Core i5 650 - 660 and 661 processor review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 01/02/2010 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Meet Mr. Clarkdale
Intel in the past few months began volume manufacturing its 32nm shrink of its Core microprocessor line, which the company refers to by the code name of 'Westmere'. Within the Westmere range you'll find the 'Dales' chips -- 'Clarkdale' for the desktop, and 'Arrandale' for the notebook. Our focus today is Clarkdale.
Clarkdale based processors will have two physical (execution) CPU cores each capable of two (hyper) threads (making 4 logical cores), and include integrated graphics and a memory controller. Like other Nehalem derivatives, Clarkdale will feature Intel Turbo Boost. The processors feature 4MB 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. The cache memory consists of a 32KB L1 Data cache, 32KB Instruction cache and 256KB L2 cache per core. Then there's a nice L3 cache that is shared in-between the two CPU cores which is 4MB in total.
Today we thus see the light of the first Clarkdale CPUs - part of the Westmere family, or 32nm Nehalem family die shrink. We'll be focusing solely on the Core i5 range as Intel did not ship out Core i3 processors. Within the Core i5 600 range a total of four models are being released; Core i5 650, 660, 661 and 670, clocking in at 3.2, 3.33, 3.33 and 3.46GHz respectively. They will be priced at $176, $196, $196 and $284. Have a peek at the chart below.
|Core / Threads||Cache||Memory||TDP||Price|
|Core i5 670||3.46 GHz||3.73 GHz||2/4||4MB||DDR3 1333||73W||$284|
|Core i5 661||3.33 GHz||3.60 GHz||2/4||4MB||DDR3 1333||87W||$196|
|Core i5 660||3.33 GHz||3.60 GHz||2/4||4MB||DDR3 1333||73W||$196|
|Core i5 650||3.20 GHz||3.46 GHz||2/4||4MB||DDR3 1333||73W||$176|
|Core i3 540||3.06 GHz||N/A||2/4||4MB||DDR3 1333||73W||$133|
|Core i3 530||2.93 GHz||N/A||2/4||4MB||DDR3 1333||73W||$113|
All Clarkdale CPUs come with an IGP on die which means it has a small embedded GPU inside the processor. Though the processors will be manufactured at 32nm the totally weird thing is that the graphics core is produced at 45nm. That can only mean one thing, the Clarkdale processors will feature a multi-chip package, the CPU and GPU won't be merged into a single die but will have two chips in one package. I obtained a beautiful photo showing this:
To the left you can see Core i5 600 (Clarkdale) with two separate chips on one package -- connected like Siamese twins. To the right the H55 PCH (motherboard chipset). From an architectural point of view this means that Clarkdale is a chip that's internally connected to a separate 45nm silicon that houses the GPU and dual-channel memory-controller - all in the same package.
An Embedded GPU
The IGP inside the processor is called the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD, and is derived from existing Intel graphics products. But with some nice new improvements. Thanks to the IGP connectivity this can be good, bringing native support for HDMI (v1.3), DVI and DisplayPort.
|Category||Features||LGA 775 + Intel G45||Intel Series 5 IGP|
|Improvements||Unified Shader architecture||2nd Generation||3rd generation|
|Execution Units (shader processors)||10||12|
|HW Vertex Processing||Enhanced||Enhanced cull/clip/setup|
|Hierarchical Z and Fast Z clear||No||Yes|
|Targeted OS optimizations||Windows XP/Vista||Windows XP/Vista/7|
|3D Performance||Core Frequency||Up to 800 MHz||Up to 900 MHz|
|Max. Video Memory||Up to 768 MB||Up to 1.7 GB|
|DirectX||DX 10||DX 10|
|Shader Model||SM 4.0||SM 4.0|
|Dual Simultaneous HDMI||No||Yes|
As you can observe from the specifications, don't expect heaps of gaming and fragging fun (though very simple games should be able to be played) but see this more as a desktop integration and implementation for very good Windows usage and importantly... high-definition 1080P decoding and acceleration.
Now back to the CPU part, you have probably already noticed that the Core i5 660 and 661 models seem to have the the same clock frequency. It is in fact the same processor with the same features, however on the 661 model the IGP will be clocked higher at 900 MHz and thus runs GPU accelerated applications slightly better. The IGP gets a perfect score in the HQV benchmark and Blu-ray, Dolby DTS, and other audio formats will be supported over the HDMI output making the Core i5 600 series a good HTPC alternative.
And then we land at the Core i3 530 and 540 covering the $123-$150 price range. The Core i3 processors will not feature Turbo mode, that will be the main difference. Other than that it's the same chip with the same features and TDP (73W).
One last thing I need to mention, Clarkdale (Core i5 dual core) processors are based on socket LGA1156 that currently powers Lynnfield CPUs (Core i5 750 / Core i7 860/870). We'll talk about this a little more in the chipset chapter.
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.