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Best Budget Gaming CPU and Graphics Card Combo Intel vs AMD 2017

Updated on June 13, 2017
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The GPU Industry is about to change in 2016 so here's a look at my thoughts on cards both old and new. It's time to get rid of the old.

Want to get the best value out of your hard earned money? Here's a look at some GPU CPU combos that focus on bringing you the most performance for the money you spend.
Want to get the best value out of your hard earned money? Here's a look at some GPU CPU combos that focus on bringing you the most performance for the money you spend.

With the release of NVIDIA's new Pascal GTX 1080Ti and AMD's Ryzen CPUs it's time to reevaluate the current state of your PC.

For my own PC, I'm finally making the move from 1080p to 1440p. Yes, I could go straight to 4k, but I really like the look and frame rates available at that resolution.

Looking at the current performance benchmarks of NVIDIA's Pascal lineup, this should be easier than ever. What's more, is that the previous generation 900 series GPUs, as well as the AMD 300 series GPUs, are cheaper than ever. This means better performance for all with less of a money investment.

RX series graphics cards also give AMD a more solid grip in the $100 to $250 price range than they've had in the last couple of years. The upcoming Vega release should also shake up the market a bit.


11 Good Budget CPU / GPU Combos for 2017

Looking for the best graphics card CPU combo for your gaming PC? Here are our recommendations by budget.

It's fitting that we make this post after giving you our thoughts on the best graphics cards for the money right now. If you want more information than I give below about each combo, you should be able to find it there.

The Rx 460 and i3 7100 come in at around $205 and are capable of playing modern AAA titles in 1080p if you're willing to tweak the settings a little bit.   Popular online games like CSGO, LOL, and Minecraft aren't a problem.
The Rx 460 and i3 7100 come in at around $205 and are capable of playing modern AAA titles in 1080p if you're willing to tweak the settings a little bit. Popular online games like CSGO, LOL, and Minecraft aren't a problem.

A Good Graphics Card CPU Combo Under $200

i3-7100 and RX 460 or GTX 1050

While AMD's budget options might provide you with a few more cores, they'll likely give you a lot less performance in almost everything you do. I've enjoyed working with the likes of the FX 6300 and 8320 in the past, but they no longer make the cut. Kaby Lake's i3-7100 is the star here and should be your CPU of choice in the $100 to $120 range.

What Can it Run?

While the GTX 1050 and RX 460 are similar in performance you'll get slightly more performance out of NVIDIA's GTX 1050. If they're at a similar price, I'd definitely go with the GTX 1050 or perhaps even the 1050 Ti if you have the money for it.

The GTX 1050 will run all AAA titles. However, you'll likely need to adjust settings in order to get the ideal framerate on the most graphically intense of games.

$300 GPU CPU Combo

If you were willing to up your price point here, I'd put it all towards the GPU. The i3-7100 is a good CPU to use with NVIDIA's GTX 1050Ti or a 4GB AMD RX 470. Having used the i3-7100 along with the RX 470 I can tell you that there is some bottle necking.

For that reason, I'd recommend the 1050Ti along with the i3-7100 for around $270. If you're planning on using the RX 470, get something like an i5 or Ryzen 5 processor. Looking for a good budget build? Here's a look at our top gaming PC builds.

Which would you go for at this price range?

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The AMD RX and NVIDIA Pascal release should continue to push NVIDIA 900 and AMD 300 series graphics cards down in price. If you find one for a decent price, it might be a good alternative to the mainstream options I've listed.
The AMD RX and NVIDIA Pascal release should continue to push NVIDIA 900 and AMD 300 series graphics cards down in price. If you find one for a decent price, it might be a good alternative to the mainstream options I've listed.
If you want a good used combo, think about a combo in the i5-4690k and GTX 970. Try to find it for under $400.
If you want a good used combo, think about a combo in the i5-4690k and GTX 970. Try to find it for under $400.

Graphics Card CPU Combo Under $400

In the under $400 category, I like the i5-7500 along with the RX 470 4GB or the GTX 1060 3GB.

This will give solid performance across the board for AAA titles in 1080p medium to high settings.

VRAM could be an issue for either one of these GPUs going forward so spending an extra $50 and going with the GTX 1060 6GB or the RX 480 8GB is recommended.

While the Intel i5-7500 isn't an overclockable CPU, I wouldn't really recommend overclocking at this price point as more frames can be achieved by saving that money for a GPU upgrade.

That being said don't discount the i5-7500 as it's capable of handling your upgrades for several generations to come.

In the $400 Price Range what should you do?

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The Best Overall $600 Budget Graphics Card Processor Combo for 1440p

Gaming in 1080p is slowly going the way of the optical drive. While we'll see it for several more years to come, right now many gamers are focusing on making their PC perform optimally for 1440p now. In a few years, this will certainly switch to 4k.

If you're looking for something that does great with 1440p out of the gate in ultra settings, go with the NVIDIA GTX 1070. The performance is greater than GTX 980's in SLI and much better than the previous generation, GTX 970. The past year we've come far in terms of the price to performance ratio in this price range and for this reason the 1070 has my full recommendation.

If you're in this price range, you should be looking for a Pascal-based GPU. At this price point, you can afford a Kaby Lake i5 processor in the 7600k as well as the GTX 1070. This should give you better than 980Ti performance for a few hundred dollars less.

The increased performance of Pascal is as good as any reviewer, gamer, or hardware enthusiast could have hoped for.

NVIDIA's Pascal GTX 1080 is faster than a dual graphics card configuration running 980's. Pair it with a CPU like the i7-6800k or i7-6700k and you'll be more than ready for modern titles in 1440p.
NVIDIA's Pascal GTX 1080 is faster than a dual graphics card configuration running 980's. Pair it with a CPU like the i7-6800k or i7-6700k and you'll be more than ready for modern titles in 1440p.

Best Graphics Card GPU Combo Under $1,000

In the $1,000 range, you have a lot more flexibility in terms of both your CPU and graphics card. One option would be to stretch for the Broadwell-E i7-6800k and the GTX 1070. The six cores are especially useful for those using their gaming PC as a photo editing or streaming PC.

AMD is Certainly an Option:

If you want to save some money, you could also consider going with the new AMD Ryzen R7 1700 and a good AM4 X370 motherboard. Performance for the Ryzen CPUs does lag a bit behind the i7-7700k in instructions per clock; however, it's still very good and with twice as many cores, it gives you more flexibility.

You could also stick with the i7-7700k and go with the GTX 1080. It's certainly a possibility here if you want to use the entirety of the budget. It should give you roughly the performance of 980s in SLI without having to worry about a dual-GPU configuration.

11 Good CPU GPU Combos from $150 to $1,200

*Overall Cost (includes rebates)
Graphics Card
CPU
$155
RX 460
Pentium G3258
$204.97
RX 460
i3-7100
$216
GTX 1050
i3-7100
$245
GTX 1050 Ti
i3-7100
$283
RX 470
i3-7100
$363
RX 470
i5-7500
$459
GTX 1060 6GB
i5-7500
$628
GTX 1070
i5-7600k
$729
GTX 1070
i7-7700k
$850
GTX 1080
i7-7700k or Ryzen 7 1700
$1200
GTX 1080 Ti
i7-6800k
*Prices are taken from the lowest priced graphics card available from various online retailers.

Choosing a CPU - Intel Vs. AMD in 2017

It's more than just an AMD vs Intel vs NVIDIA question. While there are benefits and advantages to all of these brands there are often deals that arise that make one choice vastly superior to another.

*Right now here's how I see the benefits of both:

Advantages to Using an Intel CPU:

  • Better IPC or single core performance. Call me captain obvious, but this is a big deal in games that aren't optimized for a multitude of cores like AMD likes to provide. Overclocking AMD CPUs can make up some of the gap.
  • Better power efficiency.
  • Superior options for high-end users seeking max FPS and performance.

Advantages to Purchasing an AMD CPU:

  • CPUs come with additional cores at lower prices.
  • Better budget options for those looking for more cores.
  • Ryzen CPUs have solid IPC and 8 cores / 16 threads
  • APU technology is a solid alternative for builds in the $200 to $250 range.

*While I still see some value in AMD it's important to realize that Kaby Lake has changed my mind on much of this due to benchmarks I've done. Until AMD releases Zen, I won't be recommending anything but Intel CPUs unless you need the cores. Even in heavy CPU core situations the Kaby Lake CPUs tend to fair better in many of the benchmarks.

However, Ryzen does change the game somewhat. If you do more than just gaming on your machine you might want to consider the Ryzen 7 1700 over an i7-7700k in certain cases.

What budget do you plan on using for your CPU and GPU?

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Why I Avoid Retailer Combos (Most of the Time)

In addition, I thought I'd make a combo page that isn't just about retailers who try to force you to buy a PC build combo with inferior parts. Many think these are a good deal; however, rebate and fact checking usually prove this not be the case.

Often the parts recommended are not the best when it comes to quality or can be found on rebate elsewhere. Below I've used rebates as well as benchmarking to give you combos that will perform well for the money you spend.

Summary

Overall, these graphics card and processor combinations give you some of the best value for the money you spend out there. Look for rebates to save between $20 and $50. In addition, AAA titles are often available with graphics cards. So, an additional $60 can be saved if you're willing to wait for the right title.

If you don't plan on playing AAA titles, it's likely unnecessary to go with one of the more expensive combos. These are overkill for games like WoW, Minecraft, and League of Legends. So, look at benchmarks to make sure you're not getting more than what you need.

Have a GPU CPU combo or deal you'd like to share? Be sure to let us know by leaving a comment below.

© 2014 Brandon Hart

Graphics Card And CPU Combo Open Discussion Area

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    • toptengamer profile image
      Author

      Brandon Hart 5 months ago from The Game

      All of them are in US dollars.

    • profile image

      toby loasby 5 months ago

      I'm from Australia and I'm just wondering are all these prices in US dollars or AUS dollars, because if they're in AUS dollars that would amazing

    • toptengamer profile image
      Author

      Brandon Hart 5 months ago from The Game

      I guess you're wondering which GPU in the $300 category? I'd go with the GTX 1060 6GB or a GTX 1070.

    • toptengamer profile image
      Author

      Brandon Hart 5 months ago from The Game

      Looks good - although I'd probably go with a Z270 board instead? https://turbofuture.com/computers/best-z270-kaby-l...

    • profile image

      MMK 5 months ago

      Hey there!

      This is Urgent!!!

      I am in process of building a Desktop

      My Configuration:

      Processor: i7 6800k

      Motherboard: Asus x 99 A II

      RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666 16GB(8x2)

      CPU Cooler: Corsair H60 54.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler

      Storage: Samsung EVO 850 250GB 2.5"

      WD HDD SATA 1 TB

      Pwr Supply: Corsair RM750 RM ATX 80+ Gold 750W

      Cabinet: Cooler Master 690 III

      I am confused to opt for a GPU with in my budget of 300$. Please suggest me!!

      Thanks in Advance :)

    • profile image

      Costas Soteriou 6 months ago

      CPU: Intel Core i5-7600 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor

      Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170-Gaming K3-EU ATX LGA1151 Motherboard

      Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 Memory (

      Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive

      Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

      Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB GAMING X Video Card

      Case: Thermaltake Versa N26 ATX Mid Tower Case

      Power Supply: Corsair VS 450W ATX Power Supply

      Optical Drive: LG GH24NSC0B DVD/CD Writer

      Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit

      Any advise on this Brandon ?

      thanks in advance

    • profile image

      Ankur Singh 8 months ago

      Suggest for me please :

      1. Intel i3 6100 @3.7 GHz

      2. Crucial ddr4 8gb ram @2133 MHz

      3. Seagate 1 TB Hdd @7200 rpm

      4. Cooler Master SMPS B 500 ver 2

      5. using HD Ready LED 32 inch TV as monitor, resolution of 720p

      For these specs which graphics card will be the best fit in budget for gaming such as hitman, max payne 3, cs go, assasins creed etc

    • profile image

      Chris 10 months ago

      @toptengamer - Really, really appreciate your reply! :)

      You're right, Amazon currently has rebates going for an Asus 750 TI, so I'll end up spending only $20 more compared to the GT 730!

      Btw, I did some research regarding CAD workstations and they need a totally different graphics card which wouldn't work well for gaming, so I'm going to purchase an old/used NVIDIA Quadro in the future (they're ridiculously expensive, actually). Both the gaming card and this workstation card will be in the same case, but I will only run 1 card at a time depending on the app I'm using. A guy on GrabCAD talks about this. For those interested, search "hybrid computer build"

    • toptengamer profile image
      Author

      Brandon Hart 10 months ago from The Game

      Chris, I'd avoid the GT 730. I'd go with a 750 Ti or GTX 950. They aren't that much more (especially on rebate) and will give you a much better experience and frame rate.

    • profile image

      Chris 10 months ago

      Thanks for the article - perhaps just in time for what I'm planning to purchase. Here's my situation:

      I currently have a MacBook Pro (late 2014, 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5, 16GB-1600MHz-DDR3 memory, integrated graphics Intel Iris 1536 MB) and a 2008 Sony Vaio that's falling apart.

      I've been thinking of putting together a desktop system to replace my Windows laptop and run 3D CAD programs like SolidWorks, games like iRacing, as well as some basic photo/video editing.

      I'm neither a pro with any of those apps, nor do I care to run anything at the highest settings.

      All I need is decent frame rates, good stability/reliability (overclocking is irrelevant to me), and possibly quicker processing speeds...

      I'm not aiming for any specific performance numbers, and I don't need the latest and greatest of course, but I do want to make this purchase worthwhile in the sense that the performance characteristics described above are significantly/noticeably better than my MacBook's.

      Now, I'm currently on a budget so what do you think is the least I would have to spend (and what CPU/GPU combos would you recommend) to meet that criteria?

      Put differently, would the configuration below be a relatively safe bet in terms of out-performing my MacBook in most categories?

      EVGA GeForce GT 730 2GB Video Card

      Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory

      MSI B150M PRO-VDH Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard

      Intel Core i3-6100 3.7GHz Dual-Core Processor

      Or could I go even cheaper than that? Say, AMD CPU+GPU?

      I'd just be curious to know how little I could get away with spending and still outperform my MBP.

      Thanks,

      Chris

    • toptengamer profile image
      Author

      Brandon Hart 14 months ago from The Game

      Haha good catch!

    • profile image

      Tom 14 months ago

      i6-6600k? :P Nice list anyways!

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