Of late there have been no budget Intel processors on market in the sub $80 budget that pack any real punch! Intel for the last while has been at the forefront in performance over AMD except within the APU budget segment market which AMD is doing well at. Heck, I am even in the process of building a mitx build based on an A8 7600.
Its nice to see Intel bring some life with the release of the unlocked and ready to overclock Intel G3258 Anniversary Edition Pentium to celebrate 20 years of the Pentium processor. Stock core speed is 3.2ghz, well over 100x the original Pentium 100 from an era gone by. Constructed on the latest silicon the G3258 is a 22-nm Haswell based Dual Core unlocked processor just beggin to be dropped into your Z87/97 motherboard and overclocked to a healthy 4.8ghz w decent air or liquid cooling.
If we look at stock speeds it is nothing special but add in an easy overclock of 1.2-1.6+ ghz, that is up to a 50% performance boost, one’s getting great value for under $75 Canadian. http://www.shopbot.ca shows the price as low as $74 shipped. Stock TDP of this cpu is a measly 53 watts leaving loads of headroom and at a stock speed of 3.2 ghz it is sipping back only 1.04v. This leaves some healthy room in our bios to up volts anywhere shy of 1.4v. Most of these chips seem to be hitting an easy 4.6-4.8ghz..
Sure this chip is 2 cores short compared to current quads but a lot of video encoding can be offloaded to dedicated hardware to ease the workload to the 2 cores. For gaming though the G3258 shines. Compared to a past i5 2500 I had the rendering and video encoding time scores measured by Cinebench were only a few points behind at 1080p. As far as single threaded performance goes which is usual day to day activity for most the i7 4790K is only faster due to its larger L3 cache of 8MB. The performance of this dual core in Crysis 3, a very demanding game at stock speeds is average but once overclocked it starts to hang with quad cores and is pretty amazing for the price it is, in fact it does better than my wife’s FX8350.
So at this time if you have some money to spend and some time to play the G3258 is a best bang for your buck and will be staying in my current system for a while until DDR4 prices loosen up a bit, but that is another mini review for another day:)