So I am Late to the G3258 Party...A Few Questions

Nov 20, 2005
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#1
Today I walked out of Frys with the G3258 I have wanted for more than a year. I plan to use it to make a HTPC that basically does nothing but Dolphin and media playback, with Ubuntu Linux as the primary OS. I will overclock it as far as I can, which might be limited because I am determined to do it all via Mini ITX (via a Core V1 case).

A few quick questions before I lose the ability to return this thing:

1. I know Skylake allows overclocking on non-K chips, but is there some sub-$50 option I should have bought over this old Haswell chip? The only thing that will ever stress it is Dolphin, everything else it will do I currently do on a Chromebox. It will never ever play a game outside of Dolphin.

2. I know non-Z overclocking has taken a step back under Windows 10 for this CPU, but with an old bios and Linux I should be fine right?

3. Should I get the fastest RAM I can (it helps emulation) or is there some limit that will make me waste money after a certain point?

Thank you in advance for any advice.
 

MajinCry

Platinum Member
Jul 28, 2015
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#2
Dolphin wants at least three cores, for optimum performance. 'Tis that Open-MP setting that does the trick, if I remember correctly. Might feel a tad constrained with the Pentium.
 

lyssword

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Dec 15, 2005
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#2, overclocking is just fine in win10, I was running 4.5 with a del microcode thing (h81)
#3 Probably not, the max official mhz is 1333 (1400 in bios) ddr3, there isn't a point of more expensive mem than 1600 converted to 1400 with super tight timings.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#4
A few quick questions before I lose the ability to return this thing:

1. I know Skylake allows overclocking on non-K chips, but is there some sub-$50 option I should have bought over this old Haswell chip? The only thing that will ever stress it is Dolphin, everything else it will do I currently do on a Chromebox. It will never ever play a game outside of Dolphin.
I don't know about sub-$50, but I paid $64.99 + ~$3 ship for my SKL G4400 Pentium. I should have overclocking results in a few days, when my Z170 boards arrive.
2. I know non-Z overclocking has taken a step back under Windows 10 for this CPU, but with an old bios and Linux I should be fine right?
I would think so. Just try to find out if the board you're using has BIOS updates that disable non-Z OC, and then just don't update if it does.
3. Should I get the fastest RAM I can (it helps emulation) or is there some limit that will make me waste money after a certain point?
G3258 only supports DDR3-1333 RAM, anything faster is a waste. Unless you get a Z97 mobo, then you can use faster RAM.

Personally, I might have considered waiting, and getting a SKL Pentium or i3, and OCing that with an ASRock Z170 "SKY OC" board. Sure, you would have to buy DDR4 (and faster than 2133, because the memory clock scales with the BCLK OC too), but it would likely be faster than the G3258, being gimped with DDR3-1333.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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Dolphin wants at least three cores, for optimum performance. 'Tis that Open-MP setting that does the trick, if I remember correctly. Might feel a tad constrained with the Pentium.
Yeah I know from running it on my gaming rig that this thing won't play every game in dolphin, but recently there have been a lot of improvements in speed and so it hopefully will be good enough for some of the games I play.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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G3258 only supports DDR3-1333 RAM, anything faster is a waste. Unless you get a Z97 mobo, then you can use faster RAM.
Good to know. I have a stick of 8GB DDR3 1600 just sitting around that will do the job then.

Personally, I might have considered waiting, and getting a SKL Pentium or i3, and OCing that with an ASRock Z170 "SKY OC" board. Sure, you would have to buy DDR4 (and faster than 2133, because the memory clock scales with the BCLK OC too), but it would likely be faster than the G3258, being gimped with DDR3-1333.
A Skylake box with much faster RAM would be a better rig for the purpose overall, I won't disagree with that. What always appealed to me about the G3258 is the non-Z OC, which for Mini ITX means a huge cost difference. I can get a OC-able G3258 mobo for half the cost of a Mini ITX Sky OC board, plus the extra RAM cost. All that difference together is equal to the 750 TI I was going to buy for the GPU, and on Linux I really want a Nvidia card for good performance.

I do appreciate the advice though, it is always good to know what the next step up would be. I will save my DDR4 buying (and $100+ mobo buying) for when I finally replace that old Sandy Bridge in my primary gaming computer. :)
 
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Nov 20, 2005
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VirtualLarry I wanted to say thank you again for your advice. Because of you when I had the chance I went for a z97 board (just a little more money) so that way I can use faster RAM. I think long run I will really appreciate the choice.

Overall though my plan is going well, I have been able to get good prices on end-of-life parts (which was exactly my goal for being late to the party):

G3258 - $44
GA-Z97N-WIFI - $100
Fractal Node 304 Case - $60
Fractal 450W Gold PSU - $50
8GB (4x2) DDR3 2400 = $30

I just need to hunt down a large solid state drive to complete the set, but I have a 128GB one I can use for now. I also plan to use my old H60 to see how far I can overclock that sucker.

Thank you again!
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
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My 2 cents:

Overclocks are not guaranteed. A Skylake i3 has more cache and better IPC, not to mention the benefit of the extra two threads. It will run cooler and quieter than the Pentium, given the smaller process, lower voltage and lower clocks.

i3 6100 - $130
ASRock H110M - $52
2x4GB DDR4 2133 - $42

^ You might instead opt for the Gigabyte H110 + DDR3.

It comes out to around $40 more, but you might be able to find a better deal at Fry's or Microcenter.

You can also get a Platinum rated power supply for the same price from Newegg.

A Z97 motherboard will be more fully-featured, but I'm of the opinion that the Skylake build will be a better all-around build, and probably justify the extra $40. If you ever repurpose it, it will be far more useful than the Pentium.
 
Apr 27, 2000
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I was going to say, that the OP might want to look at Skylake i3 overclocking instead. But it's sort of in beta right now.
 

Madpacket

Platinum Member
Nov 15, 2005
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For the OP's intended use he did just fine. No need to waste money on Skylake for a tad bit better Dolphin emulation.
 
Aug 6, 2014
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For the OP's intended use he did just fine. No need to waste money on Skylake for a tad bit better Dolphin emulation.
I'll never understand all these people building PC's to run Dolphin. Compatibility for games is still pretty awful even with the latest release -- and the games that do manage to run on it are usually glitchy.

Why people wouldn't just buy a $60 refurb Wii, softmod it and run all the games off an external hard drive with no performance problems, sound glitches and 100% game compatibility. Just seems like common sense.
 

TheELF

Platinum Member
Dec 22, 2012
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Because you can play games at any resolution you like and with better frame rates than the real thing and you don't need to find a place for another big screen.
And the games that are well supported run flawlessly.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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My 2 cents:

Overclocks are not guaranteed. A Skylake i3 has more cache and better IPC, not to mention the benefit of the extra two threads. It will run cooler and quieter than the Pentium, given the smaller process, lower voltage and lower clocks.

i3 6100 - $130
ASRock H110M - $52
2x4GB DDR4 2133 - $42

^ You might instead opt for the Gigabyte H110 + DDR3.

It comes out to around $40 more, but you might be able to find a better deal at Fry's or Microcenter.

You can also get a Platinum rated power supply for the same price from Newegg.

A Z97 motherboard will be more fully-featured, but I'm of the opinion that the Skylake build will be a better all-around build, and probably justify the extra $40. If you ever repurpose it, it will be far more useful than the Pentium.
One huge thing you are missing is my build is all Mini ITX. I could have done a G3258 Micro ATX build for WAY cheaper and Skylake Mini ITX would be WAY more. Plus the PSU I found was semi modular which is needed in a small case. Mini ITX is a challenge for building and deal hunting, which is what I find fun.

Cheap matters, this is a fun emulation machine and not a workhorse desktop. In the long run I will appreciate how easy that mobo is to hackintosh more than anything, as that is the end life for most of the parts I buy (it's why I haven't bought a AMD cpu in a decade).

Overall I agree this isn't a great general machine, but it will exist to run Dolphin and Kodi aka two apps that love single core performance. If I get a bad overclocker it might still equal what my 2600k@4.5ghz does. It will never play a modern game or run a spreadsheet once.

I know this is a technology forum where everyone wants the newest best thing and nothing else is good enough, but the reality is for many items (computer parts, tvs, appliances, cars, etc) is that is jump from year to year is very incremental. I will never buy the hot new CPU or GPU brand new at MSRP, I always want last years hotness for a bargain. I built my last gaming rig (2600k) right as Ivy was released and I was warned I would regret it and I never did because it still games great today. I want maximum value for the money which is often found in the technology that isn't as exciting anymore but is still solid.

Every now and then you get a huge leap where buying last gen is a bad move- like the first Intel Macbooks- but most of the time you are hoping to get 10% more performance for like 30% more cost. That never seemed like a great idea to me, but I give zero fricks about my epeen size. I just want to have a little fun, like this project. I started the thread to make sure there wasn't some amazing Skylake g3258 I was missing (aka a leap like the Intel Mac).

Thank you for the advice though! I do appreciate it, this thread has changed my original plans.
 
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Nov 20, 2005
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I'll never understand all these people building PC's to run Dolphin. Compatibility for games is still pretty awful even with the latest release -- and the games that do manage to run on it are usually glitchy.

Why people wouldn't just buy a $60 refurb Wii, softmod it and run all the games off an external hard drive with no performance problems, sound glitches and 100% game compatibility. Just seems like common sense.
The honest answer for me? Because the games rendered at 480p look terrible, while some (even Gamecube games) rendered at 1080p give the Wii U a run for its money. I have a pile of Wii games I never played because the graphics looked too poor compared to my 360 at the time. Those same games in Dolphin look amazing and I plan to finally play through them. No consoles benefit more from emulation IMHO.

FYI I do have a hacked to the moon Wii that mostly just runs previous console emulators. I don't want perfectly emulated Wii games, I want better!
 
Aug 25, 2001
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Cheap matters

I know this is a technology forum where everyone wants the newest best thing and nothing else is good enough

I want maximum value for the money which is often found in the technology that isn't as exciting anymore but is still solid.

I started the thread to make sure there wasn't some amazing Skylake g3258 I was missing (aka a leap like the Intel Mac).
I hear ya! I'm in a similar boat. Although there is no "Skylake G3258" CPU that is unlocked and 2C/2T, there is the "SKY OC" option for Z170 boards, which may allow BCLK OCing of locked SKL CPUs, like the G4400 (cheapest Pentium), and the i3-6100 (cheapest i3).

I'm going to delve into that in the next few days, hopefully, as I finally get my Z170 rig built. Hoping to OC a G4400 to 4.3-4.4Ghz.

Edit: I finally did the math, and it seems like I may have already made a purchasing mistake. I picked up a pair of 8GB kits of Avexir DDR4-2400 (with blue LED lights!), for $34.99 ea. Seemed like a good deal at the time. But if the memory clock scales with BCLK like the CPU clock does, then a 25% increase (x 1.25) of 3.3Ghz (CPU core clock) is 4.125Ghz, and a 25% increase of DDR4-2133, is DDR4-2666. So, possibly, I should have picked up 2666 DDR4 memory, or better.

4.29Ghz core clock (+30%), would result in 2772.9 DDR4. So 2800 DDR4 would be good for a 4.3Ghz OC of the G4400.
 
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Nov 20, 2005
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Wanted to give a thread update now that I got all my parts together and got the machine built. It is using all the parts listed above plus a 128GB Samsung SATA 3 SSD, my old H60 cooler, and for now a 7850 with a custom Accelero cooler that I took the fan off of to fit. Oh and a 1TB 2.5inch WD Blue HD I had sitting around to store the actual games.

First of all I want to say the Node 304 case is amazingly designed. It was very hard to build in due to the size, but I like a Mini ITX challenge. The PSU fit like it was supposed to and won't block me if I decide to upgrade the GPU down the road. This thing would make an awesome NAS case.

My G3258 wasn't a bad chip, I feel fortunate. I got it up to 4.5GHz at 1.27V, which is more than I honestly expected for a build this small. The H60 I am using is a first-gen model that did diddly squat in my main gaming PC, but in this small case with a push-pull setup it keeps my temps sub-80 even with the case on and Prime 95 running. The H60 is acting as an exhaust (which completely ruined its performance in my big gaming rig which is why it was on my shelf) which means this chip is running very cool as is. Even running Prime 95 with the case on its pretty silent, as I got a new set of Corsair's best radiator fans.

For my stated goal of a Dolphin box it was a complete success. With the unofficial Dolphin benchmark it scored 4 minutes and 35 seconds. In comparison my gaming rig with a 4.5GHz 2600K can't beat six minutes and 30 seconds. So this is the best Dolphin machine in the house by far, and I can tell playing games that would make my gaming PC stutter.

Also I am really glad I bought a Z board because it turns out I needed Windows for the Dolphinbar to work properly. But with that bar and the Wii U Gamecube adaptor I am getting full compatibility with real controllers at 60fps at 1080p. Can't beat that! The only downside to this system is the 7850 builds up heat without a fan if I run something really intensive (like a gaming benchmark, Dolphin doesn't do it), so I plan to replace it with a GTX 950 or 960 when I can afford that (aka when new cards come out and they are cheaper like the G3258 was). I am happy for now though, mission accomplished for what I wanted out of a HTPC and Dolphinbox.

Some pictures with the case off:





Even with a modular PSU and a pile of zip ties I couldn't prevent it from looking like a mess.
 
Aug 6, 2014
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Because you can play games at any resolution you like and with better frame rates than the real thing and you don't need to find a place for another big screen.
And the games that are well supported run flawlessly.
Not really....

Unless there is some magic potion I'm not aware of -- because the latest version of Dolphin running on my 4790K was pretty far from "flawlessly."

Even the games that earned 5 stars for compatibility (007 or Mario Kart) according to the Dolphin web site still had some pretty serious sound glitches.......
 
Aug 6, 2014
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The honest answer for me? Because the games rendered at 480p look terrible, while some (even Gamecube games) rendered at 1080p give the Wii U a run for its money. I have a pile of Wii games I never played because the graphics looked too poor compared to my 360 at the time. Those same games in Dolphin look amazing and I plan to finally play through them. No consoles benefit more from emulation IMHO.

FYI I do have a hacked to the moon Wii that mostly just runs previous console emulators. I don't want perfectly emulated Wii games, I want better!
You are probably the first person I've ever heard of..... That bought a pile of Wii games to never play because the graphics looked too poor.

Generally people don't purchase items they already judge to be too poor to play when new.

Plus.... Wii games will never "look amazing" even on Dolphin. It's like upscaling Atari Jaguar games with an HDMI box (which there are people that run it that way for Youtube). You do manage to get rid of some of the jagged lines, but there is virtually no detail on any of the textures/surfaces even in HD. Plus, you are bastardizing the gameplay by likely not running them with the intended motion controls (and the emulators also glitch the sound constantly). I guess there are worst ways to waste money, but emulating Wii games on a PC is pretty high on the list. There are some really awesome emulators out there, but Dolphin IMO isn't ready for primetime.
 
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Nov 20, 2005
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Not really....

Unless there is some magic potion I'm not aware of -- because the latest version of Dolphin running on my 4790K was pretty far from "flawlessly."

Even the games that earned 5 stars for compatibility (007 or Mario Kart) according to the Dolphin web site still had some pretty serious sound glitches.......
With that CPU you could use the DSP LLE with a real DSP dump and the sound would be flawless. That is the advantage of a quad core.

I will say though I think the newest versions have regressed some as my favorite Gamecube game (F Zero GX) is slower and one of my favorite Wii games (Donkey Kong Country Returns) is completely broken. I reverted to a three month old build I had and it was fine.
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
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#20
There are still some bugs with DSP sound, from my experience, but it's my preferred method.

It's very possible to use a Wiimote with motion control though - they're bluetooth - and you can get a USB "sensor bar" for ~$5 on Amazon. The sensor bar is really only an IR LED strip that allows the Wiimote to orient itself.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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I will save my DDR4 buying (and $100+ mobo buying) for when I finally replace that old Sandy Bridge in my primary gaming computer. :)
:D:D:D That's where I'm at, too. I'm happy with it, and I can't really justify new hardware no matter how hard I try.

Good luck with your mITX build... I'm learning from everyone else's projects; my next build will be mITX (my GAME rig was supposed to be, but I wound up with a used 2500K and had to go with a used mATX board.) and I really like that Node case!

Also glad your G3258 was a good OC'er... mine was not.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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There are still some bugs with DSP sound, from my experience, but it's my preferred method.
I normally use it but with this build I don't have the extra core just to do sound.

I will say that HLE sound has come a LONG way. Here is a great read on recent improvements:

https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/2015/08/19/new-era-hle-audio/

I find it "Good Enough" nowadays for the most part. I also find that I don't have to load textures into RAM anymore.

It's very possible to use a Wiimote with motion control though - they're bluetooth - and you can get a USB "sensor bar" for ~$5 on Amazon. The sensor bar is really only an IR LED strip that allows the Wiimote to orient itself.
With a Windows machine I can't recommend a Dolphinbar enough:

http://www.amazon.com/Mayflash-W010-Wireless-Sensor-DolphinBar/dp/B00HZWEB74

It is a sensor bar, but it also has a bluetooth receiver built in that connects to the WiiMotes. So unlike in the past where you have to mess around with Toshiba's bluetooth stack or something crazy like that all you have to do is sync the remotes to this bar and they work EXACTLY like a real Wii, right down to auto connecting after a complete reboot without any interaction from the user.

It seriously is one of the best pieces of hardware for emulation ever made. That plus the Wii U Gamecube adaptor and you have a very reliable way to connect and use controllers. I have all my games loaded into a ten foot interface (Kodi + Rom Collection Brower) and now I can play Gamecube or Wii games without touching a keyboard or mouse once. It is very slick.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#23
Even with a modular PSU and a pile of zip ties I couldn't prevent it from looking like a mess.
What can I say? "Mini-ITX happens."

Seriously though, looks like a nice build, and thanks for the pics.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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:D:D:D That's where I'm at, too. I'm happy with it, and I can't really justify new hardware no matter how hard I try.
Yup, Sandy just keeps on keeping on. Last year when I upgraded to a GTX 970 I had a little CPU bottleneck, but instead of a platform upgrade I swapped out the 2500K for a 2600K and now I am rocking and rolling with a pretty balanced setup. When my GPU becomes obsolete it will be time to replace the whole thing.

Good luck with your mITX build... I'm learning from everyone else's projects; my next build will be mITX (my GAME rig was supposed to be, but I wound up with a used 2500K and had to go with a used mATX board.) and I really like that Node case!
Mini ITX is tough. I like this case more than some I have seen, but my GTX 970 would choke itself to death in here. Out of my two Mini ITX builds I think I would prefer the Thermaltake Core V1 case for a pure gaming machine.

Also glad your G3258 was a good OC'er... mine was not.
Thank you! Glad to finally win the silicon lottery a little with this and my GTX 970. 2015 was a good year for me for buying silicon as my 2600K could clock 400mhz higher than my 2500k could too.

For years though I had really bad luck (my 7850 can't overclock at all even with the fan on) so it just was my time. Glad I got a good chip the one time I counted on overclocking. Sorry to hear about your G3258 experience.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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What can I say? "Mini-ITX happens."

Seriously though, looks like a nice build, and thanks for the pics.
Thank you for the encouragement Larry! Yeah Mini ITX is a mess, it is all about trying to get SOME airflow going. I think the water cooler really made the difference to get me to 4.5.

I will say I was a little jealous reading about your cutting edge Skylake OCing, that sounds like some Wild West fun! At some point though you have to avoid biting off more than you can chew and I think in retrospect Mini ITX was JUST enough of a challenge for my tastes. I will leave Sky OC to the pros like yourself! :)

I haven't used the build much in desktop mode but this thing is pretty snappy and usable. It would make a poor gaming machine though, as my project from last year (a x5460 771 C2Q mod) actually does better in Firestrike. Which is kinda amazing.
 

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