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I3-3220 versus i5-3470; what's the real-world difference?

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October 13, 2012 1:09:23 AM

It's time to jettison my well-worn but showing its age AMD processor because it's starting to lag when it comes to modern games. Newegg is running a special on Ivy Bridge/Z77 combinations, and I'm looking at a very good deal on a combination of an Asrock Extreme3 and the i3-3220 for $224, almost $100 cheaper than buying a 3470 and an equivalent motherboard (like the MSI z77a-g45). The $100 extra is within my upgrade budget, but it's always easier to sell a purchase to my SO if it's cheaper.

So I'm wondering what the real-world difference would be. To give you an idea of the rest of my system, I'm currently running a Phenom X4 965 Black Edition, Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3, 8 GB of PC 1333 RAM (I would probably upgrade this; RAM is cheap), Corsair SSD, and a MSI Twin Frozr II 560 ti 2GB GPU. Currently, the main games that I play are Guild Wars 2 (extremely CPU bound), Darksiders II, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Sleeping Dogs, Borderlands 2, and I'll be getting Dishonored at some point in the future. I am not an overclocker and do not really think I'll do dual GPU anytime soon, although I would like to keep that option open.

Sometime (probably around the holidays or early next year) I plan to upgrade my GPU to either a 670 or a 7950, whichever I can find a better deal on.

Is it worth it when considering price/performance to spend the extra $100 to get the i5, or am I getting "bragging-rights-only" gains at that point? As long as I can play most games somewhere around 60 FPS comfortably, I'm fine.

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October 13, 2012 1:23:01 AM

The i5 is a quad core, rather then the i3's dual core with HT.
For the games that utilize more then 2 cores, which is becoming more and more now days will see a noticeable advantage over the I3.
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October 13, 2012 1:46:24 AM

So the hyperthreading isn't enough to make up for the 4 physical cores on the i5?
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October 13, 2012 1:53:25 AM

HT adds ~25% more performance if the threads' instruction mix plays nicely with HT.
Doubling the core count adds 100% more performance regardless of instruction mix.

So for similarly clocked CPUs running heavily threaded code, i5's performance gain is ~50% bigger than i3 and a lot more predictable.
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October 13, 2012 1:59:54 AM

Looks like I've gotta make my case on the extra $100 then. Thanks, everyone.
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October 13, 2012 2:00:03 AM

Best answer selected by lhaygood1983.
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October 13, 2012 8:40:54 AM

This topic has been closed by MouseMonkey
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