We can’t say that the results of our today’s Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 turned out unexpected. Since these processors are based on the new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, they boast all the advantages, which we have already praised during our earlier discussion of the quad-core processors from this family. In other words, if we compare dual-core LGA1155 with the similar predecessors for the LGA1156 platform, the former will stand out due to increased performance as well as decreased power consumption.
And the examples are right in front of us: Core i3-2120 is about 24% faster on average than Core i3-560. And both these processors have the same official MSRP and very similar clock frequency, so that the only thing different is the microarchitecture. All this allows us to successfully compare new Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 with the higher-end old dual-core LGA1156 processors from the Core i5-600 series.
However, even though the relative performance per core has significantly increased, dual-core Sandy bridge processors still aren’t strong enough to challenge the old quad-cores. Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 yield to both: LGA1156 as well as Socket AM3 quad-core processors in those applications that can efficiently split the workload into parallel threads. Therefore, older platforms with quad-core CPUs remain a better choice for such tasks a non-linear video editing and transcoding or final rendering. However, Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 will definitely be preferable in general-purpose applications, including many contemporary games, especially keeping in mind their lower power consumption and the growing popularity of the LGA1155 platform in general.
Overall, Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 appear to be a good and inexpensive addition to the Core i7 and Core i5 LGA1155 series. If you are ready to settle for a dual-core CPU with Hyper-Threading support instead of a fully-functional quad-core, these Sandy Bridge products will be the best choice for almost any situation. The only weakness of the new Core i3-2120 and Core i3-2100 is complete unfitness for overclocking, which makes them very unappealing for computer enthusiasts.
However, do not forget that these processors boast a pretty decent integrated graphics core – Intel HD Graphics 2000, which means that even though some enthusiasts may not want to have these processors in their everyday systems, they will still consider them eagerly for compact multimedia PCs.