Select any two CPUs for comparison
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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz Core i7-3720QM 4-Core 2.6GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 10% 8%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 47% 24%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 6% 10%
FIFA 21 2% 14%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 24% 5%
Watch Dogs Legion 47% 24%
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands 70% 44%
Horizon: Zero Dawn 24% 5%
Grand Theft Auto VI 80% 52%
Genshin Impact 17% 30%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-3720QM 4-Core 2.6GHz is massively better than the Intel Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz 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 i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz and the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core 2.6GHz 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 Core i7-3612QM 4-Core and the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core both have 4 cores, which is not likely to be a limiting factor for gaming.

Both the Intel Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz and the Intel Core i7-3720QM 4-Core 2.6GHz have the same number of threads. Both the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core and the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core use hyperthreading. The Core i7-3612QM 4-Core has 2 logical threads per physical core and the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core has 2.

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 i7-3612QM 4-Core and the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core are from the same family of CPUs, and thus their clock speeds are directly comparable. With this in mind, it is safe to say that with a 0.5 GHz faster base clock rate, the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core manages to provide noticeably better performance than the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core. What is more, the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core also manages to eke 0.5 GHz higher frequency when being stressed by CPU-intensive applications.

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 i7-3612QM 4-Core and the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core have the same L2 cache size, and the same L3 cache size, so in terms of cache-related gaming performance, we have to look back to the clock rate, where the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core wins out.

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 i7-3612QM 4-Core has a 10 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core i7-3720QM 4-Core (though they were created with the same size 22 nm manufacturing technology). What this means is the Core i7-3612QM 4-Core 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 i7-3612QM 4-Core and the Core i7-3720QM 4-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 BridgeIvy Bridge
MoBo SocketBGA 1224BGA 1224
Notebook CPUyesyes
Release Date29 Apr 201229 Apr 2012
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores4vs4
CPU Threads8vs8
Clock Speed2.1 GHzvs2.6 GHz
Turbo Frequency3.1 GHzvs3.6 GHz
Max TDP35 Wvs45 W
Lithography22 nmvs22 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature105°Cvs105°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size256 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size1024 KBvs1024 KB
L3 Cache Size6 MBvs6 MB
Max Memory Size-vs32 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4000 MobileIntel HD Graphics 4000 Mobile
Base GPU Frequency650 MHzvs650 MHz
Max GPU Frequency1350 MHzvs1350 MHz
DirectX11vs11
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Battlefield 3vs
Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewCore i7-3612QM 4-Core 2.1GHz is an energy efficient mobile processor based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge microarchitecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (8 Logical), initially clocked at 2.1GHz, which may go up to 3.1GHz and 6MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor integrates mildly powerful Integrated 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.

Its performance is very good and sufficient for any of today's games.
Core i7-3720QM 4-Core 2.6GHz is a high-end mobile processor based on the 22nm, Ivy Bridge microarchitecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (8 Logical), initially clocked at 2.6GHz, which may go up to 3.6GHz and 6MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor integrates mildly powerful Graphics called Intel HD Graphics 4000, with 16 Execution Units, initially clocked at 650MHz and that go up to 1250MHz, 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 45W.

Its performance is very good and sufficient for any of today's games.