The Intel Pentium G3258 kind of snuck up on us during Computex 2014, without much being spoken about it previously. With most of the focus being on the Devil’s Canyon I7 4790K, seeing a new processor from Intel for under $100 with overclocking in mind was a pleasant surprise. While processors under $100 from Intel aren’t anything new, the unlocked nature of the multiplier on its Anniversary Edition processor is.
Aside from those features, the other main features we don’t see include Intel Clear Video HD, vPro, VT-d technologies, AES, and TSX-NI instruction sets. While the latter list of features might not be so familiar, there’s no denying that the lack of Hyper-Threading is going to have the largest impact on this 3.2GHz processor. What we do have on the LGA 1150 socketed CPU is Intel HD Graphics, Quick Sync Video, 3MB Smart Cache, Support for Dual Channel DDR3 1333MHz DDR, and compatibility on both the Intel 8 and 9 series chipsets.
Looking above, you can see the one area where the CPU stands out is the Unlocked feature that is offered, which is something normally reserved for the K series of processors. Intel has bought this wonderful feature to its budget friendly Pentium line with this particular processor.
There’s really not a whole lot we need to say about the new processor that isn’t shown in the above images. What we really want to know is just how the CPU performs against other processors on the market, so let’s get into our test system setup, and cover the overclocking before we get into the fun stuff.
We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight, and Corsair.
Before we get into the overclocking, we want to quickly cover the processors that will be in our graphs today. Other than our Pentium G3258, which will be running at the stock speed, and overclocked one we will mention just below, we’ve also got the Intel i7 4770K, and newer i7 4790K. Both of these processors cost 3x the amount of money the G3258 costs. From there we move into the even more expensive LGA 2011 Intel processors, including the i7 3930K, i7 3970X EE, and the i7 47960X. As for the AMD side of things, we’ve got just the FX-8150 in our pile of CPUs today.
After spending a bit of time going back and forth, and messing around with the voltages, we ended up with our processor running at 4497MHz, or 4.5GHz as illustrated in our graphs here today. This is an exceptional overclock, which is 1.3GHz up on the standard 3.2GHz clock. It will be interesting to see just what kind of performance we get out of the processor. While it may have a decent clock rate, this is just a dual-core CPU with no Hyper-Threading, making it a pure Dual Core processor.
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04
Starting with PCMark 7, we can see that the G3258 Lightweight score isn’t bad, and lines up with the i7 4770K. Although, in the more intensive PCMark score, you can see it falls behind by a decent chunk. Overclocking brings a really nice boost, and we see the Lightweight score shoot past the i7 4790k in this case. Overall, though, you can see it falls behind our more expensive CPUs in the more intensive PC Mark score.
Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99
Looking above, you can see the Hyper Pi score is quite behind compared to our Intel processors here. It’s a little tough to score it properly due to the fact that it’s only being run on two processors instead of the normal four. What you can see, though, is the massive performance boost we get when overclocking. This is what we’re really loving about the new Intel processor.
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Looking above, you can see that the synthetic benchmarks under AIDA64 are not kind to the new processor. However, since it’s lacking cores and Hyper-Threading, this isn’t a huge surprise. You can again see the nice boost in performance that overclocking brings to the table.
Memory performance on the new G3258 is strong. It’s not as strong as its higher-end counter parts when it comes to Copy performance, but overall, the numbers are impressive. Though, I think the biggest surprise when it came to testing the memory performance, was the fact that our G3258 ran our 2933MHz DDR XMP profile without a single issue.
While normally I would wrap everything up here on the processor, I feel that we need to examine this processor a bit more. From a synthetic standpoint, the processor doesn’t look impressive at all. We could’ve told you that before we even started benchmarking, due to the dual-core, non-Hyper-Threading nature of the processor. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad processor in anyway.
I think what we really need to do is look at the gaming performance in a bit more detail. The G3258 is going to set you back around $75; which is really very little for a processor. To put it into perspective, the i5 4690K will cost you around $240, while the i7 4790K is going to set you back around $340. With an extra $150 or $250 you can do a lot. This is like moving from a GTX 770 to a GTX 780, or a R9 290 to a R9 290X. Essentially, it lets you move from a mid-range video card to a higher-end one.
With the unlocked nature of the processor, the temptation to go for this particular processor and pick up a higher-end video card is extremely tempting. There’s a problem, though. With CPU limitation being an issue, would you just be wasting money by buying a more expensive video card?
Well, this is exactly what we want to explore in the next week. With our ASRock X97X Killer motherboard, we want to pair our G3258 and our i7 4970K with a GTX 780 Ti to find out exactly what performance is like when it comes to gaming. Maybe it will make a difference at 1680 x 1050, but when we move to 1920 x 1200, it’s all on the video card.
Our final thoughts on the new Intel Pentium G3258 is that we love it. An unlocked multiplier for a processor well under $100 is a great thing. This is one of the coolest processors we’ve seen from Intel in a long time. When it comes to testing the raw CPU performance of the processor, it clearly falls behind everything else that sits so much higher.
However, if the G3258 can perform well under a gaming environment, allowing you to spend more money on a video card, then it’s going to be the processor to have for gaming on a budget. We’re going to have a follow-up article on gaming performance soon – stay tuned.
PRICING: You can find the INTEL PENTIUM G3258 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION CPU for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The INTEL PENTIUM G3258 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION CPU retails for $72.99 at Amazon.
Canada: The INTEL PENTIUM G3258 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION CPU retails for CDN$98.17 at Amazon Canada.