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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83GHz Core i3-3240 3.4GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 81% 83%
Control 132% 134%
eFootball PES 2020 76% 77%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 132% 134%
Grand Theft Auto VI 190% 192%
Borderlands 3 81% 83%
Total War: Three Kingdoms 190% 192%
Red Dead Redemption 2 143% 145%
FIFA 20 53% 54%
F1 2019 143% 145%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83GHz is marginally better than the Intel Core i3-3240 3.4GHz 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.

The Core i3-3240 3.4GHz was released less than a year after the Core 2 Quad, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

Both CPUs exhibit very powerful performance, so it probably isn't worth upgrading from one to the other, as both are capable of running even the most demanding games at the highest settings (assuming they are accompanied by equivalently powerful GPUs).

The Core 2 Quad has 2 more cores than the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz. With 4 cores, the Core 2 Quad is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83GHz and the Intel Core i3-3240 3.4GHz have the same number of threads. The Core 2 Quad has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz uses hyperthreading and has 2 logical threads per physical core.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

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 2 Quad and Core i3-3240 3.4GHz are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz has a 0.57 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. In this case, however, the difference is enough that it possibly indicates the superiority of the Core 2 Quad.

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 2 Quad has a 11776 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz, and although the Core 2 Quad does not appear to have an L3 cache, its larger L2 cache means that it wins out in this area.

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 i3-3240 3.4GHz has a 10 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core 2 Quad, and was created with a 23 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz 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 i3-3240 3.4GHz 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 Core 2 Quad, 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 2500 Desktop, 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.

Can I Run It

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CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameYorkfieldIvy Bridge
MoBo SocketLGA 775/ Socket TLGA 1155/Socket H2
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date19 Apr 200901 Sep 2012
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs2
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed2.83 GHzvs3.4 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
System Bus 1333 MHzvs-
Max TDP65 Wvs55 W
Lithography45 nmvs22 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature76.3°Cvs65°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size256 KBvs128 KB
L2 Cache Size12288 KBvs512 KB
L3 Cache Size-vs3 MB
Max Memory Size-vs32 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 2500 Desktop
Base GPU Frequency-vs650 MHz
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs11
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size37.5mm x 37.5mmvs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewCore 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83GHz is a power efficient Processor based on the 45nm Core micro-architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.83GHz and 12MB of L2 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 65W.

It offers average performance. It will therefore become a bottleneck in today's demanding games.
Core i3-3240 3.4GHz is a middle-class CPU based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 3.4GHz and 3MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Turbo Boost and HyperThreading are activated.

The processor integrates relatively weak Graphics called Intel HD Graphics 2500, with 6 Execution Units, initially clocked at 650MHz and that go up to 1050MHz, 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 55W.

It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.

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