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Test System And Benchmarks

AMD FX-4170 Vs. Intel Core i3-3220: Which ~$125 CPU Should You Buy?

We're using the same memory and storage subsystem on both platforms in order to normalize as many variables as possible. In addition to the Core i3-3220 and FX-4170, we're also including Intel's Core i5-3550 in our benchmark results. This gives us a reference point in order to gauge how these $125 budget-oriented CPUs measure up to a $200 model.

Socket AM3+
LGA 1155
AMD FX-4170 (Zambezi), 4.2 GHz Base Clock Rate, 4.3 GHz Turbo CoreIntel Core i3-3220 (Ivy Bridge), 3.3 GHz, Hyper-Threading enabled
Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5
Socket AM3+, Chipset: AMD 990FX
ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Performance
LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express PCH
On-Board Gigabit LAN controller
Corsair Vengeance, 2 x 4 GB, 1866 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-34-2T
AMD Radeon HD 7970
925 MHz GPU, 3 GB GDDR5 at 1375 MHz
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 750 GB
7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s
ePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64, Service Pack 1, KB2645594 and KB2646060 installed
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
AMD Catalyst 12.8
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Operation Swordbreaker" 60-Second Fraps Run
Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF), 1920x1080
DiRT Showdown
Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml, Modified to two laps and no competing cars
Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA, 1920x1080
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.4.27, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25 Seconds Fraps
DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled, 1920x1080
StarCraft IICustom map "Tom's Hardware Guide", 60 seconds Fraps
Ultra Details, Extreme Quality, 1920x1080
Metro 2033
Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
DX 11, High Preset, 4x MSAA, 4x AF, PhysX/DOF Disabled, 1920x1080
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.95: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.1 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 15.5 Pro: THG-Workload (650 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.1: THG-Workload (650 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.22: THG-Workload (650 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version:, Benchmark Only
SiSoftware Sandra 2012Version 2011.10.17.80, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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