Sandy Bridge CPU and graphics performance tested

Although the first retail processors based on Intel's new Sandy Bridge architecture aren't due until the first quarter of next year, AnandTech surprisingly managed to score an early sample for testing. The CPU in question is a Core i5-2400 that has four cores, 6MB of L3 cache, and a 3.1GHz clock speed. Turbo Boost wasn't enabled in engineering sample, but it'll reportedly scale the final product up to 3.4GHz when thermals permit.

Even without Turbo Boost, the i5-2400 fared well in the battery of benchmarks AnandTech used to test the chip. Intel's new hotness averaged out to 23% faster than a Core i5-760—the CPU it may ultimately replace at the same price point. Power consumption looks good, too. Sandy Bridge doesn't appear to have an advantage at idle, but under load, it drew 10W less than the i5-760.

Perhaps most impressive is the performance of the new CPU's "Gen 6" integrated graphics core. In low-resolution tests with in-game details at their lowest settings, the Sandy Bridge graphics processor kept pace with a discrete Radeon HD 5450. That's not the most impressive GPU in AMD's lineup, but it's a whole lot faster than the Intel HD Graphics option available in current CPUs. AnandTech didn't observe any image quality issues with Intel's early graphics drivers, which is encouraging news, as well.

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