Differences Between Pentium and Celeron Chips & and Which is Best for Gaming on a Budget?

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2018

The Intel Pentium and Intel Celeron processors are two of the best selling processors of all time. Let's take a quick look at the difference between these two CPUs to help you decide which you should spend your hard-earned money on when building or upgrading a budget system.

Pentium processors come in different types and have evolved over the years, from the very old Pentium 1, through to the Pentium 4, and now the latest Pentiums today such as the G4400 and the G4560 Kaby-Lake generation processors which are currently at the time of writing two of the best bang for your buck gaming processors on a budget right now.

Celerons have also evolved over time and the current latest models are the G3920 and G3930. Both Intel Pentiums and Celerons are potential options for a computer build on a budget.

Difference Between Pentium and Celeron CPUs

The Celeron can be pretty much summed up as being Intel's lower-cost alternative to the Pentium. The Pentiums are the better, faster processors, and this is reflected in their generally higher prices. 

The main differences between Pentiums and Celerons are as follows:

  • Clock Speed: The clock speed is one determining factor in how fast a processor is, and Pentium chips are made to run at a faster clock speed than the Celeron. For example, the popular Pentium G4560 has a clock speed of 3.5GHz, whilst the Celeron G3950's speed is 3.0GHz.
  • Cache Memory: The amount of cache in a CPU can have a decent effect on its overall performance, and Celerons have less cache than Pentiums.
  • Bus Speed: Pentium's also generally have faster bus speeds than Celerons.
  • Hyperthreading: The latest Kaby-Lake Pentium in the G4560 introduced the performance-boosting feature called Hyperthreading for the first time in the Pentium's history. No Celerons have this feature.

Should You Buy a Pentium or Celeron for Gaming?

If you look at the price differences between the various Celeron and Pentium chips on the market - it's quite minimal. Therefore, you'd be silly not to go for a Pentium like the G4400 or G4560 which are hugely popular budget gaming CPUs (for good reason).

The G4560 is without a doubt the best value dual-core gaming CPU on a tight budget and can hold its own in the latest games (assuming you have a good gaming video card too).

There's no real reason to go for a Celeron unless the small price difference matters to you, and/or you don't care about modern gaming and you'll be playing older, less demanding games only. For a non-gaming computer that's meant for simple, basic tasks, a Celeron may be all you need. 

But for gaming, stick with a Pentium as like I said the price difference is very low but the performance difference will be noticeable in the latest PC titles. Good luck.

About the Author

A hobbyist game programmer turned hardware enthusiast, Julien "cyberjulz" is the founder of BGC and has kept a keen eye on the latest in DIY gaming ever since starting BGC back in '06 as an almost laughably-basic and brief 20 page site with the aim to make building PCs more accessible to the average gamer since most resources weren't too noob friendly. Over countless reinventions and reiterations to the quality, depth and usefulness of the content over many years the site has steadily grown into the expansive, comprehensive and ever-updated first-time PC builder resource that it is today that now reaches and helps thousands of gamers and power users each month to more easily plan optimal setups for their exact needs. You can learn more about the BGC mission and ways to support it here.

Questions, Feedback & Getting Further PC Build Help

Have a question or enjoyed the article and want to share some feedback, constructive criticism, or report an error to help us keep making BGC the best beginner building resource around? We're listening: feel free to comment or message on our Fanpage or email us here.

For those wanting comprehensive 1 on 1 help with planning the perfect custom build for your specific budget and performance requirements, our personalized parts-list research service might be for you. You send in your build requirements, in as much detail as you like, and we'll get to work to carefully and comprehensively plan the very best PC build for your specific situation to help you save money, stretch your budget as far as possible, and build the ultimate high-performing, well-balanced, reliable and upgrade-friendly system.