Select any two CPUs for comparison
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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 293% 10%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 429% 47%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 281% 6%
Watch Dogs Legion 429% 47%
FIFA 21 267% 2%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 345% 24%
Godfall 658% 112%
Grand Theft Auto VI 545% 80%
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands 511% 70%
Genshin Impact 197% 17%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz is massively better than the Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz 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.

The Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz was released less than a year after the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

The Core i7-3612QM 4-Core has 2 more cores than the Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz. With 4 cores, the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

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 i3-3217U 1.8GHz and the Core i7-3612QM 4-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 0.3 GHz faster base clock rate, the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core manages to provide slightly better performance than the Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz.

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 i7-3612QM 4-Core has a 512 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz, which means that it, at worst, wins out in this area, and at best, will provide superior gaming performance and will work much better with high-end graphics cards.

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.

The Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz has a 18 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core (though they were created with the same size 22 nm manufacturing technology). What this means is the Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz will consume slightly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill slightly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

The Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz and the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core both have an on-board GPU, which means that they will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card.

For an in-depth GPU comparison, click on the GPU comparison icon that you can find throughout Game-Debate:

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 Core Details

CPU CodenameIvy BridgeIvy Bridge
MoBo SocketBGA 1023BGA 1224
Notebook CPUyesyes
Release Date24 Jun 201229 Apr 2012
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores2vs4
CPU Threads-vs8
Clock Speed1.8 GHzvs2.1 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs3.1 GHz
Max TDP17 Wvs35 W
Lithography22 nmvs22 nm
Bit Width-vs64 Bit
Max Temperature-vs105°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size128 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size512 KBvs1024 KB
L3 Cache Size3 MBvs6 MB
Max Memory Size-vs32 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4000 MobileIntel HD Graphics 4000 Mobile
Base GPU Frequency650 MHzvs650 MHz
Max GPU Frequency1350 MHzvs1350 MHz
DirectX11vs11
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Battlefield 3vs
Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewIvy Bridge is the codename for Intel's 22 nm die shrink of the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture based on tri-gate ("3D") transistors. Ivy Bridge processors will be backwards-compatible with the Sandy Bridge platform, but might require a firmware update (vendor specific). Intel has released new 7-series Panther Point chipsets with integrated USB 3.0 to complement Ivy Bridge.Intel announced that volume production of Ivy Bridge chips began in the third quarter of 2011. Quad-core and dual-core-mobile models launched on April 29, 2012 and May 31, 2012 respectively. Meanwhile, Core i3 desktop processors are said to arrive in the third quarter of 2012.Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz is an energy efficient mobile processor based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge microarchitecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (8 Logical), initially clocked at 2.1GHz, which may go up to 3.1GHz and 6MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor integrates mildly powerful Integrated Graphics called Intel HD Graphics 4000, with 16 Execution Units, initially clocked at 650MHz and that go up to 1100MHz, in Turbo Mode which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.
Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 35W.

Its performance is very good and sufficient for any of today's games.