Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540 Entry-Level CPU [Review]

The Intel Pentium N3520, N3530, and N3540 are entry-level processors you can often find in budget laptop and 2-in-1 PCs. The N3520, N3530, and N3540 belong to the Intel Bay Trail CPU family, characterized by basic performance and very low power consumption.

Intel Pentium N3520 N3530 N3540 Benchmark

These quad-core Bay Trail Pentium CPUs deliver noticeably better computing speed than the lower-end dual-core Bay Trail N28xx-series Celerons, while consuming the same amount of power of 7.5 Watts. The reviewed Pentiums are also faster than the popular tablet-use quad-core Z37xx Bay Trail Atoms, but the latter consume only 2-2.2W. Another positive fact in favor of the Pentium N-series is that it’s only slightly slower than the 15-Watt Pentium 3805U Broadwell dual-core.

Differences between the N3520, N3530, and N3540 are minor and are related only to clock speeds. They all share the same base CPU clock speed of 2.16GHz, but in “burst” mode they can achieve up to 2.42, 2.58, and 2.66 GHz, respectively. Furthermore, the Intel HD graphics integrated in these processors has a base clock speed of 313 MHz, but their maximal dynamic frequency or burst frequency is different. The N3520 runs at up to 854MHz, while the N3530 and N3540 run at up to 896 MHz. These differences in the real world use are minor. The rest of the specifications is identical. The 64-bit quad-core CPUs based on 22-nanometer production technology have 2MB of cache, support for up to 1333MHz RAM speed, and support for VT-x virtualization.

Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540 Real World Use Test

Intel Pentium N3520 CPUZ - N3530 N3540 Are SimilarFor this real world-use test of the Intel Pentium N-series Bay Trail processors we used an HP Pavilion x360 11 convertible notebook with the Pentium N3520. As already mentioned, the N3530 and N3540 are only slightly faster, which can’t be noticed during your daily computing tasks or gaming. Alongside the N3520, the tested Pavilion x360 11 had 4GB of system memory at 1,333MHz which is enough for moderate multitasking and a slow 500GB hard drive spinning at 5,400 rounds per minute.

What are the Pentium N35xx chips good for? In short, for web surfing, multimedia playback, office document editing, and casual gaming. You can even use them for high-resolution photography and 1080p video editing, although some operations (applying image filters, video transcoding) in these tasks take noticeably longer time to complete than with the mainstream Intel CPUs like the i5-5200U. Webpage scrolling, tab switching, and zooming in Google Chrome worked flawlessly on the tested system. You can also play high-resolution YouTube videos (including 4K) without a glitch. Work in Microsoft Word and Excel programs was very fluid. Take a look yourself:


Gaming on Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540

As expected, you won’t be able to play the latest hardware-demanding blockbuster game titles. But, casual games and lighter MMORPGs and first person shooters run acceptably good. For instance, you can play League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive on low settings and 720p resolution at around 30 frames per second. Dota 2 MMORPG runs mostly between 20 and 25 fps, with occasional drops in intensive scenes to around 15 fps. Minecraft runs well on low settings, at a speed of around 30 fps. FIFA 15 soccer is too heavy for the chips. You can’t get more than 15 fps consistently with them on lowest FIFA 15 detail settings and 720p. We also tested Skyrim, which scores around 15 fps with the same settings.



The Pentium N Bay Trail has an excellent thermal design. In the tested HP x360 11 laptop, temperatures never exceeded 51 degrees Celsius, even under 100% CPU load during benchmarks. All that with very low fan noise. On idle, CPU temp was 41 degrees.

Check out systems with the Pentium N3520, N3530, and N3540.

Specifications of the Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540

Here's the specs sheet of the Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540:

Processor Name

Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540

CPU Family

Intel Pentium "Bay Trail"

Number of Cores

Quad-core / 1 thread per core

CPU Clock Speed

Base: 2.16GHz, Burst: N3520 2.42GHz / N3530 2.58GHz / N3540 2.66GHz

Cache Size


Memory Support

DDR3 1333MHz

Integrated Graphics

Intel HD

Power Consumption


Production Technology



Intel QuickSync
VT-x Virtualization

Typical Use

Affordable Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs

User Benchmark Average CPU Score



Written by on June 2, 2015

User reviews, comments, and Q&A on the Intel Pentium N3520 / N3530 / N3540

Below you can read and submit user reviews, comments, questions, and answers regarding the processor. Thank you for your contribution.


4.67 out of 5
(3 user reviews)

  1. Jenny

    Is this HP laptop one that is being recalled because of concerns of battery fires?

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo arancibia

    User of this processor on windows and Linux environments…Fast when you need it, works well with office software, light to medium video/photo/audio editing and some other usually work related software…Gaming(in my case using a dedicated video card on my laptop) is great for almost every game so far, crysis3, Cod(modern warfare, black ops series) Battlefield games(even battlefield 1 run, but I had some issues I think because of low memory), playing in low/medium graphics…it’s a great entry level CPU that will surprise anyone with the performance and low power consumption.


    Will it run slime rancher at a reasonable rate

    • Enough of the stupid game

      Well I found it could run slime racer OK, but slick walker a little better and squishy skipper dude even better still. But whatever you do don’t try playing “hey-dude-get-off-your-butt-and-stop-playing-computer-games Pro” or “what-a-worthless-waste-of-your-time III” – it won’t quite keep up. Hope that helps.

  4. Rated 4 out of 5


    how turn on Turbo Boost on intel quad core 3540-2.16ghz to 2.66ghz???

    • santos

      It’s automatic and enabled by default. The N3540 doesn’t actually has TurboBoost but rather “burst” mode where the core clock can reach up to 2.66GHz if a task requires it. Don’t expect the CPU to run at 2.66GHz for prolonged periods because of thermal design which has to prevent overheating.

  5. Danijel Z
    Rated 5 out of 5

    Danijel Z

    We give the Intel Pentium N3520, N3530, and N3540 processors four stars because of their great everyday performance, low power consumption, cool operation, and low cost. Click on the Description tab above for a detailed review.

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