you do not have to worry about losing battery life while you are using it.
The HERO sensor here is a cut-down version of what you can see in Logitech’s other gaming mice as it can only reach a maximum of 12,000 DPI (compared to the 16,000 DPI in others). This is still okay because, in more practical uses, I don’t think that people would go as high as that number anyway.
I am blown away by how smooth the mouse glides on my mouse mat. The sensor provides consistent performance and I am glad that this thing won’t spin out in games.
I’ve tried this in FPS games like Valorant and I’ve had no problems with aiming at all. This experience is coming from a person who uses a gaming mouse using a palm grip by the way. My aim would have been better if I used the fingertip or claw grip styles.
I’ve also tested this on some MOBA games as well and I never experienced any dropouts or performance issues at all.
This mouse has 6 programmable buttons and if you want to configure them, you will need to download the company’s G Hub software.
You can download and use it for free and is available for both Windows and Mac. I love the aesthetic of the software as it is intuitive to use and the menus are easy to understand.
I am just surprised by one thing, however. You see, the button that is directly below the scroll wheel is supposed to be the DPI switch button which means that pressing it would cycle through the different DPI profiles that you’ve set in the G Hub software. Or at least, that is how it should work in theory.
However, even though you can change the DPI to whatever value you want so long as it is within its range (up to 12,000), you cannot set more than one DPI setting which virtually renders the DPI cycle button useless, at least, in this regard.
You could set the button to do an entirely different thing like you can set it to a particular key on the keyboard so every time you press on the button, it does that. But, it is just interesting to me that its original purpose is not actually implemented in reality.
Normally, a wireless gaming mouse would typically cost more than $100 because of the use of wireless technology, along with the usual goodies that you can find in such a device. But, I am pleased that the Logitech G305 Lightspeed costs $75.
For its price, you are getting a very competitive gaming mouse that can last a couple of months using just a single AA battery. Of course, this changes depending on the battery that is used (brand and capacity), but for the most part, it should remain fairly consistent in terms of battery life.
The HERO sensor has also given me an amazing experience. I never would have thought that a wireless mouse can provide a similar experience to that of its wired counterparts.
All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Logitech G305 Lightspeed unless of course if you are a palm-grip user.
Razer Deathadder V2 Pro Review- The Company’s Best Mouse Goes Wireless
Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review- A Great Business Laptop Under $1,000
Alienware Aurora R11 (2020) Review- Configured to Win
Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review- The $75 ‘G Pro’ Lite
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