The Best Sub-£100 CPU

October 31, 2011 | 12:38

Tags: #best-intel-cpu #llano #low-power-cpu

Companies: #amd #bit-tech #intel

Intel Pentium G620

Manufacturer: Intel
UK price (as reviewed): £53.52 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $72.99 (ex tax)

At £54, the Pentium G620 is the cheapest LGA1155 CPU currently available, but what do you get for your relatively small outlay? Well, as with the other Pentiums in this group test, the G620 is based on the same Sandy Bridge design as Intel’s excellent Core i5 and Core i7 LGA1155 CPUs. This is good, as it means that the G620 should share the same high performance and excellent efficiency for which we’ve praised the high end of the LGA1155 processor range in the past.

You miss out on a couple of major features with the G620, though, as it lacks the Turbo Boost function of Intel’s top-end chips and even lacks the Hyper-Threading that the Core i3-2100 boasts. As a result, Windows will only recognise two cores when presented with the G620, rather than the four cores (two physical, two logical) that the i3-2100 presents. Meanwhile, each of the G620’s 2.6GHz cores has access to a 64KB L1 cache and a 256KB L2 cache, and both share a larger 3MB pool of L3 cache.

The G620 loses out again when it comes to memory support, as the maximum memory speed that its on-board controller can handle is 1,066MHz DDR3. This compares badly to the 1,333MHz memory that the other Intel processors can support, and the 1,866MHz RAM that AMD’s A-series APUs can address.

The performance of the G620 was disappointing in WPrime and Cinebench 11.5, with the processor only marginally ahead of the cheaper Athlon II X2 250 in the latter test, and slightly slower than it in the former. It fared better in our Media Benchmarks, though, which respond better to processors with a higher number of instructions per clock (IPC). The G620 streaked ahead of all the AMD processors in the image editing test before falling back in the heavily multithreaded video encoding test. Its final score of 1,153 was just ahead of the £100 A8-3850’s, indicating that the G620 would be the better buy for non-gamers, as it costs half as much as the AMD APU.

*The Best £100 CPU Intel Pentium G620
Click to enlarge

Our 3D testing proved bittersweet for the G620, though – without our test HD 6850 installed, performance was dire. The integrated Intel HD graphics of the G620 couldn’t manage a double-digit frame rate in either of our test games, also indicating that it’s of little use for GPU-accelerated applications. Performance with a graphics card installed was relatively good, however, as the G620 continually outperformed the similarly priced AMD dual-core CPUs on test, while posting the lowest peak power draw too.

If you only have around £50 to spend on a CPU but just want to run 2D applications, then the G620 is a great choice. It’s reasonably fast in non-gaming applications and leaves an upgrade path to LGA1155 processors such as the Core i5-2500K and even Intel’s forthcoming Ivy Bridge range.

  • Frequency 2.6GHz
  • Core Sandy Bridge
  • GPU Intel HD Graphics
  • Number of cores 2 x physical
  • Cache L1: 2 x 64KB, L2: 2 x 256KB, L2:3MB
  • Packaging LGA1155
  • Thermal design power (TDP) 65W

Intel Pentium G620
*The Best £100 CPU Intel Pentium G620

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