Today, we tested two of the most inexpensive processors for desktop computers from AMD and Intel: the A6-6400K and the Pentium G3220. Both are dual-core models costing only USD 53, making a great option for users building an inexpensive entry-level desktop PC. Let’s see which one is the best option.
The main advantage of these CPUs compared to other entry-level options is that, differently from some low-end CPUs such as the Athlon 5150, the Pentium J2900, the Sempron 2650, and the Celeron J1800, which are system-on-a-chip (SoC) models and come soldered to the motherboard, they use regular motherboards (socket FM2 for the AMD model and socket LGA1150 for the Intel part). This allows you to build a machine today with a low-cost processor, and upgrade it with a mainstream or even a high-end CPU in the future, with no need to change anything except for the CPU itself.
Figures 1 to 5 unveil the two tested CPUs. Both them come with a small stock cooler.
Figure 1: boxes
Figure 2: the A6-6400K (left) and the Pentium G3220 (right), which their stock coolers
Figure 3: the A6-6400K CPU
Figure 4: the Pentium G3220 CPU
Figure 5: bottom of both processors
Let’s compare the main specs of the tested CPUs in the next page.
[nextpage title=”The Reviewed CPUs”]
In the tables below, we compare the main features of the CPUs included in our review.
|CPU||Cores||HT||IGP||Internal Clock||Turbo Clock||Base Clock||Core||Tech.||TDP||Socket||Price|
|A6-6400K||2||No||Yes||3.9 GHz||4.1 GHz||100 MHz||Richland||32 nm||65 W||FM2||USD 53|
|Pentium G3220||2||No||Yes||3.0 GHz||–||100 MHz||Haswell||22 nm||53 W||LGA1150||USD 53|
Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review. TDP stands for Thermal Design Power and states the maximum amount of heat the CPU can dissipate.
Below you can see the memory configuration for each CPU.
|CPU||L2 Cache||L3 Cache||Memory Support||Memory Channels|
|A6-6400K||1 MiB||–||Up to DDR3-1866||Two|
|Pentium G3220||2 x 256 kiB||3 MiB||Up to DDR3-1333||Two|
Below we have a quick comparison of the video engine of the CPUs.
|A6-6400K||Radeon HD 8470D||11.0||800 MHz||192|
|Pentium G3220||Intel HD||11.1||350 MHz/1100 MHz||10|
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable device was the CPU being tested and the motherboard, which had to be replaced to match the different CPU sockets.
- Motherboard (socket LGA1150): ASRock Z97 Extreme4
- Motherboard (socket FM2): ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+
- CPU Cooler: AMD/Intel stock
- Memory (DDR3): 16 GiB DDR3 G.Skill Sniper 1866, two F3-1866C10D-16GSR 8 GiB memory modules configured at 1,866 MHz
- Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Fury 240 GB
- Video Card: integrated
- Video Monitor: Philips 236VL
- Power Supply: Zalman ZM400-LE
Operating System Configuration
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 60 Hz (desktop), 1280 x 720 (games)
- AMD driver version: 14.12
- Intel Inf chipset driver version: 10.0
We adopted a 4% error margin. Thus, differences below 4% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 4% should be considered as having similar performance.
[nextpage title=”PCMark 8″]
PCMark 8 is a benchmarking software that uses real-world applications to measure the computer performance. We ran three tests: Home, which includes web browsing, writing, light gaming, photo editing, and video chat tests; Creative, which includes web browsing, photo editing, video editing, group video chat, media transcoding, and gaming; and Work, which runs tasks such as writing documents, web browsing, spreadsheets, editing, and video chatting. Let’s analyze the results.
The Pentium G3220 achieved a score 14% higher than the A6-6400K in the Home benchmark.
On the Creative benchmark, the Pentium G3220 achieved a score 32% higher than the A6-6400K.
On the Work benchmark, the Pentium G3220 was 15% faster than the A6-6400K.
3DMark is a program with a set of benchmarks that create 3D scenarios and simulations.
The 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance, and is aimed at high-end gamer PCs. The Sky Diver benchmark also measures DirectX 11 performance, but is more suitable to mainstream computers. The 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance, running at 1280×720 resolution.
We used the CPU’s integrated video controller.
On the Fire Strike benchmark, the integrated GPU of the A6-6400K was 45% faster than the Pentium G3220’s.
On the Sky Diver benchmark, the A6-6400K integrated GPU was 22% faster than the Pentium G3220’s.
On the Cloud Gate benchmark, both CPUs performed the same way.
[nextpage title=”Cinebench R15″]
Cinebench R15 is based on the 3D software Cinema 4D. It is very useful to measure the performance gain given by having more than one CPU installed on the system when rendering heavy 3D images. Rendering is one area in which having more than one CPU helps considerably, because usually, rendering software recognizes several CPUs. (Cinebench, for instance, can use up to 256 CPUs.)
Of course, none of the reviewed CPUs is targeted at rendering, but we included this test since it gives a good idea of muti core performance.
Since we were interested in measuring the rendering performance, we ran the CPU test, which renders a “heavy” sample image using all available CPUs or “cores” – either real or virtual – to speed up the process. The resut is given as a score.
Here the Pentium 3200 was 56% faster than the A6-6400K.
We used the DivX converter, a tool included in the DivX package, in order to measure the encoding performance using this codec. The DivX codec is, at least theorethically, capable of recognizing and using all available cores and the SSE4 instruction set.
We converted a Full HD, six-minute long .mov video file into a .avi file, using the “HD 1080p” output profile.
The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
On DivX encoding, the Pentium G3220 was 103% faster than the A6-6400K.
DVDShrink is an old but still very useful program to “shrink” video DVDs that have more than 4.7 GiB of data to fit single-layer DVD media. We used it to compress the DVD of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” DVD to 4.7 GiB. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
In this test, the Pentium G3320 was 20% faster than the A6-6400K.
[nextpage title=”Media Espresso 6.7″]
Media Espresso is a video conversion program that uses the graphics processing unit of the video engine to speed up the conversion process. We converted a 1 GiB, 1920x1080i, 23,738 kbps, .mov video file to a smaller 320×200, H.264, .MP4 file for viewing on a smartphone. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Here the Pentium G3220 was 20% faster than the A6-6400K.
[nextpage title=”F1 2013″]
F1 2013 is a car racing game released in 2013, based on the Formula One championship and using the EGO 3.0 engine.
We tested the performance in this game using the built-in performance test, using “ultra low” quality settings and 1280 x 720 screen resolution.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
We used the CPU’s integrated video controller.
On F1 2013, the A6-6400K integrated GPU was 81% faster than the Pentium G3320’s.
After benchmarking the A6-6400K and the Pentium G3220, which are direct competitors, as both have the exact same price tag in the United States, we can say with confidence that the Pentium G3220 has a higher processing power than the A6-6400K. It may be a surprise for some users who still link processing performance to clock rate, since the contender from AMD has a higher clock rate than the Intel’s (3.9 GHz vs. 3.0 GHz). In truth, clock rates are only meaningful when comparing CPUs with the same internal architecture, which is not the case.
On the other hand, the 3DMark and the F1 2013 tests (other recent games did not run with at least one of the CPUs) suggest the integrated GPU of the A6-6400K is faster than the one embedded in the Pentium G3220. While it is not powerful enough to run recent games in higher resolutions and/or image quality settings, the Radeon HD 8470D engine included in the A6-6400K can actually run older games at a decent frame rate, which means this CPU can be a better solution for the casual gamer who wants an inexpensive system to run older games.