Select any two CPUs for comparison

Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz APU A10-4600M Quad-Core
Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip 132% 276%
Red Dead Redemption 2 132% 276%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 72% 179%
Halo: Reach 4% 55%
Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order 157% 315%
Borderlands 3 132% 276%
Cyberpunk 2077 97% 219%
FIFA 20 66% 169%
Fortnite: Chapter 2 28% 107%
eFootball PES 2020 91% 209%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz is massively better than the AMD APU A10-4600M Quad-Core 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 less than a year after the APU A10-4600M Quad-Core, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

The APU A10-4600M Quad-Core has 2 more cores than the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz. With 4 cores, the APU A10-4600M Quad-Core is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the Intel Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz and the AMD APU A10-4600M Quad-Core have the same number of threads. The APU A10-4600M Quad-Core has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz 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 i5-3230M 2.6GHz and APU A10-4600M Quad-Core 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 0.3 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 APU A10-4600M Quad-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 APU A10-4600M Quad-Core has a 3584 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz, and although the APU A10-4600M Quad-Core 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.

Both the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz and the APU A10-4600M Quad-Core have the same TDP of 35 Watts, but the Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz has a lower lithography size, and so will affect your yearly electricity bills less adversely.

The Core i5-3230M 2.6GHz and the APU A10-4600M Quad-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 BridgeTrinity
MoBo SocketBGA 1023Socket FS1
Notebook CPUyesyes
Release Date20 Jan 201315 May 2012
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores2vs4
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed2.6 GHzvs2.3 GHz
Turbo Frequency3.2 GHzvs3.2 GHz
Max TDP35 Wvs35 W
Lithography22 nmvs32 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature105°Cvs100°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size128 KBvs192 KB
L2 Cache Size512 KBvs4096 KB
L2 Cache Speed-vs-
L3 Cache Size3 MBvs-
Max Memory Size-vs-
Max Memory Bandwidth-vs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4000 MobileRadeon HD 7660G
Base GPU Frequency650 MHzvs496 MHz
Max GPU Frequency1350 MHzvs685 MHz
Displays Supported3vs-

CPU Package and Version Specifications

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

Gaming Performance Value

Far Cry 3vs
Crysis 3vs
Battlefield 4vs
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.
Fusion A10-4600M Quad Core is a Mobile CPU with 4 Cores and Threads and part of the APUs family released by AMD in 2010/2012.
It's based on the Piledriver architecture and each core is clocked at 2.3GHz and can go to up to 3.2GHz.
It features integrated graphics called Radeon HD 7660G that offer light gaming performance.
The performance falls behind most Intel i7 Sandy and Ivy Bridge but paired with the appropriate GPU, all games will be playable at whichever settings the user wants.

Vendor-Specific Features

Intel Quick Sync VideoAMD Power Management
Intel InTru 3DAMD Business Class
Intel InsiderAMD Black Edition
Intel Wireless Display
Intel Flexible Display
Intel Clear Video HD
Intel vPro
Intel Hyper-Threading
Intel Virt. Tech. for Directed I/O
Intel Trusted Execution
AES New Instructions
Intel Anti-Theft
Idle States
Intel SpeedStep
Thermal Monitoring
Execute Disable Bit
Intel VT-x with EPT
Embedded Options