The reviewed Intel Pentium G2120 is a brand new desktop processor with two cores and 3.1GHz clock speed. When compared to the previous “Sandy Bridge” Pentium chips, the main difference on the new “Ivy Bridge” part is its 22-nanometer production technology as opposed to 32nm. It generally brings lower power consumption and heat as the main advantages, and therefore more room for higher clock speeds. The G2120 consumes up to 55W of power. It includes 3MB of cache and Intel HD graphics with up to 1.05GHz clock speed. Important features of the Core i3 and higher processors that are missing on the reviewed CPU are HyperThreading (G2120 is limited to 1 thread per core), QuickSync for faster video editing, and TurboBoost (i5 & i7) for dynamic overclocking of cores. Support for PCI Express 3.0 is also missing, affecting users who want to pair the CPU with one of the PCIe 3.0 dedicated video cards.
Here’s a short breakdown of G2120 specifications:
- Cores / Threads: 2 / 2 (no HyperThreading)
- Speed: 3.1GHz
- Cache: 3MB
- Lithography: 22nm
- Maximal TDP: 55W
- DDR3 Memory Support: 1,600MHz
- PCI Express Support: 2.0, no 3.0
- ECC Memory Support: Yes
- Virtualization (VT x): Yes
- TurboBoost: No
- QuickSync: No
- Graphics: Intel HD with 650MHz base and 1,050MHz maximal frequency
Now, the benchmarks. I’ve used the processor with the Asus P8B75-M LX Intel B75 motherboard, 2x2GB of Kingson HyperX 1,600MHz CL9 memory, a 500GB Western Digial hard drive with 16MB cache, DVD burner, Thermaltake 500W LT-500 power supply, and Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.
The PassMark CPU test reveals that the Ivy Bridge Pentium has speed that sits between the Sandy Bridge Pentium G870 and i3-2100 with the same clock speed. My test shows a little bit lower result than one listed in PassMark’s online database for the same CPU.
Graphics-wise, the Pentium is slightly slower than the i3 Sandy Bridge, when measured with default clock speed of the Intel HD of between 650MHz and 1.05GHz. However, thanks to a nice GPU Boost feature of the Asus motherboard, I was able to overclock it to maximal 1.25GHz. This resulted in significant speed jump above both the G2120 and i3-2100.
I’ve played Call of Duty 4 and Mass Effect 3 on the Intel HD. CoD 4 at 1,280 x 720 and “normal” settings plus anti-aliasing turned off is playable at frame rates of mostly between 30 and 50 fps (and at some points more), depending on game action. At the same resolution and AA off, Mass Effect 3 mostly ran at between 25 and 35 fps, or more if the scene is not too busy. Crysis 2 at 720p and the lowest “Gamer” quality can’t go above 20fps and is mostly at around 15-17fps.
Here’s gameplay I’ve recorded:
There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to 1080p video playback. A 1080p video clip in Windows Media Player charges the CPU only about 10%.
Here are the other test results: Windows Experience Index, PC Mark Vantage and 3D Mark Vantage, as well as CPU-Z and GPU-Z info.
PC Mark Vantage
3D Mark Vantage with Default GPU Clock
3D Mark Vantage in Overclocked Mode
CPU-Z (By mistake, it shows the i3 logo and name.)
Regarding CPU temperature, the situation is a little bit weird. On one core, temperatures are from 15 to 42 Celsius measuring on idle and 100% CPU load for 15 minutes. The same values on the other core are 30 and 52 degrees. Temperatures were measured in CoreTemp and RealTemp. I’m not sure what caused this difference, since the stock cooler with stock amount of thermal paste on it was mounted properly. The temperatures on the second core appear to be more realistic, since the room temperature was about 25C and the first core was showing only 15C on idle.
One of the best things is that the stock cooler runs very quiet even on the highest speed. Only a low frequency sound is present and it appears that actual airflow around the fan is louder than cooler’s motor.
When it comes to power consumption, on idle with Windows up it’s about 60 watts for the whole system, while under Prime 95 with full CPU load it’s from 80W to 85W. That makes the G2120 pretty much energy efficient.
It’s was interesting to see how the Pentium G2120 CPU performs, because it’s the first Pentium based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge platform. On the other side, specs of the processor didn’t promise wonders so benchmark results similar to the older Pentiums and i3 chips were expected. The main selling points of the G2120 appear to be its low power consumption and quiet stock cooler. Needless to say, the processor is sufficient for daily computing tasks, high-def multimedia playback, and gaming on basic settings. All these make the CPU good for use in smaller desktops and home theater PCs.
The current price for the processor is about $100, while the i3-2100 is around $120. The Pentium G870 is $90, so the price of the G2120 seems to be fair for delivered performance.
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