Intel Pentium G4620 And G4560 Review: Now With Hyper-Threading

Enthusiasts and casual users alike have suffered from the slow trickle of CPU innovation over the last several years. Each new generation brings smaller improvements, and lately, stagnant pricing. Intel's 14nm Kaby Lake architecture, which marks the company's transition to an extended tick-tock-tock cadence, sets the stage for even less excitement from each generation. We appreciate faster transistors that provide higher clock rates, along with Intel's improved media capabilities, but the rewarmed Skylake design won't inspire anyone with a fairly modern PC to upgrade.

Although the high-end processors give us little to talk about, Intel's recent realignment of the Core i3 and Pentium families are a bit more newsworthy. First, the company launched an unlocked Core i3-7350K, and though it doesn't offer the value we expect from an i3, it is a fun chip for tuners.

Intel also infused the Kaby Lake-based Pentiums with 100-200 MHz of extra frequency. More important, they now enjoy the benefit of Hyper-Threading technology. In the past, Hyper-Threading was a key differentiator between the Core i3 and Pentium CPUs, but the dual-core chip's ability to operate on four threads simultaneously could put today's Pentiums on-par with some of yesterday's low-end Core i3s. Hyper-Threading can boost performance up to 30%, and though we usually see ~20% gains in applications optimized for parallelization (mileage varies, of course), this move also opens the door to games that require four threads.  

Kaby Lake Pentiums still include 3MB of last-level cache shared across the die, which is another differentiating feature compared to the 4MB-equipped Core i3s. Thankfully, the Pentiums do include a heat sink, which will help value-seekers keep costs down.

The 51W Pentium G4620 is the family's highest-end model. Its 3.7 GHz base frequency is only 100 MHz higher than the previous-gen G4520. As with all Pentiums, Turbo Boost is not supported. The chip does feature HD Graphics 630, though, and the Gen 9.5 graphics architecture provides fixed-function hardware for HEVC 10-bit decode/encode, VP9 8/10-bit decode, and VP9 8-bit encode. The G4620 offers promising performance, but its $93 price tag comes uncomfortably close to the Core i3 series. 

The 54W Pentium G4560 appears to offer better value with its 3.5 GHz base clock rate and $64 price tag. That's 31% less money for a 200 MHz sacrifice. The G4560 even challenges low-end Core i3 CPUs. Although it operates at a lower frequency than the 3.9 GHz Kaby Lake i3-7100 and 3.7 GHz Skylake i3-6100, it retails for $53 less. The Pentium G4560 drops you back to HD Graphics 610 with a lower 1050 GHz turbo clock rate, but most Tom's Hardware readers will probably pair the Pentium with a mainstream add-in graphics card. 

Intel did make a few adjustments to prevent the Pentiums from plundering sales of its own more expensive models. The company nixed support for AVX/AVX2 instructions and TSX-NI, though we don't expect those omissions to hurt low-cost gaming machines much. It also trimmed Optane support, which is one of the few reasons to upgrade to a 200-series motherboard. We don't know what price Intel's Optane caching will command when it comes to market later this year, but we're fairly confident that the technology won't be aimed at entry-level machines. Although the H270 and B250 platform controller hubs offer more connectivity than their predecessors due to increased HSIO lane allocations, if you don't need those features, low-cost 100-series motherboards are plenty attractive (and less expensive).

Some games benefit more from high clock rates more than any other specification, and most titles played on a mainstream gaming system will be graphics-bound before a CPU bottleneck rears its ugly head. Either one of the Pentiums we're reviewing complement low-cost motherboards and sub-$200 graphics cards for reasonable 1080p performance. But at the price points we're talking about, we want to really optimize for value. Let's see if the G4620's slightly higher clock rate is worth the big premium.

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    Your comment
  • cknobman
    Is it just me or are all the gaming benchmarks missing?
    2
  • lhsbrandon
    Why do you use an old Piledriver based Athlon? I would think the newer models would be a little more competitive.
    5
  • Sam Bittermann
    Quote:
    Why do you use an old Piledriver based Athlon? I would think the newer models would be a little more competitive.


    Because we know what the outcome would be, which is the same. Slowest of the bunch overall.
    0
  • Onus
    I would like to have seen the G3258 overclocked to 4.0GHz (even bad silicon should reach that; I got 4.2GHz with a better sample). After all, a lot of people who bought that chip specifically intended to overclock it, which they could do even on H81 boards. That's an 800MHz bump over stock, which should be substantial. We'll still see where lack of hyperthreading hurts, but we'll get a better picture of what this chip can do.
    2
  • TJ Hooker
    ^agree, especially given that they OCed the Athlon, OCing the G3258 would have made sense.

    I also would have preferred an i3-6100 rather than a 6320 in the results, given that the 6100 is the closest in specs to the new Pentiums, making it the natural choice for comparing Pentiums w/ HT to an i3. Also, the 6100 was the go-to budget gaming CPU recommendation since Skylake came out (don't think I've ever seen anyone recommend a 6320), a title which the G4560 is poised to steal. Although obviously the 6100 and 6320 perform pretty similarly, so it's not a huge deal.
    6
  • Walter_35
    This is exactly what I was hoping for. Looks like for budget gaming, the 4560 is good enough and allows for a better GPU in the same budget. But for more professional applications, you still might want to make the jump to an i3 to get those AVX(2) instructions and in many cases this step up could be payed for by skipping the dGPU.
    3
  • TechyInAZ
    Anonymous said:
    Is it just me or are all the gaming benchmarks missing?


    Your probably on the wrong picture, use the arrow buttons to show the actual FPS benchmarks.
    1
  • anbello262
    "The 54W Pentium G4650 appears to offer better value with its 3.5 GHz base clock rate and $64 price tag."
    I think that should read "The 54W Pentium G4560"
    1
  • PaulAlcorn
    Anonymous said:
    "The 54W Pentium G4650 appears to offer better value with its 3.5 GHz base clock rate and $64 price tag."
    I think that should read "The 54W Pentium G4560"


    Good catch, fixed!
    1
  • warmon6
    Anonymous said:
    Why do you use an old Piledriver based Athlon? I would think the newer models would be a little more competitive.


    As an owner of the A10-7850k apu that has over (Equal to the Athlon X4 860k) that have the steamroller cores, the difference is not that big at the same clock speeds.

    and base on anandtech review of the Athlon x4 845 (based on the Excavator core) when all generations of athlon bulldozer are benched marked together, the story doesn't change much there either.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10436/amd-carrizo-tested-generational-deep-dive-athlon-x4-845/10
    -1
  • OcelotRex
    Quote:
    Although we did notice a performance hit in workloads optimized for AVX extensions, you can use an OpenCL-compatible GPU to augment performance in applications written with heterogeneous computing in mind.

    Can anyone provide some background on AVX specifically how it would relate to transcoding? I am looking at the G4560 for a Windows 10 Plex server so would this even be an issue?
    1
  • Math Geek
    liking the 4560 as a heck of a budget choice. can't wait to see what Ryzen brings to the picture. if the prices of the higher end Ryzen they released are any indicator, we may see some great performance at some very low prices.

    but it's hard to deny the price/performance of a $65 4560 at this point in time!!
    2
  • Shumok
    The G4560 is absolutely the best budget choice for now. Much more attractive than G3258 or 4 core athlons. Alternatively, I might consider Bristol Ridge on AM4, but not sure if it will be released soon for do it yourself builds. Either would be a great upgrade to my athlon x2 250 and would leave me room for a nice future cpu upgrade.
    2
  • Bluescreendeath
    The author of this article seems to be an amateur.
    1) What type of silly review would only test a G3258 at STOCK speed? Who the hell buys a G3258 to run it at stock speed? The entire point of getting a G3258 is for overclocking - it is the overclockable pentium, and overclocks well even on cheap $30 H81 motherboards. Many, if not most people can hit at least 4.0GHz on a cheap motherboard with the STOCK cooler.
    2) And no, the G3258 does not lag behind because of its "older architecture" like the author claims. The Haswell architechture in the G3258 has nearly the same IPC and same performance clock per clock as the G4560. What causes it to lag behind is the lack of hyper threading and slower stock speed - it has little to do with architechture improvements. Overclock the G3258 to 4GHz with the stock cooler and then see how well it performs against the G4560.
    2
  • Valantar
    An interesting review, but I'm baffled by your recommendation of a H270 or B250 motherboard for this (while at the same time arguing for keeping costs down). This chip is a match made in heaven for H110 boards (with BIOS updates for support, naturally). B250 makes some sense, but H270? Not in the slightest. You can get a H110 motherboard for ~$40. That's a perfect match for a $65 CPU.
    2
  • DaDude1
    I got a 3258 and run it at stock speed, because it was the cheapest of them all (at microcenter) and I can't overclock with my Windows 2012 Server build. I'm seriously looking at the 4560 as a replacement, mainly because I can have 32GB DDR4 (vs 16GB DDR3) on a MITX motherboard in my small server (Node 304, 5x4TB plus 120GB SSD for boot and 1TB enterprise SSD for VM's).
    0
  • HERETIC-1
    G4560-possibly the best budget CPU ever-making life real hard for AMD.

    On a side note-the 7400 performance in handbrake seems out of proportion
    compared to the 7500 in every other bench........
    0
  • CaptainTom
    Too little, too late.

    Don't get me wrong these are nice, but they should have existed 2 years ago. Now they will have to compete with discounted piledriver/excavator chips that will destroy them, or even worse if AMD releases a 2c/4t processor.

    AMD is already about to launch i5 equivalents for $130. Imagine what they could do at the $75 mark - probably an i3 killer that uses 30w...
    0
  • TJ Hooker
    Anonymous said:
    Don't get me wrong these are nice, but they should have existed 2 years ago. Now they will have to compete with discounted piledriver/excavator chips that will destroy them, or even worse if AMD releases a 2c/4t processor.

    These Pentiums match or beat existing FX CPUs (piledriver) in most games and other lightly threaded workloads. Same thing goes for Athlon X4s (excavator). So exactly which piledriver/excavator chips are going to be doing said "destroying"?
    3
  • littleleo
    Just as you have die hard AMD fans that will flock to the new AMD chips with abandon. There are a good number of Intel only fans to that will embrace these new Pentiums no mater what the Zen models offer.
    1