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Intel Core i3-3220 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £92
inc VAT

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 1,280×720. 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 coreIvy Bridge
Processor clock speed3.3GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Processor process22nm
Processor number of cores2
Processor supported instructionsSSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Processor multiplierx33
Processor external bus100MHz
Supported memory typeDDR3 1333/1600
Processor power rating (TDP)55W

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