Budget gamers: You can get some Intel Coffee Lake chips for as little as $42

Intel quietly rolls out a four-pack of cheap 8th gen Coffee Lake chips.

Credit: Intel

Fear not, budget builders: Intel is leaving room on the Coffee Lake CPU train for you, too.

Lost in the headlines of sexy and expensive Core i9, Core i7 and Core i5 laptop CPUs was the introduction of no fewer than four Coffee Lake-based desktop chips—two Pentiums and two Celerons—all for well under $90:

  • Pentium Gold G5600: For $86 you get two cores with Hyper-Threading, a 3.9GHz clock speed, 4MB of cache, and Intel UHD 630 graphics.
  • Pentium Gold G5400: For $64 you get two cores with Hyper-Threading, a 3.7GHz clock, 2MB of cache, and Intel UHD 610 graphics.
  • Celeron G4920: For $52 you get two cores without Hyper-Threading, a 3.2GHz clock, 2MB of cache, and UHD 610 graphics.
  • Celeron G4900: For $42, you get two cores  without Hyper-Threading, a 3.1GHz clock, 2MB of cache, and UHD 610 graphics.

All of the CPUs are LGA1151-based chips and are rated at 54 watts. All support up to 64GB of DDR4/2400 RAM in dual-channel configurations.

You should expect small performance upticks compared to the previous 7th-generation Kaby Lake low-end chips, thanks to slightly larger caches and slightly higher clocks. The Pentium Gold chips have a particular appeal for budget gaming builds, as the paring of a $64 dual-core CPU with Hyper-Threading with a $90 GPU still yields decent gaming capability.

What's odd are the things left behind. None of the new Coffee Lake cheap chips support Intel's nifty Optane Memory technology, which caches a hard drive with a much faster Optane Memory module. And while the 7th-generation Pentium G4620 and 7th-generation Celeron G3950 supported Intel's Software Guard Extensions and OS guard security features, the newer chips don't.

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Gordon Mah Ung

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