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.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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