The Performance & Power Summary

I’ve added the Core i3 530 to our Bench database, if you want a full comparison of results head over there. What I’m providing here is a subset of our tests to show the 530’s strengths and weaknesses.

In every single non-gaming test, the Core i3 530 bests the Phenom II X2 550 BE. In our gaming benchmarks the 550 was faster in two out of our 8 benchmarks. In the rest, the i3 took the lead. The Core i3 530 also manages to outperform the Phenom II X2 550 BE while using significantly less power. In the battle of the dual-cores, the i3 wins. AMD needs to fight with clock speed at at 3.1GHz, the 550 can’t muster enough to beat the i3.

The Athlon II X4 630 comparison is a little more complicated. In single and lightly threaded applications, the i3 is a much better performer thanks to its higher clock speed. The i3's gaming performance is also significantly better across the board. What the Athlon II X4 loses in clock speed, it makes up for in core count. Things like video encoding and offline 3D rendering are almost always faster on the Athlon II X4 630.

Applications that are bound more by the performance of one or two threads are almost always faster on the Core i3 530. As a general purpose desktop microprocessor or a chip for a gaming rig, I’d opt for the Core i3 530. If you’re doing a lot of heavily threaded content creation, then the Athlon II X4 is the chip for you. If you’re somewhere in between, the choice is up to you. Our Photoshop test has the two processors very close to one another, but with the i3 taking the slight lead.

Power efficiency obviously goes to the Core i3 530 thanks to its 32nm transistors.

Index Integrated Graphics - Slower than AMD, Still Perfect for an HTPC


View All Comments

  • vol7ron - Saturday, January 23, 2010 - link

    You increased the power .16V AND decreased the multiplier.

    It's nice to see the overclock that got, but could you be consistent in what you present us? I'd like to really know what made the overclock beneficial.

    Please, be aware of your control group in your tests and at least give us one of the following:

    1. (Stock Power + Stock Multiplier) vs. (Stock Power + [Lower] Multiplier)
    2. (Stock Power + Lower Multiplier) vs. ([Higher] Power + Lower Multiplier)
    3. (Stock Power + Stock Multiplier) vs. ([Higher] Power + Stock Multiplier)

    Notice: in each test there is only one thing that changes (in the brackets).

    That will help answer my question: Can the i3 530 overclock to ~4000MHz at a lower multiplier on stock power?

  • Minion4Hire - Sunday, January 24, 2010 - link

    I think it was implied (or just directly stated) that he was unable to overclock the 530 past 3.3 GHz in any manner until more voltage was applied. That could just be an "anomaly" of sorts with their 530 so it's probably best not to dwell on it. If you actually intend to buy and overclock the 530 you'll figure it out then. The small details and mindless minutiae really don't matter. It can hit 4 GHz with relative ease; What more could you ask for? Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, January 24, 2010 - link

    I took that to mean 3.3GHz was the highest he got at a stock multiplier. If what you say is correct, it'd be nice to see the highest overclock out of the box (stock power/multiplier) -- a benchmark is needed.

    "If you actually intend to buy and overclock the 530 you'll figure it out then."
    - I will give you time to retract this statement, since it is the most ignorant thing I've heard regarding a review site. After all,'s subtitle: "your source for hardware analysis and more." If overclocking CPUs is not part of hardware analysis, then I invite you to leave. When determining an i3 vs i7 buy, overclocking makes a big difference, especially on stock power.

  • AssBall - Monday, January 25, 2010 - link

    If you think comparing a 300 dollar cpu to a 120 dollar one is relevent, then I also invite your egotistical ass to leave. It was a good article, and you are just trolling.

    Set up your own multinational hardware site, then come and spout your anal retentive horse shit.
  • jigglywiggly - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    anandtech, you want to give me one Reply
  • lanvince - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    ???????~~I would like to own one frankly Reply
  • formulav8 - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    Anand, I'm not sure why you keep saying Intel has better integrated graphics than nvidia, and even amd.

    Your own results shows the AMD graphics besting both the i3 and the i5 660. AMD wins 3 and Intel wins 2. 1 is a tie.

    Also it appears where the i660 loses, it loses by quite a lot. AMD loses one test up to 20% and the other is about 15%. Intel loses up to 30% and almost 30% in another.

    So whats the deal? Am I simply reading your graphs wrong? And when you think about it, Intels graphics having direct mem controller access and still can't truly beat nvidia/amd is pretty sad you have to admit.

    But one thing is for sure. AMD cpu's is now behind in the lower midrange area in quite a few areas. The best thing is you can get $50 mobo's for AMD. Intel boards still cost more even including rebates, unless things has changed recently...

  • Penti - Sunday, January 24, 2010 - link

    He's not saying that. He just implies it's a better platform and that it's better for HTPC. It's really good enough if you don't game, so why the fuss? No IGP is really gameable. He has already implied that it might change with 880/890 integrated graphics. Reply
  • 0roo0roo - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    I just find that the more cores feels much more responsive to general system use while doing such encoding tasks compared to a core 2, so i have doubts they can be compared so simply/synthetically. Reply
  • Ronstar - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link


    I bought a PC with an I3 2.93ghz 1GB CPU and would like to upgrade the Graphic card. I do not know if their is a correlation between the power if the CPU and what graphic card would work well, but I assume that a bottleneck could happen at the CPU in which case I would not benefit from a very high powered graphic card capabilities. then maybe I am wrong......

    Could someone please advise what the best graphic card is that would be worth upgrading too?

    thank you plenty

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