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Intel Core i3 3225 and 3220 review: entry-level Ivy Bridge

A review of the Intel Core i3 3225 and 3220

It's starting to look not so good for AMD. Aside from a few completely multi-threaded benchmarks, the new Core i3 processors with two cores are faster than the AMD A8s with four cores. It's no wonder AMD found itself forced to lower it prices again recently. The most high-end AMD Llano processor, the A8 3870K, is still cheaper than the Core i3s tested here. An AMD A6 processor you can buy for half the price of an i3. See also: Intel Ivy Bridge review.

When Intel launched the Ivy Bridge processors in April, it was limited to the Core i7 and Core i5 processors. In June a few more affordable i5 versions were added to the line-up, and last month saw the release of Core i3s and Pentiums in the Ivy Bridge family. Hardware.Info tested the Core i3 3220 and 3225, two processors with an average price of £96 and £111, respectively. 

The new Core i3 and Pentium processors are the first dual-core Ivy Bridge chips for desktop PCs. The main difference between those two versions is that the Core i3s have HyperThreading enabled and appear as quad-core CPUs, while the Pentiums don't have this feature. Neither have a turbo mode. In comparison, the Core i5s and Core i7s are quad-core CPUs with turbo, and the Core i7s also have HyperThreading. See also: Intel Ivy Bridge 7-series motherboards tested.

Intel launched three standard Core i3 versions: the Core i3 3240, 3225 and 3220. They each have a TDP of 55 W and run at 3.4, 3.3 and 3.3 GHz. The 3225 is a little bit different, as it comes with a HD Graphics 4000 GPU with 16 shader units. The other two version only have HD Graphics 2500. In addition to the three standard Core i3 versions, Intel also introduced two T models with a TDP of 35 W. The 3240T and 3220T run at 2.9 and 2.8 GHz, respectively.

The new Pentium in the Ivy Bridge family is called the Pentium G2120. It has a clock frequency of 3.1 GHz, and has HD Graphics, which is a version of HD Graphics 2500. The main difference here is the lack of support for QuickSync, 3D monitors and Wireless Displays. Intel's version of HD video post-processing, called Clear Video HD, also is not included, and that means that this Pentium chip is not suited for HTPCs. The G2120 has a TDP of 55 W, just like the Core i3s. Intel also released a more energy-efficient T version, the G2100T runs at 2.6 GHz and has a TDP of 35 W.

It's starting to look not so good for AMD. Aside from a few completely multi-threaded benchmarks, the new Core i3s with two cores are faster than the AMD A8s with four cores. It's no wonder AMD found itself forced to lower it prices again recently. It should be mentioned that the most high-end AMD Llano processor, the A8 3870K, is still cheaper than the Core i3s tested here. An AMD A6 processor you can buy for half the price of an i3.

You do get a lot for your money with the new Core i3s. For an affordable allround PC these are nice CPUs. If you don't want to buy a dedicated graphics card, then your best choice is the Core i3 3225. This chip stands out because it combines the relatively fast GPU from the more expensive Core i5 3570 and Core i7 3770K with the affordability of the Core i3s.

To read the full review, go to Hardware.Info.

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