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How do I Choose the Best Cheap CPU?

Choosing the best cheap CPU involves balancing cost with performance. Prioritize your computing needs, whether it's multitasking, gaming, or basic tasks. Look for recent generation processors for efficiency gains, and check benchmarks to compare value. Remember, a low price today shouldn't mean a compromise on tomorrow's needs. How will your choice stand the test of time? Continue reading to find out.
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

The central processing unit (CPU) inside of a computer can be one of the most important parts of a computer, but it can also be fairly costly as well. When trying to find a good quality, cheap CPU, you should start off by looking for sales or clearances at stores and websites that sell computer components. This can be a great way to find a quality CPU without having to spend much money, and the constant progression of technology tends to make these types of sales fairly common. You may also want to ask any friends who work on computers professionally for suggestions or opportunities.

Inside of a computer, the CPU is effectively both the heart and brain, regulating major systems and processing data as the computer runs programs. This means it is an essential part of your computer and a quality CPU is a worthwhile investment. That does not mean, however, that the CPU has to be expensive, and a cheap CPU can still do what you need it to do and not cost more than the rest of your computer combined.

A Central Processing Unit (CPU).
A Central Processing Unit (CPU).

A cheap CPU is not impossible to find, and the best one for your needs would be whatever suits the situation in which you find yourself. If you are simply looking to replace a CPU that has died in your computer, then you may be able to find the same CPU you had for significantly cheaper than it was when you first purchased or built your computer, especially if it is a few years old. For upgrades to an existing computer, you may have to do a bit more searching for a cheap CPU, but you can still find it if you are patient and persistent.


Watching for sales or clearances at major technology stores, both retail and online stores, can be a great place to start. Many Internet computer component sites will have weekly sales, specials, and clearances and a little persistence and patience can land you a very nice cheap CPU. If you cannot wait for a sale, then you may want to look at a CPU that is slightly lower in quality. You should try to read reviews and recommendations from other customers, however, to try to avoid buying a CPU that is inexpensive because it is low in quality.

A heatsink is the part of a computer designed to move heat away from a computer's central processing unit.
A heatsink is the part of a computer designed to move heat away from a computer's central processing unit.

If you have friends who work with computers, repairing or building them, then you may be able to find a cheap CPU through one of them. People who work with computers often know how to find the best deals, or may have extra components they are willing to sell for little money. A friend who is upgrading his or her computer may be buying an expensive CPU and have nothing to do with an older one he or she no longer needs; it may be better than what you have now. In such a case you can certainly offer to take the CPU off his or her hands.

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Discussion Comments


A good tactic to picking up a bargain on a CPU is to just wait until the one you want is inexpensive. Technology is always advancing, after all, and that CPU that may be the top of the heap today might be replaced by an even better one tomorrow.

That happened at my office when I picked up a new computer back in May. I got a laptop and the Intel Core i7 was the hottest thing made for laptops at the time. It has been succeeded by newer generation Core i7 chips, but here's the thing -- it's still a great CPU that can power through Photoshop, InDesign and other applications that tax system resources.

That same CPU is available for a lot less today than it was six months ago, but it is still a great CPU that exceeds my current needs. Just because something is older doesn't mean it is not very good.

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    • A Central Processing Unit (CPU).
      By: Gudellaphoto
      A Central Processing Unit (CPU).
    • A CPU.
      By: NorGal
      A CPU.
    • A heatsink is the part of a computer designed to move heat away from a computer's central processing unit.
      By: Andrew Barker
      A heatsink is the part of a computer designed to move heat away from a computer's central processing unit.