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System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Budget Gaming PC

CPU And Cooler

Processor: Intel Pentium G3258

There are many tasks Intel’s Pentium line can still champion, especially when value and energy efficiency are taken into consideration. Their weakness in threaded workloads is often forgivable because of their outstanding per-clock, or per-thread, performance. However, locked at low frequencies, they began losing favor by coming up short in our gaming PCs. Naturally, we longed for an unlocked version.

In celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its Pentium processor family, Intel is allowing enthusiasts to tinker with an affordable Haswell-based chip. Being a Pentium, its two cores lack Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost technology support. But what sets this CPU apart is an unlocked ratio multiplier. As a result, we won’t have to settle for its stock 3.2GHz operating frequency.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Pentium G3258 Processor

CPU Cooler: Intel Retail Boxed Heatsink & Fan

Usually, boxed thermal solutions are barely adequate. Enthusiasts tend to set them aside before beginning an overclocking journey. But Intel doesn't spoil the fun by bundling its typical all-aluminum Pentium cooler. Rather, this heat sink is outfitted with a copper slug. It's identical to what you find included with higher TDP K-series parts like the Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4670K.

  • airplanegeek
    Why is the PSU fan facing up instead of down? Doesn't that affect the cooling of the PSU?
    Reply
  • sea monkey
    Upon submission of the form:

    The Sweepstakes opens on September 23, 2014 12 noon PDT and closes on October 6, 2014 12 noon PDT.

    Umm...
    Reply
  • pauldh
    Yes it would. And it is facing down, just hidden from sight in the photo. The PSU fan's venting holes are flush with (and actually a part of) it's shell.
    Reply
  • Zeh
    Just a hint: you SHOULD be using an air conditioner so you can have the same room temperature over the year.
    Preferably one with Inverter technology, which will decrease the temperature delta (it doesn't start-stop once it reaches a given temperature threshold).
    Reply
  • Onus
    Hmmm, I see some kudos for the VP-450 in here, being remarkably efficient despite not being 80+ (it is disqualified for 80+ for not having Active PFC).
    Since the purpose of these SBM machines is (imho) to learn things, I would have liked to have seen a different mobo used, for comparison.
    I appreciate the thoughtful approach to overclocking that was used here.
    The only niggle I can't resist is the $18 for the optical drive. For months, I've been seeing one or another of them for around $13-$14. That seems a small thing, but that $4-$5 plus the leftover may have bought either a better cooler or a faster HDD.
    Reply
  • sea monkey
    totally disappeared from site

    sight

    while monitor temperatures

    monitoring

    to be sure it could bee done

    be

    none the less

    nonetheless

    it’s R9 270X graphics card

    its

    Yet, both machines share a similar weakness, they’re outfitted with a dual-core Pentium capable of juggling only two threads at a time.

    comma splice

    outputting to 3-panels

    three panels
    Reply
  • codyleemanofaction
    Darn those moving prices! I was hoping to see the R9 280 make it!
    Reply
  • lesmore2222
    I agree with cody. I really wanted to see the difference a r9 280 would make as well. This was just too similar to the last build. Should have bought the r9 280 anyway and fibbed on the price a little. ;)
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    A final thought to consider is at what point will the next big game on your radar force an early upgrade to Core i5? It might not be too far off, as Far Cry 4, which launched a week after we ordered this machine, completely lacks official support for dual-threaded processors.

    same with the game of the year, Dragon Age Inquisition.

    I suspect it's time to drop dual cores as a build suggestion.
    Reply
  • BoredSysAdmin
    Great build. I would probably never built it exactly like the article (more ram, sdd - etc), but it provides great bones to build upon.
    Reply