Select any two CPUs for comparison
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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Athlon II X4 559 Core i3-3250 3.5GHz
Hitman 3 111% 116%
Cyberpunk 2077 57% 60%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 111% 116%
Resident Evil 8 74% 78%
FIFA 21 47% 50%
Grand Theft Auto VI 158% 163%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 52% 55%
Genshin Impact 19% 21%
Far Cry 6 148% 153%
The Medium 169% 175%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the AMD Athlon II X4 559 is marginally better than the Intel Core i3-3250 3.5GHz 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 i3-3250 3.5GHz was released less than a year after the Athlon II X4, 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 Athlon II X4 has 2 more cores than the Core i3-3250 3.5GHz. With 4 cores, the Athlon II X4 is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the AMD Athlon II X4 559 and the Intel Core i3-3250 3.5GHz have the same number of threads. The Athlon II X4 has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i3-3250 3.5GHz 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 Athlon II X4 and Core i3-3250 3.5GHz 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 i3-3250 3.5GHz has a 0.1 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. As such, we need to look elsewhere for more reliable comparisons.

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 Athlon II X4 has a 1536 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i3-3250 3.5GHz, 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 i3-3250 3.5GHz has a 104 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Athlon II X4, and was created with a 23 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core i3-3250 3.5GHz will consume significantly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill significantly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

The Core i3-3250 3.5GHz 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 Athlon II X4, 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.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameCallistoIvy Bridge
MoBo SocketSocket AM2+ / AM3LGA 1155/Socket H2
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date01 Jan 201109 Jun 2013
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs2
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed3.4 GHzvs3.5 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
Max TDP159 Wvs55 W
Lithography45 nmvs22 nm
Bit Width-vs64 Bit
Max Temperature-vs65°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size512 KBvs128 KB
L2 Cache Size2048 KBvs512 KB
L3 Cache Size6 MBvs3 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 Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewThis is the unlocked version of the Phenom II X2 B59.Core i3-3250 3.5GHz is a middle-class CPU based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 3.5GHz 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.