Many people were asking about the methods for Best CPUs Under $400 in 2023 which is why I have come up with this article so that you can get the core knowledge.
We’ll break down the best features of the top contenders and look at their performance, number of cores, and other specs to see if they’re worth your money.
We’ll also look at how they work in the real world and how well they handle heat and power.
Let’s get straight into it.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best CPU for RTX 2080, Best CPUs for Gaming, Best AM4 CPU, Ryzen CPU with integrated graphics, Best CPU with Integrated Graphics, Best CPU Under $100, best CPU under 200 and Best CPU under $300.
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Best CPUs Under $400 You can buy today
Intel Core i7-13700KF
Best Performance CPU
Specification: Architecture: Raptor Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 16 | Threads: 24 | Base Frequency: 2.5 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.4 GHz | TDP: 125 W
When looking for a processor that costs less than $400, the i7 from Intel’s 13th generation is the best option.
The Intel Core i7-13700KF is a Raptor Lake processor, which means it has both high-performance (P-cores) and high-efficiency (E-cores) cores on the same chip.
It has already been shown to have great performance specs, but it’s not for everyone looking for a new CPU, especially those on a tight budget. Let’s look more closely, so you can see what we mean.
The Core i7-13700KF has 16 cores and 24 threads, which is a good place to start. As was said above, eight of these are P-cores for tasks that need a fast clock speed, and the other eight are E-cores for lighter tasks that use less power. Depending on what it needs to do, the CPU can switch between the two types of cores at any time.
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In addition, it has a base frequency of 3.8 GHz and a maximum boost of 5.4 GHz for the P-cores and 4.2 GHz for the E-cores.
The i7-13700KF does not disappoint when it comes to cache. It has a total of 30MB of memory, which is 20% more than the previous generation but 20% less than the top-of-the-line i9.
But since this CPU doesn’t have graphics built in, you’ll need a separate GPU to use it.
When it comes to socket compatibility, the i7-13700KF works with both the 600 series and the new 700 series motherboards. These motherboards support DDR5 memory with speeds up to 6800 MHz and PCIe Gen 5 connectivity for your GPU and SSDs for the latest and greatest connectivity—that is, if you want to upgrade your motherboard at the same time.
Now comes the fun part: setting goals. When it comes to games, this chip is a real beast. Even though it’s not as well-rounded as the 13900K, it almost has the same performance for gaming and other single-core tasks. It also beat its AMD rival, the Ryzen 7 7700X, most of the time when single-core processes were used.
But to be fair, AMD still wins when it comes to games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla which use more than one core and thread.
Speaking of which, the i7-13700KF is also very good at productivity tasks. It can edit, encode, and render videos just as well as the nearly $200 more expensive AMD Ryzen 9 7900X.
Of course, there are some bad things about that kind of performance. The CPU turns flaming hot under a heavy workload and needs a top-of-the-line cooling system(preferably liquid) to keep it from throttling and overheating.
This is not a good CPU because it uses 200W of power at full boost. Also, as we’ve already said, this chip doesn’t have graphics built in. That’s why it’s called a “F” chip.
So, the Intel Core i7-13700KF is a beast in terms of performance, with 16 cores, 24 threads, and a base clock of 3.8GHz. Its price is also good for what you get. Yes, it costs a little more to keep it from getting too hot and uses more power than other CPUs in the same price range.
But if you came here looking for the best chip that costs less than $400, this is it (by far). You might want to look elsewhere if you want a more stable overall experience without having to buy a new board and cooling system.
Intel Core i9-11900K
Best Budget CPU
Specification: Architecture: Rocket Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.5 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 95 W
The Intel Core i9-11900K is the best of Intel’s 11th Generation Rocket Lake series. This CPU is very fast, but it also uses a lot of power, makes a lot of heat, and is only compatible with a few things, which makes us wonder if it’s worth the price.
At first glance, the Intel Core i9-11900K, with its 8 cores, 16 threads, and 3.5 GHz base clock, looks like a mid-range to high-end CPU whose price may not be worth it. But thanks to Turbo Boost, this seemingly ordinary CPU can reach clock speeds of up to 5.3 GHz, making it one of the fastest, even compared to CPUs that are newer.
At the base clock, it has enough power to run most triple-A games and apps without any problems. It has 16MB of cache and works with PCIe Gen 4.0, which makes storage and graphics run faster.
Benchmarks show that when it comes to single-core tasks, the i9-11900K scores much higher than all Ryzen 5000 processors, even the Ryzen 9 5950X. Multi-core performance, on the other hand, is where this chip really falls short, as it scores lower than both its AMD counterpart and its 10th-generation predecessor.
Integrated graphics are a cool feature that we’re seeing more and more of. They’re great to have if you’re waiting for a GPU you ordered months ago.
The i9-11900K comes with Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics, which are better than the UHD Graphics from the last generation. It also supports DirectX 12 ultimate API, which lets you use features like ray tracing and variable rate shading.
Even so, it’s still an integrated GPU, so don’t expect too much from it when it comes to gaming or graphics-intensive tasks. It just barely ran Cyberpunk 2077 on low settings at 720p.
But if you just play games, watch videos, and stream on your PC, the GPU that comes with it should be enough.
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Now that we’re talking about more technical stuff, the i9-11900K starts to lose its shine. As usual, Intel has trouble with how much power it uses.
Because it has Intel Thermal Velocity Boost, it can change its speed based on how much it is being used and how hot it is. When the speed changes, so does the amount of power used, which can go from 125W to a whopping 250W when the load is high.
That makes it one of the most power-hungry and hottest CPUs on the market, so be ready to pay for a liquid or high-end air cooler.
Another problem is that not all sockets are compatible. It uses the same LGA 1200 socket, so it can work on some older 400-series motherboards, but only if you update the BIOS first. But you can’t use DDR5 or PCIe 5.0, so you’re severely limiting your options for the future.
So let’s add up what we have. The Intel Core i9-11900K is an impressive CPU. It has 8 cores, 16 threads, and a max clock speed of 5.3 GHz, which makes it great for gaming and single-core tasks.
But at its price point, it’s hard to sell because it uses a lot of power, makes a lot of heat, and isn’t compatible with much.
But if you want to upgrade your system and already have an LGA1200 motherboard, this can be a great choice. At the end of the day, this is the only i9 that costs less than $400.
AMD Ryzen 7 7700
Best Graphic CPU
Specification: Architecture: Zen 4 | Socket: AM5 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.3 GHz | TDP: 65 W
So you’re looking for a new processor that can handle anything you throw at it and won’t break the bank. AMD has always been the best processor for the money, and the one we’re talking about today is no different.
The AMD Ryzen 7 7700 is the middle model in the Ryzen 7000 series. It has great specs and features that make it a great choice for people who want high performance and efficiency at a reasonable price.
As was already said, the AMD Ryzen 7 7700 is a mid-range computer, but it is anything but mid.
With 8 cores and 16 threads based on its Zen 4 architecture and an incredible 32MB of L3 cache (close to 36MB for the 13900K), it’s made to run and keep track of a lot of different programs and processes.
On top of that, the CPU has a base clock of 3.8 GHz but has a max boost of 5.3, going toe-to-toe with the fastest CPUs on the market.
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You might think that overclocking it would be very bad, but that’s not the case here. It goes without saying that you will need a good cooling system.
But don’t worry too much about how much power it uses; when it’s not doing anything, it only uses about 70W. You can expect to use about 120W when only one core is being used, and about 180W when all cores are being used to their fullest.
It’s not the most efficient chip on the market, but for the price, and especially when compared to Intel, it’s a very good processor.
The Ryzen 7 7700, among other things, can use DDR5 memory with speeds of up to 5200MHz on dual-channel. Also, it has PCIe Gen5, which is twice as fast as Gen4 and lets your GPU and SSDs talk to each other faster. This means that you won’t be limited in any way if you want to build a PC with the latest parts.
In contrast to the 13700KF, it follows a common and good trend by having graphics built into the CPU. AMD took its RDNA2 architecture from the Radeon series and added two cores, making it perfect for casual gamers who don’t want to buy a dedicated GPU.
It also has DirectX12 Ultimate API and ray tracing, but the cores aren’t made to work well with them.
But on the bright side, AMD’s Wraith Prism RGB cooler is included in the box with the CPU, so that’s one less thing to buy. But as always, if you want the best performance, especially if you plan to overclock the chip, we strongly suggest going with liquid.
The AM5 socket is the worst thing about the Ryzen 7 7700. Since it has a new socket, you can’t use it to upgrade an old computer without also replacing the motherboard.
Yes, the AM5 is ready for the future. It will work with Zen4+ and Zen5 architectures, and it gives you access to the new DDR5 and PCIe Gen5 connections. However, if you choose this processor, you will have to make an investment. This CPU is not for you if you are not building a new computer or upgrading a really old one that needed a new motherboard anyway.
So, is it worth it to buy an AMD Ryzen 7 7700? Its 8 cores, 16 threads, and 3.8 GHz base clock make it perfect for people who want great performance and efficiency at a reasonable price. The biggest downside is that you’ll have to spend a lot of money on a new motherboard to go with it, and Intel still has better overall performance at the same price.
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AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
Best Value CPU
Specification: Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.9 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.5 GHz | TDP: 105 W
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X is a bit older than some of AMD’s other mid-range processors, but it’s still a good choice for video editing, multitasking, and other productivity tasks. It’s not just for gamers, though. But, given its age, is it really worth the price?
That depends on what kind of CPU you already have and what you want to get from the upgrade. But if you’re upgrading an older build with an AM4 board, this one might be perfect for you.
The price of the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X is in the middle, but it is a high-end processor. It may not seem like much, with only 8 cores and 16 threads, but it has a base clock of 3.9 GHz, a maximum boost of 4.5 GHz, and a huge 36MB of GameCache memory.
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It works well in a wide range of applications and triple-A games, especially when paired with a powerful GPU that works with it, such as an AMD Radeon GPU that uses Smart Access Memory.
When it comes to graphics, this isn’t one of those CPUs that have built-in graphics. This isn’t a bad thing because it lets the CPU focus on what it does best, but it does limit those who want to save money and not buy a separate GPU.
The AM4 socket is used by the Ryzen 7 3800X, and most motherboards that use the AM4 socket will work with it. But some older boards might need a BIOS update to be able to read the chip.
Let’s talk about power and heat now. When you put a lot of work on a CPU, it’s bound to get hot. This is just the way things are. But AMD has shown over and over again that they can control these to some extent.
The Ryzen 7 3800X uses an average of 95W when it is being used normally. When overclocked to max boost, it started using 126W of power, which isn’t great but isn’t terrible either. AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive controls the maximum amount of wattage that can be used at any given time.
During maximum boost, things get quite hot, so AMD included their Wraith Prism Cooler with every CPU because of this. Even though it’s not the best cooler out there, it does a good job of keeping temperatures within acceptable ranges even when running heavy loads, and the RGB is a nice bonus.
All of this sounds great, but is the price worth it? Overall, yes. If you want to upgrade with every new generation of processors, you should go for a high-tier CPU or skip to the next-gen.
The AMD Ryzen 7 3800X is a great choice if you are new to building PCs or have finally decided to upgrade after a long time. Even though it’s an older chip, it’s a very powerful processor for the price. It can handle any task you throw at it very well.
Intel Core i7-12700K
Best Intel CPU
Specification: Architecture: Alder Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 12 | Threads: 20 | Base Frequency: 2.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.0 GHz | TDP: 125 W
At the very least, the Intel Core i7-12700K is an interesting CPU. It is part of Intel’s 12th Generation Alder Lake family and has a hybrid architecture with two different types of cores on a single die.
Intel says that this will help the CPU run faster and use less power. But how does it work out in the real world? The answer is not as good as they would like to say.
The Intel Core i7-12700K, like all chips from the 12th and 13th generations, has a total of 12 cores and 20 threads, but not really. Eight of them are high-performance cores, and the other four are high-efficiency cores.
The P-cores are for hard tasks that need high clock speeds, while the E-cores are for easy tasks that need more responsiveness and less power. Depending on the work being done, Intel’s Thread Director technology can switch between the two types of cores on the fly.
This hybrid model has a lot more going on than just that. The CPU has a base speed of 3.6 GHz, but its boost speeds are very different depending on which cores it is using: 5 GHz for the P-cores and only 3.8 GHz for the E-cores.
The Core i7-12700K also has an Intel UHD Graphics 770 GPU built in. This GPU is based on Intel’s Xe architecture and is great for streaming HD videos and playing casual games.
It also works with motherboards that have an LGA 1700 socket, and the CPU itself supports PCIe Gen 5 and DDR4 and DDR5 memory up to 3200MHz and 4800MHz, respectively.
Now, the i7-12700K is very hot, and we don’t mean that in a good way. It has a TDP of 125W, which means that it needs a strong cooling system, preferably one that uses liquid, to keep it from getting too hot and/or slowing down. It also needs a lot of power. At full load, it can use up to 200W.
Still, when it comes to benchmarks, the i7-12700K holds its own, showing excellent performance in many different applications.
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If you have a good GPU, it can easily handle the latest triple-A games at high settings and resolution, and it also does a great job editing, streaming, and rendering videos.
To sum up, the Intel Core i7-12700K is definitely the best CPU from the 12th generation and easily one of the best CPUs under $400 in 2023. Even though it needs a lot of cooling, the price is much less than $400, so you can get both the chip and a proper cooler for right around $400.
Intel Core i5-13600K
Best Mid-Range CPU
Specification: Architecture: Raptor Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 14 | Threads: 20 | Base Frequency: 2.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.1 GHz | TDP: 125 W
The Core i5-13600K, Intel’s newest Core i5 processor, is the most powerful i5 ever made.
It promises great performance and is mostly made for gamers. It doesn’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles, which is a nice change of pace.
But does it live up to that promise or not? Short answer: yes. As always, it’s not perfect and has some flaws, but for the price, it’s a good choice for a smooth gaming experience.
The Core i5-13600K has a unique way of running programs. In Intel’s new hybrid architecture model, the number of cores is split between high-performance (P-cores) and high-efficiency (H-cores) (E-cores).
The 14 cores and 20 threads of the i5-13600K are split into 6 P-cores and 8 E-cores. Intel usually puts more focus on P-cores, which are meant for heavy-load tasks, but in this case, they put more focus on E-cores, which are meant for tasks that need to be done quickly and use little power.
Because of this shift, you won’t get top-of-the-line benchmarks (it’s an i5, after all), but you will get a stable overall performance from a CPU that costs a reasonable amount.
Also, its base clock is 3.5 GHz, and the P-cores can go up to 5.1 GHz and the E-cores can go up to 3.9 GHz. It also comes with 24MB of cache memory, which is about the same as the i7-12700K from the last generation.
Intel’s UHD Graphics 770 also has built-in graphics, so you don’t have to pay extra for a dedicated GPU if you only play games occasionally or watch streams.
In short, when you add up all of these features, the i5-13600K packs a powerful punch. It even beats AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X in gaming benchmarks and comes close to matching it in multi-core benchmarks, making it a great choice for gamers on a budget.
In terms of compatibility, the i5-13600K works on all LGA1700 boards, including both the old 600 series and the new 700 series.
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This chip also has a few extra features, like Intel’s Thermal Velocity Boost and Adaptive Boost, that make up for some of its possible flaws. These features make sure you get the most out of the chip with proper cooling. And, of course, the latest PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory are supported (as well as DDR4).
The problem with this CPU is the same problem with all Intel CPUs. They use more power than you think and can heat a small house on their own.
Without proper cooling, this CPU can quickly start to get too hot and slow down when working hard. You’ll need something more powerful than the stock CPU cooler.
Because of that and the fact that the multi-core performance is worse because there are more E-cores, this is not a good choice for video editors and people who need to do a lot of things at once.
To sum up, the Intel Core i5-13600K is a very powerful processor with great performance… for gamers. It was mostly made with gamers in mind, with a focus on how well it works on a single core. It’s a good value, and if you want a mid- to high-end gaming PC, this i5 is a great choice at just over $300.
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G
Best Processing CPU
Specification: Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 65 W
AMD’s Ryzen 7 5700G is an attempt to give gamers everything they need from a single chip.
With its built-in Radeon RX Vega graphics, it tries to give those who want to play more demanding games but don’t want to buy a separate GPU more power.
And it actually does that and is better than most chips with an integrated GPU that cost the same.
The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is an 8-core, 16-thread processor with integrated graphics designed based on AMD’s Zen 3 architecture.
With a base speed of 3.8 GHz and a boost speed of 4.6 GHz, this chip is great for a smaller build or a media center that can also play games well. When you add 16MB of L3 cache memory, you have a pretty fast all-in-one CPU.
In benchmarks, the Ryzen 7 5700G scored very well on both gaming and work tasks, which is pretty impressive. It can play Doom Eternal at 60 FPS. Even though it’s on Low settings and 1080p, that’s still pretty good for a GPU that’s built-in.
It also does pretty well in productivity applications. It does much better than expected on multi-core tasks, especially when compared to the 11th generation of Intel CPUs. But it’s not very good at single-core tasks, which isn’t a big deal when you think about everything else it can do.
Now, AMD does a great job of controlling how much heat their CPUs put out, and they also include their Wraith Stealth cooler, which does a great job of keeping the Ryzen 7 5700G cool even when it’s doing a lot of work.
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As usual, if you want to overclock this one to the max and don’t have a separate GPU, you’ll need to buy a better cooler to keep it from slowing down.
The Ryzen 7 5700G is compatible with a wide range of motherboards because it uses AMD’s standard AM4 socket.
Keep in mind that some older boards may need a BIOS update before they can read the new chip. Or, even if they do, they might still need an update to use all the new features.
So, let’s sum up. The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, which costs less than $400, has a lot going for it right away. It has 8 cores and 16 threads and clocks at 3.8 GHz base and 4.6 GHz max boost.
Add to that the integrated Radeon Vega RX GPU, which has 8 cores that can run at up to 2 GHz, and you might have the best deal in a box, but only if you’re not buying a separate GPU.
If you use a separate video card, keep looking; there are better CPU-only options that give you more power for the same price.
Intel Core i5-13400
Best Beginner Level CPU
Specification: Architecture: Raptor Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 10 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 2.5 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 148 W
The 10-core, 16-thread Raptor Lake Core i5-13400, which costs $221, and the graphics-less Core i5-13400F, which costs $196, build on the gaming performance of the previous-generation model, which has been the go-to mid-range gaming chip for a long time.
However, the addition of four e-cores improves performance in threaded productivity workloads. The 13400 is the best chip for mid-range gaming PCs because it supports DDR4 memory. This makes it the best value in the $200 price range.
The chip has six P-cores that support hyper-threading and run at a base clock speed of 2.5 GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.6 GHz. The maximum speed of the four e-cores for threaded tasks is 3.3 GHz.
The 13400 supports cutting-edge connectivity with support for DDR4-3200 or up to DDR5-4800 memory, 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0, and four lanes of PCIe 4.0 from the chip for M.2 SSDs.
The Ryzen 5 7600, which costs $229, is the 13400F’s main competitor. In our 1080p tests, the Ryzen 5 7600 was 7% faster than the Core i5-13400 at both stock and overclocked speeds. But the price difference between these two chips isn’t as close as it seems.
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This is mostly because Ryzen needs DDR5 and AMD’s B-series motherboards are expensive, both of which make your build much more expensive.
Compared to the Ryzen 5 7600, the Core i5-13400/DDR4 F’s option and the lower prices of Intel motherboards can save about $135 on the total cost of the system.
This makes the Ryzen system a much better value overall since you have to pay 35% more for it and about 25% more per frame to get a 7% boost in 1080p gaming performance.
The Ryzen 5 7600 is not price-competitive with a Core i5-13400 PC that uses DDR4, but it is more appealing if you already intend to spend the additional money on DDR5. However, the entry-level price is significantly greater than that of a computer with an Intel Core i5-13400 DDR5 processor.
When we take into account performance, the Ryzen system has a cost that is approximately 4% higher for each frame despite the fact that it is approximately $50 (or 10%) more expensive overall.
That’s close enough for the Ryzen 5 7600 to be a good option for a DDR5 gaming system, providing that you have the additional $50 in your build budget to cover it. As a result, the Ryzen 5 7600 has been included below as our alternative recommendation.
You can use a more recent motherboard from the 700 series or an older model from the 600 series as long as the BIOS supports the chip. The Core i5-13400 comes with a powerful cooler that is able to handle its basic power rating of 65W and its peak power rating of 148W.
If you require access to higher memory throughput, you can step up to the more expensive DDR5 if you are willing to spend the extra money, but the majority of gamers will be satisfied with the lower price and comparable performance of DDR4.
There are motherboards available from Intel’s partners that are part of the B- and H-series and a B660/B760 motherboard combined with a Core i5-13400 CPU is an excellent gaming combination.
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D
Best Entry-Level CPU
Specification: Architecture: Zen4 | Socket: AM5 | Cores: 16 | Threads: 32 | Base Frequency: 4.2 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.7 GHz | TDP: 120 W
AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which costs $699, is made for gamers who want to play CPU-limited games quickly while still having 16 cores that can handle the heaviest productivity tasks. The new chip has sixteen Zen 4 cores and the company’s second-generation 3D V-Cache technology, which frees up 128MB of L3 cache.
Together, these features make it the fastest gaming chip on the market. In our tests, the 7950X3D was 13% faster on average than Intel’s fastest chip, the 6 GHz Core i9-13900KS, and up to 40% faster in some games.
An amazing 128MB of L3 cache is made possible by the 7950X3D through the utilization of AMD’s cutting-edge 3D chip-stacking technology, which is known as 3D V-Cache.
The extra L3 cache is provided by a 3D-stacked SRAM chiplet that is fused onto the processor using hybrid bonding, just like AMD’s first X3D chip, the Zen 3 Ryzen 7 5800X3D.
This accelerates gaming to new levels in many different games. Also, AMD has developed a new thread-targeting technique that is intended to assist in applying for the benefits more uniformly across a diverse selection of titles.
The Ryzen 9 7950X3D does not accelerate all games to the same degree, and it lags behind its direct competitors in some productivity apps because of the tradeoffs associated with the 3D chip-stacking technology. In addition, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D does not perform as well as its competitors in productivity apps.
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As a result of this, prior to making a final decision on the chip, you should investigate its benefits and drawbacks. But, there is one thing that cannot be disputed: the fact that it is the world’s most powerful gaming processor.
The Ryzen 9 7950X3D incorporates all of the features and capabilities that we have come to anticipate from a contemporary processor, such as support for DDR5, PCIe 5.0, and the most recent USB interface standards.
For the first time ever, AMD has included integrated graphics for a basic display out, which is a feature that is beneficial if you need to troubleshoot something.
To get the maximum performance out of AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 series CPUs, you should plan on using an all-in-one cooler with a size range of 240 mm to 280 mm or higher. You will also need a new AM5 motherboard because the most recent Zen processors are not backward compatible and the sole option for memory is DDR5.
Regrettably, the costlier DDR5 memory is still significantly more expensive than the DDR4 memory; this is a factor that you will need to figure into your build budget. If you want to construct the fastest gaming system possible, regardless of the expense.
The Ryzen 9 7950X3D is without a doubt the fastest gaming CPU that is currently available. However, that isn’t as much of a consideration at the upper end.
Intel Core i3-12100F
Best Mid-Range CPU
Specification: Architecture: Alder Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base Frequency: 3.3 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 60 W
The Core i3-12100 enters to market with disruptive pricing of $122, just like the rest of the Alder Lake family, but it has seen price hikes that have brought it to $140, which isn’t competitive anymore.
Yet, this CPU is also available in the F-series as the Core i3-12100F, which retails for a very reasonable $106. The only difference between the 12100 and the 12100F is that the latter has its integrated graphics turned off, while the former retains all of its other features.
In point of fact, because AMD does not provide a clear current-generation competition, and because the Core i3-12100 offers outstanding performance for its price point, it dominates our CPU benchmark hierarchy in the range of $105 to $130.
Overall, our testing demonstrates that the quad-core i3-potent 12100’s mix of pricing, performance, and enhanced stock cooling leads to the $100 price category. Despite this, AMD offers a significantly more powerful processor for $140, which is the alternative Ryzen 5 5600 that is described below.
The Core i3-12100F is now the processor that dominates the market for affordable gaming computers, and it also performs rather admirably in applications with a low number of simultaneous threads.
Given its pricing point, the Core i3-12100F also demonstrates remarkable performance in threaded productivity workloads.
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The power ratings of the Core i3-12100F are as follows: 60 watts PBP (base), 89 watts MTP (peak). The base frequency of the processor is 3.3 GHz, and it may accelerate to 4.3 GHz when needed. Moreover, it has an L3 cache that is 12 MB in size.
The Socket 1700 motherboards from the 600- and 700-series are compatible with Intel’s Alder Lake processors; however, the B660 and H610 boards are the most natural fit for a chip at this price point. It is not possible to overclock a locked chip, as is the case with the Core i3-12100F.
However, overclocking the memory is possible on motherboards with the Z690, B660, and H670 chipsets from Intel. The Z690 chipset is not recommended for use with this type of processor.
AMD does not have competition with a price point comparable to that of the Core i3-12100F that is capable of keeping up with it. Nonetheless, in spite of the fact that it has no direct competitors, it nevertheless manages to deliver significant generational improvements in performance.
In point of fact, our 1080p gaming benchmarks demonstrate that the Core i3-12100 costs 30% less money but achieves 88% of the performance of the Core i5-12400, which costs $170. It strikes the perfect balance between cost and effectiveness.
So, there you have it. These are the 7 best CPUs you can buy for less than $400.
We hope this list helps you decide which processor to buy for your next computer build.
Let us know in the comments which of these chips is your favorite, and feel free to ask us anything.
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FAQs for Best CPUs Under $400
What is the best single-core CPU in 2023?
As of January 2023, the Intel Core i9-13900KF processor had the best single-core average performance, with a Geekbench score of 2,222.
What is the best Ryzen CPU for gaming under $100?
The Ryzen 3 3200G is the only modern APU that can be bought brand new for less than $100, but at $92 it’s not worth it to buy. You can buy the Ryzen 5 4600G for (almost) exactly $100. It is better in every way and is a great CPU on its own.
Is there a 1 Core CPU?
Most of the time, multi-core processors are better than single-core processors. Since faster peripheral parts have to wait for the CPU to finish its cycle, this is more likely to happen with single-core processors. Since single-core processors don’t have parallelization, they can only run one program at a time.
Which CPU is best for the long term?
The Intel Core i9-13900K is a good choice for anyone who wants the best performance possible from a desktop PC. Know that it’s overkill for gaming PCs unless you have a dedicated graphics card like AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XTX or Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080.
What is the best CPU for high FPS?
Core i5 processors are the best value for a gaming PC. For most of 2022, we said that the Core i5 12600K was the best CPU for gaming and that the Core i4 12400 was the best CPU for gaming on a budget. Last year, the Core i5 13600K took over as the best processor.