Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors have been well-received, but those in the market for a budget desktop have thus far been out of luck in tapping into their advantages. However, the chip company has just quietly introduced new Core i3 and Pentium Ivy Bridges while dropping the price on older CPUs based on the Sandy Bridge architecture.
For just $86, the Pentium G2120 offers two cores running at 3.1GHz, while the the 2.6GHz dual-core Pentium G2100T is $75 and is a 35W power-sipper. Both use Ivy Bridge's improved HD graphics, running between 650MHz and 1050MHz depending on the application. (Note that retail prices will be a little higher than these OEM prices -- the G2120, for example, is selling for $99.99 at Newegg.)
There are also a handful of new Core i3 parts: the 55W 3.3GHz Core i3-3220 for $117, 3.3GHz i3-3225 for $134 and 3.4GHz i3-3240 for $138, and the ultra-low-voltage 2.8GHz i3-3220T for $117 and i3-3240T for $138. All include two cores and 3MB of L3 cache, support Hyper-Threading, and use HD 2500 integrated graphics (with the exception of the i3-3225, which uses HD 4000 graphics instead).
To make matters more confusing, Intel introduced a pair of Pentiums -- the G645T ($64) and the 2.2GHz G550T ($42) -- that are based on the legacy 32nm manufacturing process. Meanwhile, several older chips earned price drops, including the Core i3-2130 (from $138 to $117), Pentium G870 (from $86 to $75) and the Pentium G550 (from $52 to $42).
Intel has also launched a few new quad-core Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors for the mid-range market. The 3.1GHz i5-3350P and 2.7GHz i5-3333S bow at $177, while the 3GHz i5-3330 comes in at $182 and the 2.7GHz i5-3335S debuts at $194. Finally, some new Celeron chips -- the $37 dual-threaded 1.9GHz G465, the $52 2.7GHz G555, and the $42 ULV 2.2GHz G550T -- have debuted, but are based on the 32nm process instead of Ivy Bridge.