Intel’s Core i3 processors have always offered decent performance and good value. The latest Core i3 to hit our labs, the third- generation Core i3-3220, appears to follow in that tradition. It’s a dual-core Ivy Bridge CPU that runs at a maximum clock speed of 3.3GHz and has 3MB of Intel Smart Cache.
The Intel Core i3-3220 is a dual-core desktop processor based on the Ivy Bridge architecture. Due to Hyperthreading, the two cores can handle up to four threads in parallel, leading to better utilization of the CPU. Each core offers a base speed of 3.3 GHz with no support for Turbo Boost.
Ivy Bridge is an enhanced die shrink of the Sandy Bridge architecture with improvements on both GPU and CPU performance. The CPUs are produced in 22nm (versus 32nm Sandy Bridge CPUs) and the first to introduce 3D transistors for increased energy efficiency when compared to similarly clocked Sandy Bridge processors. Other new features are integrated PCI Express 3.0 and DDR3(L)-1600 support.
- Intel i3 Processor.
- Low on Cost High on Performance.
- Frequency 2.6GHz
- Core Ivy Bridge
- GPU Intel HD Graphics
- Number of cores 2 x physical, 2 x virtual
- Cache L1: 2 x 64KB, L2: 2 x 256KB, L2:3MB
- Packaging LGA1155
- Thermal design power (TDP) 55W
The performance of the Core i3-3220 is slightly above a similarly clocked Sandy Bridge processor due to some architectural improvements. Compared to AMD's fastest desktop APU (A10-5800K), the Core i3-3220 offers higher performance per thread, but features less cores (2 instead of 4). However, overall performance is quite similar.
The Core i3-3220 has Intel HD Graphics 2500 on-chip graphics, which runs at a clock frequency of 650MHz. We had no problem when running productivity applications or web browsing, but it isn’t suited to playing modern 3D games. The Core i3-3220 failed our Crysis 2 benchmark, and Dirt Showdown gave us an average of 16fps when its graphics settings were set to low with no anti-aliasing and a resolution of 1,280x720. That frame rate still isn’t fast enough to enjoy the game, though.
The Core i3-3220 may be an entry-level CPU, but it isn’t cheap, especially when compared with some of the competition from AMD. It isn’t a CPU for overclockers and tinkerers, but it’s great for general desktop use and browsing the web.
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