Testing Intel Celeron G6900 (Alder Lake) processor for LGA1700 platform

Today we have on our agenda testing a very boring and an extremely interesting processor at the same time. With the first one everything is clear. It is a Celeron, so you shouldn’t expect anything good from it. The lowest level of Intel desktop processors – especially after they started to put the Atom successors into this family. But the “adult” models have been stagnant for a long time, too. They got two cores at the time of LGA775, newer platforms gave these processors only 2 MB of the third level cache and integrated GPU and PCIe controller (not on purpose, but in company with more powerful devices, by cutting off which Celeron were made) – on what everything stopped. For the first five years, at least, microarchitectures and manufacturing processes were changing (again – along with other Intel processors). But in 2015, progress halted for a long time at 14 nm Skylake. The processors of the older lines were growing at least quantitatively: Core i3 and i7 “doubled” in cores, Core i5 in general grew radically in this regard (4C4T→6C/12T) – and even Pentium in 2017 at least got Hyper-Threading support. Celeron simply migrated from platform to platform almost unchanged – except that clock speeds increased slightly. That is why the Celeron G6900 is a very interesting processor – it is the first significant change in seven years: now the Alder Lake microarchitecture came to this segment as well.

Does it make a practical difference? That depends on which way you look at it. For an enthusiast, any Celeron is sad and dreary. For the family home, pretty much the same. Especially since games “forgot” to work properly on “pure” dual-core. That is why nowadays only AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium can be considered as minimal universal level. Which are also not suitable for resource-intensive tasks, but they can handle any workloads just fine. But, on the other hand, it is not always “any” that is needed. For example, many typical production workplaces are one program running from morning till night and 99% of the time it is waiting for user’s actions. In this case 100500 cores are absolutely unnecessary. A couple of fast ones could be useful. In principle, not necessarily too fast – budget computers on dual-core Celeron and Pentium for LGA1151 first version or even earlier Intel platforms are still working in many places. But sometimes, though, you have to replace them or buy new ones. And here Celeron of the new line have two serious advantages over their predecessors. The main one is the new platform, which will be on the market for a long time, so there will be no problems with spare parts in the near future. And the upgrade possibilities (if needed) are maximal here, because the peripheral capabilities of all processors for one platform are the same. Both Celeron G6900 and Core i9-12900K support the same technologies – for example the first supports PCIe Gen5 or DDR5. Why does it need it? Generally speaking, no reason – but the owner can come up with some use for it. And the second point: Alder Lake cores are noticeably more powerful than Skylake. Accordingly, under one or two threaded loads (and that is a lot of interactive programs) even the new Celeron can be no less comfortable than the old Core i9.

And anyway, we’re just curious to see how the $40-$50 Alder Lake performs. We’ve already dealt with the high and medium level, now we need to expand the subject area. Although, as it was said before, if the question of performance even slightly worries, it is better to be oriented at least at Pentium or even Core i3 – the difference in price of all these processors is not great, and they work in the same environment, so other components cost the same too. To cut a long story short, against the total price of a system unit (not even a gaming one) you can save only few pennies by choosing Celeron. So when buying/building one computer it is better not to do it, it will not pay off. But the performance level of the new processor itself is interesting – if only to increase general education.

Test participants.

Intel Celeron G3900 Intel Pentium G4560 Intel Celeron G5920 Intel Pentium Gold G6400 Intel Celeron G6900 AMD Athlon 3000G
Core Name Skylake Kaby Lake Comet Lake Comet Lake Alder Lake Raven Ridge
Manufacturing Technology 14 nm 14 nm 14 nm 14 nm Intel 7 14 nm
Core frequency, GHz 2,8 3,5 3,5 4,0 3,4 3,5
Number of cores/threads 2/2 2/4 2/2 2/4 2/2 2/4
Cache L1 (sum), I/D, KB 64/64 64/64 64/64 64/64 64/96 128/64
L2 cache, KB 2×256 2×256 2×256 2×256 2×1280 2×512
L3 cache, MiB 2 3 2 4 4 4
RAM 2×DDR4-2133 2×DDR4-2400 2×DDR4-2666 2×DDR4-2666 2×DDR4-3200 or 2×DDR5-4800 2×DDR4-2667
TDP, W 51 54 58 58 46 35
Number of PCIe lines 16 (Gen3) 16 (Gen3). 16 (Gen3). 16 (Gen3). 16 (Gen5) + 4 (Gen4) 4 (Gen3).
Integrated GPU HD Graphics 510 HD Graphics 610 UHD Graphics 610 UHD Graphics 610 UHD Graphics 710 Vega 3

In order not to get confused in three pines, we decided to limit the number of participants to six models for four platforms. Since comparing Celeron G6900 only with budget processors for the previous LGA1200 is not too interesting (because too unambiguous), we added younger Celeron and “four-threaded” Pentium for the “original” LGA1151. Fortunately, as it was already said, since then nothing in the lower processor lines has changed for a long time – the Pentium was “upgraded” once in 2017, and the Celeron never changed at all. And the platforms themselves did not change, except for the support of different processors. But only the buyers of the older processor lines, which grew at least in quantitative characteristics, could notice it, and the Core i5 and higher changed the microarchitecture at least once last year. But it did nothing for Celeron and Pentium buyers, so there was no reason to switch, for example, from G3900 to G5900 – a little bit faster, that’s all. Even if the old board broke down, it was more profitable to just replace it than to buy a new computer. But the appearance of budget versions of LGA1700 was able to change the situation a little. Although even here, as it was already said, it is better to be oriented at least on Pentium, and even better – on Core i3, but we will deal with them later.

And you can’t do without Athlon today. Unfortunately, this APU family is not in the best position now, the situation is even worse than with Intel’s junior processors. At least because they work on modern boards and are fully compatible with new technologies – but AMD 500-series chipsets are not suitable for Athlon. In addition, the integrated GPU of these processors was their advantage when they appeared in 2018 – and became a big disadvantage in 2022. Even in terms of gaming performance, it’s only comparable to the Ultra HD Graphics 710 in the Celeron, and in terms of support for encoding and decoding modern video formats and/or video outputs, it lags radically behind Intel’s current solutions. Including the budget ones. Another potential application area for Celeron is media players. And here they are able to kick ass even the older APU, because they fully support the promising AV1 format, while AMD only has this to do in the future. Athlon is still not even the present, but the past: the majority of existing models are built on the original Zen microarchitecture. Which affects the performance of the processor part as well: it is more like Haswell than Skylake. As a result, the Athlon was always slower than any Pentium with Hyper-Threading, but the Celeron was faster due to a head start in the number of hardware code threads. But whether this advantage is still there now, it is interesting to evaluate objectively.

We had to use different motherboards, of course, and the other environment was the same AMD Radeon Vega 56 video card, SATA SSD and 16 GB of DDR4 memory, the maximum frequency according to the specifications. It is clear that for processors at this level it is, to put it mildly, redundant – Intel does not even release a Celeron with a locked video core (unlike the Pentium and above), as the built-in GPU is critical in this class. But we had just to put everybody on an equal footing – after all, AMD and Intel integrated GPUs behave differently as concerns the applications used, and with regards to Intel alone the difference between graphics generations can “come out” somewhere. Discrete in this case is a way to equalize the chances.

Testing Methodology

Testing methodology for 2020 computer systems

The testing methodology is described in detail in a separate article, and the results of all tests are available in a separate table in Microsoft Excel format. In the articles we use directly processed results: normalized relative to reference system (Intel Core i5-9600K with 16 GB of memory, AMD Radeon Vega 56 graphics card and SATA SSD) and grouped by computer application areas. Accordingly, all application-related charts have dimensionless scores, so it’s “more is better” everywhere. And game tests from this year we finally convert to optional status (the reasons for which are discussed in detail in the description of the test methodology), so that only specialized materials will be available on them. Especially because with their help we have already established the unsuitability of Celeron for modern games, and there is no need to come back to this question.

iXBT Application Benchmark 2020

Video Conversion (MediaCoder, HandBrake, VidCoder)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 30,3
Intel Celeron G3900 18,4
Intel Celeron G5920 23,5
Intel Pentium G4560 30,8
Intel Pentium G6400 35,2
Intel Celeron G6900 31,5

The difference in the G3900-G5920 and G5920-G6900 pairs deserves attention. The first one is the result of a five-year evolution, limited to the increase of clock frequencies. The second is the change of microarchitecture. We think the comments are unnecessary. And, by the way, G5920 is not the youngest Celeron for LGA1200 – there was also G5900, so the difference between the approaches could be more noticeable. And the second conclusion is a consequence of the first – even on multithreaded code, modern 2C/2T can be faster than the “old” 2T/4C. It is clear, of course, that when choosing between a Celeron for LGA1700 or a Pentium for LGA1200, it is still better to choose the latter. And even better – Pentium for LGA1700, because there will be a new microarchitecture and more computing threads.

Rendering (POV-Ray, Cinebench, Blender, Adobe Photoshop)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 34,5
Intel Celeron G3900 18,5
Intel Celeron G5920 23,4
Intel Pentium G4560 33,5
Intel Pentium G6400 38,5
Intel Celeron G6900 34,6

Same story. Showing that AMD definitely needs to do something with the younger processors – either release new dual-core models, or drastically cheapen the quad-core ones. The old Athlon ones don’t look good from any point of view anymore – they used to at least overtake the Celeron, but now they can’t anymore. They lagged behind the Pentium in the CPU part, but surpassed it in terms of GPU – but now even the Celeron is already ahead here too.

Video editing and video content creation (Adobe Premiere Pro, Magix Vegas Pro, Magix Movie Edit Pro, Adobe After Effects, Photodex ProShow Producer)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 35,5
Intel Celeron G3900 22,0
Intel Celeron G5920 26,8
Intel Pentium G4560 35,6
Intel Pentium G6400 40,4
Intel Celeron G6900 37,9

No major changes, so the picture is becoming clearer. The improvements in Alder Lake are already enough to compensate in some cases for the lack of compute threads even in Celeron. At the same time, faster threads are more efficient (usually – but not always) more of them – it is not always possible to work load all of them. On the other hand, being rich and healthy is better than being poor and sick – and when choosing between Celeron and Pentium you don’t have to be too rich, so in the global sense nothing has changed: it makes sense to focus on at least a couple of “dual-threaded” cores.

Digital Photo Processing (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, PhaseOne Capture One Pro)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 47,0
Intel Celeron G3900 32,2
Intel Celeron G5920 39,5
Intel Pentium G4560 48,4
Intel Pentium G6400 55,6
Intel Celeron G6900 66,6

And it happens – as we warned about above. So far, quite a few programs have single-threaded performance in the first place – and the fastest single-threaded performance at the moment is with Alder Lake. And the Celeron is no exception. Although in these processors everything is cut down, and the clock frequencies are noticeably lower than even the Pentium, but the key advantages of the new microarchitecture have not gone anywhere. In terms of serious work, however, all today’s test subjects are slow processors – but the Celeron G6900 is sometimes able to be the fastest at least in this group.

Text Recognition (Abbyy FineReader)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 32,8
Intel Celeron G3900 21,8
Intel Celeron G5920 26,6
Intel Pentium G4560 35,5
Intel Pentium G6400 41,2
Intel Celeron G6900 34,5

And the opposite is true. Predictable – if the code is relatively simple, but perfectly parallelizable, it is difficult to compensate the lack of threads by any architectural advantages. On the other hand, the minimum program is fulfilled – the new Celeron is at least faster than the dual-core Athlon, while the old ones were fundamentally incapable of this.

Archiving (WinRAR, 7-Zip)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 39,3
Intel Celeron G3900 29,6
Intel Celeron G5920 34,8
Intel Pentium G4560 49,9
Intel Pentium G6400 58,8
Intel Celeron G6900 40,9

And even in archivers there is a slight advantage. Although the lag even from the relatively old Pentium has slightly increased. The conclusion? Two threads are not enough in modern conditions. But sometimes you can be limited to this number.

Scientific calculations (LAMMPS, NAMD, Mathworks Matlab, Dassault SolidWorks)

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 36,1
Intel Celeron G3900 25,3
Intel Celeron G5920 30,7
Intel Pentium G4560 35,1
Intel Pentium G6400 39,9
Intel Celeron G6900 45,7

It would seem that where is the Celeron – and where are the engineering programs like SolidWorks. But fundamentally it does not affect – we have repeatedly made sure that the new Intel microarchitecture in these tasks looks very good, which applies to the new Celeron as well. Although in practice, of course, it is better to choose faster processors for such applications. But from a research point of view, it’s OK.

Integral CPU result.

Points (100 = Core i5-9600K; more is better)
AMD Athlon 3000G 36,2
Intel Celeron G3900 23,5
Intel Celeron G5920 28,8
Intel Pentium G4560 37,8
Intel Pentium G6400 43,5
Intel Celeron G6900 40,4

All in all, it turned out even slightly better than we expected. No, of course, there was no doubt that the new Celerons were faster than the old ones. But the results of comparison with Athlon and especially Pentium did not seem to be so unambiguous. In practice, as we can see, the former are slower, in spite of the head start in the number of hardware computing threads. Many Pentiums are slower, too. By the way, it concerns Core i3 for LGA1150 or LGA1155 as well – for once they are inferior to Celeron as well. From this, of course, it does not follow the necessity to urgently change one for the other – but the new Pentium can appear very attractive for owners of old computers. On the other hand, those who are satisfied with their performance have probably solved this problem long ago (by switching to a new platform or just changing the processor for a faster for the old one), and those who are satisfied – there is no hurry. But here everyone decides for himself. One thing is for sure – the first for many years modernization of low cost Intel processors made them very attractive. In their class, of course, but there is almost nobody to compete with them at the moment: old Celeron and Pentium are worse, and Athlon does not pull at all.

Power Consumption and Energy Efficiency

Power Consumption

Maximum power Minimum power Average power
AMD Athlon 3000G 53,1 30,1 48,2
Intel Celeron G3900 36,7 27,6 34,7
Intel Celeron G5920 51,5 36,9 44,7
Intel Pentium G4560 45,4 27,8 41,6
Intel Pentium G6400 58,7 36,7 50,9
Intel Celeron G6900 60,5 46,7 58,2

What you can’t take away from the younger models of processors – the appetites are very modest. As a result, the whole platform (CPU-board-memory and a bit on the graphics card) can consume even less power than the CPU alone is “allowed”. But here is a bad tendency – LGA1151 (at least the first version) turned out to be stably more economical than LGA1200 – which, in its turn, looks better than LGA1700 in this regard. But against the background of several hundred watts, which can “gobble up” the top modern processors for any platform, it is possible not to pay much attention to this.

Energy Efficiency

Performance per watt
AMD Athlon 3000G 0,75
Intel Celeron G3900 0,68
Intel Celeron G5920 0,64
Intel Pentium G4560 0,91
Intel Pentium G6400 0,85
Intel Celeron G6900 0,69

But not forgetting that both junior and senior desktop processors do not shine with energy efficiency. The latter, as it was repeatedly said, are hindered by “factory overclocking” – in the pursuit of maximum performance, both Intel and AMD squeeze all the juice out of them, so the power consumption suffers. The lower ones, on the contrary, have a low absolute power consumption, and low productivity. For Celeron, first of all, it is greatly affected by switching off Hyper-Threading – the efficiency of this technology is clearly seen on similar Celeron-Pentium pairs. And the best performance in general has been and remains at the mid-range Core i3 and Core i5. Another reason not to go overboard with saving on the processor – even if some superperformance is not required.


After studying the older models of the Alder Lake family of processors, we were drawn to the younger ones. The trends turned out to be the same: the new Intel microarchitecture is a significant step forward compared to the previous developments. Especially it is noticeable in the segments, where nothing has changed for a long time, and first of all, in the case of Celeron. The new processors stay as truncated as the old ones, but they run noticeably faster than the latter. Yes, it does not change anything globally, and it is still better to consider the Celeron family as a specialized rather than universal one, because the 2C/2T core formula looked fine 15 years ago, not bad 5-10 years ago, but now it simply is not suitable for many applications. The number of cores in the senior and middle segments has drastically increased over the past years, and software developers have reacted to this, so buyers have to react as well. However, buyers are aware of the trends without additional reminders – it is not for nothing that sales of the cheapest processors have always exceeded sales of the most expensive ones only slightly. In any case, the new cheapest Intel processors became better than the same old ones, as well as AMD’s analogues – it is a fact. Unfortunately, such improvement is not enough: besides qualitative changes in this line, quantitative ones are long overdue.

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