Core i3

The Intel’s Core i3 was released in 2010 and was a low budget series of processors which was based on Nehalem microarchitecture (Clardale and Arrandale). This series of processors came as a replacement for Core 2 and the target market for these was the budgeted desktop/laptop market segment. The previous Intel processors that used an external memory controller (also called Memory Controller Hub, MCH) located at the north bridge chip and because of this the amount and type of memory you could use on the computer depended on the chipset or the motherboard. Unlike the its precursors in the Core i3, the memory controller was embedded in the CPU and it was not the chipset, but the processor that sets the amount of memory and memory type which can be installed in the system. However, the limit of the memory that can be installed depends on the capacity of the motherboard.

The processors came with dual cores and supported hyper threading technology that helps the supported operating system to identify each physical core as two separate virtual processors. The advantage of the technology was that it improved performance in the multi-threaded applications but the processors do not support the Turbo Boost technology. For better performance of graphics the Core 3i processors have integrated HD Graphics. The other distinguishing features supported by the models of this series are EIST (Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology), XD bit, Intel 64 and Smart Cache. The default clock for Core i3 processors was 133MHz.

The first Core i3 was designed on the Nehalem’s Clarkdale architecture and had two cores, one integrated GPU and 4MB L3 cache. The desktop series was named as Core i3-5xx. These processors used LGA 1156 socket and came with integrated dual-channel architecture based DDR3 memory controller which supported 1066 MHz and 1333 MHz DDR memories. With the integrated PCI Express 2.0 controller supporting one x16 lane and can be split into two x8 lanes to access two discrete video cards. The communication with motherboard chipset is carried out through a DMI bus at the speed of 1GB/s per direction.

The Core i3 series also has a mobile series which is based on Arrandale architecture and is named Core i3-3xx. The target market segment being budgeted laptops, these processors come with two different pin-outs: BGA1288 and PGA988. This series of processors have integrated dual-channel DDR3 memory controller which supports 800 MHz and 1066MHz DDR memories. Other specifications are same as the desktop variant of Core i3.