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My favorite budget gaming CPU costs just $137 right now

Don't miss this chance to bag yourself an Intel Core i5 12400F in this limited time CPU deal, with six cores and a 4.4GHz boost clock.

Intel Core i5 12400F held in hand

If you’re looking to build a decent gaming PC, but don’t have big bucks to spend, then this latest Intel CPU offer on Amazon is waiting for you with open arms. For the bargain price of just $137 (and, amazingly, just £113 in the UK right now), you can bag yourself an Intel Core i5 12400F, which covers all your bases for gaming, and it will run on a cheap motherboard with DDR4 memory as well. However, this is a limited time deal, so make sure you get in quick.

Don’t be put off by the ‘12’ in this CPU’s name, the Intel Alder Lake architecture of the 12400F is very similar to the Raptor Lake architecture used in Intel’s latest 14th gen CPUs on our best gaming CPU guide, such as the Core i9 14900K. It doesn’t have any of Intel’s E-Cores for multi-threading work, but it does have six solid P-Cores for performance, and that’s what really counts when it comes to games.

Meanwhile, its 4.4GHz clock speed is absolutely fine for gaming, where in most cases you’ll be much more restricted by the speed of your graphics card than your CPU. In fact, I’ve been using a Core i5 12400F in my own personal gaming PC for the last two years, where I use it for 4K gaming with an AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT graphics card.

What I particularly love about it is not only its cheap price, but also its low power draw and thermal output – you can easily air cool this CPU, and if you use a 240mm AIO cooler it will hardly make any noise. In my opinion, this is the best budget gaming CPU around right now.

Unlike AMD’s latest Zen 5 CPUs, you can also transplant DDR4 memory from an old PC into a new system with this CPU, and run it on a two-year old B660 motherboard as well. What’s more, if you want to upgrade your CPU further down the line, you’ll be able to drop in one of the latest 14th gen CPUs, such as the Core i5 14600K, into the same motherboard at a later date.

There are a couple of downsides to note. One is that the ‘F’ in the model name means this CPU doesn’t come with an integrated GPU, although that’s not a problem if you’re using a dedicated graphics card, which you’ll need for gaming anyway. Also, as it’s not a K-series CPU, the 12400F has its multiplier locked, meaning you can’t overclock it. If you want to squeeze more power out of your CPU, then you’re better off buying the Core i5 12600KF, which you can currently pick up for $161.

If you’re looking to build a gaming PC for the cheapest price possible, though, the Intel Core i5 12400F is a surprisingly excellent GPU, with gaming performance that belies its price and spec. If you’re on a tight budget, take my advice, and grab one now.