Over the last month, a myriad of price changes hit the processor market. We tell you if any of them affect your buying strategy. On top of that, we discuss rumors surrounding AMD's next-generation Corrizo APU and Intel's upcoming eight-core Haswell-E.
If you don’t have the time to research benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right processor for your next gaming machine, fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming CPUs offered for the money.
We're in the middle of a summer calm, which precedes the holiday season storm. So, it's not surprising that we don't have any new CPUs to talk about. There was a bit of price movement last month, though. And we do have upcoming products to discuss.
Let's start with AMD. The entry-level A4-6300 APU shed $5 to land at $50. Meanwhile, the higher-end A10-7850K APU dropped $10 and now costs $170. Surprisingly, there are also price increases to report. AMD's Athlon 5150 went up $5 to $55, while both the A10-6800K and FX-8350 rose $10 to $150 and $190, respectively. Finally, the FX-4350 is back to $130 after a short-term sale price of $100 on Newegg. The good news, at least, is that none of those changes affect our recommendations.
There were also some changes to the prices of Intel processors. The $50 Celeron G1850, $60 Pentium G3240, $70 Pentium G3258, $195 Core i5-4570, $210 Core i5-4690S, $235 Core i5-4670K, $300 Core i7-4790S, and $335 Core i7-4770K all sell for $5 less than they did at the beginning of July. Conversely, the Celeron G1820 and Core i3-4350 are up $5 to $50 and $150, respectively. Again, none of that price action affects our recommendation list. Still, the small drop on the Pentium G3258 is a pleasant surprise given the considerable value it offers to gamers on a budget.
Speaking of the Pentium G3258, Chris Angelini took a closer look at its behavior matched up to a no-frills motherboard and stock heat sink in The Pentium G3258 Cheap Overclocking Experiment, which is worth a read if you're curious about the highest possible performance you can achieve with the lowest investment. With the G3258's potential more than proven, we've removed the Athlon X4 750K from our recommended list.
From the rumor mill, we recently reported that AMD's upcoming Carizo APUs are expected to feature stacked on-die memory to increase performance. This really won't be a surprise; it makes sense in light of AMD's goals as a purveyor of heterogeneous processing. But we're of course curious to see just how much of an impact it has on the company's next-gen APU, should the claim turn out to be true. Read more in Report: AMD Carrizo APUs To Get Stacked On-Die Memory.
The Internet is also buzzing about an eight-core Haswell-E CPU (capable of scheduling up to 16 threads thanks to Hyper-Threading) expected in the fall time frame. That's also no surprise, as it lines up with Intel's roadmap. To learn more, check out Report: Haswell-E CPUs to Debut in September.
In addition to those stories, take a peek at our Report on the Specifications of Intel 100-Series Chipsets and information that suggests VIA is Working on a New x86 Chip.
Some Notes About Our Recommendations
This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, then the CPUs on this list may not be suitable for your particular needs.
The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance. We acknowledge that there are other factors that come into play, such as platform price or CPU overclockability, but we're not going to complicate things by factoring in motherboard costs. We may add honorable mentions for outstanding products in the future, though. For now, our recommendations are based on stock clock speeds and performance at that price. Remember to check out our new performance per dollar comparison page, where you can overlay the benchmark data we’ve generated with pricing, giving you a better idea where your ideal choice falls on the value curve.
Cost and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t offer up-to-the-minute accurate pricing information in the text, but we can list some good chips that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest (and our PriceGrabber-based engine will help track down some of the best prices for you).
The list is based on some of the best US prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary. Of course, these are retail CPU prices. We do not list used or OEM CPUs available at retail.