|Recommended System Requirements|
|Game||Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz||Pentium Dual Core 2020M 2.4GHz|
|Total War: Warhammer Fantasy||148%||346%|
|No Mans Sky||74%||213%|
|Dark Souls 3||114%||284%|
|Need For Speed||141%||334%|
|Far Cry: Primal||132%||317%|
In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz is massively better than the Intel Pentium Dual Core 2020M 2.4GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.
Both the Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz and the Pentium Dual Core 2020M 2.4GHz were released at the same time, so are likely to be quite similar.
The Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz and the Pentium Dual Core both have 2 cores, and so are quite likely to struggle with the latest games, or at least bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them. With a decent accompanying GPU, the Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz and the Pentium Dual Core may still be able to run slightly older games fairly effectively.
More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.
The Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz and the Pentium Dual Core are from the same family of CPUs, and thus their clock speeds are directly comparable. With this in mind, it is safe to say that with a 0.1 GHz faster base clock rate, the Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz manages to provide marginally better performance than the Pentium Dual Core.
Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.
The Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz and the Pentium Dual Core have the same L2 cache size, but the Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz has a 1 MB bigger L3 cache, so in this area, it wins out over the Pentium Dual Core.
The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.
Both the Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz and the Pentium Dual Core have the same TDP of 35 Watts, and were created with the same manufacturing size of 22 nm, which means they will affect your yearly electricity bill about equally.
The Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz has an on-board GPU, which means that it will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card. The Pentium Dual Core, however, does not, and you will probably have to look for a dedicated card if you wish to use it at all.
For in-depth GPU comparisons with the Intel HD Graphics 4000 Mobile, click on the following GPU overview comparison icon (visible throughout Game-Debate), and choose a GPU from the list to compare against:
On-board GPUs tend to be fairly awful in comparison to dedicated cards from the likes of AMD or Nvidia, but as they are built into the CPU, they also tend to be cheaper and require far less power to run (this makes them a good choice for laptops). We would recommend a dedicated card for running the latest games, but integrated GPUs are improving all the time and casual gamers may find less recent games perform perfectly acceptably.
|CPU Codename||Ivy Bridge||Ivy Bridge|
|MoBo Socket||rPGA 988A / B / Socket G1 / G2||rPGA 988A / B / Socket G1 / G2|
|Release Date||30 Sep 2012||30 Sep 2012|
|CPU Link||GD Link||GD Link|
|Clock Speed||2.5 GHz||vs||2.4 GHz|
|Max TDP||35 W||vs||35 W|
|Lithography||22 nm||vs||22 nm|
|L1 Cache Size||128 KB||vs||128 KB|
|L2 Cache Size||512 KB||vs||512 KB|
|L3 Cache Size||3 MB||vs||2 MB|
|ECC Memory Support||no||vs||no|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 4000 Mobile||no|
|Base GPU Frequency||650 MHz||vs||-|
|Max GPU Frequency||1350 MHz||vs||-|
|Mini Review||Core i3-3120M 2.5GHz is a middle-class mobile processor based on the 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture with most of the Ivy Bridge features activated (not Turbo Boost). |
It features 2 Cores (4 Threads), clocked at 2.5GHz and integrated graphics called Intel HD 4000 which run at 650MHz (1100 MHz in Turbo mode). The CPU supports DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1600 memory types. Expect a TDP of up to 35 Watt.
Its gaming performance is quite good but would still become a bottleneck for high-end GPUs such as Radeon HD 7970M or GeForce GTX 680M.
|Pentium Dual Core 2020M 2.4GHz is a Dual-Core processor for budget oriented - entry - level laptops, based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge micro-architecture. |
Though based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, important features such as Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading are deactivated. It offers 2MB of L3 Cache and integrated graphics called Intel HD 2500, clocked at 650 MHz (up to 1100 MHz in Turbo Mode). The Memory Controller supports DDR3-1333 and DDR3-1600 memory types. It should consume no more than 35 Watt.
Its performance is quite average and behind entry-level i7 laptop processors and so it's best paired with entry and middle class level GPUs.