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Intel Core i3-540 Review Comment Thread

SKYMTL

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When Intel's Clarkdale processors were first released, they opened up the 1156 platform to a whole new market of budget conscious buyers. A low-cost, 32nm processor like the i3 540 may not be immediately interesting to the vast majority of enthusiasts but considering this efficient chip sports four threads and a core speed slightly above 3Ghz, it could be perfect for many consumers. In this review we take a closer look at the 540 to see how well it fits into Intel's current lineup.


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_dangtx_

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the performance of this chip(overclocked) is quite the show stealer.

nice review, grammaticals look ok(skipped most of everything :p )
 
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mikellini

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Nice review... although I can't see how you recommend the 540 over the 530. A quick check on NCIX shows a $25 CAD premium, for somewhere around an extra 200mhz. That's less than 5% higher overclocking clock speed for about 20% more money, and certainly less than 5% higher performance. Right?

I've used the 530 to build a few systems in the last couple of months... I'd be interested to see all of your BIOS settings for the overclock. It might be different chips, or different boards, but I've only been able to get around 4.1 GHZ with some boards/chips, with 4.4 GHZ on others. I guess I'm doing it right then... used the ASRock H55m, ASUS H55 EVO and Gigabyte H55m USB3... Also, I've been setting the QPI and Uncore frequencies low (as per Bloomfield), didn't realize you could bump these up. Should you start OCing like this, or raise them up after you've reached your target frequency?
 

Eldonko

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Nice review m8. Good clocking chip for the price although the mem results are a little disappointing.
 

ilya

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Nice review... although I can't see how you recommend the 540 over the 530. A quick check on NCIX shows a $25 CAD premium, for somewhere around an extra 200mhz. That's less than 5% higher overclocking clock speed for about 20% more money, and certainly less than 5% higher performance. Right?
23x multiplier vs 22x, 540 is probably binned higher as well. Whether or not it's worth the premium depends on what you're using it for.
 

MAC

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Nice review... although I can't see how you recommend the 540 over the 530. A quick check on NCIX shows a $25 CAD premium, for somewhere around an extra 200mhz. That's less than 5% higher overclocking clock speed for about 20% more money, and certainly less than 5% higher performance. Right?
From a value perspective, the i3-530 is of course better. But like I mentioned in the review, that 23X multiplier really is the sweet spot when you take into consideration Clarkdale's CPU frequency headroom and the BCLK capabilities of most LGA1156 motherboards. It eliminates any potential obstacle that would prevent you from really maxing out the processor. Now whether that is worth the premium depends on the person.

I've used the 530 to build a few systems in the last couple of months... I'd be interested to see all of your BIOS settings for the overclock. It might be different chips, or different boards, but I've only been able to get around 4.1 GHZ with some boards/chips, with 4.4 GHZ on others. I guess I'm doing it right then... used the ASRock H55m, ASUS H55 EVO and Gigabyte H55m USB3... Also, I've been setting the QPI and Uncore frequencies low (as per Bloomfield), didn't realize you could bump these up. Should you start OCing like this, or raise them up after you've reached your target frequency?
So far I have tried three i3-540's and one i5-661 ES and they all did 4.55-4.70Ghz at 1.35V. It really hasn't required any special tweaking whatsoever. I set the vCore to 1.35V, the VTT/IMC to 1.35V, and the vDIMM to 1.65V, set the memory multiplier to 8X, disable C1E/EIST/C-State, and that's it.

I've never needed to touch the Uncore frequency, nor the QPI frequency since all the chips so far have been able to handle up to around 4.4-4.5Ghz QPI.
 

mikellini

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I did all the same things as you, but the highest I could get stable with the ASRock board and a 530 was 186 BCLK, which was 4092 MHZ... the other boards were BCLK stable to much higher than 200, although final clocks were stable at 4.4 on the ASUS and a little less on the Gigabyte I believe. Didn't really mess with them too much as they were just quick overclocks for friends... maybe it's the RAM, I should try running some higher timings, I bought some "Core i5" Corsair 7-8-7 1600 that was on sale, ran it at the specified timings. Probably could do much better with 9-9-9 timings... Thanks for the info MAC
 

jogaler

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Well as per my knowledge Core i3 540 and its little brother Core i3 530 lined up, but before we dig in I would strongly advise you to read some basics of Westmere architecture covered in Core i5 661 CPU. This will not go in depth on the Westmere architecture, but rather focus on the Core i3 540 and 530 as products.
 

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