Buyers Guides CPUs

Best Budget Intel 13th-Gen CPUs to Buy for Gaming

Best Budget 13th-Gen CPUs to Buy for Gaming Feature

Introduction

Intel’s 13th generation of processors have been a popular choice amongst gamers since they originally launch back in Q4 of 2022. Not only did this new set of CPUs provide a bump in gaming performance from their 12th-Gen counterparts, but also offered great value for money for a wide range of gamers.

Whilst updates and price reductions to AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series has somewhat altered the landscape of the CPU market, Intel’s 13th-Gen options are still worth considering for anyone building a brand-new gaming PC. For budget gamers specifically, Intel’s 13th-Gen are a great value for money offering.

Suggested Article: How Many CPU Cores Do You Need for Gaming?

In this buyers guide, we’ll be taking a closer look at Intel’s latest generation of processors to see which of their budget CPUs are the best for gaming. Alongside these recommendations, we’ll be breaking down the pros and cons to each, as well as offering our advice on how to pick the right CPU for your budget-friendly gaming PC.

Our Recommendations

1. Intel Core i3 13100F

👑 The cheapest budget 13th-Gen CPU.

Intel Core i3 13100F

Starting out with the cheapest of all of Intel’s 13th-Gen CPUs, the Core i3 13100F. This CPU is designed to provide consumers with an affordable way to keep their system up to date, whilst also offering a boost to performance compared to budget processors of the past. With the PC requirements for games becoming increasingly demanding, having a lower entry-level to the latest-gen hardware is certainly appreciated, as it means gamers won’t get priced out from picking up the latest and greatest titles. Featuring a boost clock speed of 4.5GHz, the Core i3 13100F provides enough performance to run modern titles at 1080p, as well as a push for higher framerates within competitive scenarios. As a result, it makes for an ideal choice for those on a very limited budget, or looking to build an affordable gaming PC for friends and family members looking to dip their toe into the world of PC gaming.

Key Specs

Key SpecsIntel Core i3 13100F
Core Count4
Thread Count8
Base Clock Speed3.4GHz
Boost Clock Speed4.5GHz
Max Turbo Power89W
OverclockableNo

Things We Like

Very affordable pricing: Acting as the cheapest way to access Intel’s latest generation of CPUs, the i3 13100F offers great value to anyone looking to play PC games on a tight budget.

Strong 1080p gaming: When paired with a suitable graphics card, the i3 13100F has enough power to run a range of games at 1080p, reaching framerates above the 60FPS on most consoles.

Things We Don’t Like

Limited to 1080p: Pushing the resolution up to either 1440p or 4K is not a good idea with this processor, as it will lead to severe performance setbacks. Because of this, anyone looking for better visual fidelity should pick up a more powerful option.

Struggles with productivity tasks: Whilst this processor will be fine for browsing and media consumption, heavier productivity-related tasks such as editing will feel sluggish and are likely to be plagued with technical issues.

Summary

For gamers looking to keep their gaming rig up to the current standards for as cheap as possible, then the Core i3 13100F is an obvious candidate. As the cheapest 13th-Gen Desktop CPU on the market, the 13100F offers strong gaming performance at 1080p, allowing gamers to meet the increasingly demanding requirements attached to modern titles.

Features: 4/5
Thermals: 4.5/5
Performance: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Very cheap CPU
  • Decent for 1080p gaming
  • Low power requirements

Cons

  • Limited to 1080p
  • Not ideal for workstations

Where to Buy

Buy the Intel Core i3 13100F on:

$144.68 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-19 05:45:22 ET

2. Intel Core i5 13400F

👑 The best budget 13th-Gen CPU for 1080p gaming.

Intel Core i5 13400F LGA Pins

If you’re looking for slightly better performance when playing games at 1080p, then the Core i5 13400F will be a better bet for modern systems. With a higher number of cores and threads, along with a higher 4.6GHz boost clock speed, the i5 13400F offers a significant bump in framerates at 1080p. This will allow budget gamers to compete with those using a more powerful system, leaving no room for excuses! Additionally, the 13400F should be more than enough to run a plethora of titles at 1440p, offering a nice boost in visuals for more narrative-based adventures. This added firepower should also lead to this CPU being able to conduct a few productivity-related tasks, making it an ideal choice for a budget-friendly desktop.

Key Specs

Key SpecsIntel Core i5 13400F
Core Count10
Thread Count16
Base Clock Speed2.5GHz
Boost Clock Speed4.6GHz
Max Turbo Power148W
OverclockableNo

Things We Like

Ideal for 1080p gaming: The 13400F has plenty of firepower to offer smooth and responsive gameplay at 1080p settings, making it a worthy choice for a budget gaming rig.

Can handle some productivity tasks: As an i5 processor, the 13400F is capable of handling lighter productivity tasks, allowing users to dive into work when needed.

Things We Don’t Like

Not ideal for workstations: Even though the 13400F should be able to run a number of productivity-related tasks fairly well, it will have issues when asked to run more demanding tasks like video editing.

Will struggle at higher resolutions: Technically, the 13400F will be able to run games for up to 4K. However, the framerates will be less than ideal for most gamers, even when paired with an adequate GPU.

Summary

In terms of 1080p gaming, the i5 13400F is one of best value for money options available, making it great choice for a budget-friendly gaming PC. With 10 cores and 16 cores, this CPU is a significant upgrade from an i3 processor, all for a price that is still pretty reasonable.

Features: 4/5
Thermals: 4.3/5
Performance: 4.2/5
Value for Money: 4/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Great for 1080p gaming
  • Can handle productivity tasks
  • Reasonable pricing

Cons

  • Not suitable for workstations
  • Limited performance at 1440p & 4K

Where to Buy

Buy the Intel Core i5 13400F on:

$222.04 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-19 05:45:22 ET

3. Intel Core i5 13600K

👑 The best budget 13th-Gen CPU for 1440p gaming.

Intel Core i5 13600K in Front of Box

Moving onto another i5 processor from Intel’s 13th-Gen line-up, the Core i5 13600K acts as the more stronger sibling to the previously mentioned 13400F. This processor provides a significant boost in power, mainly due to the increased clock speeds of 3.5GHz and 5.1GHz when boosted. As a result, the i5 13600K is much better suited to running games at 1440p, or even 4K. For activities outside of gaming, the increased core and threads counts allow this processor to juggle multiple tasks at once, making it a suitable pick within budget-friendly workstations. The main advantage of this CPU compared to the alternative options on this list is that the 13600K can be overclocked for an additional boost to gaming performance.

Key Specs

Key SpecsIntel Core i5 13600K
Core Count14
Thread Count20
Base Clock Speed3.5GHz
Boost Clock Speed5.1GHz
Max Turbo Power181W
OverclockableYes

Things We Like

Great for 1440p gaming: Compared to other i3 and i5 processors on the market, the 13600K is much better at dealing with higher resolutions. As a result, this is the best CPU for gamers looking to push their budget systems to 1440p, or even 4K.

Can be overclocked: Unlike the previous entries, the i5 13600K supports overclocking, allowing users to gain a boost in framerates when needed.

Things We Don’t Like

Slightly pricey: The pricing of this CPU could arguably place it into the mid-range category instead of the budget. Because of this, some gamers may consider the price too much of a stretch to put into a budget-oriented build.

Limited performance at 4K: Whilst the reasonable performance at 4K puts this processor well above expectations, it will struggle to hit higher framerates when the resolution is bumped up.

Summary

Anyone wanting to stretch their budget in order to get the best gaming performance possible, the Core i5 13600K is the ideal choice for your build. With the ability to run games at 1080p and 1440p with ease, as well as some legs at 4K, the i5 13600K is excellent value for money. This results in a processor that will have no issues optimising the performance from the rest of your gaming PC.

Features: 4.3/5
Thermals: 4/5
Performance: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4.2/5

GeekaWhat Rating:

Pros

  • Great for 1440p gaming
  • Suitable for workstations
  • Can be overclocked

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Limited at 4K

Where to Buy

Buy the Intel Core i5 13600K on:

$327.35 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-19 05:45:22 ET

Are Budget Intel 13th-Gen CPUs Good for Gaming?

With a CPU having such an influence on the overall performance of your system, it’s important that you’re getting the performance that matches your investment. Luckily, Intel’s 13th-Gen have constantly been able to live up to their price tag, with most of their processors offering gaming performance beyond their paygrade. Whilst recent months has seen the overall value of 13th-Gen CPUs drop, mainly because of price drops to AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series, they still strong enough to provide a worthy output from your investment.

CPUs on GPU

As we touched upon within our earlier recommendations, there are plenty of Raptor Lake offerings that will provide solid framerates in all the latest and greatest gaming releases. With budget options in particular, the likes of the i5 13400F and i5 13600K have become very popular amongst PC builders, as they offer performance that can compete with more expensive processors from both Intel and AMD. Because of this, Intel’s 13th-Gen line-up should certainly be on the radar of anyone looking to pick up a budget-friendly gaming PC capable of running the latest games at 1080p or 1440p.

Why You Can Trust Us

If you’ve scrolled through the recommendations in this roundup, you may be left wondering what makes us qualified to comment on this subject? Our team of PC hardware and gaming experts work incredibly hard to test all of the latest products on release. We put these products through their paces in a range of gaming and productivity based scenarios, giving us a general overview of how the product in question compares to the rest of the market. These findings are then relayed to our audience via YouTube videos and written content, where we give our honest thoughts and suggestions.

If you would like to learn more about each of our team members, or read our editorial promise, head over to the About Us section.

How We Tested the Best Budget Intel 13th-Gen CPUs for Gaming

In order to test and evaluate the best budget 13th-Gen CPUs for gaming, there are a number of factors that we take into account, these are:

  • Performance
  • Thermals
  • Power consumption
  • Multifaceted performance
  • Value for Money

Conclusion

Intel Core i5 13400F in Front of Box

Best Budget Intel 13th-Gen CPU for Gaming: Intel Core i5 13400F

When building a budget-oriented system around an Intel processor, our go-to pick is the Core i5 13400F. As one of the cheapest i5 CPUs from the 13th-Gen line-up, the 13400F offers mid-range performance at a budget price point, offering solid performance at both 1080p and 1440p.

GeekaWhat Rating:

Read our Intel Core i5 13400F review, or Buy the Intel Core i5 13400F on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

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How Much Should I Spend on a Budget CPU?

Generally, budget gamers should expect to spend $100 to $300 on a CPU. There are a number of options available within this price range, with varying performance at 1080p and 1440p.

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Is a CPU Important for Gaming?

Yes. The CPU is a vital part of any gaming PC, as it is responsible for loading up data and conducting the calculations needed to complete actions within a game.

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What CPU Cooler Can I Use With an Intel 13th-Gen CPU?

Any CPU cooler that is compatible with an LGA1700 socket can be used with an Intel 13th-Gen CPU and motherboard. Most modern air and liquid coolers will offer support for LGA1700.

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Does Intel 13th-Gen Support DDR4 Memory?

Yes. Intel’s 13th-Gen processors work with both DDR4 and DDR5 memory. However, some 13th-Gen motherboards restrict support to either DDR4 or DDR5, so it’s worth checking before picking up a DDR4 kit.

editor
Aled Wheeler is part of our technical writing and reviews team, focussing on PC components, console gaming and peripherals such as keyboards and monitors! With a degree in journalism and experience working for publications in the sports and gaming sectors. Aled is our in-house news and gaming writer, with his finger on the pulse of game devs around the world. Aled is currently rocking a solid mid-range gaming PC build, with a Ryzen 5000 processor and RTX 30 series graphics card.