Intel Core i3-2120 Review (Page 11 of 11)

Page 11 - Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power consumption is a little less than the Core i5-2500K, as expected. We took our measurements with Intel SpeedStep enabled for both processors running at stock voltages and configuration. These measurements were all obtained on a Gigabyte motherboard (I installed the Core i3-2120 into my P67A-UD5 for this test). I turned Gigabyte's Dynamic Energy Saver off for all of them. Note that Turbo Mode is enabled for both the Core i5-750 and Core i5-2500K. As seen in our results above, Intel's Core i5-750 used less power than the Core i3-2120 and Core i5-2500K while idling. I can't really explain why, maybe it's just Gigabyte's software. However, under load, these results are unquestionable. The Core i3-2120 consumed only 33.28W -- compared to 45.09W for the Core i5-2500K, which has two more physical cores.


When I was in my last year of high school, I remember driving all the way to the other end of the city to pick up an Intel Pentium Dual Core E2140 -- the cheapest LGA 775 processor based off the Core architecture at the time -- for $70, and overclocked it from 1.6GHz to 3.08GHz... on air. Did Intel kill this with Sandy Bridge? Well, I am not going to lie; they did. Overclocking is no longer about buying the cheapest processor and taking it to clock speeds unimaginable to anyone outside the enthusiast circle. But I think we should understand from a perspective that most people who buy low cost processors are usually consumers who are not interested in overclocking, or uses it in applications where overclocking is not appropriate. Traditionally, you will need a good motherboard, good cooling, and possibly good RAM to achieve a good overclock. And the word that goes with "good" is "money". It is unlikely someone who buys a cheap processor is suddenly going to spend $150 on a motherboard, $50 on a heatsink, and $100 on RAM, if not more. This money can easily go towards a faster processor, which negates any savings gained from overclocking. Secondly, it is clear the Core i3-2120 is not aimed at enthusiasts who want the latest and greatest in their gaming rig, but rather casual or HTPC users. Overclocking is probably not appropriate in either situation. The Core i5-2500K fills the enthusiast niche very well, and offers a serious amount of performance for your money. Just look at our benchmark results. In the end, let's take one step back and ignore the overclocking yada yada. Is the Intel Core i3-2120 fast? Yes it is. Does it run cool? Yes it does. How much does it cost? About $150 at press time. So it is good value? Yes it is. And to answer the question we posed at the beginning of this review, did we make progress? Thanks for asking; we sure did.

Intel provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.

Since April 30, 2007, Number Ratings have been dropped for all CPUs, motherboards, RAM, SSD/HDDs, and graphics cards. This is to ensure the most appropriate ratings are reflected without the inherent limits of using numbers. Everything else will continue using the Number Rating System.
More information in our Review Focus.

If you are looking for a CPU to go in your gaming rig for overclocking, pull up our Core i5-2500K review. That CPU is for you. But if you are looking for something with a low price tag, performs well across the board, and runs cool and quiet, the Core i3-2120 is for you.

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Page Index
1. Introduction and Specifications
2. Intel Core i3-2120 Architecture; Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 Memory
6. Benchmark: BAPCo SYSmark 2007
7. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
8. Benchmark: 3DMark 11
9. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0
10. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R11.5
11. Power Consumption and Conclusion