Best Cheap CPUs of 2021, Tested and Ranked – Tom’s Hardware

AMD’s Ryzen 3000 and Athlon processors (including the unlocked $49 Athlon 3000G) have shaken up the low-cost landscape and made a splash on our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy, but crushing shortages of chips has gripped the industry, which impacts the low end of the market in a particularly painful way. So even though quad-core models with gaming-capable integrated graphics have an MSRP for a mere $100, and the Athlon lineup now dips below 50 bucks (although it’s not always easy to find the 200GE at the moment), supply is short. Intel’s response to AMD’s challenge has brought Hyper-threading to its low-end Pentium processors and two additional cores to the Core i3 line, which greatly improves performance for its budget chips even though they’re still limited in terms of their graphics.

AMD hasn’t released its Ryzen 5000 chips for the low-end yet; the series bottoms out at the Ryzen 5 family. We expect that Ryzen 3 models will come in due course, shaking up our low-end rankings. Intel also has its Rocket Lake processors incoming next month, but these chips will use the refreshed Comet Lake architecture for the Core i3 and below chips, so they probably won’t have much impact on our rankings. 

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