Since the January launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, there have been countless articles on Phoronix about Sandy Bridge under Linux. Initially detailing the troubled experience of getting the integrated graphics working but then to a point of nirvana with the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver working well and a continual stream of performance optimizations and other enhancements since that point. Sandy Bridge under Linux is now great and it is to be loved. It's also looking like Ivy Bridge on Linux will be a success, but we're still a couple months out until that hardware is released to the public. Until then, we are looking at a few more Sandy Bridge processors. In this review, for those not at XDC2011 Chicago this week, is a look at the Linux performance of the Intel Core i3 2120.
The Intel Core i3 2120 is not radically different from the Intel Core i3 2100 that was reviewed back in March. In fact, it is practically the same. The only real difference is the dual-core Core i3 2120 is clocked at 3.3GHz while the Core i3 2100 operates at 3.1GHz. The Core i3 2120 is just a 200MHz bump in the core frequency and a $10~15 USD premium over the retail Core i3 2100.
There are not any other differences with the i3-2120 compared to other Core i3 Sandy Bridge processors with a 32nm manufacturing process, LGA-1155 CPU socket compliant, 256KB of L2 cache per core, 3MB of Smart Cache, Intel HD 2000 Graphics, AVX, and 65 Watt TDP. There is Intel Hyper Threading support on the Core i3 SNB to provide a total of four threads.
Intel sent over the Core i3 2120 as a review sample for Phoronix. While normally it's engineering samples they send over, this time they sent over some extra retail units (the i3-2120 was also joined by a soon-to-be-reviewed Core i5 2400S). The part number on the i3-2120 is BX80623I32120.