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
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  • MadMan007 - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    The Clarkdale CPUs are that much less efficient, likely because of the off-die but on-package memory controller not to mention only 2 'real' cores. It's more like having a fast-connected Northbridge in a traditional FSB arrangement than the on-die memory controller of Lynnfield. ardocp did their Clarkdale review with set speeds and no Turboboost and Clarkdale needed a lot more clockspeed to equal Lynnfield. That's why the i5-600 CPUs make little sense unless you desparately want the combination of certain features and integrated graphics, they are too close in price to the i5-750. Reply
  • StormyParis - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    95 euros for Gigabyte 13566 UD2H, vs 80 for their 785G. That's 20-25 US dollars. At least, both have DVI and HDMI, contrary to Intel Atom 510 board (what were they thinking ?) Reply
  • Calin - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    I would still prefer integrated graphics from AMD/ATI - but did you saw (or felt) any graphical issues with the integrated graphic from Intel?

    I'm waiting for the next IGP from AMD/ATI, based on what the current competition is, it should be much better than what Intel has now.
    Reply
  • Egowhip69 - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Picked up one of these things... along with a gigabyte ga-h55m-ud2h board.

    Having AWFUL issues with random reboots. Changed the Memory, PSU, HDD, you name it... then I uninstalled the intel graphics and changed the chip to an i5... no problems.

    Just to check, I threw the i3 back in... but no intel drivers... no reboots on a 3 day burn in... added the drivers back... reboot within 45 min.

    Both on Win7 pro 64bit, and Xp pro 32bit.

    Intel's drivers are VERY immature at the moment...
    Reply
  • bupkus - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    Anand, does the table showing the results of the 4GHz i3 530 overclock include a graphics overclock as well? Reply
  • Calin - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    The game results with the 4GHz overclock are obtained with a heavy-duty video card, there's no way the integrated graphics would get such results.
    What I'd like to know is - was the integrated graphic chip active during that 4GHz overclock? And how much could one push the i3 with active (eventually downclocked) internal graphic?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    Correct. The IGP wasn't running, only the Radeon HD 5870. I haven't tried to figure out the max overclock while pushing both the CPU and the GPU, I'd guess it'd be relatively similar though. The two chips are physically separate, so as long as you can adequately remove the heat of the GPU you should be fine.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • notty22 - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    Your going to catch some flak for deeming this a overall better gaming cpu , in a chart comparing it to a amd 965. Reply
  • nerdtalker - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    The i3 is creeping surprisingly close to the i7 920, too close for my comfort, in fact.

    /goes and overclocks i7 920 even more
    Reply
  • kwrzesien - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    /goes and turns down the thermostat Reply

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