Best Budget Gaming CPU and Graphics Card Combo Intel vs AMD 2020
Ever wonder what CPU you should pair with your graphics card to give you max FPS in games? In this post, we'll go over Processor GPU combos from $200 to $1,200 and tell you what we'd recommend based on longevity and performance.
11 Good Budget CPU / GPU Combos for 2020
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.
A Good Graphics Card CPU Combo Around $200
i3-9100F vs Ryzen 3 2200G with GTX 1050
Intel's latest generation of processors features F series processors which have no integrated graphics. Because of this they generally come out quite a bit cheaper than previous generation i3s. Considering the latest i3's have 4 cores you're getting quite the processor here for just around $80. For this reason, I'd currently recommend the (assuming you're going to get a dedicated GPU anyway) over the Ryzen 3 2200G. Better IPC and much stronger in-game performance set it apart. Intel Core i3-9100F
What to Pair it With?
While the GTX 1650 is the newer card, you'll get more bang for your buck here if you go with the RX 570. If power efficiency is important to you, or your throwing this card into an old pre-built PC, I could definitely see a reason for the GTX 1650.
That being said, in terms of FPS, the GTX 1650 is the winner here hands down.
What Can it Run?
If you've got a monitor above 60Hz, you can always tweak down to high on most games in order to increase your framerate.
Overall, I'm thrilled with the i3-9100F as our CPU of choice here. It's a fantastic performer and one that rivals the i5-8400 that cost nearly twice as much just a generation ago. Also, the RX 570 as a choice below $150 and often around $130 on rebate gives you unprecedented gaming performance in the around $200 price range.
GTX 1650 vs RX 570 - Vote for your Favorite
Graphics Card CPU Combo Under or Around $300 to $400
Like the $200 category, I still like Intel's F series of processors here for the $300 and $400 GPU CPU combo category. if you're wanting to stick strictly to your $400 budget, the GTX 1660 Super will fit the bill along with the i5-9400F or the Ryzen 5 3600. Going beyond that I'd recommend AMD RX 5600 XT which gives you a decent improvement over the 1660S model for around $30 to $50 more. If you do plan on extending the budget, the RTX 2060 is also something to look at if you can find it at a similar price to the 5600XT. I've seen it for around $300, but it often gets driven up as much as $50 more.
Better Processor Fewer Frames
If you're on a strict budget, it's harder to not go with the more expensive i5-9400F or . You get a couple of more cores, which in today's gaming market, you'll likely be able to take advantage of by extending the life of your PC. That being said, the i3-9100F has shown to perform well even with this level of graphics card. Ryzen 5 3600 here
Ryzen 5 3600 / 5 2600
Another option here would be to go for the Ryzen 5 3600 for around $175 or the Ryzen 5 2600 for around $120. Either option would give you 6 core/12 thread performance.
The Ryzen 5 3600 gives you similar performance in gaming to the i5-9400F and better performance in most other examples. It retails for around $25 more; however, an argument could be made that it is more future proof with the additional threads. You'll have to decide which you prefer. Either is a great option.
6 Core i5-9400F vs 4 core i3-9100F
So, the choice here is whether you want to opt for a better CPU or GPU. Your decision should take your future plans in mind. Are you someone who upgrades multiple graphics card generations in your PC? If so, it makes a lot of sense to go with the better CPU.
However, if you're someone who likes to replace your PC entirely every couple of years, it makes more sense to go with the max frames option which will give you the better overall gaming experience.
In the $400 Price Range what combo is most appealing to you?
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. That's where I'm at right now. While I'll eventually switch to 4k, I prefer frames to resolution at this point.
For this price point, I'll give you a couple of different options depending on what you need the most.
This brings you in around $600 ($700 with the RTX 2070 Super), gives you fantastic performance in 1440p and good performance in 4k. The i5-9400F gives you that 6 core performance with a boost clock of 4.1GHz. No, you don't get to overclock it, but considering we can reach for the 2070 in this price range, it's hard to deny how great this option is.
That being said, for around $25 more you get the Ryzen 5 3600 which 6 core 12 threaded performance and similar performance with your games.
For All-Around Workload, Gaming, and Productivity
For those who'd prefer to have more threads for longevity or have tasks that require them, I'd recommend the 6 core/12 thread AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or 3600X along with the RTX 2060 Super. Assuming you can get this for around $400 you'll have a stellar combination to last you for years to come. Plus, the processor can be overclocked when you need additional performance.
A Third Option
The RTX 2060 Super is an interesting option here as it can match RTX 2070 stock performance. Yet, for what you'll save by using the i5-9400 you should be able to get one that far exceeds stock. For more frames, consider pairing the RTX 2060 Super with the 6 core i5-9600k. However, keep in mind that it lacks hyperthreading so it won't perform as well in multi-threaded tasks.
Best Graphics Card GPU Combo From $1,000 to $1,100
In the $1,000 range, you have a lot more flexibility in terms of both your CPU and graphics card. The option we most recommend would be the i5-9600k along with the RTX 2080 Super. This puts you in at right around $1,000. You may be able to get more bang for your buck if you can find a GTX 1080Ti; however, stock is becoming somewhat limited for these GPUs in 2020.
AMD is Certainly an Option:
If you'd prefer to go with threads and workload productivity rather than a few extra FPS in games, the Ryzen 5 3600(X) is a great option here. The Ryzen 7 3700X is certainly an option here as well along with a 2080 Super.
CPU or GPU
Depending on what you need the most, you could upgrade your CPU and downgrade your GPU from here. Consider the i7-9700k, the i9-9900k, and the Ryzen 7 3800X along with the 2070 Super.
A Great Day to Be a Gamer
The Ryzen series has transformed the CPU industry. Now we've got more cores and threads from both Intel and AMD.
If pure gaming performance is of utmost importance to you, for the most part go with Intel. I also feel that the F series of Intel processors is underrated in the gaming industry. To pay only $90 for an i3 with 4 cores and $140 for an i5 with 6 along with great speeds and capabilities is really something we haven't seen before. I like Intel at that price point.
In the $200 to $400 price point, I really like AMD and especially if you use your computer for rendering and editing tasks as I do. It's hard to justify the slight increase in frames you'd get with Intel here. That being said those of you who care about that the most will still prefer the i5-9600k and i7-9700k. Either way, it's hard to make too big of a mistake in the current market.
What budget do you plan on using for your CPU and GPU?
Choosing a CPU - Intel Vs. AMD in 2020
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. This isn't as big of a deal after Ryzen 3000 but it is definitely still relevant. Overclocking AMD CPUs can make up some of the gap.
- Superior options for high-end users seeking max FPS and performance.
Advantages to Purchasing an AMD CPU:
- CPUs come with additional threads at lower prices.
- Ryzen 3000 CPUs have solid IPC - this does not include the Ryzen 3 3200G. Matches performance in many games with potentially a longer lifespan.
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.
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.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Is a Ryzen 1700 and a GTX 1070 TI a good combo for a PC?
Yes, that's a good combo; however, I'd be tempted at this point to go with the 2700 unless you can get the 1700 and a cheap motherboard as a combo on the cheap.Helpful 24
© 2014 Brandon Hart