With that small library of games benchmarked, I’m not sure there’s much more we could learn from a synthetic. However, there actually is some useful information to digest.
First, let’s look at the Graphics score. Typically, you’d expect this to be even from top to bottom, as Futuremark effectively shifts as much processing to the GPU as possible. And yet, while the Core i5, i3, and overclocked Pentium demonstrate fairly similar scores, the Athlon is a bit slower, and the stock Pentium G3258 downright hobbles a GeForce GTX Titan. Don’t be bothered by this; nobody’s going to pair a $75 CPU and $1000 graphics card. Still, even in a synthetic, it’s impossible to overcome that gross imbalance.
Shift focus over to the Physics suite, intended to isolate CPU performance. Futuremark reflects the superiority of four physical cores in a threading-optimized game by giving Intel’s Core i5 a big advantage. The Core i3 is a dual-core chip; however, it employs Hyper-Threading to schedule four threads, and so it claims a second-place finish. AMD employs a dual-module design with four integer units and a lot of shared resources. At a stock 3.4 GHz, it finishes second-to-last. But overclocking to 4.3 GHz yields third place. The dual-core, no-frills Pentium gets hammered in stock form, and picks up a spot once it’s overclocked.
The overall score blends the outcomes. Except for the Core i5 and i3, those red bars don’t really do a good job forecasting real-world performance. However, we like to think of synthetics as better gauges of a future where everything is maximally optimized, and that’d take more emphasis on multi-core CPUs in games.
We enter the realm of performance on the desktop outside of gaming with a PCMark chart. The Core i3 is missing because it repeatedly failed this benchmark.
Stock, Intel’s Pentium G3258 roughly ties the overclocked Athlon, while tuning takes the Pentium up several notches. It remains to be seen if these numbers translate over to our benchmark suite.
The Fritz chess benchmark puts a pointed emphasis on threading, specifically reflecting the integer performance of these CPUs. As a result, Intel’s Haswell-based Core i5-4690K dominates. It’s followed by AMD’s overclocked Athlon X4 750K, which puts its four integer units to good use. The Core i3 places third. Although it only wields two cores, Hyper-Threading helps keep them fully utilized—so much so, in fact, that a dual-core Pentium G3258 overclocked to 4.5 GHz can’t quite keep up.