Best Mainstream CPU for $200-$250

Best Budget Mainstream for various workloads

  • AMD 5300g: SC Performance above all else.

  • AMD 3600: Great efficiency with MC.

  • Intel 11400: Power hungry but solid everywhere else.


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Nightfire

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 7, 2017
Messages
3,167
Now that we have 11th gen Intel and possibly looking at 4 core AMD, I was wondering if most would prefer 4 core Zen 3 over 6 core Zen 2 the same way they preferred 6 core core Zen 3 over 8 core Zen 2.

Prices not in stone but should be close.

5300g: High ICP with iGPU but only 4/8
3600: Zen 2 but 6/12. No igpu and price is creeping back up.
11400: High ICP but high power draw. Likely the cheapest of the bunch and iGPU is always nice for troubleshooting.
 

DejaWiz

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 15, 2005
Messages
21,044
Depends on the primary usage, IMO.

Mild gaming w/ IGP or gaming with dGPU - 5300G
Gaming w/ dGPU but want more cores/threads - 3600
General use workstation/media streaming or gaming with dGPU - 11400
 

Nightfire

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 7, 2017
Messages
3,167
Yeah, this one is a pretty tough choice. You can also get an 11400f for way under the price of the 3600 which can be invested in the rest of the system.

AMD really needs a 3600AF bargain 6 core to pull budget content creators from jumping to Intel.
 

robijito123

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
125
Honestly the i7 10700 is right in that range and a beast for $. 8c16t right around 225$, beats a 3600 and better value than 5600 and slots in the new 1200 boards. Since the 5xxx apu's are oem only I would bet they will be way over priced like the 4xxx apu's. At the very least unless you have a gpu look at non f parts.
 

Nightfire

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 7, 2017
Messages
3,167
Honestly the i7 10700 is right in that range and a beast for $. 8c16t right around 225$, beats a 3600 and better value than 5600 and slots in the new 1200 boards. Since the 5xxx apu's are oem only I would bet they will be way over priced like the 4xxx apu's. At the very least unless you have a gpu look at non f parts.

Intel has been really tough in the mid range lately. As for power consumption, having extra cores has a huge power savings on itself. For MC, you would need to run a 5300g at 4.5 ghz to get similar performance as you could with 11400 at 3 ghz (estimated based on core count). At those frequencies, the old 14nm Intel would not be far off in power. Same for running a 3600 at 4.5 ghz vs a 10700 at 3.5 ghz.
 

doublejack

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
491
The power draw kills the Intel options, for me at least. With a house full (5 of us) all using PCs most of the day for work or school or entertainment, that's a real issue. I think the 3600 is the current value king. That said, there are two caveats.

One is that I have several entry level GPUs from mining crypto (mostly RX 460 / 560 cards) so the need for integrated graphics isn't there for me. Also, these PCs are used for light to moderate gaming with freesync 75Hz monitors so IGPU wouldn't really cut it anyway. This means that the three options in the poll are on a very level playing field for my use case. I feel for people who don't have a GPU and need one. This is the worst it has ever been to acquire one and I don't see an end in sight with crypto prices skyrocketing. So I understand the appeal of a CPU with an IGPU, but for me that's a complete nonfactor.

The second caveat is that I live near a microcenter, so the 3600 is effectively the same price as an 11400f. I've walked out of MC with a 3600, motherboard, 16GB of memory and a 256GB SSD for $320 with tax. The amount of performance $300 can buy is insane.

So, if I were paying $250 or more for the 3600 and/or I need an IGPU then the 5300g starts to look more appealing. But for my situation it is 3600 all the way. I don't see a situation where I would consider an Intel CPU right now.
 
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