Intel has confirmed for a while that their new Ivy Bridge refresh will reach all spheres of their chip family, right down to the lowly Celeron range, currently enjoying huge sales thanks to the superior Sandy Bridge architecture. Its entirely possible to build a decent gaming rig for R4000 these days that will run nearly all games on their max settings at 1080p resolution. But now things are going to heat up with Ivy Bridge Core i3 chips heading your way.
And they’re ten days off. Want to know details? Hit the jump for Intel’s latest AMD killers.
At launch there will three models to choose to shove into your new LGA1155 board. The Core i3-3220 is the successor to Intel’s hugely popular Core i3-2100, clocking in at 3.3Ghz for the new variant with the HD2500 graphics processor. Next up the ladder is the Core i3-3225 which is the one to buy – its the same 3.3Ghz clock speed but also features the updated Intel HD4000 graphics core. The Core i3-3240 is the stronger twin to the i3-3220, featuring just a 3.4Ghz clock speed and the same graphics core. All three siblings are rated for 55w but that’s only the label on the box – in reality they will consume a little less, probably landing up at 48w when under load.
All three chips lack Turbo Boost but do include an extra two threads. PCI-Express support is limited at 2.0 speeds, but there is support for USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, as well as the ability to run three monitors limited only by motherboard support. If you’re building up a gaming rig on one of these chips, I’d recommend you aim for the i3-3225 and stick it with a Z77 board that supports Lucid Logix MVP. Pair that up with anything equal to or slower than a Radeon HD7870 and a decent 400w power supply and you’re good to go for fluid, comfortable 1080p gaming without having to compromise anywhere.
It is important to note, though, that none of these chips support Intel’s Virtualisation technology and none will accelerate AES decryption – if you’re playing with virtual machines, encrypting your data and decrypting on the fly, you’ll need a Core i5 chip for that.