Select any two CPUs for comparison
VS

Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz Core 2 Quad Q9100 2.26GHz
Red Dead Redemption 2 132% 266%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 72% 172%
Halo: Reach 4% 51%
Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order 157% 305%
Cyberpunk 2077 97% 211%
Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip 132% 266%
Borderlands 3 132% 266%
FIFA 20 66% 162%
Halo: The Master Chief Collection 132% 266%
Fortnite: Chapter 2 28% 101%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz is massively better than the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9100 2.26GHz 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz was released over three years more recently than the Core 2 Quad, and so the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz is likely to have far better levels of support, and will be much more optimized and ultimately superior to the Core 2 Quad when running the latest games.

The Core 2 Quad has 2 more cores than the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz. 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.

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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz and Core 2 Quad 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz has a 0.33 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz, 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz 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 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 Core Details

CPU CodenameIvy BridgePenryn
MoBo SocketBGA 1023Socket P
Notebook CPUyesyes
Release Date20 Jan 201319 Aug 2008
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores2vs4
CPU Threads4vs-
Clock Speed2.6 GHzvs2.27 GHz
Turbo Frequency3.2 GHzvs-
Max TDP35 Wvs45 W
Lithography22 nmvs45 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs-
Max Temperature105°Cvs-
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size128 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size512 KBvs12288 KB
L2 Cache Speed-vs-
L3 Cache Size3 MBvs-
Max Memory Size-vs-
Max Memory Bandwidth-vs-
Memory Channels-vs-
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4000 Mobileno
Base GPU Frequency650 MHzvs-
Max GPU Frequency1350 MHzvs-
DirectX11vs-
Displays Supported3vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size37.5 X 37.5vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision3vs-
PCIe Configurations3vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewCore i5-3230M 2.6GHz is a middle-class mobile processor based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 2.6GHz, which may go up to 3.2GHz and 3MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated and the processor has multiplier unlocked.

The processor integrates mildly powerful 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.

It offers average performance. This means it will become a bottleneck in some demanding applications.
Core 2 Quad processors are multi-chip modules consisting of two dies similar to those used in Core 2 Duo, forming a quad-core processor. While this allows twice the performance to a dual-core processors at the same clock frequency in ideal conditions, this is highly workload specific and requires applications to take advantage of the extra cores. Also, high-end Core 2 Duo processors often operate at higher clock frequencies, so the performance for single-thread workloads would be worse on a Core 2 Quad.
Initially, all Core 2 Quad models were versions of Core 2 Duo desktop processors, Kentsfield derived from Conroe and Yorkfield from Wolfdale, but later Penryn-QC was added as a high-end version of the mobile dual-core Penryn.

Vendor-Specific Features

Intel Quick Sync VideoIntel Quick Sync Video
Intel InTru 3DIntel InTru 3D
Intel InsiderIntel Insider
Intel Wireless DisplayIntel Wireless Display
Intel Flexible DisplayIntel Flexible Display
Intel Clear Video HDIntel Clear Video HD
Intel vProIntel vPro
Intel Hyper-ThreadingIntel Hyper-Threading
Intel Virt. Tech. for Directed I/OIntel Virt. Tech. for Directed I/O
Intel Trusted ExecutionIntel Trusted Execution
AES New InstructionsAES New Instructions
Intel Anti-TheftIntel Anti-Theft
Idle StatesIdle States
Intel SpeedStepIntel SpeedStep
Thermal MonitoringThermal Monitoring
Execute Disable BitExecute Disable Bit
Intel VT-x with EPTIntel VT-x with EPT
Embedded OptionsEmbedded Options

Title

Body