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

  • kwrzesien - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    When is that Gigabyte board going to be available? I've already bought two 530's from Microcenter for $99 each and one GA-H55M-U2H board from Newegg to go into Antec P180's. I'm really hoping to get the USB3 ports and triple-power USB that is on the -USB3 model. It's been announced since mid-December and is only Gigabytes website but absolutely no signs of it in e-tail yet. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link


    We'll ask about this first thing Monday morning and get back to you with an answer if possible.

  • kwrzesien - Monday, January 25, 2010 - link


    Thanks for looking into this! Still no sign on NewEgg as of this morning. I need to order by tomorrow to get my friend's build out, maybe I should just look for USB3.0 PCIe cards...

  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - link


    I'll paste the response I got back from GB this morning:

    We have 4 H57/H55 models on the NA marketing currently. The model name and selling price of Newegg are listed below:

    "H57M-USB3: $10+ up than H55M-USB3, wait for posting from Newegg.

    H55M-USB3: $109.99,">

    H55M-UD2H: $104.99,">

    H55M-S2H: $89.99,">


    Hope this helps!

  • kwrzesien - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - link


    THANKS! Really I just couldn't wait so I ordered another UD2H and a $40 USB3 card, the second build can get upgraded with USB3 later. Looks like the H57M-USB3 would be a better price overall but then you do loose two USB2 ports from the back panel - I hope they include a 2-port slot adapter on the USB3 model because they sure don't in the UD2H model, which already has 2 internal USB2 headers.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    An AMD motherboard, with a northbridge and IGP is cheaper than an H55 motherboard that has no northbridge. I want to know why, and that should be the #1 question when it comes to i3, and yet you didnt even address this issue. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    I mentioned this in an earlier comment. It's the same reason that AMD motherboard prices didn't go down when we moved from the K7 to K8 - chipset prices remained the same.

    The H5x chipsets, despite most of the logic being shifted onto the CPU package, are no cheaper than the previous generation G4x chipsets. Both AMD and Intel have made it very clear that as they integrate more functions onto the CPU, they aren't going to lower chipset prices. Instead, profit margins go up.

    It's a fairly new platform so I'd expect average prices to drop as production ramps up, but that's the main reason the boards aren't any cheaper. I believe you can buy H55 boards for less than $90 on Newegg now, and then there's this ECS board that sells for under $80 (under $70 with MIR) -">

    Take care,
  • tno - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    I have a Q9300@3/X48/4890 based system. I'm a pretty average user, and the hardest work my CPU does is the occasional HD encode, and the systems hardest daily toll is gaming on one screen with an HD video on the other. I have not seen any slow down or deficiencies in my system, and don't feel limited in the slightest. I haven't played the newest, most stressful games around, but on the whole, I don't see a big case for making the jump to Nehalem or Clarkdale. Indeed, I feel comfortable sitting on my rig till Sandy Bridge.

    So, am I nuts? Am I missing some hugely compelling reason to make the jump? Is it the efficiency? Or is this tock really not as big a deal as the last tock (Penryn)?

  • Taft12 - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    If you're a "pretty average" user, why did you buy a "pretty high end" motherboard and video card if you don't even play new games?? Shoulda gone for something half the price and upgrade twice as often :) Reply
  • tno - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    My wife was on a bunch of away rotations and so I was home alone and bored. That lead to a series of purchases that were in tune with the lifestyle of a guy with time and cash to spend. Then my wife came home and suddenly the time and the cash went away. Don't get me wrong, I love my wife, but it was a fun time and had she been away much longer I'd be cruising with some wicked water cooled i7 rig. Reply

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