Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition: Is It Worth It?
Is the Intel Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition processor worth your cash? Assuming you have a sub-$100 budget and are looking to save every dollar possible on a CPU, your options seem like a tossup between the $50 Haswell-based Celeron G1820 and the $70 Pentium G3258, with the latter being 40% pricier and at best 25% faster. Those figures start looking better for the G3258 when you factor in overclocking though.
At $70, the G3258 invalidates all other Pentium processors above it, including the G3420, G3440 and G3430 ($100). Its price also puts it around 40% cheaper than the cheapest Core i3 processor and again, it can be overclocked, something no Core i3 can claim. The most expensive Core i3 chip, being the Core i3-4360, costs $160 and at 3.7GHz it's just 300MHz faster than the base Anniversary Edition model we tested.
Although it isn't guaranteed, it seems fair to expect that you'll be able to push your G3258 to 4.4GHz (what we achieved), with that being a fairly mild overclock considering many have reached 4.7 to 4.8GHz on air. At that point, it looks like the G3258 is best compared against the Core i3-4130, which may be worth buying if you can afford it as it lays waste to the stock Anniversary Edition chip but breaks the $100 budget at $120.
When comparing application performance, the 4.4GHz G3258 and Core i3-4130 were evenly matched and we found the same when testing encoding performance. Things got more complicated when gaming however, particularly in CPU-limited scenarios. Despite being overclocked by 1200MHz, the G3258 was much slower than the Core i3-4130 in Watch Dogs, though the chips were fairly even in Thief and Hitman: Absolution while Company of Heroes 2 and Arma 3 actually favored the overclocked G3258, quite heavily in some instances.
Overall, we feel budget gamers would be better off purchasing the Pentium G3258, overclocking the hell out of it and saving a little money in the process. The only consideration is the fact that you will need to spend roughly $30 more on a decent cooler like the Silverstone Argon Series AR02 to reach 4.4GHz or beyond, whereas the Core i3-4130 will game happily with the box cooler. Even taking that into account, the Pentium is around $20 cheaper and provides the added enjoyment of some budget overclocking fun.
As a side note, AMD's A8-6600K is worth considering for $100, though we feel if you are going for a discrete graphics card such as the GTX 750 Ti or R9 270 then it makes more sense to buy the gutsier Pentium.
Pros: Should be a breeze to get Core i3-4130-like performance in many situations with a 4.4GHz+ overclock and an aftermarket cooler while saving a few bucks in the process.
Cons: Your mileage will vary with overclocking so you don't know exactly what you're getting and it's probably not the smartest pick if you're running heavily-threaded workloads.