AMD Ryzen 3 1300X $130
AS AN UPGRADE, a budget chip is a tricky concept. We’ve been recommending the Intel Pentium G4600 for our budget build for the best part of a year, but when it comes to an upgrade, we can’t really recommend a last-gen CPU that slots into a last-gen motherboard. So instead of tying ourselves in knots trying to predict which platform you’re upgrading from, we’ve picked a chip that offers strong performance at a great price point. The Ryzen 3 1300X may not have the headline-grabbing thread count of the top-of-therange 1800X, but this is still an unlocked quad-core chip for not much cash.
Talking of cost, you’ll need to buy an AM4 motherboard to use it, and possibly some DDR4 memory to go with it, if your current system is a little long in the tooth. So that $130 price tag isn’t the whole story, but this is still a good value proposition, with a decent upgrade path of its own, which is always worth considering at the budget end of the scale. The retail chip comes with the Wraith cooler as well, which does a fine job of keeping it cool while hitting the 3.7GHz turbo, so no immediate need to grab a separate all-in-one to get the most from this chip.