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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  • Patflute - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    It performs better than the Phenom II X4 and consumes less power...

    Go away AMD fan boy, just realize that AMD processors suck...

    The stock cooler is fine... I'm getting 35 degrees Celsius idle with a i5-3450... The i3 is cooler so...
  • Pirks - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    yeah sure, two cores perform better than four, LOL
    Intel fanboys are such a funny bunch
  • yuchai - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Two cores do perform better than four if your workload doesn't use more than two cores at once, which is probably the majority of desktop workload. IMO single core performance is still king in a desktop environment. You do still need dualcore, but not really any more than that.
  • pablo906 - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Ya his AMD cpu goes to 11, and that's louder than 10 because you know it's 11.....
  • SlyNine - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Don't reply to trolls.
  • Hector2 - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Not all cores are created equal. I forget which review it was, but Anand has published reviews with benchmarks showing various Intel dual cores out-performing AMD quad cores. AMD just doesn't have the process technology that Intel does anymore and they're struggling to catch up. Similarly, do you expect an ARM quad core to out-perform either an AMD or Intel dual core ? I hardly think so.
  • tammlam - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    Pirks...I've seen your posts on another website. I think it's Fudzilla. You're better off staying over there...this is not a forum for you.
  • silverblue - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Of course IB is going to use less power - you get four times the number of transistors per mm2. Performance varies on what you're trying to do; in some cases, the 965 BE's extra cores will completely obliterate the new Pentium... but who expected any different? In gaming, the G2120 will win far more than it loses, at least until games really become threaded.

    The comparison to the top Llano would be interesting but for most uses, Llano's extra cores go wasted. Desktop Trinity is the thing we need to compare it to. Still, looking at the comparison between the G620 and the 965 BE, using approx. 2.5x the power whilst performing at 1.6x the speed isn't too shabby, given that it's an entire process behind (Llano is on a less mature 32nm process and as such, the gap closes a bit). That's just the one usage case, though, and that's only against the G620.

    That i3-3225 is looking like it'll be in a fair few HTPCs.
  • SlyNine - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Whether its a node behind isn't the issue. Why should consumer worry or care about that?

    Its all about, performance or power usage or price. Or any combination of the three that is important to you. Even if performance is your most important factor, The Intel can still win many tests and not just games.

    I use AMDs for many of my builds, but it seems to be less and less.
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I've had a Phenom 2 x4, Athlon 2 x4 that unlocked into a Phenom 2, Phenom 2 x6 1090T, AMD FX 8120 and now have a Core i7 3930K.

    One thing all these processors have in common is that they can ALL be undervolted, AMD generally has very high voltages, more than what they need so they don't have to be so aggressive with validation and hence save money.

    The end result is you can get some pretty significant energy savings by undervolting to the point where it can close the gap in terms of TDP between Intel and AMD.

    When I had a Phenom 2 x6 1090T for instance the stock voltage was 1.35v, I dropped that down to 1.15 volts and kept the same clockspeed which made a massive difference, the FX you can get even more aggressive with the voltages.

    But in the end, if you compare Intel and AMD's TDP's directly, then you are doing it wrong, AMD and Intels TDP values are not comparable because they measure them differently, a 100w TDP Intel chip will not use the same amount of power as a 100w TDP AMD chip.

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