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Differences What are the advantages of each

Front view of Intel Core i5 2550K

Reasons to consider the
Intel Core i5 2550K

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Much more l2 cache 1 MB vs 0.5 MB 2x more l2 cache; more data can be stored in the l2 cache for quick access later
Is unlocked Yes vs No Somewhat common; An unlocked multiplier allows for easier overclocking
Much better overclocked clock speed (Air) 5.03 GHz vs 3.42 GHz More than 45% better overclocked clock speed (Air)
More cores 4 vs 2 Twice as many cores; run more applications at once
Higher clock speed 3.4 GHz vs 3.3 GHz Around 5% higher clock speed
Significantly higher Maximum operating temperature 72.6 °C vs 69.1 °C More than 5% higher Maximum operating temperature
Much better overclocked clock speed (Water) 4.77 GHz vs 3.37 GHz More than 40% better overclocked clock speed (Water)
Newer Jan, 2012 vs Jan, 2011 Release date over 1 years later
Front view of Intel Core i3 2120

Reasons to consider the
Intel Core i3 2120

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Has a built-in GPU Yes vs No Somewhat common; A separate graphics adapter is not required
Much lower typical power consumption 52.81W vs 77.19W More than 30% lower typical power consumption
Significantly lower annual home energy cost 15.66 $/year vs 22.89 $/year More than 30% lower annual home energy cost
Significantly lower annual commercial energy cost 56.94 $/year vs 83.22 $/year More than 30% lower annual commercial energy cost

Benchmarks Real world tests of Core i5 2550K vs i3 2120

GeekBench 3 (Multi-core) Data courtesy Primate Labs

GeekBench 3 (Single core) Data courtesy Primate Labs

GeekBench 3 (AES single core) Data courtesy Primate Labs

Core i5 2550K
2,640,000 MB/s
Core i3 2120
162,800 MB/s

GeekBench (32-bit) Data courtesy Primate Labs

GeekBench (64-bit) Data courtesy Primate Labs

GeekBench

PassMark Data courtesy Passmark

PassMark (Single Core)

Specifications Full list of technical specs

summary

Core i5 2550K  vs
i3 2120 
Clock speed 3.4 GHz 3.3 GHz
Cores Quad core Dual core
Socket type
LGA 1155
Is unlocked Yes No

features

Has a NX bit Yes Yes
Supports trusted computing No No
Has virtualization support Yes Yes
Instruction set extensions
SSE2
MMX
SSE4
AVX
SSE3
SSE
SSE4.1
SSE4.2
Supplemental SSE3
AES
Supports dynamic frequency scaling Yes Yes

power consumption

TDP 95W 65W
Annual home energy cost 22.89 $/year 15.66 $/year
Annual commercial energy cost 83.22 $/year 56.94 $/year
Performance per watt 11.5 pt/W 2.79 pt/W
Typical power consumption 77.19W 52.81W

bus

Architecture DMI DMI
Number of links 1 1
Transfer rate 5,000 MT/s 5,000 MT/s

details

Core i5 2550K  vs
i3 2120 
Architecture x86-64 x86-64
Threads 4 4
L2 cache 1 MB 0.5 MB
L2 cache per core 0.25 MB/core 0.25 MB/core
L3 cache 6 MB 3 MB
L3 cache per core 1.5 MB/core 1.5 MB/core
Manufacture process 32 nm 32 nm
Max CPUs 1 1
Clock multiplier 34 33
Operating temperature Unknown - 72.6°C Unknown - 69.1°C

overclocking

Overclock popularity 44 22
Overclocked clock speed 5.03 GHz 3.42 GHz
Overclocked clock speed (Water) 4.77 GHz 3.37 GHz
Overclocked clock speed (Air) 5.03 GHz 3.42 GHz

integrated graphics

GPU None GPU
Label N/A Intel® HD Graphics 2000
Number of displays supported N/A 2
GPU clock speed N/A 850 MHz
Turbo clock speed N/A 1,100 MHz

memory controller

Memory controller Built-in Built-in
Memory type
DDR3-1333
DDR3-1066
DDR3
Channels Dual Channel Dual Channel
Maximum bandwidth 21,333.32 MB/s 21,333.32 MB/s
Maximum memory size 32,768 MB 32,768 MB
Intel Core i5 2550K
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Intel Core i3 2120
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