Video cards might be incredibly expensive right now due to the cryptocurrency mining bonanza, but a few options for the other key component to a good gaming PC are going for cheap right now. Both flagship consumer CPUs from AMD and Intel are on sale for well below MSRP. The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X can be snagged on Ebay via Newegg for $300 USD, and the Intel Core i7-8700K is available on Walmart for $313.
The Ryzen 7 1800X CPU, which released in March 2017, sports eight cores and 16 threads and is the top-end processor to show off AMD’s new Zen architecture at the consumer level. It runs a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.0GHz, but it’s capable of reaching higher frequencies given the right cooling system and hardware configuration. Note that only motherboards with the X370, X300, or B350 chipset allow for unlocked overclocking. The 1800X originally launched at $500 and it was an example of unprecedented value by offering more CPU cores at an affordable price. Now it’s even more cost-effective at just $300.
Intel’s 8th generation of Core CPUs (Coffee Lake) was the company’s answer to AMD’s Ryzen family. With the Core i7-8700K, Intel bumped up the core count of its consumer flagship processor (from four to six) for the first time since the Core line started in 2008. In terms of performance, the 8700K made noticeable strides in terms of performance from past generations by virtue of being a six-core 12-thread CPU. Its base clock speed sits at 3.7GHz, and it can bump one core up to 4.7GHz or two cores to 4.6GHz through Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. However, the CPU requires motherboards with a Z370 chipset, which means the 8700K is not compatible with any previous motherboard. The 8700K launched in October last year for with an MSRP of $360; now on sale for $313, it’s one of the better deals we’ve seen for this processor.
Both CPUs prove to be great for gaming, although Ryzen CPUs tend to fall a bit behind their Intel counterparts in benchmarks. AMD does offer a higher core count for a lower price, which makes Ryzen an attractive option for those who multitask and do a lot of video production/encoding and image rendering. If you want to learn more about how these CPU perform, be sure to read through our Ryzen 7 1800X review and Core i7-8700K review.
Since video card prices are extremely high at the moment, we suggest looking into pre-built systems if you want an entirely new gaming PC. You also can’t overlook the CPU security issues that were recently discovered; read more about how you can protect yourself from Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.