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Question Will this CPU Upgrade Make a Big Difference?

Jun 25, 2020
Hi guys,

I've got a Pentium G3258 3.2 GHz processor on a Gigabyte Z97-HD3 motherboard. I use the PC mainly for number crunching in Excel and Task Manager shows that the CPU is the limiting factor, regularly maxing out (the spreadsheets are quite large and contain lots of data and formulas). Memory and hard drive don't seem to be an issue.

I've done some research and I can keep the motherboard and upgrade to an I7-4790k.

Will this give me a big speed boost?

Jun 30, 2020
Yes the i7 4790k will give you a big boost (about 45% to 50% faster)
Its of course going to beat the g3258 since its a dual core wherein the I7 is a quad core eight thread cpu so in rendering and other cpu reliant tasks it will blow the g3258 outta the water but keep in mind that it has higher power usage so keep that in mind.
So yes in general the i7 4790k should be much faster in all purpose tasks.
Cheers man.
Reactions: jrarmstrong
It’s a big upgrade but as someone who uses Excel a lot it will depend on the following.

  1. RAM can be a big factor. Even if you are not using >80% the system can start caching to the main drive long before you get close to 100% usage and this really slows things down.
  2. Some actions in Excel will only use a few threads, others can use lots. I’ve got spreadsheets that max out all 16 threads of my 3700x with 32GB RAM.
  3. Newer versions on Excel are better at using more cpu threads when available.
Reactions: jrarmstrong
How big of a boost do you need?

The G3258 is a unique processor in that it is a non K suffix processor that can be overclocked.
I used one once and it was a fun chip to work with.
With a decent cooler, you should be able to run at 4.0, perhaps better.
The stock intel cooler may not be sufficient to let the processor reach it's max.
In the bios, simply increase the all core multiplier from 32 to a higher number.
CPU-Z has a simple stress test you can use. Monitor your temperatures with HWmonitor.
If your apps are mostly single threaded you may need no more.
Why not try an overclock and see how you do?

As to your question, the value of an upgrade will depend on how many threads your apps can usefully use.
A I7-4790K has 8 threads, and a i5-4690K has 4.
A 4790K goes for $150 on ebay, and a 4690K for $50.
They are overclockable each to about the same point.

If your apps can use more than 8 threads, look to a new build with a current gen intel or ryzen processor.
Reactions: jrarmstrong


Jan 29, 2007
The answer here depends a lot on how your spreadsheet is setup. Depending on the formulae being used and how it's setup, Excel may or may not be able to take advantage of multiple threads. i.e., if it depends on the results of one calculation to start making the next, that's going to single thread it. Example, if changing a value on field A1 where A1 is used in 100 other fields, then it can kick off 100 calculations at once. OTOH if it is a single page where field A1 has to calc and those reults are needed for field B1 to calc and so on, you could be single threaded all the way. In my experience most spreadsheets have a lot of single thread calcs.

If it is limited to 1 or 2 threads, it would scale mostly with Mhz and a 4790k can turbo a single core to 4.4Ghz = 37.5% faster than your Pentium. You may also get some benefit from more cores/threads taking care of background tasks, but that will be minimal if you are just running a single thread Excel spreadsheet.

If the spreadsheet is mostly parts that can thread well it will be a much higher increase. I think the max potential would be be about 3-4x faster. Either way you're going to see a noticeable increase in performance.
Reactions: jrarmstrong
Jun 25, 2020
Thanks for all your help guys. I've learned a lot.

Shady, my sheets tend to be set up in the way you describe in your example so hopefully the new CPU will bump things up a lot.