Conclusions and Final Thoughts


Realistically, the Intel Core i5-3470 performance is exactly where I expected it to be with regards to the standard suite of CPU benchmarks we use here at PC Perspective. Running at close to the same clock speeds of the first Ivy Bridge processor we tested – though without HyperThreading and without the full 8MB of L3 cache – the 3470 was found to be anywhere from dead even to as much as 40% slower than the 3770K depending on the application. Though I feel like a broken record, it all depends on how well the application in question implements multi-threading.

Even different settings of the same application can change your viewpoint: pass 1 of the very popular x264 benchmark shows nearly no performance advantage to the 3770K while pass 2 sees about 30%. The very popular HandBrake program didn’t see much difference between the two processors either. Although it is a multi-threaded program; just not well beyond the four thread mark that the Core i5-3470 can take advantage of.

The HD 2500 processor graphics is a bit of a letdown after working with the HD 4000 for so long. It isn’t unexpected based on the model numbering and the specifications of the CPU, however. With only 6 EUs (compared to the 16 on the HD 4000) the gaming performance of the Core i5-3470 just leaves quite a bit to be desired, only able to perform about half the speed of the HD 4000. I know that Matt felt the same way when he tested the integrated graphics on the new Ivy Bridge Ultrabook platform.  


Pricing and Availability

With a current selling price of $204, the Core i5-3470 is quite a bit less cash than the $319 Core i7-3770K. 

Saving $115 on your processor will often mean you can upgrade your graphics card, get a slightly larger SSD or even get groceries for another week or two; who can decide?!?  Honestly though the Core i5-3470 makes a great processor for users that want to build a new PC with some cost reductions without losing a ton of performance.

Final Thoughts

The current processor lineup is kind of interesting with both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge CPUs sitting comfortably with each other and no real signs that the 2nd generation of Core processors running out anytime soon. The only real drawback to the Core i5-3470 is that it isn’t unlocked and users that were looking to do some overclocking will be limited by the (locked) multipliers rather than by the CPU itself.  For about the same amount of money you could get the Sandy Bridge based Core i5-2500K that is also a quad-core non-HyperThreaded part, but with unlocked multipliers; and you can still use the same array of Z77 motherboards. 

If you are looking to use the integrated graphics for a mainstream gaming machine, I would still highly recommend you find the lowest cost part with the HD 4000 (Core i7-3770 today) rather than settle for the HD 2500.  

Still, the Core i5-3470 would make a solid low cost processor for users looking to build a reasonable cost machine for some mainstream gaming and general enthusiast computing.

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