We knew the Core i3 Ivy Bridge CPUs were coming, but details on precisely when that would happen and how much they would cost were a bit harder to come by. Just after our recent Budget Buyer’s Guide last week, lower end 22nm processors from Intel showed up at Newegg and other retailers. Let’s quickly run over the chips, their features, and how they stack up compared to existing offerings. There are also a few other new Core i5 processors that recently showed up, which we’ll cover as well.

New Intel Pentium and Core i3 Processors
Model Pentium G2120 Core i3-3220 Core i3-3220T Core i3-3225
Base Clock 3.1GHz 3.3GHz 2.8GHz 3.3GHz
Max Turbo N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cores 2 2 2 2
Threads 2 4 4 4
L3 Cache 3MB 3MB 3MB 3MB
TDP 55W 55W 35W 55W
Graphics HD Graphics HD 2500 HD 2500 HD 4000
iGPU Base Clock 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz
GPU Turbo Clock 1.05GHz 1.05GHz 1.05GHz 1.05GHz
Quick Sync No Yes Yes Yes
WiDi No Yes Yes Yes
Hyper-Threading No Yes Yes Yes
VT-x Yes Yes Yes Yes
VT-d No No No No
AES-NI No No No No
VT-x w/ EPT Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pricing (Tray/Box) $86/$93 $117/$125 $117/$125 $134/$144
Online Price $100 $120 $130 $145

New Intel Core i3 and Core i5 Processors
Model Core i3-3240 Core i3-3240T Core i5-3330 Core i5-3350P
Base Clock 3.4GHz 2.9GHz 3.0GHz 3.1GHz
Max Turbo N/A N/A 3.2GHz 3.3GHz
Cores 2 2 4 4
Threads 4 4 4 4
L3 Cache 3MB 3MB 6MB 6MB
TDP 55W 35W 77W 69W
Graphics HD 2500 HD 2500 HD 2500 No
iGPU Base Clock 650MHz 650MHz 650MHz NA
GPU Turbo Clock 1.05GHz 1.05GHz 1.05GHz NA
Quick Sync Yes Yes Yes No
WiDi Yes Yes Yes No
Hyper-Threading Yes Yes No No
VT-x Yes Yes Yes Yes
VT-d No No Yes Yes
AES-NI No No Yes Yes
VT-x w/ EPT Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pricing (Tray/Box) $138/$147 $138/NA $182/$187 $177/$177
Online Price $150 NA $200 $190

Starting from the top, we have the least expensive 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU we’ve seen to date, the Pentium G2120. While Intel’s pricing is slightly lower than Newegg’s $100, it’s still too expensive to actually displace the Celeron G530 as our budget CPU recommendation—especially when you can find sales where the G530 is going for just $39 shipped! The HD Graphics in the Pentium should be slightly faster than the HD Graphics in the older Celeron, as they’re the newer DX11 GPU core (without Quick Sync or some of the other “extras” enabled), but even so they’re not fast enough to really warrant spending three times as much money.

Most of the Core i3 models fall into a similar category, with the exception of the i3-3225. If you’re going iGPU for your graphics, the difference between HD 2500 and HD 4000 is quite significant and makes the extra $20-$25 pretty reasonable. There are also the two lower power “T” parts, which might be of some interest to users looking at building a mini-ITX system or a quiet HTPC, but again the cost is quite high for what you’re getting. In terms of features, it’s also worth pointing out that where the Pentium (and Celeron) line trims a lot of features like Quick Sync and Hyper-Threading, Core i3 still leaves out the AES-NI instructions and VT-d support; if you need full hardware virtualization support, Core i5 might be the better choice.

As for the two new Core i5 processors, the i5-3330 is the least remarkable. It’s basically a lower clocked version of the already shipping i5-3450, but it does add VT-d support. Interestingly, despite similar suggested prices from Intel (the i5-3450 is actually supposed to cost a few dollars more), the i5-3330 ends up being $10 more than the i5-3450. Unless you need VT-d, the choice between the two offerings is clear given the current pricing. The final new CPU is the i5-3350P, and this marks the first time we’ve seen any of the Ivy Bridge processors with no iGPU. Clock speeds aren’t particularly compelling, but the TDP is slightly lower so that might be worth considering, especially if prices come down. It a killer app ever comes out for Quick Sync, though, owners of the i5-3350P might end up regretting their choice of CPU—again, given they’re currently at the same price, we think the i5-3450 is a better option.

Availability of all of the CPUs is somewhat limited right now, with only Newegg stocking the majority of the chips (outside of the OEM-only i3-3240T). We expect that to change over the next week or two, however, and that should force some of the prices down by as much as $15-$20 if you can hold off for a bit longer.

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  • VTArbyP - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    I haven't seen in the article or the comments, any mention of the new low end ivyBridge processors supporting pci-x 3.0 with the X77 chipset (and others?)
    I would think that they do, but I wouldn't put it past Intel to turn that off on the low end procs. If they can run PCI-X 3.0 I expect that would enable one to go to 2 or 3 way SLI / Crossfire, because you only need / use PCI-X 3.0 X8 bandwidth per card. That would change the value of these babies relative to their Sandy Bridge predecessors.
  • C'DaleRider - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    You're correct, PCIe 3.0 is not available on the i3 IVB cpus. It takes going up to the i5 versions to get PCIe 3.0 support.
  • extide - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    Careful about your nomenclature, PCI-X is an entirely different thing than PCI-Express. You are talking about PCIe not PCI-X. And it's the Z77 chipset, not X77.
  • Balzy - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    not gonna lie, i have a 3570k and MAN O MAN i am lovin this processor. but honestly these cpu's are a total letdown, let me tell you why i believe this. intel said that when you put a 22nm codenamed IVY BRIDGE cpu into a z77, you could essentially unlock pcie 3.0 amongst other things that i didn't really buy my board for. the cpu's aren't even part of the new revision meaning still on 2.0. i've been waiting and waiting for these very processors so i can upgrade my wife's pc' i even bought a 7770 2gb so she can play ALL the games she want, cause after researching we figured out that is literally all she needed. look it's not THAT bad, but maybe that's why they've been holding out on them for so long. sittin there in the giant towers... like sauron man. waitin to see whats happening with the 2ng gen i3's. prolly saying somethin along the lines of "OH WAIT they are selling fine, well i guess we gotta make sure that this is the most worthless upgrade ever" not gonna lie i have thought about the igp but the more and more i think about it, if the 3570k's igp wasn't as good as the 3770k's because of a 2mb dif in cache, it just doesn't sound like i have any worthwhile reason to even look at this. Intel still makes the banginest processors in teh whole world, so i'll stick with them.

    doesn't mean i gotta like all of their methods
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    Unless you're running 3+ GPUs, PCIe3.0 won't let you run higher image quality settings when gaming (and on an i3 your CPU would probably bottleneck first in a 3/4gpu setup). It's only high end raid controllers, and some scientific computing workloads (the ones that need frequent CPU/GPU coordination) that benefit from PCIe3.0 in single/dual card configurations.

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