If you are looking for an entry-level laptop or desktop computer, the core i3 vs. core 2 duo comparison presented here will be a helpful read. Being the two main entry-level processor lines developed by Intel, a comparison of first, second and third generation core i3 series with core 2 duo processors will help you make an informed decision.
Technical Specifications Like the core 2 duo processors, the new core i3 line of processors have two cores, with many other technological enhancements, including an integrated GPU (Graphic Processing Unit). The clocking frequency of the core i3 series of processors ranges from 2.26 GHz to 3.06 GHz.
Each processor is endowed with the new line of advanced technologies including Intel developed Hyper-Threading, Intel Virtualization and Smart Cache technology which makes these chips faster than core 2 duo processors. This is the most important point in this core i3 vs. core 2 duo comparison.
In mid-2011, a second generation Intel core i3 series was launched, consisting of 17 processors. It includes the core i3-2100 desktop series and the core i3-2300 mobile processor series. They are enabled with some new technologies, which include Intel Fast Memory Access, Intel Flex Memory Access, Quick Sync Video, InTru 3D Technology, Thermal Monitoring Technologies and Intel Insider, which are not available in the first generation core i3 series of processors. Besides a doubled DMI operating speed (5 GT/sec) and lowered power consumption, they are equipped with the Intel HD Graphics 2000 technology.
Very recently, a reincarnation of the core i3 was launched in the form of Ivy Bridge microarchitecture with a 22 nm manufacturing process. Using tri-gate or 3D transistors, Intel has managed to add more transistors in lesser space creating high-performance, power-efficient chips. With Hyper-Threading (simultaneous multithreading) enabled, the two built-in third generation core i3 processors can work on four threads simultaneously, thus making parallel computing possible. Besides the substantial boost in computing power, these chips offer 3 MB smart cache, with on-board Intel HD 4000/2500 graphics that can run intensive graphics without an external video card. In both desktop and mobile domain, these processors currently rule the market.
Coupled with the fact that i3 processors have a L2 cache size of 2 x 256 Kb and a L3 cache size of 4MB/3MB, with Hyper-Threading and Smart Cache enabled, core 2 duo processors are indeed slower. Moreover, DDR3 compatibility in core i3 processors, compared to DDR2 compatibility of core 2 duo processors, makes them faster. The price range of Intel core i3 is $100 to $133, which makes them top options in the entry-level market. The price of the third and second generation core i3 line ranges from $117 to $250. On the other hand, the price range of core 2 duo desktop line, which is still in production, ranges from $112 to $285.
Performance Compared The technical specifications have made it clear that Intel core i3 beats its predecessor, core 2 duo, in almost all departments and in all three generations. This is but natural, as they were indeed designed to replace them. Be it processing speed, multitasking or graphic output, opting for core i3 processors is the logical choice to make. It is also clear that the second generation core i3 line has already been superseded by the third generation. Things change very rapidly in the technological arena. So if you want to go for the best entry-level processors, choose from the third generation core i3 line of processors. For your convenience, I have listed the best core 2 duo, core i3 (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation processors) in the following table.
The successor to Core is the mobile version of the Intel Core 2 line of processors using cores based upon the Intel Core microarchitecture, released on July 27, 2006. The release of the mobile version of Intel Core 2 marks the reunification of Intel's desktop and mobile product lines as Core 2 processors were released for desktops and notebooks, unlike the first Intel Core CPUs that were targeted only for notebooks (although some small form factor and all-in-one desktops, like the iMac and the Mac Mini, also used Core processors).
Unlike the Intel Core, Intel Core 2 is a 64-bit processor, supporting Intel 64. Another difference between the original Core Duo and the new Core 2 Duo is an increase in the amount of Level 2 cache. The new Core 2 Duo has tripled the amount of on-board cache to 6 MB. Core 2 also introduced a quad-core performance variant to the single- and dual-core chips, branded Core 2 Quad, as well as an enthusiast variant, Core 2 Extreme. All three chips are manufactured at a 65 nm lithography, and in 2008, a 45 nm lithography and support Front Side Bus speeds ranging from 533 MHz to 1600 MHz. In addition, the 45 nm die shrink of the Core microarchitecture adds SSE4.1 support to all Core 2 microprocessors manufactured at a 45 nm lithography, therefore increasing the calculation rate of the processors.
The Core 2 Solo, introduced in September 2007, is the successor to the Core Solo and is available only as an ultra-low-power mobile processor with 5.5 Watt thermal design power. The original U2xxx series "Merom-L" used a special version of the Merom chip with CPUID number 10661 (model 22, stepping A1) that only had a single core and was also used in some Celeron processors.The later SU3xxx are part of Intel's CULV range of processors in a smaller μFC-BGA 956 package but contain the same Penryn chip as the dual-core variants, with one of the cores disabled during manufacturing.
The majority of the desktop and mobile Core 2 processor variants are Core 2 Duo with two processor cores on a single Merom, Conroe, Allendale, Penryn, or Wolfdale chip. These come in a wide range of performance and power consumption, starting with the relatively slow ultra-low-power Uxxxx (10 W) and low-power Lxxxx (17 W) versions, to the more performance oriented Pxxxx (25 W) and Txxxx (35 W) mobile versions and the Exxxx (65 W) desktop models. The mobile Core 2 Duo processors with an 'S' prefix in the name are produced in a smaller μFC-BGA 956 package, which allows building more compact laptops.
Within each line, a higher number usually refers to a better performance, which depends largely on core and front-side bus clock frequency and amount of second level cache, which are model-specific. Core 2 Duo processors typically use the full L2 cache of 2, 3, 4, or 6 MB available in the specific stepping of the chip, while versions with the amount of cache reduced during manufacturing are sold for the low-end consumer market as Celeron or Pentium Dual-Core processors. Like those processors, some low-end Core 2 Duo models disable features such as Intel Virtualization Technology.
Core 2 Quad processors are multi-chip modules consisting of two dies similar to those used in Core 2 Duo, forming a quad-core processor. This allows twice the performance of a dual-core processors at the same clock frequency in ideal conditions.
Initially, all Core 2 Quad models were versions of Core 2 Duo desktop processors, Kentsfield derived from Conroe and Yorkfield from Wolfdale, but later Penryn-QC was added as a high-end version of the mobile dual-core Penryn.
With the release of the Nehalem microarchitecture in November 2008, Intel introduced a new naming scheme for its Core processors. There are three variants, Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7, but the names no longer correspond to specific technical features like the number of cores. Instead, the brand is now divided from low-level (i3), through mid-range (i5) to high-end performance (i7), which correspond to three, four and five stars in Intel's Intel Processor Rating following on from the entry-level Celeron (one star) and Pentium (two stars) processors. Common features of all Nehalem based processors include an integrated DDR3 memory controller as well as QuickPath Interconnect or PCI Express and Direct Media Interface on the processor replacing the aging quad-pumped Front Side Bus used in all earlier Core processors. All these processors have 256 KB L2 cache per core, plus up to 12 MB shared L3 cache. Because of the new I/O interconnect, chipsets and mainboards from previous generations can no longer be used with Nehalem-based processors.
Intel intended the Core i3 as the new low end of the performance processor line from Intel, following the retirement of the Core 2 brand. The first Core i3 processors were launched on January 7, 2010. The first Nehalem based Core i3 was Clarkdale-based, with an integrated GPU and two cores. The same processor is also available as Core i5 and Pentium, with slightly different configurations. The Core i3-3xxM processors are based on Arrandale, the mobile version of the Clarkdale desktop processor. They are similar to the Core i5-4xx series but running at lower clock speeds and without Turbo Boost. According to an Intel FAQ they do not support Error Correction Code (ECC) memory. According to motherboard manufacturer Supermicro, if a Core i3 processor is used with a server chipset platform such as Intel 3400/3420/3450, the CPU supports ECC with UDIMM. When asked, Intel confirmed that, although the Intel 5 series chipset supports non-ECC memory only with the Core i5 or i3 processors, using those processors on a motherboard with 3400 series chipsets it supports the ECC function of ECC memory. A limited number of motherboards by other companies also support ECC with Intel Core ix processors; the Asus P8B WS is an example, but it does not support ECC memory under Windows non-server operating systems. 2b1af7f3a8