When shopping for a shiny new processor for your home or office system it can be a little difficult to decide what processor to build your system around. With so many models from both AMD and Intel it can be easy to be swamped with potential candidates. Today we are reviewing just one budget processor, the Intel Core i3 4150.
The Intel Core i3 4150 is a 3.5GHz dual core processor with hyperthreading, offering a total of 4 threads. This model is based upon the Haswell architecture using the 22nm technology with 0.5MB of L2 cache and 3MB of L3 cache. With just two physical cores and a modest clock speed it can be easy to underestimate not only this model, but the whole i3 range. While it’s not exactly low end (the Celeron and Pentium models take that crown), many consumers skip over the i3 models when choosing a processor. This processor also includes the HD 4400 integrated graphics which can support up to three monitors.
The front of the CPU contains the usual information, such as the CPU model and clock speed.
The stock heatsink is nothing special, featuring a low profile design to make it fit in the majority of cases. The stock heatsink design has been pretty similar to previous processor generations from Intel, though with the constant power consumption improvements in theory the fan would have to work less to dissipate heat. The stock heatsink comes with thermal paste preapplied on the bottom.
Being a dual core i3 processor it’s easy to underestimate what it’s capable of, especially when higher priced models such as the 4770K steal the show. We decided to run Cinebench R15 on the i3 4150 to see how it compares to the older Intel i5 750 and AMD FX 8350.
The i3 4150 managed to pull very impressive results in comparison to other processors. Unsurprisingly, the i3 4150 had the strongest single thread performance scoring 136 in Cinebench R15 while the older Intel i5 750 scored 95 points. Haswells newer efficient architecture and higher clock speed clearly assists the i3 in this benchmark. The i3 4150 also gets a higher score than the more expensive AMD FX 8350 processor in the single threaded benchmark.
On the multithreaded front the i3 is even more impressive, beating the old i5 750 again. This result was surprising considering the i3 4150 only has two physical cores whereas the i5 750 has four. Nevertheless, the newer architecture, higher clock speed and hyperthreading helped it to pull a lead with 349 points, but only just. The Intel i3 4150 is no match for the AMD FX 8350 though with the eight core CPU scoring a total of 618 in the multithreaded test.
Like most Intel Haswell processors the i3 4150 includes integrated graphics. This processor sports the HD 4400 graphics which supports up to three displays. Intel has been aggressively focusing on this area since AMD has been giving them a run for their money with their APU designs. We decided to put the HD 4400 graphics to the test in three games, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Half Life 2 and Far Cry 3.Our test system specifications: Intel Core i3-4150 @ 3.5GHz Crucial 2x4GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM SuperFlower 350W 80%+ Gold Power Supply Asus H81M-PLUS motherboard 1TB WD Blue hard drive
All games were tested on the lowest graphical settings at the resolution of 1920×1080 with vsync off.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Half Life 2 are not resource hungry so we see the HD 4400 graphics achieve healthy minimum and average frames per second. Global Offensive is a fairly recent game so it’s pleasing to see the integrated graphics obtained an average of 65FPS. The minimums weren’t too bad either with the HD 4400 graphics scoring a minimum of 45FPS.
Half Life 2 was next which is fairly light on system resources so we expected the frames per second to be high. The HD 4400 did not disappoint, scoring an average of 164FPS and a minimum of 109FPS, showing us that older titles are no problem for the processor.
Finally we wanted to see how the i3 4150’s HD 4400 graphics handled the graphically intensive title Far Cry 3. It’s unreasonable to expect integrated graphics to play recent hardware intensive games at an high frames per second though the integrated graphics coped quite well, with an average of 19FPS and minimum of 15FPS.
Unfortunately, the HD 4400 graphics are not enough for smooth gameplay on recent demanding titles though with Intel focusing on this area we can only imagine what integrated graphics on their processors will be like in a few years’ time. If you want to play recent resource intensive games then you will still need to partner your CPU with a dedicated graphics card.
The last few generations of Intel processors have clearly focused less on performance and more on power efficiency. The i3 4150 is a perfect example of this with its low TDP of 54W. Efficient processors can only be a good thing really as it not only allows the computer to be more eco-friendly but also output less heat.
We have previously published an article analysing the power consumption of a computer with the Intel i3 4150 installed. We found that the total system power draw was 40W when idle and 103W when under a Prime95 stress test. Its power consumption is pretty impressive, given that you still get decent performance from this processor. It’s hard to imagine what desktop processors could be like in just a few years’ time as Intel continues to focus on power efficiency.
At the time of this review the Core I3 4150 can be found for around £84. This price is a tad on the high side, especially with AMD offering similarly priced APU’s with powerful integrated graphics. On the surface the £84 can be seen as rather high though when you take into account its powerful CPU performance, decent graphics performance and low power consumption it does soften the blow a little.
The Intel Core i3 4150 is an affordable dual core Haswell processor which packs strong CPU and graphics performance. We found that the single thread performance of this i3 processor greatly exceeded older generations and it surprisingly scored higher than the older quad core Intel i5 750 processor. The HD 4400 graphics integrated in the i3 4150 processor struggled to play Far Cry 3 though less resource intensive games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive managed to achieve a respectable 65FPS when using low quality graphic settings at 1920×1080. The power consumption of this processor is extremely impressive, consuming only 103W when stressed using the Prime95 software.
Priced at around £84 at the time of this review, the Intel Core i3 4150 is a little on the pricy side though it’s strong CPU performance and decent integrated graphics make it worth considering at its price. We couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed knowing that £84 only gets a dual core CPU, though its performance is certainly not slacking.
Taking all of this into account we feel comfortable recommending the Intel Core i3 4150 for general use budget systems. Its price put us off a little, though considering its performance it should last a while before you would feel the need to upgrade.