Intel's Haswell-based CPUs are very capable in games, though we're increasingly seeing dual-core Pentiums lagging behind in our favorite titles. Conversely, benchmark data makes it clear that the company's Hyper-Threading technology is effective in helping improve the performance of Core i3 CPUs in those same blockbusters. Although a locked multiplier limits overclocking to a few-megahertz bump in BCLK frequency, we still consider Intel's Core i3-4130 to be a good starting point for gamers who might upgrade to a faster LGA 1150-based processor in the future.
Frequency (Turbo) :
Cores (Threads) :
Cache (L1, L2, L3) :
2 x 64 KB, 2 x 256 KB, 3 MB
Integrated GPU :
HD Graphics 4400 (350 MHz, 1.15 GHz Turbo)
Memory Support :
DDR3-1333/1600, dual-channel, up to 32 GB
Best Gaming CPU for $180:
Intel Core i5-3350P
High Performance Gamer's Pick
Intel's Sandy and Ivy Bridge-based Core i5 processors are well-known for their gaming prowess at reasonable prices, and the Core i5-3350P is a particularly interesting option at $180.
The P suffix is an indication that Intel disables its HD Graphics engine, but we're perfectly alright with such a decision. If you're buying a gaming processor, you're going to want discrete graphics anyway. Consequently, this CPU ducks in under 70 W.