A processor or CPU is the central unit of your computer that decides how fast your computer will run. Hundreds of Intel and AMD desktop processors are available in different price ranges. Desktop processors are available from as low as $35 to as high as $1000 or even more. Different models of computer processors and the latest APU (CPU+GPU)s sell for an almost equal price making it difficult to select the right processor. We have listed the best computer processor in different price ranges below. It should help you decide which one to pick. Please make sure your motherboard supports the processor you pick when building a new computer or upgrading.
Many decent computer processors are available for $50 or less in the present market. However, you cannot expect to play latest games or software (that demand heavy processing need) smoothly even with a latest dedicated graphics card installed in your PC. But you can expect to build a computer with a $50 CPU and do the day-to-day computing jobs such as using Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop CS7, internet browsing, online video streaming, watching movies, listening to music, and playing basic games pretty smoothly, efficiently, and fast. You may be able to run some old high-end games but you will not get a decent Frames-Per-Second (usually less than 25 FPS while game details set to medium and lower). If you are an apps developer, and use tools such as Android Studio, it would be better if you go for a better computer processor.
Best AMD processor under $50: AMD A6-9500.
Best Intel processor under $50: Intel 7th Gen Celeron.
However, if you can add $15 to your budget, you should go for Intel Pentium Gold G5400 for better all over performance.
$100 computer processors should give you a decent performance at everything you do on a computer. Of course, if you want to run graphic intensive apps and games, you’ll need a dedicated graphics card. Even then a $100 CPU may not give you the expected speed and fps. But it will perform steadily. It will run most apps easily. In case of playing relatively recent games, it will lag a little. But you will be able to play the games at lower graphics details.
Best AMD processor under $100: AMD Ryzen 3 1200.
Best Intel processor under $100: Intel Pentium Gold G5600.
You should put aside $150 for processors even if your budget for the whole computer is only $500. This is because, the processors available in this price range are jack of all trades (but master of none). You can build a gaming PC or work PC with it. It should be able to run most apps and games even the latest ones, given that you have a dedicated GPU.
Best AMD processor under $150: AMD Ryzen 5 1600.
Best Intel processor under $150: Intel i3-8100.
When your budget for the processor alone is $200, you can surely expect better performance. And processors in this price range are usually high-performance and faster. These processors will give you better fps when playing latest games. A good gaming PC requires you to spend at least $200 on the processor alone.
The best processor under $200: Intel Core i5-8400.
However, we recommend adding $15 to your budget and go for Intel Core i5-8500
If you want to build a high-performance computer for gaming or using graphic-intensive apps, you should spend at least $250 on the CPU. The processors in this price range will run anything you throw at it. It will improve your gaming experience by a great deal. You will get much better fps. If your GPU is good enough, you will be able to run latest games in high details.
Best AMD CPU under $250: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X.
Best Intel CPU under $250: Intel Core i5-8600K.