|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Intel Sandy Bridge Processors (LGA 1155)|
|Posted by Winston|
|Sunday, 02 January 2011 21:00|
Page 1 of 11
It's been a while since I last reviewed a processor chip, but hopefully I'll be able to give you all the necessary information as best I can. Generally in this type of review, I tend to cover all the major points and only briefly cover some technical aspects. Writing an article that's too technical can sometimes be a deterrent, especially when there are tech terms which can often be confusing or alien to a lot consumers. I want to give our readers a simple to understand article, that will give them the necessary information when deciding to buy a new CPU or motherboard.
That said, let's take a look at what the fuss is all about with the latest processors from Intel. As you all know, during the CES 2011 exhibition, Intel have been showcasing their latest processors codenamed "Sandy Bridge". These processors require new motherboards sporting either the new Intel P67 or H67 chipsets. Thanks to Intel, we were given the chance to try these new processors. They sent us their review kits, which include both processor and motherboard. So now, we're able to give you an in-depth look at Intel's new Sandy Bridge platform.
In this review, we'll be taking a look at the Core i7-2600K and the Core i5-2500K processors from Intel. These processors are the latest addition to Intel's line of unlocked desktop processors which are specifically designed and targeted at the overclocking enthusiast. The review kits came with two motherboards ... the Intel DP67BG (P67 chipset), which is designed for higher-end segment, and the Intel DH67BL (H67 chipset) designed for the mainstream segment.
For our default tests, we will be using the Intel DP67BG motherboard (P67 chipset) which came with the review kit. But for our overclocking tests, we decided to use the Gigabyte P67A-UD4 motherboard, due to the amount of overclocking options available in the BIOS. The Gigabyte P67A-UD4 will be perfect to showcase the unlocked capabilities of the both the Core i7-2600K and the Core i5-2500K processors.
I've made a simple table to show the differences between the new Sandy Bridge Core i5 and the Core i7 processors. As you can see, both CPUs are virtually identical except for the Hyper-threaded cores and more cache memory on the Coe i7-2600.
Intel Core i7-2600K
Let's take a look at the Intel Core i7-2600K first. This processor is designed and aimed at the higher-end of the mainstream market and overclocking enthusiasts. Rated to run at 3.4Ghz (34x100) and featuring all of Intel's innovative CPU technologies, it's perfect for anyone who wants the best of their processor while keeping the price affordable. The chip features 8-way multitasking through its 4 physical cores and 4 Hyper-threaded cores. Intel's Hyper-Threading technology allows each core to work on two tasks at the same time, this provides unprecedented processing capability for multi-tasking and threaded applications. It can run 8 independant processing threads in one physical package ... now that's pretty impressive.
Next, we have the 8Mb of Intel's Smart Cache feature. This 8Mb of shared cache allows faster access to data by enabling dynamic and efficient allocation of the cache to match the needs of each core. It significantly reduces latency for data which are frequently accessed, and therefore improving performance.
The integrated memory controller supports upto dual channel DDR3-1333 memory, with 2 DIMMs per channel. It also supports Intel's Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) specification, which allows one-step easy configuration of the memory to run at its optimized settings in BIOS of the motherboard.
The Core i7-2600K has a fully unlocked core multiplier allowing ultimate flexibility for overclocking. With the decent motherboard that's designed for overclocking, you'll also be able to adjust the CPU power, DDR3 memory ratios, voltages and much much more.
This processor is designed and aimed at the mainstream market and overclocking beginners. It's rated to run at 3.3Ghz (33x100) and features all of Intel's innovative CPU technologies. The chip features 4-way multitasking through its 4 physical cores, but sadly it does not support Hyper-threading. It's great for mainstream users and overclocking beginners who wants all the great features that Intel has to offer, while keeping the price affordable.
Intel's Smart Cache feature is included and comes with 6Mb of shared cache, which allows faster access to data by enabling dynamic and efficient allocation of the cache to match the needs of each core. It significantly reduces latency for data which are frequently accessed, and therefore improving performance.
Like its bigger brother the Core i7-2600K, the integrated memory controller supports upto dual channel DDR3-1333 memory, with 2 DIMMs per channel. It also supports Intel's Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) specification, which allows one-step easy configuration of the memory to run at its optimized settings in BIOS of the motherboard.
The Core i5-2500K has a fully unlocked core multiplier allowing ultimate flexibility for overclocking. With the decent motherboard that's designed for overclocking, you'll also be able to adjust the CPU power, DDR3 memory ratios, voltages and much much more.
One of the advantages of the Core i5-2500K, is that it's a perfect match for any motherboard that uses the H67 chipset. An affordable, all-in-one solution with onboard sound, graphics and network capabilities, as well as supporting all of Intel's latest technologies. The unlocked graphics multiplier allows for overclocking to boost the graphics clock speed.
In addition to all of the innovative CPU technologies mentioned above, here are some of the features from the built-in HD 3000 graphics, which are inherent in both processors ...