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Intel Core i3-3110M Ivy Bridge versus i3-2370M Sandy Bridge
by Guillaume Louel
Published on September 4, 2012

After our first look at mobile processors (see our article here), we now also wanted to cover the Intel Core i3s. Very commonly used in laptops, these dual core processors can seem relatively similar to certain Core i5 models.

We have looked at two popular and relatively recent Core i3 models. Firstly in the Sandy Bridge range, we opted for the Core i3-2370M. Launched in the first quarter of this year, this dual core processor, which supports HyperThreading, comes with a 3 MB cache and is clocked at 2.4 GHz. We chose its exact equivalent from the Ivy Bridge range, namely the Core i3 3110M, a 2C/4T processor also clocked at 2.4 GHz and with a 3 MB cache. Like the processors we've tested in the past, these chips both have a TDP of 35W and, given their similar spec, it will be particularly interesting to observe the difference in energy consumption of the two architectures. As you know, Sandy Bridge processors use a 32nm manufacturing process while the Ivy Bridges are engraved at 22nm. Beyond this, there’s also another difference with respect to memory support. As already mentioned for the models further up the range, Sandy Bridge is limited to DDR3 1333 MHz while Ivy Bridge supports DDR3 1600 MHz memory.

On the left, the Core i3 2370M, on the right, the Core i3 3110M

Now let’s move on to the multiple differences between Core i5 and Core i3. The most significant of these concerns the absence of turbo on the CPU side on Core i3s. Given the importance of Turbo in laptop configurations – remember it can clock an active core on the Core i5 3210M up from 2.5 to 3.1 GHz – the performance impact will be noticeable. Note that the graphics Turbo is still present on the Core i3s equipped with HD 3000s (Core i3 2370M) and HD 4000s (Core i3 3110M).

There are however other features on which sometimes surprising segmentation does exist. For example the Ivy Bridge Core i3s don’t support AES-NI instructions that enable the acceleration of encryption/decryption operations (as long as you’re using applications that support this instruction set of course). Note also that while the Intel Core i3 desktop processors are limited to PCI Express 2.0, this isn’t the case for the mobile range: sixteen PCI Express 3.0 lanes are available on the Ivy Bridge Core i3s, just like on the models further up the range.

The last notable difference is that the maximum authorised temperature (TJunction in Intel speak) is slightly lower: 90° on the Core i3 3110M and up to 105° on the Core i5 3210M. The lack of Turbo on the Core i3s of course means that the role of the TJunction is much less important here. To recap, the Core i3 2370M has a TJunction at 85°.

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