April is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on car parts, laptops, cookware and more!
Cheap Gaming PCs, Gaming Computer Processors
- Cheap Gaming Computers
- Gaming Computer Reviews
- Cheap Gaming PCs, Gaming Computer Processors
- Custom Gaming Computers
- Cheap Gaming Laptops
- Discount Cheap Gaming Computers Features Comparison Table
Gaming Computer Processors
The central processing unit, or CPU, is the heart of any gaming PC, budget or otherwise. Both AMD and Intel produce gaming computer processors, but it's clear that manufacturers favor chips from Intel.
The latest Intel Core CPUs are available in three general classes: i3, i5, and i7, with i3 being the most affordable and i7 the most powerful. For cheap gaming PCs, manufacturers tend to stick to i5 CPUs, which offer a nice combination of price and performance. There are more than a dozen models of Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, and you won't glean much information about performance from the four-digit model numbers. Intel does have a comparison chart of all of its current desktop CPUs, so you can see which features each one offers. The more powerful CPUs have high clock speeds and four to six cores (a core is a sort of mini-processor built into a single chip. CPU manufacturers combine several cores into one chip, and those cores work together to improve processor efficiency and performance). The gaming computer processors in our favorite budget models have four cores.
When shopping for a cheap gaming PC, you'll come across models with "overclocked" CPUs. This is a trick manufacturers use to make mid-priced CPUs much more powerful by increasing their clock speeds. The faster the CPU's clock speed (measured in gigahertz), the faster it can crunch those digital ones and zeros. For example, the Maingear Vybe most experts reviewed has an Intel Core i7-2600 CPU, which has an official clock speed of 3.4 GHz, but Maingear will overclock the CPU to 4.0 GHz or faster. There is one drawback: The more you overclock a gaming computer processor, the hotter it runs. Manufacturers use powerful CPU coolers to keep gaming computer processors from overheating, which can cause the computer to crash or shut down and damage the CPU. An overclocked CPU with proper cooling can really boost a cheap gaming PC's power for little cost.
Expert reviewers favor overclocked processors precisely because they provide more bang for the buck. CNET raves about the Velocity Micro Edge Z40 in part because the CPU on the machine the reviewer tested was overclocked from a mere 3.3 GHz to 4 GHz, which helped boost its performance to the level of a system that would cost several hundred dollars more. PC Mag notes that CPU on the Maingear Vybe its reviewer tested was overclocked from 3.4 GHz to 4.8 GHz, a staggering boost.
CNET is critical of the Alienware Aurora system it reviewed because the manufacturer offers only minor overclocking to boost its gaming computer processors. This particular model comes with an Intel Core i7-2600K CPU overclocked to 3.9 GHz. Competing models with more aggressively overclocked CPUs, such as the Maingear Vybe, can trump the Aurora in CPU performance. The Alienware X51 is a very small, cheap gaming PC, and most of its components, including its CPU, are more modest than those on pricier gaming systems. According to Hot Hardware, the computer's Intel Core i5-2320 CPU can't compete in terms of raw power with more expensive overclocked or i7 CPUs.
As for the Lenovo K3300, an expert reviewer from PC World calls its 3.3 GHz Intel Core i5-2500 CPU "brisk" for a sub-$1,000 PC but notes that the K330 is more impressive for general use than for gaming.
Falcon Northwest Mach V Review
AVADirect Custom Gaming PC Review
Lenovo K330 Review
Alienware X51 Review
Alienware Aurora Review
Alienware M17x Review
Velocity Micro Edge Z40 Review
Maingear Vybe Review
January brings deals on linens and electronics -- and, in much of the country, winter weather that can disrupt power. ...
January is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on Christmas decor, electronics, furniture and more.