Now that Intel is done with releasing CPUs for the time being, we've got a chance to analyse the situation and see what's worth buying. For those on a budget, the Intel Core i3-530
is your best bet unless your budget is limited to £70 or so, in which case you'll have to look elsewhere. But I'm betting that if your budget is so tight that you can't go for the superior Intel Core i5-750
, you haven't got fancy DDR3 memory or an LGA1156 motherboard. Enter the easy Core i3 upgrade bundle.
Comprising a Core i3-530, Gigabyte motherboard, 4GB of DDR3 memory and a cooler, OcUK's Core i3 bundle
looks pretty good. As the kit is assembled at OcUK, you shouldn't have to do much fiddling to get the upgrade installed, and as a bonus the CPU is overclocked to 4GHz as standard. By knowing the overclocking potential of the CPU, the cooling ability of the cooler and the frequency of the memory, OcUK clearly feels confident that it can apply that overclock to every bundle.
The motherboard is Gigabyte's GA-H55M-UD2H, which is based on the Intel H55 chipset - we've had good experiences with Gigabyte's low-end motherboards in the past, so I'd guess that board would be decent. In fact, I'll probably ask for one to be sent in for testing any time now.
The cooler can either be Zalman's CNPS 10X Extreme
or Corsair's Hydro H50
. The bundle costs £350 inc VAT with the Zalman cooler which, while not the best ever, is at least fairly quiet and should handle the overclock without a problem. By adding the Corsair (surely overkill for a dual-core CPU, even if it is Hyper-Threaded?) you increase the price to £354 inc VAT.
The upgrade looks like a stress-free way to get Core i3 to me, but what do you think? Let us know below.