Core i5 650 - 660 and 661 processor review

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Transcoding over the CPU or GPU - 3DMark 06 and Vantage


Transcoding over the CPU or GPU

We recently added another benchmark to the test-suite. It's MediaShow Espresso. The fun thing about this video transcoder is that it can utilize the GPU to assist it with the transcending process.  However, you can also solely use the CPU, making this a very interesting benchmark and you can check out behavior of CPU transcoding AND GPU transcoding all in one test.

Above you can find the results of this new test. In this test we transcode a 200 MB AVCHD 1920x1080i media file to a 1280x720P MP4 binary (YouTube format).

We recently introduced this test. As you can see, the GPU is very well suited for this process. Since the software is really multi-core aware, dual-core processors fall behind quadcores quickly. The high clock frequency however saves the overall performance.


3DMark 06 CPU test

Well, everybody loves 3DMark06, and nowadays, it's CPU limited, making it an okay application to check CPU performance. The scores that you see obviously are the CPU test itself, not overall 3DMark06 scores.

3DMark Vantage (DirectX 10)

3DMark Vantage focuses on the two areas most critical to gaming performance: the CPU and the GPU. With the emergence of multi-package and multi-core configurations on both the CPU and GPU side, the performance scale of these areas has widened, and the visual and game-play effects made possible by these configurations are accordingly wide-ranging. This makes covering the entire spectrum of 3D gaming a difficult task. 3DMark Vantage solves this problem in three ways:

1. Isolate GPU and CPU performance benchmarking into separate tests,
2. Cover several visual and game-play effects and techniques in four different tests, and
3. Introduce visual quality presets to scale the graphics test load up through the highest-end hardware.

To this end, 3DMark Vantage has two GPU tests, each with a different emphasis on various visual techniques, and two CPU tests, which cover the two most common CPU-side tasks: Physics Simulation and AI. It also has four visual quality presets (Entry, Performance, High, and Extreme) available in the Advanced and Professional versions, which increase the graphics load successively for even more visual quality. Each preset will produce a separate, official 3DMark Score, tagged with the preset in question.

The graphics load increases significantly from the lowest to the highest preset. The Performance preset is targeted for mid-range hardware with 256 MB of graphics memory. The Entry preset is targeted for integrated and low-end hardware with 128 MB of graphics memory. The higher presets require 512MB of graphics memory, and are targeted for high-end and multi-GPU systems.

3DMark Vantage also has a standalone CPU test. It's multi-core and multi-threading aware, it was no surprise to see the Core i5 and i7 kick in really well.

Above thus the CPU score. But we also have some performance (P) scores available.

3DMark Vantage Performance Score
Core i5 650 13146
Core i5 660/661 13325
Phenom II X4 965BE 125W 14499
Core i5 660/661 @ 4,2 GHz 14819
Core i7 870 16236
Core i7 940 16436

With a new graphics card (Radeon HD 5870) being used in the CPU test suite, we don't have many other overall 3DMark Vantage Performance scores we can compare to. But above you can see that with a Radeon HD 5870 this PC would score (P) 13,000 points. Let's check out some actual games versus different platforms.

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