Buying a processor for your PC can either be very simple or just too complicated. With a number of choices out there, it’s easy to make a mistake and regret what you’ve bought, especially when you feel that you didn’t get what you actually paid for. There are indeed some cheap processors out there, but in the end, it would really depend on what you need and how much can pay for. Among these processors is the Core i3 4130, Intel’s entry-level processor among their mainstream 4th generation Core i3 lineup. How will it fare with other processors? Does the performance justify its price? Let’s take a simple and quick look at the i3 4130.
The Core i3 4130 is the entry level Haswell (code name for 4th generation Core processors) i3 processor. It uses a 22-nanometer process which means that it has low power consumption compared to other similar configurations. It has 2 core processors running at 3.4 GHz. It has a 3MB cache and has an Intel HD4400 integrated graphics card. So that’s the paper specifications. What about its performance?
When I installed a Core i3 4130 on a relatively cheap LGA1150 motherboard, the Windows Experience Index score in Windows 7 is a praiseworthy 7.3. This doesn’t mean that it can run applications and games at blazing speed. This just means that the processor is really good in using Windows and its features such as Aero. However, after almost 2 months of usage, I have observed that it can pretty much handle any Windows application, from word processors to worksheets to graphics design software. Indeed, your Windows experience will be great using this processor.
As I have mentioned, since it uses 22-nanometer architecture, it doesn’t get hot easily and it doesn’t consume as much power. This saves you probably a significant amount from your electric bill. The basic fan and heat sink that comes with the processor is more than enough to cool the processor.
The Intel i3 4130 have 2 cores in it but it isn’t used as much. You can only see 2 or more cores being used at the same time in heavy-AI games and applications that benefit from more than 1 core such as audio/video editing software.
Now, let’s move on to graphics. It has an embedded Intel HD4400 graphics so there’s no need to buy a separate video card. However, can it really play games at playable speeds and good quality? I’ve tested the graphics on some games and it can handle playable frame rates on a lot of new games. But you’d have to set the graphics quality to low and you might need to lower the resolution significantly, say around 1280×768. Older games fare much better. You can even play at 1080p or at a 1920×1080 resolution.
But again, it’s still mostly playable. However, if you’re after graphics quality and if you play newly released graphics-intensive games, you’ll need a separate video card for that. Don’t worry though, the i3 4130 can handles these video cards and can complement them, especially on intensive-AI games. But if you’re on a strict budget and you want a processor with good integrated graphics, you can look at AMD’s processors. They usually deliver significantly better integrated graphics performance.
And finally, the most asked question, how much is it and does it justify the price tag? I bought mine at 5,200 Philippine pesos, which is around $120, and I’d say that it’s fairly priced. With the technology and performance, it’s a good entry level processor for Haswell, especially if you’re building a new PC. Plus, it’s on an LGA1150 motherboard, which is quite new. So if you plan to upgrade, you most likely won’t need to buy a new motherboard.
However, if you’re upgrading your current PC, it will depend on your current processor if an upgrade to a Core i3 4130 is viable. If you’re coming at least from a Sandy Bridge (second generation) or Ivy Bridge (third generation) Core i3 processor, you may see some improvements from Haswell. However, if you’re coming from, let’s say an older generation regular Intel Pentium processor or a first generation Core processor, or even older than that, you’ll definitely see significant improvements.
Let’s recap. The Intel Core i3 4130 is a good all-around processor with its HD4400 integrated graphics. It will give you a great Windows experience and it can play most games, but may be unplayable for newer games and low quality on most of the other games. But when paired with a graphics card, it will give you a great gaming experience, especially with the powerful ones. With its price and new technology, it can save you a few years before you’d need an upgrade. And if you want to upgrade to a better Intel processor, your motherboard’s LGA1150 is able to accommodate next generation processors, the Broadwell. If you’re on a budget and want a great-performing processor, you most likely won’t get wrong on this one.
Intel Core i3 4130
Anandtech – Broadwell