After trying out both the Intel Pentium G620 and Pentium G850 we must admit that we are still impressed by what these cost effective mainstream processors can do. Thanks to the powerful Intel ‘Sandy Bridge’ microarchitecture these dual-core processors don’t run too far behind the more expensive offerings from Intel and AMD. You can find some pretty good deals on LGA775 and LGA1156 platforms right now, but the Intel Pentium series for LGA1155 has more features and as you could see in the performance tests they weren’t that far behind in the benchmarks. We expected this outcome as the Intel Pentium G620, G840 and G850 have lower clock speeds, do not support hyperthreading or Intel Quick Sync Video and have fewer instruction sets that the more expensive Core i3/i5/i7 processors series. Even without all these features the Intel Pentium G850 was able to perform better than the AMD ‘Llano’ A8-3850 and A6-3650 APU in certain benchmarks. The AMD A8-3850 and the Intel Pentium G850 are both clocked at 2.9GHz, but remember the AMD A8-3850 is a true quad-core processor. To see an Intel Pentium G850 being able to keep up with it at all just goes to show how much more x86 processing power Intel has on a clock for clock basis. The Pentium G620, G840 and G850 CPUs run at 2.6GHz, 2.8GHz and 2.9GHz with street pricing on these processors being $73.87, $88.52 and $95.38 respectively. These processors are very capable and also very affordable.
While the Intel Pentium G620, G840 and G850 won’t be breaking any performance records or smashing and overclocking world records, they were able to complete all the benchmarks we threw at them and that is all that you can ask of a budget minded processor. This is one of those processors, where it can do pretty much everything an average consumer would want, but they’ll just have to wait longer for some CPU intensive tasks to complete. If you plan on doing a ton of movie ripping and conversions then this is not the ideal processor for you. This processor is good for someone that surfs the web, watches Blu-ray or DVD content, manages photo albums, does moderate image editing, office tasks and very light 3D gaming. For normal day-to-day tasks this processor is really all you need. Those looking for a little more power from this processor can overclock it to get a slight performance boost. The fact that we were able to overclock the Intel Pentium G850 over 3GHz was nice and we saw nearly a 5% performance improvement by doing so.
The one weakness of the Intel Pentium G850 was the same one that we saw with the Intel Pentium G620, the 3D graphics performance isn’t where it could be. The Intel HD Graphics 2000 GPU inside the Intel Pentium LGA1155 processor series is capable enough to get by, but when compared to what rival AMD has done with the AMD A-Series of APUs it is surprisingly slower. If you care at all about the integrated graphics performance and expect to play mainstream game titles then you should save up a little more money and get an Intel processor that has Intel HD Graphics 3000 or possibly plan on adding a discrete video card into the system. If all you care about is gaming performance then be sure to look at our performance numbers and notice that the Intel Pentium G620, Pentium G850 and the Core i3-2120 all had pretty much identical gaming performance. This is because they all share Intel HD Graphics 2000 GPU’s and it is the bottleneck of the platform. So, if you really need to watch what GPU is inside LGA1155 processors as the Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU solution has nearly twice the performance as Intel HD Graphics 2000 GPU powered processors.
Gaming performance aside, the Intel Pentium G850 proved itself to be powerful and energy efficient processor. These processors are rated at 65W TDP, but we never got our entire test system to pull that much power from the wall. We also saw very low temperatures with the Intel BXXTS100H CPU cooler. Seeing idle temperatures of 23C and load temperatures at just 39C was rather amazing. It has been a long time since I have seen a processor top out under 40C! If you are wanting to build a HTPC or a silent system then these processors might be what you are looking for. If you wanted something even a lower power rating then the Intel Pentium G620T might be for you as it has a TDP of just 35W and a suggested price of $70. If you wanted low power with support for Intel Quick Sync video you also have the Intel Core i3-2100T at 35W TDP for $127.
Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Pentium G850 is a dual-core processor with a stripped using 32nm ‘Sandy Bridge’ microarchitecture that uses little power, runs cool and still manages to keep up with many of the more expensive offerings on the market today.