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Testbed Configuration and Testing Methodology

We tested all three above described Core i3 processors from the 3000-series. They will be competing against previous generation Core i3 CPUs on Sandy Bridge microarchitecture as well as a few other products. To complete the picture we also included the junior Core i5 models. I am sure that many of you are wondering whether the new generation top Core i3 processors will be able to compete successfully against older quad-core Sandy Bridge based products.

Core i3 processors fall into a very attractive price range. This segment is also heavily populated by products from AMD – the company that has been focusing on affordable and entry-level processors lately. Therefore, we also included AMD FX-6200 and AMD FX-4170 processors with similar price tags. AMD Lynx platform may also fall into the same price range, so the AMD A8-3870K processor will also be one of the testing participants this time.

As a result, we put together test platforms with the following hardware and software components:

  • Processors:
    • AMD A8-3870K (Llano, 4 cores, 3.0 GHz, 4 MB L2, Radeon HD 6550D);
    • AMD FX-6200 (Zambezi, 6 cores, 3.8-4.1 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • AMD FX-4170 (Zambezi, 4 cores, 4.2-4.3 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • Core i3-2125 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores + HT, 3.3 GHz, 3 MB L3, HD Graphics 3000);
    • Core i3-2130 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores + HT, 3.4 GHz, 3 MB L3, HD Graphics 2000);
    • Core i3-3240 (Ivy Bridge, 2 cores + HT, 3.4 GHz, 3 MB L3, HD Graphics 2500);
    • Core i3-3225 (Ivy Bridge, 2 cores + HT, 3.3 GHz, 3 MB L3, HD Graphics 4000);
    • Core i3-3220 (Ivy Bridge, 2 cores + HT, 3.3 GHz, 3 MB L3, HD Graphics 2500);
    • Core i5-2320 (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.0-3.3 GHz, 6 MB L3, HD Graphics 2000);
    • Core i5-3330 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.0-3.2 GHz, 6 MB L3, HD Graphics 2500).
  • CPU cooler: NZXT Havik 140;
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS Crosshair V Formula (Socket AM3+, AMD 990FX + SB950);
    • ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe (LGA1155, Intel Z77 Express);
    • Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H (Socket FM1, AMD A75).
  • Memory: 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866 SDRAM, 9-11-9-27 (Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2/8GX).
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (2 GB/256-bit GDDR5, 1006/6008 MHz).
  • System disk: Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5).
  • Power supply unit: Corsair AX1200i (80 Plus Platinum, 1200 W).
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64.
  • Drivers:
    • AMD Catalyst 12.8 Driver;
    • AMD Chipset Driver 12.8;
    • Intel Chipset Driver 9.3.0.1019;
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver 15.?26.?12.?2761;
    • Intel Management Engine Driver 8.?1.?0.?1248;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 11.?2.?0.?1006;
    • NVIDIA GeForce 301.42 Driver.

For our tests of the AMD FX-6200 and AMD FX-4170 based systems we installed KB2645594 and KB2646060 OS patches.

Intel Core i3-3225 processor didn’t participate in the tests performed in a system with a discrete graphics card, because its computational performance is identical to that of the Intel Core i3-3220 working at the same clock frequencies.

 
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