Articles: CPU

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Core i3-3225

Although the Core i3-3225 is not a senior model in the Core i3 series, it is the fastest Intel CPU in this review. It is all about market positioning: the Core i3-3225 is the closest to the AMD A10-5800K in its price as well as in the fact that it offers the most advanced modification of the HD Graphics 4000 core in the entire Core i3 series.

Viewed as a conventional CPU, the Core i3-3225 is a dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading support that is based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. Its clock rate is set at 3.4 GHz, which is actually the top speed of this CPU since it doesn’t have Turbo Boost for its x86 cores. At low loads the clock rate can be dropped to 1.6 GHz. The total amount of L3 cache memory shared by both x86 cores is 3 MB in each Core i3 series product, and the Core i3-3225 is no exception. Its Intel HD Graphics 4000 is the most advanced version of Intel’s integrated graphics, featuring 16 execution units. It is clocked at 1.05 GHz, which is a mere 100 MHz lower than the clock rate of the same integrated graphics of quad-core Ivy Bridge processors.

Intel’s CPUs have long switched to 22nm tech process, so the Core i3-3225 has a TDP of only 55 watts, being preferable to senior Trinity models in terms of energy efficiency. Its low power consumption is indicated by its voltage, which is 1.0 volts, whereas Socket FM2 APUs work at up to 50% higher voltages.

As opposed to AMD’s solutions, the Core i3 series does not allow to speed up its x86 cores in any way. On the other hand, you can easily overclock the graphics core and memory with the Core i3-3225.

?ore i3-3220

The single difference of the Core i3-3220 from the above-discussed Core i3-3225 is that it comes with a simpler version of the graphics core. Its Intel HD Graphics 2500 core has six rather than 16 execution units. Otherwise, the Core i3-3220 and the Core i3-3225 are twin brothers that have not only the same design but also the same clock rates and other specs.

Pentium G2120

Based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, the Pentium series is basically different from the Core i3 in the lack of Hyper-Threading. In other words, the Pentium can only execute two but not four instruction threads. Otherwise, the Pentium G2120 is quite similar to the Core i3. It is a dual-core processor with a 3MB L3 cache but its clock rate is 3.1 GHz. Thus, the x86 performance of the Pentium G2120 is going to be much lower compared to the Core i3 at heavy multithreaded loads when the Core i3 can benefit from Hyper-Threading. There is only one thing we should take note of. The Pentium series does not support the AVX instruction set.

When it comes to graphics, the Core i3 and the Pentium have much in common, too. Although the HD Graphics core of the Pentium lacks a numeric index, it has the same design as the HD Graphics 2500 and has six execution units. The clock rate is the same, too. The Pentium G2120 clocks its integrated graphics core at 1.05 GHz. However, one of the key features – Quick Sync – is disabled in the cheaper CPU.

Like the other Intel CPUs covered in this review, the Pentium doesn't offer much in terms of overclocking. It allows increasing the frequency of the integrated graphics core and supports memory modules faster than DDR3-1600. It is impossible to increase the performance of the x86 cores above the default level, though.

Pentium G2020

The junior Pentium with the Ivy Bridge architecture has a clock rate of 2.9 GHz only but the more disappointing fact about its specifications is that DDR3-1333 SDRAM is listed as the highest supported memory speed. Fortunately, this is just a formal statement. Our testing showed that the CPU’s memory controller could work with faster DDR3 SDRAM modules, too. Thus, the single real difference between the Pentium G2020 and the Pentium G2120 is that the former has a 7% lower default clock rate.

We can also note that the voltage of the Pentium G2020 is lower than 1.0 volts. It must be indicative of a rather economical CPU but Intel doesn't stress this fact. The specified TDP of every Pentium series product is 55 watts, the same as with their senior cousins.

Celeron G1620

Dual-core Celeron processors with the Ivy Bridge design have been introduced but recently, yet we already have them in our review. Frankly speaking, there’s nothing exciting about them. Intel has cut down too many capabilities in their design. Besides disabled Hyper-Threading, AVX and Quick Sync, as in the Pentium series, we can now see a reduced amount of cache memory and a considerably lower clock rate. The Celeron G1620 has only 2 megabytes of L3 cache whereas its frequency is 2.7 GHz.

On the other hand, the HD Graphics core in the Celeron G1620 is absolutely the same as in the Pentium, featuring six execution units. Well, the real performance of the Celeron’s graphics is going to be lower due to the smaller L3 cache which is accessible by the graphics core in the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture and contributes a lot to solving the problem of low memory bandwidth. The good news is that, even though the Celeron G1620 is officially compatible with DDR3-1333 only, there is no reason why it can’t be used with faster memory modules.

Compared to senior Core i3 processors, the Celeron G1620 has much worse specifications, yet its TDP is specified to be 55 watts, too. It must be just a formality. We expect the Celeron to be highly economical in real-life applications.

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