Intel Core i5-3470 Performance Analysis

Introducing the Core i5-3470 and New Processors

Introducing the Core i5-3470 and New Processors

Intel’s third generation Core processors are finally here and selling in volume in the retail channels. Codenamed “Ivy Bridge”, these new processors represent the “tick” in Intel’s “tick-tock” strategy, where every “tick” is a shrink in manufacturing process technology used and every “tock” is a completely new microarchitecture. As such, Ivy Bridge is manufactured using the latest 22nm process technology and also boasts a number of other incremental upgrades.

The Ivy Bridge CPUs that were available at launch were all pretty high-end quad-core SKUs such as the Core i7-3770K that we reviewed earlier. Now, Intel is buffing up the Ivy Bridge lineup with six more Core i5 SKUs that are targeted at mainstream users.

Intel has just announced a handful of new Core i5 SKUs that will appeal to more mainstream users.

The one that we are testing today is the quad-core Core i5-3470. The chip has a base clock speed of 3.2GHz, a maximum turbo frequency of 3.4GHz and comes with a fairly generous 6MB of L3 cache. TDP of the new chip is 77W and price comes in at around US$184. However, the integrated GPU part is the weaker HD Graphics 2500 engine, which differs from the HD Graphics 4000 model with just six execution units instead of 16. In the interest of time, we'll be analyzing the graphics capabilities in a forthcoming article.

Judging from the specifications, the new Core i5-3470 is mostly comparable to the previous generation Core i5-2500 and i5-2400. The new Core i5-3470 has comparable clock speeds to the i5-2500 and i5-2400 and same 6MB L3 cache, but it has an appreciably lower TDP of 77W as opposed to the two Sandy Bridge processors’ 95W. This is achieved thanks to the power optimization features and process technology advancements on Ivy Bridge.

Here's a quick look at the new desktop processors that are launched today:

Processor Model Core i5-3570 Core i5-3570S Core i5-3475S Core i5-3470 Core i5-3470T Core i5-3470S
Cores / Threads 4 / 4 4 / 4 4 / 4 4 / 4 2 / 4 4 / 4
Frequency (Base) 3.4GHz 3.1GHz 2.9GHz 3.2GHz 2.9GHz 2.9GHz
Turbo Frequency (GHz) 3.8GHz 3.8GHz 3.6GHz 3.6GHz 3.5GHz 3.6GHz
DDR3 (MHz) 1600MHz 1600MHz  1600MHz 1600MHz 1600MHz 1600MHz
L3 Cache 6MB 6MB 6MB 6MB 3MB 3MB
Integrated GPU HD 2500 HD 2500 HD 4000 HD 2500 HD 2500 HD 2500
GPU Clock (Base / Turbo)  650MHz / 1150MHz 650MHz / 1150MHz 650MHz / 1100MHz 650MHz / 1100MHz 650MHz / 1050MHz 650MHz / 1100MHz
PCIe 3.0 Support  Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TDP  77W 65W  65W 77W  35W 65W
Price  US$205 US$205 US$201 US$184 US$184 US$184

These six new processors are part of a larger group of 14 new processors that are being launched today - in case you are wondering, the other eight processors are mobile variants. You can find out more about the new mobile processors in our updated mobile Ivy Bridge article here.That said, while notebooks will finally be seeing dual-core Ivy Bridge processors, out of the six new desktop processors launched today, only one is dual-core processor. This means that it’ll be a little while longer before we see truly mainstream dual-core Ivy Bridge processors for desktop systems. Lastly, for those not familiar with Intel's naming scheme, the 'S' suffix denotes that the chip is a performance-optimized version, with TDP limited to 65W, while the 'T' suffix indicates that the chip is a power-optimized version, with TDP limited to 35-45W.

The Good
Decent overall performance
Much improved power efficiency
Rather competitive pricing
The Bad
Performance boost not enough to warrant upgrade from previous generation
Limited overclocking headroom