We deemed Intel's Pentium G4560 as a great budget CPU for gaming when we reviewed the processor earlier this year. While not a powerhouse chip, we found that it offered up reasonable performance at an equally reasonable price tag, which at the time was just $65. Fast forward to today and the same chip is selling online for around $80. What gives? Nothing shady, according to Intel.
There is a rumor going around that Intel is intentionally limiting supply of this fan favorite CPU because it is cannibalizing sales of its Core i3 family. The rumor has its roots in a French-language report at Hardware.fl (opens in new tab). The article does not come right out and accuse Intel of this, at least not from what we can discern from a Google translation. Instead, the site says it learned that supply will be "difficult" throughout the summer, but doesn't say why.
The article goes on to suggest that an "organized shortage" on Intel's part could be the reason, but also notes that whether or not that is the case is "impossible to say." Nevertheless, several sites have since reported that Intel might be killing off its budget CPU.
It at least seemed like an interesting theory. Indeed, the price of the Pentium G4560 has been hovering right around $60 at Amazon (opens in new tab) since last April. A look at its product page (opens in new tab) now shows that Amazon is no longer selling the processor directly, though it is fulfilling orders for several third-party sellers, including Nspire Store, which is selling the chip for $83 with free shipping via Prime.
Newegg is not selling any Pentium G4560 CPUs on its own, either. The sole listing (opens in new tab) has it priced at $108 through OutletPC.com, well above its MSRP. Over at B&H Photo (opens in new tab), the Pentium G4560 is listed as a "#1 Seller" and is being sold direct to consumers, but at $79. That is still around $15 to $20 more than it should be.
Intel did not have a great explanation for the recent price hike, telling us that what we're observing on websites is "possibly part of a normal demand fluctuation." Regardless of why it is happening, Intel confirmed to us that "there is no change to the Intel Pentium products. We continue to offer the Intel Pentium SKU [G4560]."
The Pentium G4560 has appeal to builders because it offers decent specs for the price. It is based on Intel's 14-nanometer Kaby Lake architecture and features two physical cores clocked at 3.5GHz. There is no Turbo clock, but it is the first Pentium series processor in recent times to support Hyper Threading. It also has 3MB of L3 cache, integrated HD Graphics 610 clocked at 350MHz to 1,050MHz, and a low 54W TDP.
It is conceivable that the Pentium G4560 is chewing into sales of Intel's Core i3-7100, another dual-core Kaby Lake processor with Hyper Threading that is clocked higher at 3.9GHz and also has 3MB of L3 cache. However, compared to the original price of the Pentium G4560, the Core i3-7100 costs nearly twice as much at $117. That is a steep premium to pay for just a 400MHz bump, slightly lower TDP (51W TDP), and a small upgrade in integrated graphics (HD Graphics 630 clocked at 350MHz to 1,100MHz).
There's also another potential influencer of the G4560 pricing right now: cryptocurrency mining. It's one of the least expensive Kaby Lake processors around, it still has 2-cores/4-threads, and it works with motherboards that can run up to six GPUs. With the ongoing shortage of AMD's RX 570/580 cards, miners still have to use some sort of CPU to run athever graphics cards they've gotten their hands on, and the G4560 is arguably the best value for mining rigs. The cryptocurrency scene appears to be settling down again, so demand from this sector should be drying up.
If you are interested in the Pentium G4560, with the current prices you might consider picking up the Pentium G4600 (opens in new tab) or G4620 (opens in new tab) as an alternative. They're not substantially faster, only 100-200MHz, but depending on prices they may be a better value. If you're still after a G4560, you might want to pick one up before the price jumps even further. At around $80, there is still a compelling argument to be made for grabbing it over the Core i3-7100, though it becomes tougher to justify as the price rises.