We knew the Core i3 Ivy Bridge CPUs were coming, but details on precisely when that would happen and how much they would cost were a bit harder to come by. Just after our recent Budget Buyer’s Guide last week, lower end 22nm processors from Intel showed up at Newegg and other retailers. Let’s quickly run over the chips, their features, and how they stack up compared to existing offerings. There are also a few other new Core i5 processors that recently showed up, which we’ll cover as well.

New Intel Pentium and Core i3 Processors
Model Pentium G2120 Core i3-3220 Core i3-3220T Core i3-3225
Base Clock 3.1GHz 3.3GHz 2.8GHz 3.3GHz
Max Turbo N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cores 2 2 2 2
Threads 2 4 4 4
L3 Cache 3MB 3MB 3MB 3MB
TDP 55W 55W 35W 55W
Graphics HD Graphics HD 2500 HD 2500 HD 4000
iGPU Base Clock 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz
GPU Turbo Clock 1.05GHz 1.05GHz 1.05GHz 1.05GHz
Quick Sync No Yes Yes Yes
WiDi No Yes Yes Yes
Hyper-Threading No Yes Yes Yes
VT-x Yes Yes Yes Yes
VT-d No No No No
AES-NI No No No No
VT-x w/ EPT Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pricing (Tray/Box) $86/$93 $117/$125 $117/$125 $134/$144
Online Price $100 $120 $130 $145

New Intel Core i3 and Core i5 Processors
Model Core i3-3240 Core i3-3240T Core i5-3330 Core i5-3350P
Base Clock 3.4GHz 2.9GHz 3.0GHz 3.1GHz
Max Turbo N/A N/A 3.2GHz 3.3GHz
Cores 2 2 4 4
Threads 4 4 4 4
L3 Cache 3MB 3MB 6MB 6MB
TDP 55W 35W 77W 69W
Graphics HD 2500 HD 2500 HD 2500 No
iGPU Base Clock 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz NA
GPU Turbo Clock 1.05GHz 1.05GHz 1.05GHz NA
Quick Sync Yes Yes Yes No
WiDi Yes Yes Yes No
Hyper-Threading Yes Yes No No
VT-x Yes Yes Yes Yes
VT-d No No Yes Yes
AES-NI No No Yes Yes
VT-x w/ EPT Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pricing (Tray/Box) $138/$147 $138/NA $182/$187 $177/$177
Online Price $150 NA $200 $190

Starting from the top, we have the least expensive 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU we’ve seen to date, the Pentium G2120. While Intel’s pricing is slightly lower than Newegg’s $100, it’s still too expensive to actually displace the Celeron G530 as our budget CPU recommendation—especially when you can find sales where the G530 is going for just $39 shipped! The HD Graphics in the Pentium should be slightly faster than the HD Graphics in the older Celeron, as they’re the newer DX11 GPU core (without Quick Sync or some of the other “extras” enabled), but even so they’re not fast enough to really warrant spending three times as much money.

Most of the Core i3 models fall into a similar category, with the exception of the i3-3225. If you’re going iGPU for your graphics, the difference between HD 2500 and HD 4000 is quite significant and makes the extra $20-$25 pretty reasonable. There are also the two lower power “T” parts, which might be of some interest to users looking at building a mini-ITX system or a quiet HTPC, but again the cost is quite high for what you’re getting. In terms of features, it’s also worth pointing out that where the Pentium (and Celeron) line trims a lot of features like Quick Sync and Hyper-Threading, Core i3 still leaves out the AES-NI instructions and VT-d support; if you need full hardware virtualization support, Core i5 might be the better choice.

As for the two new Core i5 processors, the i5-3330 is the least remarkable. It’s basically a lower clocked version of the already shipping i5-3450, but it does add VT-d support. Interestingly, despite similar suggested prices from Intel (the i5-3450 is actually supposed to cost a few dollars more), the i5-3330 ends up being $10 more than the i5-3450. Unless you need VT-d, the choice between the two offerings is clear given the current pricing. The final new CPU is the i5-3350P, and this marks the first time we’ve seen any of the Ivy Bridge processors with no iGPU. Clock speeds aren’t particularly compelling, but the TDP is slightly lower so that might be worth considering, especially if prices come down. It a killer app ever comes out for Quick Sync, though, owners of the i5-3350P might end up regretting their choice of CPU—again, given they’re currently at the same price, we think the i5-3450 is a better option.

Availability of all of the CPUs is somewhat limited right now, with only Newegg stocking the majority of the chips (outside of the OEM-only i3-3240T). We expect that to change over the next week or two, however, and that should force some of the prices down by as much as $15-$20 if you can hold off for a bit longer.

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  • MadMan007 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Validating for lower TDP costs money.
  • SlyNine - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    It all comes down to yields, You get less chips that can stay stable at a lower voltage.

    But I've never heard that the validating process was more expensive.
  • A5 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Every extra round of testing costs money. Also, the users who have to have it are willing to pay a premium for something that is validated for low-TDP applications (think OEM SFF systems).
  • Hector2 - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Validation is done for new designs and takes months. You're referring to "testing" which takes seconds each in the factory after wafer sort & after packaging. While testing costs money, that's spread over all cpus tested. What causes the price to vary (as others point out) is the bin split yield --- the % of parts that pass testing at the lower voltage while consuming less power. For example, if only 10% of the cpus pass at the ultra low voltage, you can expect to pay a price premium.
  • fic2 - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    I would think getting a T version to put into my Mac Mini. I'll have to wait for benchmarks, but it seems like it would be a pretty good jump. AFAIK, the current Mac Mini can only use 35W max cpu.
  • Pirks - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Who would buy $100 two core Intel POS when you can get AMD 3.4 GHz quad core Phenom II X4 for less? Only Intel cock suckers and brain dead idiots will buy this Pentium shit.
  • fr500 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    why are you allowed to post?
  • Pirks - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    your brain is too small to understand why
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Here's a G620 vs. A8-3850:

    Here's the G620 vs. A6-3560:

    Add roughly 20% more performance to the Intel to get the G2120 and you can see why it might be interesting for some users. Plus it would still less power (probably even less than the G620), which means less heat and noise. Would I recommend the G2120? Nope, but the G530 is still an awesome deal.

    As for quad-core Phenom X4, sure it would be faster; it would also consume 65% to 130% more power than a G620 (depending on how you're using it), which means probably two to three times the power draw of the G2120.

    If you're not running highly multi-threaded workloads (and many users aren't), these CPUs are quite good and you can find reasonably priced motherboards to go with them.
  • Pirks - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Yeah I meant it's faster because it has more cores and can do more things simultaneously. And if I need dual core CPU I can get some cheapo 3.2GHz Athlon II for $60. Wake me up when Intel lowers its Pentium price to $70 or so, then I'd consider it as a competition for AMD. For now all the people looking for best bang for the buck stay with AMD. Intel is for the lame fanboys and cash rich bench boasting "enthusiasts" IMHO.

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