Intel Core i3-3220 review

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A good entry-level CPU for general desktop use


Intel’s Core i3 processors have always offered decent performance and good value. The latest Core i3 to hit our labs, the third- generation Core i3-3220, appears to follow in that tradition. It’s a dual-core Ivy Bridge CPU that runs at a maximum clock speed of 3.3GHz and has 3MB of Intel Smart Cache.

Intel Core i3-3220

The Core i3-3220 doesn’t have a K suffix, which means you can’t easily overclock it, and it doesn’t have Turbo Boost, which would overclock it automatically and safely within certain thermal conditions. It does have Hyper-Threading, so each physical core runs as two logical cores, which should increase multitasking performance.

To test the Core i3-3220, we fitted it to an Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard with 4GB of RAM and connected a monitor to the board’s HDMI port. The Core i3-3220 isn’t the most exciting processor, and its benchmark results back this up, with the chip scoring 60 overall. It scored 56 in the video-editing and multitasking benchmarks, and an impressive 76 in our image-editing benchmark. Our reference CPU, which scores 100, has four cores. The fact that the Core i3-3220 has two cores partially explains its middling performance.

The Core i3-3220 has Intel HD Graphics 2500 on-chip graphics, which runs at a clock frequency of 650MHz. We had no problem when running productivity applications or web browsing, but it isn’t suited to playing modern 3D games. The Core i3-3220 failed our Crysis 2 benchmark, and Dirt Showdown gave us an average of 16fps when its graphics settings were set to low with no anti-aliasing and a resolution of 1,280x720. That frame rate still isn’t fast enough to enjoy the game, though.

The Core i3-3220 may be an entry-level CPU, but it isn’t cheap, especially when compared with some of the competition from AMD. It isn’t a CPU for overclockers and tinkerers, but it’s great for general desktop use and browsing the web. If you want a more powerful processor for video-editing or games, you're better off with AMD’s A10-5800K (see Reviews, Shopper 299), which is faster, and has four cores and more powerful graphics.

Basic Specifications

Processor core Ivy Bridge
Rating ****
Processor clock speed 3.3GHz
Processor socket LGA1155
Processor process 22nm
Processor number of cores 2
Processor supported instructions SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Processor multiplier x33
Processor external bus 100MHz
Supported memory type DDR3 1333/1600
Processor power rating (TDP) 55W
Price £92

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