Best Gaming CPUs Under $500

 

There are plenty of good reasons to buy a CPU in this price range. You get excellent power, brilliant speed and any program you have will run lightning fast too. You’ll never have any problem with bottlenecks if you’re getting CPUs in this kind of price range.
But there are also several reasons why you might not want to pay this much for a Processor, particularly if you’re only really going to use it for gaming.

For starters, at this point, diminishing returns starts to kick in with regard to Processors.

In other words, for each dollar you spend, you get less performance in return. Now this in itself isn’t a massive problem, but if you’re on a strict budget, it can often mean that past a certain point your money would be better spent on some other component. For example, RAM that might have a greater impact on your PC’s performance than simply spending more money on a processor.

Also, most modern games aren’t actually that demanding of your Processor. Ridiculous as it sounds, they place far more emphasis on your PC’s GPU. This means that a relatively affordable CPU (such as the i5-6600K we looked at above) will be more than enough for pretty much all your gaming needs.

 

Best Gaming CPUs Under $500

 

Intel Core i7 6700K 4.00 GHz Unlocked Quad Core Skylake

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2017-12-13 at 05:38 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The 6700K is an incredibly powerful Processor that comes with 4GHz of clocking speed and has 4 Cores. This makes it very fast and means that any games you want to play will run effortlessly, just as long as the rest of your PC is also powerful enough.

It’s probably the best, commonly used Processor that you can get. Whether you want to spend this much will depend on what you want to use your PC for and your budget.

If you’ve got a lot of money to spend and can afford to buy this CPU as well as an excellent graphics card and RAM kit. Then there’s no reason not to.

But if you’re a bit tight for cash, you might be better off with something a little less pricey. At this stage, if you’re after pure gaming performance then you are better off upgrading your GPU than you are spending more on a Processor.

You can get the 6700K with or without a fan. Whether you want to pay for the fan will probably depend on how hot your PC tends to get. If it stays nice and fresh, then there’s no need to spring for the fan. If it often overheats, you might do well to get that fan as well.

Specifications
  • CPU Socket Type: LGA 1151
  • # of Cores: Quad-Core
  • # of Threads: 8
  • Operating Frequency: 4.0 GHz
  • 64-Bit Support: Yes
  • Cooling Device: Cooling device not included – Processor Only

 

Intel Core i7-4790k Processor – BX80646I74790

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Intel Core i7 4790K / 4 GHz processor Intel Core i7 4790K / 4 GHz processor No ratings yet

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2017-12-13 at 05:57 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

This is another powerful, slightly higher-end processor from Intel. The 4790k comes with a clocking speed of 4.0 GHz. It’s also nice and easy to overclock for those of you who are a little more adventurous. Also, it has 4 Cores, so it’s very powerful.

It’s a great processor for gaming and may be a little over-powered if that’s all you’re looking to do. Whether you would pick this or the 6700K would again be largely down to budget, while the 6700K is slightly quicker, you’d be very unlikely to notice the difference while playing.

So if you can pick up this one for a good deal cheaper, then you’re probably best off doing that.

On the other hand, sometimes the 6700K can be picked up for even cheaper than this. It all depends on price fluctuations. In this price category pretty much any processor will have sufficient power, and which you pick may largely come down to price.

You can get the 4790 with or without a liquid cooling system. The cooling makes the 4790k a good deal more expensive, but I would recommend it if your system tends to overheat. If not, save your money instead.

Specifications
  • CPU Socket Type: LGA 1150
  • # of Cores: Quad-Core
  • # of Threads: 8
  • Operating Frequency: 4.0 GHz
  • 64-Bit Support: Yes
  • Cooling Device: Heatsink and fan included

 

Intel Boxed Core i7-6800K Processor

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2017-12-13 at 05:57 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

In terms of pure power and specs, this is the most impressive Processor we’ve looked at so far. It comes with 3.6GHz of Processing speed and 6 Cores too.

While this is a great CPU, there’s no doubt it has some downsides.

Firstly, if you’re just gaming you’re not going to notice the difference between this and the 6700K, you just won’t.

Secondly, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the 6700K and requires a more expensive socket and motherboard too. So even if you manage to get the 6800K cheaper than it usually retails for, you’ll still end up paying a fair bit more for all the compatible components.

So, if your PC’s purely for gaming, you might not want to bother with this CPU. In itself, it’s not overly expensive, but getting everything else to work with it probably will be.

On the other hand, if you use your PC for stuff that’s more demanding of your CPU you might well like this, it offers high power and isn’t overly pricey for what it is, just bear in mind you’ll probably have to get components specifically compatible for it.

Specifications
  • CPU Socket Type: LGA 2011-v3
  • # of Cores: 6-Core
  • # of Threads: 12
  • Operating Frequency: 3.4 GHz
  • 64-Bit Support: Yes

 

Intel Core i7-5820K 0 GT/s 6-Cores FCLGA2011-3

This is another great option from Intel. However, I probably wouldn’t pick up this model if I was interested in a gaming Processor. The 5820K is like a lot of other CPUs in that it’s magnificent, but you’re not going to get a much better experience than you would with a 6700K, which is likely to work out a fair bit cheaper.

Of course, if you can pick up this model for a bargain, it’s well worth getting. But otherwise, I’d only get this CPU if I was interested in using my PC for something besides gaming.

Another thing to note about the 5820K is that it requires the same kind of components as the 6800K, so you’ll have to factor that it when making a purchase as well. It’s not quite as simple as swapping your current Processor in for this one.

You can again choose between just getting the 5820K or buying it with a Liquid Cooler. The Liquid Cooler option might be splendid for those of you whose computers tend to overheat already as it’ll do a good job of keeping the CPU cold. But if not I’d recommend saving your money and going without.

Specifications
  • CPU Socket Type: LGA 2011-v3
  • # of Cores: 6-Core
  • # of Threads: 12
  • Operating Frequency: 3.3GHz
  • 64-Bit Support: Yes

 

Intel Core i7-4790 Processor – BX80646I74790

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2017-12-13 at 05:57 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The 4790 is an excellent Processor which boasts a clocking speed of 3.6GHz and 4 Cores.

In a way, it’s in the same kind of situation as the 5820K, it’s an excellent processor, and will be more than powerful enough for you to play games on. But it’s more expensive than other CPUs which will do the same thing for less money.

With this in mind, even though the 4790 could be an excellent choice, if all you’re going to do is gaming, there’s not much reason to pick this over the i7-6700K, which will do just as good a job, and work out a fair bit cheaper too.

As always if you can pick this up for a bargain, please do. Just make sure all your components are fully compatible.

You can pick up this model with or without a Solid State Drive of 512GB, so if you haven’t picked yourself up a hard drive yet, you can get a fast one for an excellent price. If you’ve already got one, then you can just get the Processor on its own.

Specifications
  • CPU Socket Type: LGA 1150
  • # of Cores: Quad-Core
  • # of Threads: 8
  • Operating Frequency: 3.6 GHz
  • 64-Bit Support: Yes
  • Cooling Device: Heatsink and fan included

 

Conclusion

The takeaway from this is that if you’re mostly going to use your PC for gaming, there’s probably not a lot of point spending this much on the CPU. That is unless you’re keen to get the highest spec machine possible and play the most demanding games in 4K or something. In that case, you would benefit from a more powerful processor, but obviously, most people aren’t trying to play in 4K.

But if you use your PC for stuff besides gaming, particularly for CPU intensive tasks like video editing then you might benefit from spending more on an incredibly powerful CPU. If this sounds like something that interests you here’s our best CPUs in the under $500 price range.

I hope our list of best gaming CPUs under $500 has shown you how strong these monster can be and what kind of option they offer for you PC. Do not forget to leave us a comment in the section below.