Conclusions and Final Thoughts
The fact is that the Core i5-3350P is not going to win any performance awards but where this new processor does excel is in comparisons to similarly priced parts from the competition – and that is exactly its purpose in the market. At $189 from Newegg the 3350P goes up directly against the AMD FX-8150 and also makes up the bottom of the Intel Ivy Bridge processor stack.
Without integrated graphics, the 3350P will obviously only work for consumers that are setup to use discrete graphics cards. I built my new Windows 8 sytem using this exact CPU since I 100% knew I was going to be using a GPU for gaming and wouldn't need any of the features of the HD 4000 or HD 2500 graphics. The 3350P is still "slow" by Ivy Bridge standards though, coming in behind the Core i5-3470 but a few percentage points and with fairly low Turbo Boost capability (200 MHz range). In some cases difference between the high-end options like the Core i7-3770K and the Core i5-3350P can be as high as 35% though that tends to be in media transcoding and rendering applications.
AMD finds itself in continued discomfort as a comparison between the Core i5-3350P and the FX-8150 (though that part is based on Bulldozer cores, not Piledriver) as the quad-core Intel part is able to outperform the 8 "core" AMD part in the majority of our tests. Not only that, but if you look at performance per watt the Intel CPU is other-worldly dominant in that is uses 110 watts LESS POWER than the FX-8150 under a full load.
Pricing and Availability
As with mid-range and low-end graphics cards, the same markets on the CPU front are very congested. At $189, the Core i5-3550P has a lot of company.
- Core i5-3350P – $189
- Core i5-3470 – $199
- Core i7-3770K – $299
- Core i7-2700K – $329
- Core i7-2600K – $269
- Core i7-3960X – $1029
- Core i7-3820 – $299
- AMD FX-8150 – $189
Perhaps the most dangerous part to sales of the Core i5-3550P is the Core i5-3470. Only $10 more, the 3470 runs at a 3.2 GHz base clock and a 3.6 GHz maximum Boost clock while also still including the option to utilize the HD 2500 graphics and QuickSync transcoding technology. Both are quad-core, both lack HyperThreading, both have 6MB of cache; it's hard not to see the i5-3470 getting the nod here.
Intel's Core i5-3350P is a fantastic processor that is able to compete with AMD's parts in terms of performance while vastly undercutting them on the power consumption side. Without the inclusion of the integrated HD 4000 or HD 2500 graphics, this processor is aimed only at users that are looking to add a discrete card to their system for gaming, etc.
Due to the current pricing though, the Core i5-3470 looks like a better choice as it DOES including integrated graphics while also running at higher clock rates. If you happen to find the Core i5-3550P around the $170 mark then don't hesitate to pick one up for your next gaming system!