Intel Core i3-3240
The top processor in the refreshed Core i3 family on Ivy bridge microarchitecture works at 3.4 GHz, which is the same frequency as the top quad-core processors have. However, Core i3-3240 has only half the cores and doesn’t support Turbo Boost. Moreover, this processor has the junior modification of the Intel’s integrated graphics core – HD Graphics 2500 with six execution units.
Although Core i3-3240 is currently the most expensive Intel’s dual-core desktop processor, it doesn’t allow increasing the multiplier and therefore doesn’t support any overclocking at all. However, it does allow adjusting the graphics core and DDR3 frequencies, i.e. you will be able to overclock graphics and use DDR3 SDRAM in modes, which are much faster than the nominal DDR3-1333/1600.
Intel Core i3-3225
The refreshed Core i3 processor family has slightly unusual hierarchy. The CPUs in this family are ranked not just according to their clock frequency, they also have a few other distinguishing features. The most “special” Core i3 model with Ivy Bridge microarchitecture would be Core i3-3225. Although this processor is 100 MHz slower than the top model in the family, it boasts a faster graphics core – Intel HD Graphics 4000 with sixteen execution units, which is similar to the graphics core integrated into the top desktop Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs. This makes Core i3-3225 a unique solution for inexpensive and compact integrated systems, which need fast 3D graphics and Quick Sync technology. At the same time it is important to point out that the graphics core operates at slightly higher clock speeds in Core i7 and Core i5 processors with higher TDP. However, you can always overclock graphics in Core i3-3225.
Intel Core i3-3220
The junior Core i3 model is the same as Core i3-3225, but with a “simpler” HD Graphics 2500. In other words, it is the analogue of the Core i3-3240 with 100 MHz lower frequency. This CPU costs $15-$20 less, which makes it a very attractive buy in terms of price-to-performance. I have to say that Core i3-3220 is not only the least expensive Intel’s third-generation Core processor, but the least expensive Core CPU in general among Ivy Bridge as well as Sandy Bridge models.