So here’s a thought. Buy a Core i5 or Core i7 processor for gaming and the bottom line is this: on the majority of titles out there, its resources are highly underutilised. The GPU is the primary bottleneck during gaming, sometimes leaving your CPU with a significant amount of untapped overhead. So the question is this: can you spend less on your CPU and still get a great experience? And more to the point, what processor can keep your graphics card fed with data while offering exceptional value? We put our money where our mouth is and spent £63 on a Pentium G4560 – and it’s something special. It truly is the new budget CPU king. Indeed, since we bought it, .
The remarkable reality is that the real excitement in Intel’s new Kaby Lake processor line-up isn’t actually at the high-end, it’s in the budget sector. Up until now, Pentium processors have been hamstrung by only offering two threads in a world where games require at least four. The Pentium G4560 is essentially a junior i3 – clock-speeds are lower, but crucially, hyper-threading is retained. As we saw in our recent Core i3 7350K review, the end result is that the Pentium is offering 75 to 80 per cent of the i3’s performance at just 36 per cent of the price. An i7 7700K is twice as fast in many cases, but it’s over five times more expensive.
So just how well does it perform? First of all, we’ll take a look at some basic benchmarks. Of course, there is something of a disconnect between synthetic benches and real-life gaming performance, but for the record, here’s how the Pentium G4650 stacks up against a range of Core processors we’ve recently tested. Its 3.5GHz clock speed puts it at a disadvantage compared to the pricier chips, but there are other cutbacks too. AVX2 instructions are disabled, meaning that the benchmarks here show a considerable disparity between the Pentium and last year’s Core i3 6100 – which on paper, offers just 200MHz of additional frequency.