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Intel Core i3-530 processor review

September 5th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Intel Core i3-530 runs at 2.93 MHz. Notice that the part number under review is i3-530 and not i3-530M. The M would have denoted that it is a Mobile part which i3-530 is not. The i3-530 has a power consumption ( TDP rating) of 73 Watts and, is, there for a desktop processor, not a mobile processor. The Mobile processor have typical TDP rating in the vicinity of 35 Watts.

So you are really into gaming you should look for a fast desktop rather than a notebook. The desktops have mechanism in the form of the fans and heatsinks and you generally have a processor available at much higher frequency which is not available in mobile version.

Intel Core i3-530 processor Architecture

A look at the processor architecture helps you better understand the features of the processor. Take a close look at the block diagram below, taken directly from the intel website, to understand the architecture.


The most important thing to note in the diagram is the fact that the Intel Core i3-530 processor ( or all the core i3 and i5 processors for that matter), has integrated memory controller. The memory module shown to the left of the processor connects directly to the processor. This is unlike the earlier intel architectures, where, the processor was connected to a chip, called the North Bridge and the North bridge used to communicate to the Memory. The integrated memory controller, reduces the latency in the processor to memory time making the overall performance faster. AMD was in fact, leader in the integrated memory controller based design with its opteron series of processors. Intel has just followed the suit, and, with other enhancements has suppassed AMD in performance.

The Processor connects to a chipset called Platform COntroller Hub  (PCH), using DMI or Direct Media Interface. The DMI interface is faster than the Front Side Bus used in the earlier Intel architectures. However, the DMI interface is slower than the QPI ( Quick path interface) used in the intel i7 architectures.

You may also like to take a note of the fact that the PCIe can directly connect to the processor, providing a faster communication with any device that supports PCI express connection. The PCH, in turn connects to the several devices including Hard Disk Drive, the USB, Ethernet, PCIe and Video.

Each of the 2 cores of the i3-530M can have run 2 threads, which mean that we can have 4 threads running simultaneously. This helps in faster performance when several processes are running simultaneously.

The integrated memory controller supports DDR3-1066/1333. It will depend upon the motherboard and the memory chipset to support the DDR3-1066 or the DDR1333.

The core i3-530M does support Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x). The hardware virtualization technology helps quick switching between two operating system.  If you are a developer and you need to work on two operating systems simultaneously this is something highly desirable.

Now, few negatives about the core i3-530. The core i3-530 does NOT support turbo boost. The turbo boost technology is highly desirable at it momentrarily increases the processor speed to cated for demanding processes. If you need turbo boost performance you may like to take a look at the intel core i5 based processor. Additionally the core i3-530 does not support AES New Instructions. The AES instructions are encryption instructions which speeds up some of the security and Video related instructions.

The core i3-530 is a great processor for your clock. You may also like to consider the core i3-540 which belong to the same family with increased clock speed (3.06 GHz).

Several benchmarking data is availabel for the core i3-530 and the closest AMD rival is the Phenom II x2 550. The sysmark 2007 score for the core i3-530 has been reported to be 193 while the same score is 167 for Phenom II 550 ( 3.1 GHz). However, if you compare it with the quad core Phenom II X4 965 (3.4 GHz), then it trounces the Core i3-530. The Sysmark 2007 score for the Phenom II X4 965, has, for example been reported to be 205. So, in the end you need to take into account the prices to decide which one offers best price to performance ratio.

  1. Zipcar
    September 7th, 2010 at 17:51 | #1

    Unless you play heavy game or are a developer or do do heavy rendering any newly relesed processor is unnecessary since the Core 2 Duo. The core i3 and the future Sandy Bridge will not be exception. Games like Far Cry, Starcraft find no issue with Core 2 Duo e6600, wuth 4GB RAM and Radeon HD 4850 graphics

  2. February 7th, 2012 at 16:28 | #2

    Intel Core i3-530 processor review – just great!