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Best Gaming CPU: $50-$100

Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: July 2009
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Best gaming CPU for $50:

Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (Check Prices)

Athlon 64 X2 5200+
Codename: Brisbane
Process: 65 nm
CPU Cores: 2
Clock Speed: 2.7 GHz
Socket: AM2
L1 Cache: 2 x 128 KB
L2 Cache: 2 x 512 KB
HyperTransport: 2,000 MHz
Thermal Envelope:
65 W

For about $50, the Athlon 64 X2 5200+ is a great gaming baseline CPU. Performance results show us that two CPU cores are the minimum for a gaming machine, and the respectable 2.7 GHz clock speed allows this CPU to deliver playable performance in all but the most demanding game titles.


Best gaming CPU for $70:

Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition (Check Prices)

Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition
Codename: Kuma
Process: 65 nm
CPU Cores: 2
Clock Speed: 2.8 GHz
Socket: AM2+
L1 Cache: 2 x 128 KB
L2 Cache: 2 x 512 KB
L3 Cache: 2 MB
HyperTransport: 3,600 MHz
Thermal Envelope:
95 W

For about $20 more, you can buy the Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition, based on the new newer Phenom architecture instead of the older Athlon 64 design. The Athlon X2 7850 BE sports a solid 2.8 GHz clock speed, and when you combine these architectural improvements with an extra 2 MB of cache, you get a lot for the purchase price.


Best gaming CPU for $90:

Dual-Core Pentium E6300 (Check Prices)

Dual-Core Pentium E6300
Codename: Wolfdale-2M
Process: 45 nm
CPU Cores: 2
Clock Speed: 2.8 GHz
Socket: LGA 775
L2 Cache: 2 MB
Front Side Bus: 1066 MHz
Thermal Envelope:
65 W

Both Intel and the 45 nm process make their first showing on the recommended list with Intel's dual-core Pentium E6300 (not to be mistaken for the older Core 2 Duo E6300). To make matters even more confusing, the dual-core Pentium E6300 is based on the Core 2 Duo architecture. The Wolfdale-2M core is essentially a Wolfdale-based Core 2 Duo CPU with one third of the cache and a reduced front side bus (FSB). Even with these handicaps, Intel's CPU is quite an impressive performer for the cost.

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