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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i3-3240 3.4GHz Phenom II X4 940
Cyberpunk 2077 83% 80%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 134% 131%
eFootball PES 2020 77% 74%
Total War: Three Kingdoms 192% 188%
Grand Theft Auto VI 192% 188%
Borderlands 3 83% 80%
Red Dead Redemption 2 145% 142%
F1 2019 145% 141%
Control 134% 131%
Doom Eternal 77% 74%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the AMD Phenom II X4 940 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 over three years more recently than the Phenom II X4, and so the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz is likely to have far better levels of support, and will be much more optimized and ultimately superior to the Phenom II X4 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 Phenom II X4 has 2 more cores than the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz. With 4 cores, the Phenom II X4 is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the Intel Core i3-3240 3.4GHz and the AMD Phenom II X4 940 have the same number of threads. The Phenom II X4 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 i3-3240 3.4GHz and Phenom II X4 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 0.4 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 Phenom II X4.

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 Phenom II X4 has a 1536 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz, 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 i3-3240 3.4GHz has a 70 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Phenom II X4, and was created with a 23 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core i3-3240 3.4GHz 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 i3-3240 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 Phenom 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.

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CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameIvy BridgeDeneb
MoBo SocketLGA 1155/Socket H2Socket AM2+
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date01 Sep 201208 Jan 2009
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores2vs4
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed3.4 GHzvs3 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
Max TDP55 Wvs125 W
Lithography22 nmvs45 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature65°Cvs62°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size128 KBvs512 KB
L2 Cache Size512 KBvs2048 KB
L3 Cache Size3 MBvs6 MB
Max Memory Size-vs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 2500 Desktop
Base GPU Frequency650 MHzvs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX11vs-
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 ReviewCore 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.
Phenom II X4 960 is a performance processor based on the 45nm, K10 architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 3.0GHz and 6MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated and the clock multiplier is unlocked, meaning it can be overclocked easily.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 125W.

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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