With MSI's OC-Genie, the Core i5 661 received a beating from our Core i3.
Whether you're hunting for a solid all-round pc, a gaming experience that will bring a smile on your face, or a new heart for the living room media center, the Intel Core i3 is capable of delivering what you need. We thought that Intel's smallest processor would be limited to HTPC use, but our concerns was brought to shame.
For the price concerned buyer, where the economical aspect is a big factor, the recipe is clear:
Purchase a decent H55 based motherboard, perhaps a decent graphics card and finally a Core i3 processor - that will give you the most optimal price/performance ratio. Or forget about the graphics card, and use the integrated graphics chip, making it a very competent media center setup.
Compared to the competition from AMD, the direct rival is the quad-core models in the middle class like the recently reviewed Athlon II X4 635. They cost less and perform the same, but in terms of power consumption, heat, gaming and over clocking potential the Core i3 is the best choice.
The only real negative aspect we can find is that the Core i3 series comes in at a high price - about 1000 DKR for the reviewed version, which is about 300 less than the Core i5 650 and 800 less than the old Core 2 Duo E600. In our opinion, potential buyers should instead keep an eye on the Intel Core i3 530, which can be purchased for about 850 DKR.
Will the regular user miss the turbo feature? Perhaps, but we don't think so. For the experienced user, boosting the performance of a Core i3 processor is easy.
As more and more manufacturers implement automatic over clocking features - like MSI has done with the 1-second OC Genie feature - Intel's smallest processor is headed towards a bright future.
|+ Future proof architecture
+ Excellent performance
+ Integrated graphics
+ Easy to over clock
+ Low power consumption
+ Low temperatures
|- The price is a bit steep