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Intel Core i3 330UM – A review


Most of the today’s lower end ( and thereby lower cost) notebooks and laptops are coming equipped with the Intel Core i3 U330UM processor. Familiarize yourself with the capability and shortcomings of this processor if you plan to buy a notebook that has Intel Core i3 330UM processor.

The Intel Core i3-330UM works on Ultra Low voltage. To consider the advantage of a processor working on low voltage you should notice the power formula that goes like P = V*V/R, where V is the voltage and R is the resistance. The power consumed by the processor is dependent upon the “core voltage” it runs upon. So of the core voltage is reduced from say 1.2V to say 1.0V, the power consumption reduces from 1.44/R waats to 1.00/R watts – this is close to 40% reduction ( I have not done pure math – but this is ball park number).
There are couple of things you should notice about Intel Core i3 U330UM, that makes it a faster processor than the similar clocked Core 2 Duo Processor at 1.2GHz. The first of them is the integrated memory controller. By integrated memory controller we mean that the processor communicates with the memory directly unlike in the core 2 Duo processor which communicates to a chip called North Bridge, which in turn talks to the memory. In core 2 Duo this leads to increases the overhead in terms of the time it takes for the processor to communicate to the memory and thereby it slows down the memory communication.

Another significant change is the Hyperthreading. Intel silently reintroduced the Hyperthreading in the Core i3 processor. With two core in the i3 and with two Hyperthreads in each processor means that there could be 4 Hyperthreads running at a time. This boosts the performance if several processes are running at a time.

Notice that the low clock speed of 1.2 GHz will still be a bottleneck if you are expecting the notebooks powered by Intel Core i3 U330UM to perform like a gaming notebooks.

However, by keeping the frequency low, it is possible to make the processor run at lower voltage which in turn reduces the power consumption and boosts battery life of the notebooks powered by Intel Core i3 U330UM. The power consumption of the Intel Core i3 U330UM is 18 Watt TDP (max.). This helps manufactures design notebooks that have higher battery life.

Now few more things about Intel Core i3 330UM – The first is the the core i3 processors does not have Turbo Boost to overclock the CPU cores. The Turbo Boost allows the increase in the frequency of the CPU based upon the demand. This is a great feature to have that balances the battery life ( when you are not using processes that demand huge processing power) with the on demand processing power at the cost of the battery life. If you are considering the Turbo boost feature consider looking at the i5 or the i7 processor.

One of the significant features in the Core i3-330UM processor is the integrated graphics card (also called Intel HD Graphics). The graphics unit is also referred to as GPU ( Graphics Processing Unit).What it means is that you will be able to play the HD graphics from, say a Blu Ray player without a significant glitch in the display. Since intel is not a basically GPU master, its GPU unit still needs some improvement.

In overall, the Intel Core i3, 330UM is a decent processor for low battery power consumption, moderate processing power and suited perfectly for home computing and traveling professionals. If you need higher processing power look for a notebook equipped with core i5 or core i7 processor.

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  1. September 1st, 2010 at 00:59 | #1

    Great writeup.. Simple to understand ..

  2. joseph Murphy
    September 15th, 2012 at 10:14 | #2

    Stupid question, but to your knowledge does the UM stand for anything?

  3. Mary
    September 15th, 2012 at 12:15 | #3

    U means Ultra Low Voltage
    M Mobile

    UM => Ultra Low Voltage MObile

  4. October 24th, 2013 at 10:33 | #4

    Exceptional post however I was wondering if you could write a
    litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a
    little bit further. Thanks!