The new third-generation Core i CPUs from Intel might not have made much of a splash for raw computational performance, but their HD4000 integrated graphics have made huge strides forward. The new i5-3470 is one of Intel’s most affordable Ivy Bridge CPUs, but only includes the new HD2500 integrated graphics. So does it have the chops to stand up to today’s games?
As the i5 name denotes, this is a quad-core CPU with no Hyper-Threading. A generous helping of 6MB of L3 cache helps feed the speedy CPU when it reaches a peak Turbo speed of 3.6GHz, making this an impressive CPU for x86 tasks, and even better when pushed to its maximum overclock speed of 4GHz. TDP is a mere 77W, making this one cool customer. The integrated GPU has been severely reduced from the version seen in high-end Ivy Bridge CPUs, with the total Execution Units down from 16 to just six.
Intel claims graphics performance is around 15% faster than the last generation of HD2000 graphics, and our tests bore that out. Our DiRT 3 test, run at 1,280 x 720 with middling settings, saw the HD2500 hit an average of just 33fps, up from the 29fps of the HD2000. These unplayable performance numbers continued across our tests, with Battlefield 3 scoring a meagre 20fps at low quality.
It’s obvious AMD has nothing to worry about from this CPU when it comes to integrated graphics performance. If you want to game without a GPU, the i5-3470 isn’t the CPU for you. However, if you want a very affordable CPU for non-graphics duties, or to pair with a video card, the i5-3470 delivers plenty of bang for your buck.
- 3.2GHz base frequency, 3.6GHz Turbo
- Socket 1155
- Quad-core, no Hyper-Threading
Pros: Quad core, high Turbo speed, low TDP.
Cons: Woeful GPU performance, minimal overclocking.
Verdict: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)
Available from Intel, retailing for $250.