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Introduction

Recently, we published an article based on pure curiosity: “Which is the faster CPU: old but high-end or entry-level and new? – Part 1,” where we ran several benchmarks to test the processing performance of the CPUs. After that, we still had one big question: for gaming, using a modern video card, can an old high-end CPU be a better option than a new entry-level one? Let’s find out!

It is important to say that, just like with the first article, this test is just to check a myth. It isn’t a direct comparison between the tested CPUs, since it includes a discontinued model, and also CPUs from different price ranges, electrical consumption and target market, which are not direct competitors.

The Core 2 Quad Q8300 CPU was launched in 2008 and uses the LGA775 socket. It was one of the high-end processors available in the market at that time, with its four cores and 45 nm manufacturing process. The Pentium G3220 and the Core i3-4150 are, respectively, an entry-level and a mainstream modern CPUs, from the fourth generation of the Core i family, both with two processing cores, and the Core i3-4150 is recognized by the operating system as a quad-core processor due to the Hyper-Threading technology.

Since this test focused on gaming, we installed a basic/mainstream video card (GeForce GTX 750, launched in February 2014) and we disabled the integrated video controller on all tests. It did not make sense to use the integrated video (since the onboard video of the motherboard we used on the Q8300 is not powerful enough to run any modern game) or to use a high-end video card (since nobody will actually use an expensive video card with an old or a value CPU). We didn’t include the Pentium N3700 and the Athlon 5150 CPUs since they are not intended for gaming.

Another detail we need to clarify is that the choice of the Core 2 Quad Q8300 was somewhat random. Obviously, there are a few other “old” CPUs that could make an interesting test, and each person may have an specific model that he or she loved to see tested. Our criteria was to choose an old processor (but not so old that it could be obvious that it should not run modern games) and high-end (but not mandatorily the most high-end from its time, which the Q8300 surely was not). The other two CPUs were also picked based on the availability in our lab. We did not include AMD processors since the purpose of this article is not to compare different brands.

Figure 1 shows the motherboard used for the Core 2 Quad Q8300, a Gigabyte G41MT-ES2L, based on the Intel G41 chipset, supporting DDR3 memory modules. Thanks to that, we could use the same DDR3 memories on all the tests.

Faster CPU comparisonFigure 1: the motherboard with the Core 2 Quad Q8300 installed

Let’s compare the main specs of the reviewed CPUs in the next page.

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Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master’s degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.