Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

11 Best CPU Under $200 in 2023 – Top 10 Budget Processors Reviewed

You will find a lot of relevant facts here that will get you moving in the right direction when it comes to determining which CPUs are available under $200 on the market in 2023. It can be challenging to find the perfect processor for your dream machine. Start right here and put yourself on the right path to the best buy for your money. Take a look at the Best CPUs under $100 and Best CPUs under $300 articles if you’re looking for a slightly cheaper or more powerful CPU. While the Best CPU Under $200 in 2023 remains highly affordable, they do give satisfactory performance because of their high clock speeds.

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Best CPU Under $200 in 2023 Round-Up

We have compiled the list below of the 10 best CPUs under $200 currently available on the market, and you can read a full review by clicking on the review link in each row.

Intel Core i5-12400~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel Core i5-12400 Desktop Processor

Architecture: Alder Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 2.5 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W


An excellent value for the money

Performs better than AMD CPUs at a higher price

(In its price range) Excellent for gaming and multitasking

Cooler is included

Power consumption is very low

Cools very quickly

DDR4 and DDR5 memory support

Processors integrated with graphics


Clock base rate is lower

Overclocking is locked

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Intel Core i5-12400 processors are the best bet for the moment for getting a 12th generation processor for less than $200 MSRP, as they are currently the most affordable option. A minimum of six hyperthreaded cores are present in all of the 12th-generation Core series processors. Six core processors are available in a wide range of prices, from low $100s to mid $300s, making them suitable for most lower and mid-budget builds. When it comes to processor cores, six is a magic number.

In addition to being excellent for gaming, six core processors are also capable of handling most PC tasks. The use of high-core processors for rendering, video editing, or programming might be needed for some applications, but typically you’ll only find that on professional-grade PCs. The Hyperthreading feature allows your processor to run two commands simultaneously from a single physical core. This makes your processor faster for multitasking and complex single-core work. Also related:   best cpu under 300

In terms of base clock rate and boosted clock rate, it is by far the lowest of the 12th gen Core processors, and even lower than many of the 10th and 11th gen Core processors. For less than $200, this is the best you can get. Due to the low base clock rate of 2.4 GHz, it doesn’t have the same speed nor power consumption as some of the faster (and more expensive) CPUs, but it can still handle gaming and similar tasks with ease.

The clock rate

Upon detecting an increase in CPU demand, it automatically raises the clock rate to 4.4 GHz, which draws more power and requires more efficient cooling to keep it running optimally. There is, however, no way to overclock this CPU, since it is not an unlocked one like most Intel CPUs in this price range. The Intel Core i5-12400, fortunately, does ship with a stock cooler, which makes it more affordable for budget builds. Intel is inconsistent when it comes to whether they ship a CPU with a stock cooler. As a result, the factory does not always apply thermal paste consistently on these coolers, and they can be underpowered.

When building on a tight budget with a locked CPU like this one, it’s more likely that you’ll see thermal improvements by adding a few cheap to midrange case fans instead of replacing the stock cooler. 12th generation motherboards are often configured for the much faster and more expensive DDR5 memory sticks, which differ from Intel’s 10th and 11th generations.

A CPU like the Intel Core i5-12400 offers fantastic performance, draws very little power, and is very easy to cool for a CPU under $200 available in 2022. You can upgrade your memory to much faster memory in the future if you wish. Plus, it is compatible with both DDR4 and DDR5 memory.

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Intel Core i5-11400~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel® Core™ i5-11400 Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.4 GHz LGA1200

Architecture: Rocket Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 2.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W


Gaming processor at a great price

Widely applicable

Cooler included

Compared to AMD, it outperforms

Power consumption is very low

It has become much more affordable due to recent markdowns



Supports only DDR4 memory

Clock base rate is lower

The MSRP is still well above what some outlets are charging


A slightly older generation of processor is the most consistently reliable way to get one that fits your budget and will be available. Since Intel releases new processors around once a year, the differences between generations can be pretty small, especially in lower-tier processors.

Therefore, apart from minor differences pertaining to speed and latency, the Intel Core i5-11400 and i5-12400 are almost identical. The Intel Core i5-11400 is also a budget six-core processor similar to the i5-12400, making it a good choice for gamers, streamers, and amateur content creators alike. A processor with fewer than six cores in the current generation won’t save you much money, especially if you’re going back several generations.

As a result of its higher base clock rate, the i5-11400 delivers a bit more responsive performance, but consumes roughly 10% more power than the i5-12400. In terms of speed, the boosted clock is what will make the biggest difference. It runs at 4.4 GHz, the same as the i5-12400. If you want anything higher than that, you will either need a processor that is unlocked (which this one is not) or you need to spend a lot more money.

integrated graphics

Aside from its integrated graphics processing, the i5-11400 will allow your build to function without a GPU, so it can be used for a budget build without a GPU. The 11400F model could save you a couple more bucks if you decide to install a GPU, but there hasn’t been much difference in price since the 12th generation was released.

The higher-end options don’t include a stock cooler for more powerful CPUs, which is why many of them don’t. With the stock cooler and a few cheap case fans, you’ll be able to cool your rig with the i5-11400 since it has a modest clock rate and isn’t overclockable. If you’re unable to get your hands on the i5-12400, you can get a six-core, well-performing CPU for under $200 by choosing the Intel Core i5-11400. When upgrading your rig in the future, you may have difficulty due to this processor’s incompatibility with DDR5 memory, which might make things more difficult. We strongly recommend Intel’s i5-11400 if you own a motherboard with LGA 1200 socket, as it is also cheaper than its successor.

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AMD Ryzen 5 2600~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler –

Architecture: Zen+ | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 3.4 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 3.9 GHz | TDP: 65 W


The best AMD processor under $200

Multi-platform compatibility

Performance is excellent in gaming

Power consumption is excellent


The stock cooler is surprisingly good


For a 2018 release, the price hasn’t dropped as much as anticipated

Compared to CPUs of the same year, this CPU has a low maximum clock rate

Potential for minimal overclocking


In addition to their low price, Ryzen processors are usually much older than their Intel counterparts, which makes them ideal for budget builds. You can save money on your power supply in the short term, or on electricity in the long run, as Ryzen processors are generally way more friendly to power consumption. Additionally, Ryzen processors are all unlocked, so you can overclock them and use more power than you would normally be able to with a cheaper chip.

In spite of being one of the oldest processors on the market, the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is still worth your money since it has six cores and is still one of the best. The Ryzen 5 2600 is unique in that it utilizes multi-threading, unlike most Intel CPUs released in the same year. It will perform complex tasks significantly faster than a 9th gen Intel, and multitasking will be much smoother.

Despite its higher clock rate, the i5-xx400 draws less power than any of the i5-xx400 models, with its default clock rates at 3.4 GHz and 3.9 GHz respectively. Despite being unlocked, you can only boost it up to around 4.2 GHz and only with proper cooling, compared to what Intel was able to achieve at comparable prices and time frames.


Whenever you overclock, you should always replace the default cooler. If you don’t plan on overclocking, the included Wraith Stealth cooler actually performs well. Even at full speeds, it is relatively quiet, and if you keep your PC cool unaided, it may be able to keep it cool unaided. AMD incorporated multi-threading across their entire lineup much sooner than Intel did, which made the Ryzen 5 2600 stand out quite well in today’s market. It’s also compatible with a wide variety of motherboards, so finding a suitable board won’t be a problem.

A newer processor from Intel or AMD will offer better performance if you do a lot of processor-intensive activities. If you already have an AM4 motherboard and you need a CPU under $200, this is your best option, but otherwise there isn’t much to recommend over newer Intel processors.

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Intel Core i5-10400~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel® Core™ i5-10400 Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.4 GHz LGA1200

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 2.9 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 65 W


In 2022, the cheapest CPU with six cores and twelve threads will be available

Gaming performance and overall value are excellent

The performance of the 11th and 12th generations is very similar

A highly efficient power source

A cooler is included with the shipment


AMD performed better in a previous generation

Graphics processing on integrated devices is weak

DDR5 memory is not supported


On Intel Core processors, the 10th generation is as far back as most users will want to go. The 10th generation still offers performance that is in line with the 90-95% of those that came before it, but at a much lower price. Performance-wise, many of AMD’s immediate competitors released that same year hold up better, but are also more expensive as a result. Compared to other 6-core, 12-thread processors in 2022, the Intel Core i5-10400 will have the lowest price. Anything cheaper will be shedding cores or threads.

Depending on the task they’re trying to accomplish with their PC, some users might be able to get away with that, but serious gamers and anyone looking for an overall robust build will need a processor with at least six cores and 12 threads. The majority of cheaper options are going to be even older, and this can have other drawbacks as well. Between the 10th and later generations, the biggest difference you’ll notice is a narrower range of default clock rates, similar to the difference between the 11th and 12th generations.

Base clock rate

It has a base clock rate of 2.9 GHz, making it one of the only times when Intel competes with AMD on power consumption. 4.3 GHz is the max boosted clock speed, which is better than AMD’s at this price. As long as you have the graphics card for high-end gaming, as well as multi-tasking and complex video editing, that will be enough performance for all these tasks.

You should be able to run 95% of a processor this powerful on the included stock cooler as long as your case has good thermals. It might make sense to upgrade if you constantly do stuff that keeps your CPU and GPU running at full speed, but you could easily justify making that your last priority if you don’t have to do that. Intel Core i5-10400 is the cheapest processor that won’t require you to sacrifice too much. Since Gen 12 was released, stocks of the i5-11400 have stabilized, and it isn’t much cheaper than the newer i5-11400. While the price difference in most outlets can be as much as $20-30, and the reduced power consumption makes this a worthwhile purchase if you’re counting every penny.

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 AMD Ryzen 3 3100~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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AMD Ryzen 33100

Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 3.9 GHz | TDP: 65 W


Possibility of extreme overclocking

Under $200 CPU with four cores

Performance in gaming is strong

A wide range of motherboards are compatible with it

A cooler by AMD Wraith Stealth is included

A power-saving device


CPU-intensive tasks are limited by a low core count

In comparison with some six-core processors of the same year, this processor is more expensive

Integrated graphics are not available


If you’re looking for a new AMD Ryzen CPU under $200, you’ll find it only in the AMD Ryzen 3 3100. If the newest-generation CPU comes out later this year, that might change, but overall AMD Ryzen CPU prices have remained pretty stable.  Unlike most of the items on our list, the Ryzen 3 3100 is a quad-core processor, which contributes to its low price. Even though we have discussed how six cores is ideal, you shouldn’t let that scare you away from a processor that could be excellent and much cheaper. 

In most cases, four-cores can handle most games quite easily, or even dual-cores in the case of older titles, with the major exceptions being open world games (such as RDR2 or Far Cry 6) and grand strategy games. Those games will still work, but they won’t run as smoothly or as fast as they would on a more powerful computer. While the fact that it’s a multi-threaded processor makes it more suitable for games and tasks requiring a lot of CPU power, a 6-core/12-threaded i5-xx400 series would probably be a better choice for you if you’re going to be doing a lot of CPU-intensive work.


When it comes to overclocking, the Ryzen 3 3100 is one of the best quad-core CPUs. With default clock rates of 3.6 GHz to 3.9 GHz, overclocking it consistently to 4.5 GHz is possible, and some overclockers report clock rates as high as 5GHz. The lower core count will be more than compensated for by that for some applications. Obviously, if you’re going to overclock it at that rate, you’ll need more cooling than the stock cooler. As long as you have other fans or cooling installed, AMD’s Wraith Stealth coolers perform well with clock rates up to 4.5 GHz, but if your clock rate rises above that, you will need a premium cooling solution, preferably liquid.

It’s not the cheapest quad-core processor on the market, but its overclocking potential makes it worth more than its retail price. Many Intel processors, both four and six core, are much cheaper and offer much better overall performance if you don’t plan to overclock it.

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Intel Core i3-10320~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel® Core™ i3-10320 Desktop Processor 4 Cores

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 65 W


Games and everyday tasks run smoothly at good clock rates

Clock speed boost is fantastic

In its category, this product offers superior performance on a single core

Price-to-quality ratio is excellent

Cooler is included

Consumes less energy

Cools easily


In the near future, we may see compatibility issues

Overclocking is prohibited

Four cores only

Capacity to multitask limited


While Intel did not include the i3 series in the 11th generation launch, the i3-12300 appears to have been launched too recently to be consistently available at a stable price at the time of writing this article, even though it appears to include their entire lineup in the 12th generation. In the next few months, you’ll be able to consistently get your hands on the Intel Core i3-10320 for under $200. That’s technically tied with the i3-10300, but the 10320 has just a small advantage.

Typically, gaming PCs and other desktop builds will use a CPU with a higher thread count in order to maintain future compatibility, but this is mostly to leave some power left over. You’ll probably be able to handle most of what you’ll do on a PC with a quad-core processor for the most part, since most laptops, including many gaming laptops, use quad-core processors. A PC will typically provide more cooling to the CPU, maximizing its power even further. The i3 does support Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, which allows two threads on each core, so four cores are still going to be on the lighter side if you are creating content, including streaming.

Base clock rate

Although the i3-10320 runs at 3.8GHz base clock and 4.6GHz boosted clock, the processor only consumes 65 Watts in base mode. In this way, your computer’s thermals will be less stressed and it will run cooler. Since the processor is locked, it cannot be overclocked, but it has an extremely high default boost, similar to what a typical user can usually get from the Ryzen 3 3100. The i3-10320 also comes with Intel’s stock cooler, which isn’t very powerful or attractive. You should be fine with just the stock cooler, but there’s nothing stopping you from upgrading. This is a smaller processor and has a lower power draw, so you should be fine with just the stock cooler.

With a higher clock rate than a higher core count, the i3-10320 is designed specifically for gamers who will get more use out of a higher clock rate. Getting the benefits of an i3-10320 without paying the higher price is now possible because the i3-10300, i3-10320, and i5-10400 are all within $10 of one another.

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Intel Core i3-10300~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel® Core™ i3-10300 Desktop Processor 4 Cores

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores: 4 | Threads: 8 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W


Performs well when playing games

Processor with four cores at an affordable price

Consumes less energy

Comparable AMD models have higher default clock rates

A cooler is included with the shipment


Any advantage the 10320 had over its predecessor has been eliminated by price drops

As far as performance and price are concerned, the 12th generation model can replace it

Overclocking is locked


A slight difference between the Intel Core i3-10300 and the Intel Core i3-10320, based on the name, is the slower clock rate of the i3-10300. With the i3 CPUs coming back for the 12th generation after being absent from the 11th generation, the price difference may have been a factor when deciding which one to get, but with them so close in price, the i3-10300 does not seem like a worthwhile alternative to the i3-10320 at launch.

You’ll still be able to run most games with the i3-10300, but it won’t be up to the recommended specs for AAA games released in the past two years due to its quad-core processor. In addition, since it is a 10th generation CPU, it features Intel’s Hyperthreading, which will increase your PC’s performance and speed.

Base clock rate

While the i3-10300 is slightly slower at 3.7 GHz than the i3-10320, the difference in power consumption does not seem to be much. A 4.4 GHz boosted clock rate is better than what you’ll see from Ryzen CPUs at the same time. Due to its inability to overclock, this advantage is questionable, especially as the higher clocked 10320 is much cheaper at this point.

There is a stock cooler with the i3-10300, which is much more effective for CPUs of the previous generation that don’t use as much power. The stock cooler and a few case fans will be enough for most casual gaming rigs to maintain functional temperatures. As of right now, it is too early to know what the stock and markups from resellers will look like for the i3-12300. The price of the i3-10300 is roughly the same in some outlets that carry them.

However, even though that is roughly $10 more than MSRP, it wipes out any advantage the i3-10300 might have had as an older generation processor. Despite the fact that you may need a quad-core Intel CPU right now, you should still choose the i3-10320 over the i3-10300 if a quad-core Intel CPU is all you need.

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Intel Core i5-9500~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel® Core™ i5-9500  Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.4 GHz LGA1200

Architecture: Coffee Lake | Socket: LGA 1151 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base Frequency: 3.0 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.4 GHz | TDP: 65 W


Performs well when playing games

Performance on a single core is really solid

An integrated graphics system

Consumes less energy


Under $200, you can get a better CPU

Cooler is not included in the shipment

A discontinued Intel processor from the 9th Generation

There hasn’t been a lot of price decrease (yet?) compared to some of the other 9th generation processors.

In comparison with lower-end models of the newer generations, this model has a comparable clock rate


You can also go all the way back to the 9th generation with the Intel Core i5-9500 if you have no other choice. Despite the fact that this isn’t the strongest choice of 9th generation chips you’ll still be able to buy, the prices and availability of the remaining 9th generation chips could fluctuate in unpredictable ways now that the 9th generation is out of production, so it seems prudent to have several options. Moreover, the i5-9500 has six cores, which means it isn’t hyperthreaded, so it could be less responsive than newer CPUs because the individual cores aren’t hyperthreaded. While it is capable of delivering a solid gaming experience across most games, it could struggle with games that involve large, complex worlds, such as grand strategy, open world games, or city simulations.

It’s highly recommended that you get a newer processor if you’re doing processor-heavy tasks, such as streaming video, editing video, or rendering complex images, especially in a professional capacity. It’s probably going to be considerably more expensive than any of those on this list. Due to the i5-9500’s higher clock rate, it is closer to the Intel Core i5-400 model. There are 2 different speeds for this CPU, and it has a base speed of 3.0 GHz and a max speed of 4.4 GHz. This CPU is not overclocked. There is no stock cooler included with the i5-9500.


In order to find a processor under $200, you may not want to spend any extra money, so it would be frustrating to spend even $20-30 on a cheap air cooler if you were going all the way back to the 9th generation. As of writing this article, there are still quite a few motherboards compatible with the 9th generation, but that could change in the future.

In 2023, there’s very little to recommend the Intel Core i5-9500 over any of the other 9th gen CPUs or the newer ones that are under $200, unless the price drops significantly or the price of the i5-9600KF increases again. If supplies or prices fluctuate, or if you can find one on clearance, it could be a good deal, but it will still depend on what you need it for.

 Intel Core i5-9400~Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

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Intel Core i5-9400 Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.1 GH

Architecture: Coffee Lake | Socket: LGA 1151 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base Frequency: 2.9 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.1 GHz | TDP: 65 W


Consumes less energy

Performance on one core is good

Plays well in games

Cooler is included


Hyperthreading is not permitted

Production has been officially halted

Pricey compared to i5-10400 and i5-11400

Under $200, this processor outperformed many others

Overclocking is locked


Across all generations, Intel’s i5-400 series has consistently been the lowest-cost six-core processor. In many places, the price has not dropped since the Intel Core i5-9400 was discontinued late last year as sellers tried to clear out their stock. Its clock rate is the lowest among all of the 9th generation processors because it is the cheapest six-core processor in each generation. However, when it comes to PC games that heavily rely on the CPU, this may make your PC less of a powerhouse.

It is also only capable of 4.1 GHz, compared with 4.3 GHz for the i5-10400 and 4.4 GHz for this generation’s i5-9500. Due to the locked nature of this processor, it cannot be overclocked. Multithreading is not available on the i5-9400, like it is on all other Core processors from this generation. This isn’t a huge deal, especially for a budget PC used primarily for gaming. Most newer processors offer the same performance at the same price (or less).

Additionally, the i5-9400 ships with a factory cooler, which could offset the price and compensate for the performance gap between it and more powerful i5-9500 or i5-9600KF processors. You may start to have issues with the availability of compatible motherboards due to the fact that the Intel Core i5-9400 has officially been discontinued, along with the expected pricing and availability issues. The 10th and 11th generations use a different socket, and the 12th generation uses another socket.

Future generations

If you’re reading this and built your PC in the first half of the year, you’re probably fine, but if Intel launches its 13th generation in Q4, things could get dicey. Intel Core i5-9400 is no longer being produced, so prices and availability cannot be guaranteed. It doesn’t appear that outlets have attempted to clear out their inventory as quickly as they did with the i5-9500 and i5-9600, as was the case with the i5-9500. As a matter of fact, the i5-10400 is often sold for anywhere between $20 and $50 less than the i5-9400 in most outlets. You can find the i5-11400 for roughly the same price as the i5-9400 in most places, so you won’t really be able to save much going back so many generations.

Should I Get an AMD or Intel CPU?

Throughout the entire internet, this is probably the most argued question about computers. There are a lot of factors to consider here, and one of the most important ones is, what future do you see for the company? AMD laid out a five-year development plan for their processors in 2017. The bold commitments made by the red team at that time would certainly have raised questions on their ability to follow through.

It is a fact that AMD has met every commitment that they have made. On the other hand, Intel has been making top-quality processors for years, so you are basically choosing who to buy into once you find the right match in processor capabilities. Intel’s architecture has been overhauled frequently, so upgrading is not always possible without replacing all parts. AMD has been more consistent with allowing backward compatibility, which makes upgrading easier.

Final thoughts on Best CPU Under $200 in 2023

The upgrade path alone made me make the decision to go with AMD. If you are looking for absolute performance when it comes to gaming, it’s difficult to beat Intel because of AMD’s memory controllers. It is often the case that AMD will outperform Intel in real-world performance based on clock speeds and core counts. However, AMD loses its edge in the prosumer market because you have to overclock the Inifinity fabric to combat AMD’s memory latency problems to get the Ryzen series of processors to perform at their highest levels.

In real-world performance, Intel’s offerings can slightly outperform AMD’s because they traditionally have better native memory controllers. AMD is my choice and will continue to be my choice, because when it comes to a 1-5% improvement in speed versus the option of upgrading a system by replacing only one part, AMD wins every single time.