Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K review -
Meet the Sandy Bridge Architecture
Meet The Sandy Bridge Architecture
Sandy Bridge really is a completely new architecture. The overall processor performance, really, is going to stagger you. And inside the die, merged deeply in there, we spot an integrated GPU (I really like to call it a video processor though), with twice the performance of the last generation we saw from Clarkdale processors. By itself that's still not a lot, but it definitely is an improvement in the low-end segment. There's more though, we see the new AVX instruction set extension which is really gonna help out in say transcoding matters, we spot an updated Turbo engine allowing much more efficient per core performance and clock frequencies, we notice really good power consumption especially in idle, we spot new chipsets and well... it's just a lot to digest, so let's go through some of the more important aspects point by point.
What is Intel releasing?
Intel today releases the next (2nd) generation Core i3/i5/i7 processor family. Though today is all about the Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K processors, there will be a huge lineup in the months to come, below you can see a small overview of what you can expect based on this new architecture for desktop processors:
Desktop Core i7 processors: i7-2600K, i7-2600S, i7-2600
Desktop Core i5 processors: i5-2500K, i5-2500S, i5-2500T, i5-2500, i5-2400, i5-2400S, i5-2390T, i5-2300
Desktop Core i3 processors: i3-2120, i3-2100, i3-2100T
Paired with these processors come new motherboard chipsets, ten in total of which five are intended for desktop processors, namely the P67, H67, Q65, Q67, and B65. For end consumers like you and me the H67 chipset will be less performance targeted and comes with support for monitor connectivity. The P67 chipset is targeted at performance and enthusiast end users allowing much more tweaking and providing performance features. In the coming weeks we'll be testing a lot of these chipset based motherboards, of which some will now also have support for the new UEFI BIOS. A graphics user interface BIOS that is going to astound you.
Sandy Bridge architecture
Whereas the previous Clarkdale processors had a 45nm GPU and a 32nm CPU core placed onto one chip package, the new Sandy Bridge architecture comes together and merges these two parts on the die, all based on a 32nm fabrication node.
SB (Sandy Bridge) Core i5 and i7 based processors will have four physical (execution) CPU cores each capable of one hyper-thread (making 4 physical cores and 8 logical cores hyper-threaded), they include integrated graphics and a memory controller. Like other 1st generation Nehalem derivatives, SB will feature Intel Turbo Boost which has been further developed and is now at revision 2.0.
For the Sandy Bridge generation there will of course be a distinctions per processor segment (i3/i5/i7). What you get in terms of features and what you need to remember limitation wise:
- Desktop Core i7 processors have four cores / eight hyper-threads / Up to 8MB cache
- Desktop Core i5 processors have four cores / NO hyper-threading / Up to 8MB cache
- Desktop Core i3 processors have four cores / NO hyper-threading / Up to 3MB cache
All models will come with a respective Turbo mode though but only the Core i7 series will be capable of handling two independent software threads per core, hyper-threading. It's a feature we like very much as it really helps out on peak performance, it allows a processor to execute two different code streams at pretty much the same time.
The Core i7 SB processors feature 8MB of Intel Smart Cache and an Integrated Memory Controller (IMC) that supports two-channels of DDR3 memory at officially supported speeds of up to 1333MHz. Core i5 and i3 will have small L3 caches, 6MB.
I've created a nice table where you can observe all primary specifications and prices, have a good look.
|Branding||Core i5||Core i5||Core i5||Core i7||Core i7|
|Cores / Threads||4/4||4/4||4/4||4/8||4/8|
|Max Turbo GHz||3.4||3.7||3.7||3.8||3.8|
|DDR3 MHz||1333 MHz||1333 MHz||1333 MHz||1333 MHz||1333 MHz|
|Intel HD Graphics||2000||2000||3000||2000||3000|
|GPU Max freq||1100 MHz||1100 MHz||1100 MHz||1350 MHz||1350 MHz|
|Socket||LGA 1155||LGA 1155||LGA 1155||LGA 1155||LGA 1155|
As you can see, there will also be a 2400 model and later on even more, you will also spot S models like the Core i7 2600S, these all have a lower TDP (65W) but also come with a lower base clock frequency (2.5 GHz for the 2400S, 2.7 GHz for the 2500S and 2.8 GHz for the 2600S).
If you go a little deeper into the core then your first question will be, what about L1 and L2 caches? The Sandy Bridge cache memory consists of a 32KB L1 Data cache, 32KB Instruction cache (= 64KB L1) and then we spot a 256KB L2 cache per core. Then there's a nice L3 cache that is shared in-between the CPU cores which is 8MB in total for the Core i7 2600 processors and 6MB for the Core i5 2500. The L3 cache is where the magic happens, surrounding the segments inside the die, the L3 cache sits in the physical form of a ringbus. Thus the L3 cache can be used by the processor cores and also the graphics core.
We review the Core i5 3570K Ivy bridge processor. Will Ivy Bridge be the processor series everything you expected? Go find out in this extensive review here at Guru3D.
Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K review
Today we test and review Sandy Bridge, the Intel Core i7-2600K and Intel Core i5-2500K processors. We will pair the 2600K processor with the Intel Desktop Motherboard DP67BG and also run a test with the Intel Core i5-2500K processor on a Intel DH67BL motherboard
Core i5 655K and Core i7 875K processor review
Intel today releases two new processors targeted at a somewhat more enthusiast audience. Yes, processors for tweakers and overclockers. On socket LGA 1156 Intel now releases two K series processors. The 32nm Intel Core i5-655K processor has the very same specifications as the Core i5 650; it will operate at 3.2 GHz, will feature two cores with Hyper-Threading technology, sport 4MB of L3 cache and will be made using 32nm process technology. The difference between the 650 and 655K is the unlocked multiplier only. Then we have the enthusiast class Intel Core i7-875K processor, it has the very same specifications as the Core i7 870; it will operate at 2.93GHz, will feature four cores with Hyper-Threading technology, sport 8MB of L3 cache and will be made using 45nm process technology. The only difference between the two central processing units (CPUs) will be the unlocked multiplier on the 875K chip, which will allow overclockers and enthusiasts to easily boost clock-speed of the product without the necessity of overclocking other parts of their systems.
Core i5 650 - 660 and 661 processor review
The time has come for Intel to debut a new line of mainstream 32nm processors, which we have all learned to recognize under the codename 'Clarkdale', the new CPUs will be aimed at the mainstream desktop PC segment and will complement the chip maker's Core i3 and Core i5 line of products. The Intel processor lineup will include the Core i3 530 and 540 models, as well as the Core i5 650, 660, 661, and 670, which will be featured with Hyper-Threading, 4MB of L3 cache and support for dual-channel DDR3-1333 memory. Well, that and an integrated GPU as well of course. Guru3D will put the Core i5 650, 660 and 661 to the test.