Earlier this year I took a look at the Intel Pentium G3220 processor and I was thoroughly impressed by how well it handled itself in the gaming benchmarks that I ran. It certainly had it’s short comings in the X86 benchmarks as it is limited to having only two cores, but I didn’t expect it to keep up with the Intel Core i7-4770K in those tests, nor should I. Though for a ~$70 I was impressed at how well it did. One aspect that I wasn’t satisfied with was the lack of overclocking. I was able to increase the Bclk and increase the overall clock speed to 3100MHz, clearly not a huge jump from 3000MHz and it definitely left me wanting more out of it. Fast forwarding to today, I have the Intel Pentium G3258 Anniversary edition processor that comes out of the box 200MHz faster and is completely unlocked!
While the Intel Pentium G3258 is still only a dual core processor, it was able to handle itself gracefully in all of the gaming benchmarks today. Across all six of the games that I tested the Pentium G3258 on, for the most part none of the games took to much of a performance hit between the Pentium G3258 and the Intel Core i7-4770K, especially at 1920×1080 with high Image Quality settings. When running the games at 1280×1024 there was a bit more of a difference as the ASUS Direct CU II GeForce GTX 670 was utilized less and the stress went to the CPU. Metro Last Light is the most significant difference between the 4770K and the G3258 that I saw today. Running at 1280×1024 the system with the 4770K averaged 66.94 frames per second while the Pentium G3258 averaged 48.39 frames per second, a difference of 38% which is pretty significant. Our overclocked results closed the performance gap pretty well in Metro Last Light as the performance increased to 59.78 frames per second at 1280×1024, closing the performance gap to 12%.
Wanting to further test the Intel Pentium G3258, I lowered the image quality settings to take more of the load off of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670. Once the GPU was removed as a bottleneck, the Intel Pentium G3258 started to struggle, at least compared to the Intel Core i7-4770K. During a number of the games benchmarks, the Intel Core i7-4770K was significantly faster than the G3258, as much as 70% faster in some of the benchmarks. Though in others titles like Tomb Raider there was virtually no difference between the two. Despite the differences in performance, the Intel Pentium G3258 was still able to handle all of the game titles without an issue and everything was playable. In just about all of the game titles, there was huge gains from overclocking the Intel Pentium G3258 to 4.8GHz!
The Intel Pentium G3258 Anniversary edition processor isn’t going to be for those looking for superior multi-threaded performance, after all it’s a dual core processor. What the G3258 does offer, is great bang for the buck! Out of the box the G3258 cruises along at 3.2GHz which is a pretty respectable speed but it doesn’t have turbo, hyper-threading or many of the bells and whistles that are available on the more expensive Intel SKU’s. What I feel is the best feature of the Intel Pentium G3258 processor, it has an unlocked multiplier! Let me say that one more time, Intel has launched a ~$65 dual core processor that has an unlocked multiplier! This is great news for those that want to toy with overclocking and aren’t quite ready to risk the sacrifice of the more expensive Intel Core i-series K processor to the overclocking gods just yet.
Not only does the Intel Pentium G3258 dual core processor have an unlocked multiplier, it loves to be overclocked! Of the three Intel Pentium G3258 dual core processors that Legit Reviews has overclocked, all three of them were able to hit 4.8GHz without an issue!
If you’re keeping track, or are mathematically challenged like myself, 4.8 GHz is a gain of 1.6GHz over the stock speed of 3.2GHz! An overclock of 50% like that is great news, especially considering that this is a very budget friendly processor at only $65 if you’re local to Microcenter or ~$75 from Amazon.com or Newegg.com!
Legit Bottom Line: If you’re looking to build a dedicated LAN gaming machine or Steam Box, the Intel Pentium G3258 is a great option for only ~$60-$65. I found it was able to keep up with the Intel Core i7-4770K in most of the games and even come out ahead when it was overclocked!