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CPU Core Details

CPU Codename Ivy Bridge Yorkfield
MoBo Socket LGA 1155/Socket H2 LGA 775/ Socket T
Notebook CPU no no
Release Date 01 Sep 2012 07 Jan 2008
CPU Link GD Link GD Link

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores 2 4
CPU Threads 4 4
Clock Speed 3.3 GHz 2.83 GHz
Turbo Frequency - -
System Bus - 1333 MHz
Max TDP 55 W 95 W
Lithography 22 nm 45 nm
Bit Width 64 Bit 64 Bit
Max Temperature 65°C 71°C
Virtualization Technology no no

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size 128 KB 256 KB
L2 Cache Size 512 KB 12288 KB
L2 Cache Speed - -
L3 Cache Size 3 MB -
Memory Types
Max Memory Size 32 GB -
Memory Channels 2 2
ECC Memory Support no no

CPU Graphics

Integrated Graphics no no
Base GPU Frequency - -
Max GPU Frequency - -
DirectX - -
Displays Supported - -

CPU Mini Review

Mini Review Core i3-3220 3.3GHz is a middle-class CPU based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge architecture. It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 3.3GHz 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. Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz is a high-end Processor based on the 45nm Core micro-architecture. It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.83Hz 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 95W. It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.

Gaming Performance Comparison

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz is marginally better than the Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz 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.

Both the Core i3-3220 3.3GHz and the Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz were released at the same time, so are likely to be quite similar.

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 4 has 2 more cores than the Core i3-3220 3.3GHz. { With 4 cores, the 4 is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz and the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz have the same number of threads. The Core 2 Quad has one thread per physical core, whereas the $strippedName1 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 i3-3220 3.3GHz 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 i3-3220 3.3GHz has a 0.47 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 4.

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 <span class='gpu2Mention'>Core 2 Quad</span> has a 11776 KB bigger L2 cache than the <span class='gpu1Mention'>Core i3-3220 3.3GHz</span>, 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.