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How We Tested Intel’s Pentium G3258 And AMD’s Athlon X4 750K

Intel Pentium G3258 CPU Review: Haswell, Unlocked, For $75
By
Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i5-4690K (Haswell) 3.5 GHz (35 * 100 MHz), Quad-Core, LGA 1150, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i3-4330 (Haswell) 3.5 GHz (35 * 100 MHz), Dual-Core, LGA 1150, 4 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Pentium G3258 (Haswell) 3.2 GHz (32 * 100 MHz), Dual-Core, LGA 1150, 3 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled

AMD Athlon X4 750K (Trinity) 3.4 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), Quad-Core, Socket FM2, 4 MB Shared L2, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardMSI Z97 Gaming 7 (LGA 1150) Intel Z97 Express, BIOS 1.3

MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 (Socket FM2) AMD A85X, BIOS 2.5
Memory
G.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ DDR3-1600 at 1.5 V
Hard Drive
Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860i, 80 PLUS Platinum, 860 W
Heat Sink
Noctua NH-U12S, Fan set to 100% duty cycle
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 8 Professional x64
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 337.88

The Pentium G3258 isn't yet available; it's expected in stock towards the end of June. However, pre-order pricing puts it $5 lower than AMD's Athlon X4 750K. That's impressive of course, but it doesn't take into account the fact that overclocking Intel's K-series (and now 20th anniversary Pentium) processors require a higher-end platform.

Intel says its Pentium G3258 is compatible with 8- and 9-series chipsets, and we used MSI's Z97 Gaming 7 for our tests. Of course, you don't need a $190 board. Z97-based offerings start at around $100.

But AMD's Athlon X4 750K is more flexible in that regard. The MSI FM2-A85X-G65 we're using is no longer available. A rough equivalent, MSI's A88X-G45, goes for $120, though. And you can find plenty-capable A88X-based motherboards for under $75. Take that $25-or-greater (if you use a lower-end AMD chipset) difference into consideration when you talk about platform pricing.

Benchmark Configuration
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CCVersion 12.0.0.404 x64: Create Video which includes three Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CCVersion 14.0 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CCVersion 7.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 11.0.4.4 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 11.0.102.583: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat XIVersion 11.0.0: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012 and 2013
Version 14.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.68a, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual Studio 2010Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
File Compression
WinZipVersion 18.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 5.0: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.30 Alpha: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11
Version: 1.0.5
PCMark 8
Version: 2.0, Creative (Conventional)
Display all 157 comments.
Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    Smallfilou , June 17, 2014 1:49 AM
    Quote:
    Could get a Q9550 for that price on Ebay nice try Intel, but that would kick the crap out of that weak Pentium it's reasonably on par with the i5. Way too damn expensive for what it is in reality.


    No, sorry. That is not true. Check this article:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-wolfdale-yorkfield-comparison,3487-10.html

    You should overclock your Q9550 to get performance that barely comes close to an ivy-bridge I3 on games and lightly threaded workloads (and it gets stomped by any i5 on any workload)... I personally have an OC'd QX9650 and am not even close. I believe if I change to that Pentium G, and overclock it as well, that would still be an upgrade...
  • 13 Hide
    tea urchin , June 17, 2014 12:44 AM
    Having looked, the fool would build a cheap pc with that chip and a z97 board, and the wise man would use the i3 and an h81 board. Similar priced systems..
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    Heironious , June 17, 2014 12:37 AM
    Article title says its $75, the picture used says its $3 more than the i3. 75 and it's a deal otherwise no point in paying 3 bucks more for it rather than the i3.
  • 8 Hide
    Heironious , June 17, 2014 12:38 AM
    And just like that, the pictures change the price and I look like a fool.
  • 14 Hide
    envy14tpe , June 17, 2014 12:43 AM
    It's always great seeing the full potential of technology but I'd rather see the Pentium on a mobo somebody would really buy and see how overclocking on a budget would be...more realistic.
  • 13 Hide
    tea urchin , June 17, 2014 12:44 AM
    Having looked, the fool would build a cheap pc with that chip and a z97 board, and the wise man would use the i3 and an h81 board. Similar priced systems..
  • 8 Hide
    silverblue , June 17, 2014 1:13 AM
    AMD really needs a new model featuring Steamroller cores and a disabled GPU, say, a 770K. It wouldn't change the gaming scores all that much, but various benchmarks would definitely improve. As it is, the G3258 is a nice processor, but it won't go for that $75 to begin with.
  • 23 Hide
    Smallfilou , June 17, 2014 1:38 AM
    What if "the fool" who bought that Pentium G and Z97 did so expecting to swap the processor in one year or two for a broadwell, once he got the cash? That would make him a very wise fool indeed... I'd say!

    Because of course buying a pentium G and fitting it with a 150USD board and 50USD cooler does not make sens by itself ,but you have a 100% future-compatible system that can be upgraded very very easily...
  • 1 Hide
    dark_wizzie , June 17, 2014 1:46 AM
    Hyperthreading is typically considered to be bad for Chess. It increases inefficiencies in search and although you get a larger kilonodes per second which looks nice as a benchmark score, you are actually lowering the strength of the engine. So when I look at Fritz benchmarks on PC sites I take them with a grain of salt.
  • 0 Hide
    lunyone , June 17, 2014 1:49 AM
    I'd probably look at something like this for this kind of CPU:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($74.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($30.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Pro3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($90.00 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($75.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.92 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon R9 280 3GB Double Dissipation Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($44.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $629.86
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-17 04:48 EDT-0400
  • 16 Hide
    Smallfilou , June 17, 2014 1:49 AM
    Quote:
    Could get a Q9550 for that price on Ebay nice try Intel, but that would kick the crap out of that weak Pentium it's reasonably on par with the i5. Way too damn expensive for what it is in reality.


    No, sorry. That is not true. Check this article:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-wolfdale-yorkfield-comparison,3487-10.html

    You should overclock your Q9550 to get performance that barely comes close to an ivy-bridge I3 on games and lightly threaded workloads (and it gets stomped by any i5 on any workload)... I personally have an OC'd QX9650 and am not even close. I believe if I change to that Pentium G, and overclock it as well, that would still be an upgrade...
  • 5 Hide
    Memnarchon , June 17, 2014 1:50 AM
    Quote:
    Having looked, the fool would build a cheap pc with that chip and a z97 board, and the wise man would use the i3 and an h81 board. Similar priced systems..


    Yeah that would be better unless Intel decides to let o/c on Pentium with other chipsets like H97.

    Leaked BIOS Enables Pentium Anniversary Edition OC on Some MSI H97 Boards
    MSI H97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $88.99

    So if this happens and intel decide to let even lower mobo chipsets to do o/c only for pentiums it would be nice to pair $60 mobo, $75 CPU and a $25-30 CM 212 EVO or plus, to a total of ~$160 for a o/c ready system.
  • 4 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , June 17, 2014 2:11 AM
    Smallfilou - I totally agree with you. Some people tend to forget that when you're working on a budget you need to make choices. The smart choice is to get a decent mobo now that Intel has finally provided the right CPU for enthusiasts. I honestly think this is exceptional value for money. A decent mobo is very important in any event. I don't get why anyone would hate on this Pentium...it looks like a gem of a performer when o/c'd.
  • -9 Hide
    lunyone , June 17, 2014 2:15 AM
    I'd probably look at something like this for this kind of CPU:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($74.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($30.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Pro3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($90.00 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($75.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.92 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon R9 280 3GB Double Dissipation Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($44.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $629.86
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-17 04:48 EDT-0400
  • -4 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , June 17, 2014 3:01 AM
    Nice chip ^^^to badyou need a "Z" Mobo, those extra 30$ could go into a more potent GPU :) 
  • 6 Hide
    Achoo22 , June 17, 2014 3:09 AM
    [quote=tea urchin ]Having looked, the fool would build a cheap pc with that chip and a z97 board, and the wise man would use the i3 and an h81 board. Similar priced systems.. [/quote]
    As you say, the price difference is negligible. The performance difference is also fairly small, and both platforms leave lots of headroom for future upgrades. I am under the impression that any motherboard that can house this new Pentium can also run a blazing-fast i7. The article, unfortunately, doesn't mention that the AMD solution can't even run a FX chip. For someone looking to just get into an inexpensive PC with an eye towards future upgrades, the Intel solution is dramatically more attractive.
  • 2 Hide
    blackmagnum , June 17, 2014 3:27 AM
    Your dad's Pentium was never like this!
  • -1 Hide
    Novuake , June 17, 2014 3:28 AM
    Wow this was unexpected.

    Compelling CPU, unfortunately your still stuck with buying a mildly overpriced Z-series board.
    Now if this CPU had Iris or Iris Pro, then it would be MUCH MUCH more compelling.

    Anyway I can see this being a good buy for an enthusiast that isn't quite making it to get an I5 or I7 at their price point but needs a machine performing decently NOW and wants to overclock, he can then upgrade to and I7 or I5 at a later date.

  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , June 17, 2014 3:35 AM
    Quote:
    [quote=tea urchin ]Having looked, the fool would build a cheap pc with that chip and a z97 board, and the wise man would use the i3 and an h81 board. Similar priced systems..

    As you say, the price difference is negligible. The performance difference is also fairly small, and both platforms leave lots of headroom for future upgrades. I am under the impression that any motherboard that can house this new Pentium can also run a blazing-fast i7. The article, unfortunately, doesn't mention that the AMD solution can't even run a FX chip. For someone looking to just get into an inexpensive PC with an eye towards future upgrades, the Intel solution is dramatically more attractive.[/quote]
    The point is rather moot as you probably wouldn't upgrade from a Kaveri-based APU to a Piledriver-based CPU, and FX in its current form is dead anyway.
  • 4 Hide
    mapesdhs , June 17, 2014 4:01 AM
    knowom writes:
    > Could get a Q9550 for that price on Ebay ...

    An i7 870 on P55 would be a better buy than a Q9550. 870s dropped below
    50 UKP on ebay UK this week. Never mind S775, my 870/P55 setup was faster
    than a friend's X58/930 system for gaming (lower latency with P55, and some
    boards do have x16/x16 CF/SLI).

    Ian.

  • 3 Hide
    Onus , June 17, 2014 4:12 AM
    I'll need to go over the charts some more, but it looks to me like i3+H87 (or H81) is going to beat G3258+cooler+Z97.

    I would expect a round of price drops from AMD over this; otherwise they're done in the gaming market.
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