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Best Gaming CPU: $90-$110

Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: February '10
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Best gaming CPU for $100:  None

As mentioned previously, the Athlon II X3 440 has such excellent game performance that it is difficult to recommend spending $100 to $140 for similar results. Having said that, other factors can come into play. For these reasons the following CPUs have been given honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention:
Athlon II X4 620 (Check Prices)

Athlon II X4 620
Codename: Propus
Process: 45nm
CPU Cores: 4
Clock Speed: 2.6 GHz
Socket: AM3
L1 Cache:   4 x 128KB
L2 Cache:   4 x 512KB
HyperTransport: 4,000 MHz
Thermal Envelope:
95W

Frankly, the high clock rate of the Athlon II X3 440 allows it to perform better than an Athlon II X4 620 at stock frequencies in a great majority of games.

However, there are a few titles out there that will take advantage of a fourth CPU core, making the Athlon II X4 a potentially-attractive choice to buyers who want all four CPU cores and are willing to overclock this processor. Moreover, as a general-purpose CPU (during the hours you don't spend gaming, of course), the quad-core solution is going to be superior.

Read our review of the Athlon II X4 620, right here.

Honorable Mention:
Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition

Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition
Codename: Callisto
Process: 45nm
CPU Cores: 2
Clock Speed: 3.1 GHz
Socket: AM3
L1 Cache: 2 x 128KB
L2 Cache: 2 x 512KB
L3 Cache: 6MB
HyperTransport: 4,000 MHz
Thermal Envelope:
80W

Although the dual-core Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition might be a bit slower than the less-expensive Athlon II X3 435 when it comes to gaming, it offers something that the Athlon II X3 doesn't have: an unlocked clock multiplier. Like all of AMD's Black Edition processors, the Phenom II X2 555 can be easily overclocked by simply upping its multiplier in the motherboard BIOS of your choice, earning this CPU a place on our recommended list for overclocking fans.

Although we haven't seen much of the new 555 at retail, we're happy to give it honorable mention status for those who might be interested in such a processor. Read our overclocking review of the Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition, right here.

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