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Intel Pentium B960 Vs Core i3-2350M

– The Pentium B960 as well as the Core i3-2350M belong to the same Sandy Bridge group of processors.
– The main difference between them is absence of Hyperthreading in Pentium B960. With Hyperthreading,  two threads can run for each of the two core.  This improves the performance a little bit in multithreaded operations where inefficiency in software execution is exploited to take advantage of the “idle times” during execution.
– The core i3-2350M has marginally higher clock frequency ( 2.30 GHz versus 2.20 GHz) , that adds to its gain.
– The core i3-2350M has 3 MB of L3 Cache. The Pentium B960 has only 2 MB of L3 Cache.
– Some features are disabled in Pentium B960. This includes Hardware Vitualization Support ( VT-x),  Clear Video HD Technology and Quick Sync Video. Quick Sync Video is important if you wish speedier Video Encoding. The VT-x support is great if you have multiple virtual machines on your computer ( Linux + Windows for example).
– While the Core i3-2350M comes with integrated HD Graphics 3000, the Pentium B960 comes with HD Graphics 2000. The number of the execution units in the HD Graphics 3000 is double ( 12 EUs Vs 6 EUs) that in the HD 2000 which makes significant difference in performance

Table : Intel Pentium B960 Vs Core i3-2350M Feature Differences

Feature Intel Pentium B960 Core i3-2350M
Core Frequency 2.2 GHz 2.30 GHz
No. Of Cores 2 ( No Hyperthreading) 2 (4 Hyperthreads)
Cache Organization 2 MB L3 3 MB L3 Smart Cache
Turbo Frequency No Turbo No Turbo
TDP Rating 35 Watts 35 Watts
64 Bit Support Y Y
Lithography 32 nm 32 nm
Integrated Memory Controller DDR3-1333 DDR3-1333
Integrated Graphics Yes, 650 MHz Base, 1.1 GHz Max Yes, Base 650 MHz, Turbo 1.15 GHz

Table : Intel Pentium B960 Vs Core i3-2350M Benchmarking Comparison

Benchmarks Intel Pentium B960 Core i3-2350M
PassMark Score
2282 3095
Super Pi 2M (Lower in better)
44 seconds 41 seconds
3D Mark 06 CPU
2250 2640
Windows 7 Experience Score
6.0 6.5

As you can see, there are no surprises in the Benchmark score. The benchmark scores 15% to 30% performance improvement in the Core i3-2350M. The performance improvement will depend upon how much the Hyperthreading is able to make use of the idle cpu to insert and take advantage of another thread.

You may also like to checkout

Sandy Bridge Architecture is a must read if you want to understand the architecture of i3-2350M.

List of Core i3 Sandy Bridge Processors

List of Sandy Bridge Pentium Processors

Some more details of Intel Pentium B960

Pentium B960 is the highest clocked Pentium Processor in the Sandy Bridge line. With a decent performance with its integrated graphics, the Pentium B960 is expected to dominate the entry level low cost notebooks starting from the 1st quarter of 2012. You always have the option of going for the Core i3 or the core i5 processors at $50 to $200 extra.

Some more details of Core i3-2350M

The core i3-2350M is clocked at 2.30 GHz and is the fastest core i3 processor available at the time of writing ( core i3-2370M is not yet launched). There is no change with respect to the core i3-2330M ( the Sandy Bridge processor, just below it in frequency).

Related posts:

  1. Intel Pentium B960
  2. Intel Pentium B960
  3. Intel Core i3-2350M and Core i3-2370M
  4. Intel Core i3-2350M Vs Core i5-2430M
  5. List of Sandy Bridge Notebook Pentium processors

6 Response

  1. winnie says:

    Looks like Core i3 is the way to go. While the video encoding is not something that I use daily, Quick Sync is handy when you need it. Thanks for bringing this fact into light.

    1. Alex says:

      Yes, I do not see a great deal of difference is the prices of the Pentium B860 and the Core i3-2350M based machine. So why not get one with core i3.

      Ivy bridge core i3 will be even better with HD Graphics 4000. But Intel has only launched high priced quad core i7s. Will have to wait till Q3 2012, I think. But the wait may be worth.

  2. pooh says:


    If you are using it only for office computing, internet and email either of these processors is good. The core i3 is slightly better in graphics – that is it.

    I had seen a lot of geeks discussing that hyperthreading does not make a difference. They even go to the extent to say that hyperthreading reduces this performance. The results here should put to rest these speculations. Hyperthreading boosts performance by 10%.

  3. hubert says:

    There is one more difference that gets neglected by most of us. It is the instruction set support. The Core i3-2350M supports the latest AVX instruction set while the Pentium B960 support the older SSE4.x instuction set. AVX instruction set support some 256 bit SIMD instructions ( SSE4.x has 128 bits) that improves the performance of some of the floating point instructions. This has been discussed at the forum

  4. admin says:

    Good point. The AVX instructions sets are futuristic. The programs will have to be compiled with the support of AVX instruction sets to take advantage of it. It is something that started with Sandy bridge and will take a little bit more time before software starts taking advantage of it.

    Linux, for example started supporting AVX with gcc 4.6 compiler.

  5. Melissa says:

    You wrote
    “The number of the execution units in the HD Graphics 3000 is half that in the HD 2000 which makes significant difference in performance”

    I think you meant the

    the number of the execution units in the HD Graphics 3000 is double that in the HD 2000

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