Intel’s Core i5-750 and Core i7-870 processors

Almost a year ago, the Core i7 burst onto the scene and created a well-deserved stir with its incredibly bandwidth-rich system architecture and sometimes-astonishing performance in multithreaded applications. For the right sort of jobs, such as 3D rendering or scientific computing applications, the Core i7 delivered a performance leap beyond its precursors that was nearly unprecedented. With this new processor, Intel removed any semblance of doubt about who held the lead in CPU technology.

Trouble was, the Core i7’s most dramatic performance gains were largely confined to specific types of applications, many of which have little relevance to the average computer user. On top of that, the price of entry for a Core i7-based system was fairly steep. The CPU themselves weren’t especially cheap, nor were the motherboards, and one had to populate those boards with six memory modules to achieve optimal performance. All of this was a natural consequence of the fact that those first Core i7 products were repurposed silicon mainly intended for servers and workstations in the guise of Nehalem Xeons, roles for which those CPUs are exceptionally well suited.

Thus, the Core i7 has held undisputed technology leadership in desktop processors, but Intel’s older Core 2 technology has remained the bread and butter of its product lineup. Against this less potent opposition, a resurgent AMD has made headway in the middle of the market all year with the steady improvements to the Phenom II. Today, however, Intel is officially taking the wraps off of a new weapon in its arsenal: the chip code-named Lynnfield, which looks to bring the native quad-core Nehalem microarchitecture into the mainstream. Thanks to some clever engineering and integration, this processor promises to enable systems that are faster, cheaper, quieter, smaller, and more energy efficient than prior desktop PCs.

You have, perhaps, heard such claims before, no? The question, then, is whether Intel has really pulled off such a feat with Lynnfield.

A brief Nehalem refresher

Lynnfield is simply a new implementation of the same Nehalem microarchitecture inside the first Core i7 processors—those chips were code-named Bloomfield. Nehalem is, in turn, an evolutionary step beyond the familiar Core 2, but with a heaping helping of consequential changes, especially to the system architecture. Nehalem consolidates four execution cores onto a single piece of silicon, integrates an on-die memory controller, and eliminates the front-side bus—adopting a system layout familiar from AMD’s Athlon 64 and its descendants, although Intel’s version of the same is intended to be faster and better.

Despite the new plumbing around them, Nehalem’s execution cores are still based on the Core 2’s, but they have been tweaked in ways big and small. For example, changes to instruction decoding and branch prediction bring higher performance per clock. Tweaks to the internal memory subsystem complement the revamping of the whole memory hierarchy, which has been tuned for the freer flow of data and instructions. Each core has 32KB L1 data and instruction caches and a 256KB dedicated L2 cache. The third-level cache is larger, at 8MB, and is shared by all four cores; as a result, the L3 cache is crucial to inter-core communication.

One of the big highlights on Nehalem’s feature list is the return of simultaneous multithreading (SMT), better known in Intel marketing-speak as Hyper-Threading. Each Nehalem core can track and execute two hardware threads at once to make better use of its rich, four-issue-wide execution resources. Although Hyper-Threading proved to be a bit of a mixed blessing in the Pentium 4, Nehalem’s SMT implementation has proven to be a nearly unqualified win in the server and workstation markets, and it shows real promise for the desktop, too, for reasons we’ll soon explore.

Nehalem’s L3 cache, memory controller, and off-chip I/O components are separate from the quad execution cores and together make up what Intel calls the chip’s “uncore.” The uncore is clocked separately from the cores and has its own power states, as well. As you might be gathering, this design is really quite modular, and Intel has played mix-and-match with the uncore elements of the base Nehalem microarchitecture while cooking up Lynnfield. For a deeper look at Nehalem itself, I suggest reading our reviews of the original Core i7 and the Xeon 5500 series.

Romping through Lynnfield

The most pertinent question today is how Intel has adapted the Nehalem microarchitecture to suit the mainstream market. Those changes are oriented toward related goals of cost reduction and integration.

The most obvious change is a move from three memory channels in Bloomfield to two channels in Lynnfield. Dual channels have been the standard in desktop PCs for ages now, and Lynnfield regresses to the mean. Those memory channels are potent, though—twin sets of DDR3 DIMMs, with officially sanctioned speeds up to 1333MHz, although higher frequencies are possible on some models, if you’re willing to be an outlaw. The bump up in memory clocks somewhat offsets the loss of a channel, since Bloomfield is officially limited to 1066MHz RAM.

Lynnfield also, somewhat surprisingly, does away with the QuickPath Interconnect used on prior Nehalem incarnations. In its place are 16 lanes of built-in, on-die PCI Express 2.0 connectivity, used to connect the CPU directly to a discrete graphics card. These PCIe lanes can be split, if needed, into twin x8 links for use with dual graphics cards. Although this split arrangement is technically less than best, we’ve found it to be indistinguishable from the 32-lane X58 Bloomfield chipset in our initial tests with SLI and CrossFireX. The on-die integration of PCIe has the potential to reduce CPU-to-device latency over PCIe, which may turn out to be preferable to more lanes and higher latency, once GPU makers have had the opportunity to tune their drivers to take advantage of it.

A block diagram of the Lynnfield system architecture. Source: Intel.

The other bit of novel I/O in Lynnfield’s uncore is a relatively pedestrian 2GB/s DMI link used to talk to Intel’s single-chip core logic solution, the P55 platform controller hub, or PCH. We have a rather complete review of the P55 online today, with a look at motherboard solutions from three major manufacturers, so I won’t dwell too much on its specifics.

Consider, however, what moving to single-chip solution saves in terms of space, power, and thus cost. Intel claims this dual-chip (CPU and PCH) solution offers a roughly 40% reduction in package size versus the Core 2 and friends. Intel reckons Nehalem’s power-saving mojo reduces idle power consumption for the CPU alone by up to 50%. Not only that, but the 95W maximum power envelope, or thermal design power (TDP), of Lynnfield processors now encompasses the major PCIe links, and what’s left fits inside the P55 chip, which has a tiny 4.7W TDP. Compare that a 22W TDP for the P45 north bridge and 4.5W for the ICH10R south bridge, along with a 95W Core 2 processor. Platform power consumption for Lynnfield systems should be down substantially.

One upshot of this integration should be the flourishing of motherboards and systems that pack tremendous power into smaller form factors. Fewer chips, simpler power delivery and cooling, and easier routing all help on this front. Already, major players like Gigabyte have introduced feature-rich mATX P55 motherboards, and I expect Mini-ITX solutions will be forthcoming, as well.

With that said, Lynnfield itself isn’t exactly a small chip. Both Lynnfield and Bloomfield are manufactured on Intel’s 45nm high-k fab process. At 774 million transistors and 296 mm², Lynnfield is actually larger than Bloomfield (731M transistors and 263 mm²). Based on the die shot above, it appears much of Lynnfield’s additional die area is concentrated in its PCIe block, which clearly occupies more area than Bloomfield’s two QPI blocks (picture here.) Lynnfield also slightly outweighs AMD’s 45-nm Phenom II, which packs 758M transistors into 258 mm².

Meet the Core i5 and the Core i7-800 series

Much has been written already about Intel’s naming schemes for Nehalem-derived products, so I won’t rehash any of those arguments. What you need to know is that Lynnfield introduces a new LGA1156 socket type and is thus incompatible with older Core i7 motherboards. Lynnfield chips will initially slot into two product lines, the Core i5-700 series and the Core i7-800 series. Bloomfield CPUs will coexist as higher-end specimens and members of the Core i7-900 series. Intel has three initial models based on Lynnfield, although I’d expect more to come eventually.

Model Cores Threads Base core
clock speed
L3
cache

size

Uncore

speed

TDP Price
Core i5-750 4 4 2.66 GHz 8MB 2.13
GHz
95W $199
Core i7-860 4 8 2.8 GHz 8MB 2.4
GHz
95W $285
Core i7-870 4 8 2.93 GHz 8MB 2.4
GHz
95W $555

Note that the lone Core i5 processor supports only four threads. In other words, Hyper-Threading has been disabled in this chip to differentiate it from the more expensive models. Another way the Core i5 differs from it siblings is its 2.13GHz uncore speed. That clock is important because it contributes to another Core i5-750 limitation: the max memory speed, without overclocking the base system clock, is 1333MHz. With a 2.4GHz uncore, the Core i7-800-series chips can hit 1600MHz memory speeds without extra help. The uncore speed also determines the clock speed of the L3 cache, another little Lynnfield control knob that will impact performance, if not tremendously.

Still, at $199, the Core i5 is squarely in the spotlight as the product with the broadest potential audience of the bunch. The closest competition from AMD is the Phenom II X4 955, which is selling for $189 at Newegg right now—a big discount off list price and a signal that AMD has anticipated Lynnfield’s debut in its pricing. Intel has less of an incentive to make outgoing Core 2 products attractive in the face of the Core i5; the Core 2 Quad Q9550 is selling for $219.99 at Newegg presently, and the firm says it has no plans to reduce Core 2 prices upon the Core i5’s introduction.

At $249, the Phenom II X4 965 is probably the closest competitor to the Core i7-860 from AMD. Other CPUs in its price range include the Core 2 Quad Q9650 at $320 online and the Core i7-920 at $280.

One rung up, well, AMD has no real rival to the Core i7-870, although the i7-870 does match up pretty closely against the Core i7-950 at $570. Keep these match-ups in mind as we move into our test results.

Now, forget what you just read about clock speeds. I’ve been holding out on telling you about one of Lynnfield’s most notable features because I wanted to get that product information into the mix first. Like all Nehalem-derived products, Lynnfield chips have an onboard microcontroller dedicated to power management. This controller governs dynamic clock speed scaling schemes like SpeedStep for power savings, and it can be programmed via firmware to implement different algorithms, to tune for higher performance or lower power consumption, and so on.

This microcontroller contributes to Nehalem-based chips’ impressive low power draw at idle, but it also enables a nifty little feature called Turbo Boost, which may be familiar from the Core i7-900 series. Turbo Boost can opportunistically raise clock speeds beyond their usual peaks, momentarily and dynamically, using the same P-state mechanism as SpeedStep.

The idea here is to take advantage of any additional thermal headroom available when the processor is under load—either partially or fully. Uniquely, Nehalem includes a switch that can shut off power to an idle core entirely, eliminating even the leakage power that core would otherwise consume. Shutting down a core in this way opens up additional thermal headroom, so the remaining, engaged cores can ramp up their clock speeds and boost performance. Even with all four cores active, a chip may have some additional thermal headroom, and Turbo Boost can take advantage.

Bloomfield chips have Turbo Boost, but it’s a relatively conservative version. With one thread active, a Core i7-900-series chip can raise its clock speed by up to two “ticks” or increments of the 133MHz base clock. With two or more threads loading up cores, the chip can go up to 133MHz above stock. That nets you a little bit more performance, especially because a Core i7-975 Extreme rated at 3.33GHz will spend a lot of its time at 3.46GHz, but it’s not exactly eye-popping.

With its Lynnfield products, Intel has become much more aggressive with Turbo Boost tuning. The table below outlines the clock speeds possible with Turbo Boost doing its thing in the various Lynnfield models.

Model Base core

clock speed

Peak
Turbo Boost speed
4 active
cores
3 active
cores
2 active
cores
1 active
core
Core i5-750 2.66 GHz 2.8 GHz 2.8 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.2 GHz
Core i7-860 2.8 GHz 2.93 GHz 2.93 GHz 3.33 GHz 3.46 GHz
Core i7-870 2.93 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.46 GHz 3.6 GHz

The two Core i7-800-series processors have the most aggressive Turbo Boost tuning. What you’re looking at here could amount to a pretty substantial jump in performance for single- and dual-threaded applications, including—yep—games. The Core 2 Quad Q9650 tops out at 3GHz. Between the clock-for-clock performance gain and the jump to 3.46 or 3.6GHz, the Core i7-870 should be markedly faster with such applications.

Interestingly enough, Turbo Boost speeds are not guaranteed by Intel, will depend on the thermal properties of the individual chip in question, and as I understand it, are also dependent on having good CPU cooling. However, my experience with various Nehalem-derived processors suggests that the clock speed on the product label isn’t the speed at which the CPU will typically run under load. You can probably expect something more, with one tick up as a functional minimum.

This development also means that CPU performance is no longer exactly deterministic, which creates some emotional issues for me as a lab testing guy. One understands that taking as much performance as the thermal headroom will allow is a sensible behavior, especially now that thermals are the primary CPU performance constraint. Still, one senses there is no going back, and things will only become more complicated from here.

Another outgrowth of the Lynnfield Turbo mechanism is that we cannot use higher-end chips to exactly replicate the performance of lower-end products. We found this out when we investigated simulating a Core i7-860 with a Core i7-870. Although we know what the correct Turbo Boost ratios are for the i7-860, the ratios on the i7-870 cannot be modified via the BIOS, either on our Gigabyte P55-UD6 testbed motherboard or on the Intel DP55KG. As a result, we unfortunately don’t have performance results for the Core i7-860 in the following pages. We’ll have to acquire a specimen of the actual product in order to test its performance.

A little special sauce for Windows 7

You may have noticed that Lynnfield and Windows 7 are hitting the market not far from one another, and PCs based on both should be common during the fall buying season. Intel says it has worked with Microsoft on several specific optimizations for Windows 7, the most intriguing of which is a feature called “SMT parking.”

The basic notion behind SMT parking is that the Windows scheduler will attempt to schedule threads so that all physical cores are occupied before any core gets two threads scheduled on its two front-ends (or logical cores). Since Hyper-Threading involves some cache partitioning and other forms of resource sharing, this is a potentially important feature. We’ve seen scheduler quirks cause poor and oddly unpredictable performance on Core i7 processors in the past. Based on our limited experience testing with Windows 7 and a cadre of SMT-enabled processors for this review, our initial impressions of SMT parking are positive. We’ve seen performance results for executables that rely on the Windows scheduler for thread allocation that match the performance of executables with explicit, SMT-aware thread affinity built in. Our initial sense is that SMT parking blunts some potential disadvantages of Hyper-Threading, making it more of an unqualified win, even on the desktop.

A look at the new socket and package

Below are some pictures of the LGA1156 socket and the Core i5-750 processor in its new package. I believe they’re self-explanatory.

The LGA1156 CPU retention mechanism has the socket cover sliding beneath a bolt head

LGA1156 crams 1156 pins into a socket with the same basic dimensions as its LGA775 predecessor

The Core i5-750 (top left in both pictures) sits in a much

smaller package than the Bloomfield Core i7

Test notes

The advent of Windows 7 prompted us to throw out our old CPU test results and start fresh with all new, well, just about everything—new OS, new drivers, new revisions of nearly every application we use in testing. We also took this opportunity to freshen up our CPU test rigs, an endeavor made possible by a number of folks in the industry.

Here’s a look at one of our Lynnfield processors sitting in a Gigabyte P55-UD6 motherboard. Notice the Corsair Dominator modules nestled into those DIMM slots—those are purpose-tuned for Lynnfield processors, capable of running at 1600MHz with a CAS latency of 8 at only 1.65V, which is the max voltage Intel recommends putting through its integrated memory controllers. We chose to run our RAM at an officially sanctioned 1333MHz for this first test, but I expect we’ll explore performance at higher memory clocks soon.

Asus kicked in some higher-clocked GeForce GTX 260 cards like this one for our test systems. This change was prompted mainly by my desire to aim for lower power draw at idle on our test systems. Right now, Nvidia GPUs draw quite a bit less at idle than comparable Radeons, which is one reason our test systems have finally dipped below the 100W mark, as you’ll see. Upgrading to these from our previous Radeon HD 4870 cards also got us almost twice the video RAM, higher performance, and quieter operation in the confines of Damage Labs.

The biggest noise reduction among our test rig upgrades, though, was easily the move to PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610W PSUs. We’ve downsized a little on wattage here, too, in an attempt to chase more efficiency at idle while retaining the proper connector payload for anything we might wish to do with our test systems.

Last but not least, we have our 1TB WD RE3 hard drives. With much higher transfer rates than our old Caviar SE16 320GBs, these drives have driven up our WorldBench scores across the board. We chose these drives over SSDs in part because we had some trepidation over new versus used-state performance issues in SSDs, which might lead to inconsistent test outcomes.

Thanks to Gigabyte, Corsair, Asus, OCZ, and WD for making this major upgrade of our test systems possible.

I should note several other things before we go on. First, one of our processor speed grades is simulated; the Core i7-950 is actually a Core i7-975 Extreme underclocked to the appropriate speeds. That’s fine for performance analysis, but it’s not always an exact match on power consumption, so we’ve left the Core i7-950 out of our power tests. Somewhat similarly, the Core 2 Quad Q9550 we used for testing was actually the Q9550S low-power variant, since that was what we had on hand. Its performance should be identical to the regular Q9550, but we’ve excluded it from our power consumption tests, since we’re not focusing on the low-power segment here.

Second, we decided to make a switch from averaging the results of multiple test runs, as we have typically done in the past, to reporting the median. This change was prompted by a number of considerations. We like how the median filters out statistical outliers, which are increasingly common as CPU performance becomes more variable and tests become more complex. We like that the numbers we report are now actual results produced by test run, and in cases where we graph performance over time from a single run, we can choose to display the data that corresponds to that median run. We like, uh, several other things I can’t remember right now. Point is: we saw enough upside to give this a try. We’ll see whether it works out long-term.

Finally, after consulting with our readers, we’ve decided to enable Windows’ “Balanced” power profile for the first time in a desktop processor performance test, which means power-saving features like SpeedStep and Cool’n’Quiet are operating. (In the past, we only enabled these features for power consumption testing.) Our spot checks demonstrated to us that, typically, there’s no performance penalty for enabling these features on today’s CPUs. If there is a real-world performance penalty to enabling these features, well, we think that’s worthy of inclusion in our measurements, since the vast majority of desktop processors these days will spend their lives with these features enabled. We did disable these power management features to measure cache latencies, but otherwise, it was unnecessary to do so.

Our testing methods

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and we reported the median of the scores produced.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor
Core
2 Duo E8600 3.33 GHz

Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83 GHz

Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.00 GHz

Core
i5-750 2.66 GHz

Core i7-870 2.93 GHz

Core
i7-920 2.66 GHz

Core i7-950 3.06 GHz

Core
i7-975 Extreme 3.33 GHz
Phenom
II X2 550 3.1GHz

Phenom
II X4 955 3.2 GHz

Phenom
II X4 965 3.4GHz

System bus 1333
MT/s

(333 MHz)

QPI
4.8 GT/s

(2.4 GHz)

QPI
4.8 GT/s

(2.4 GHz)

QPI
6.4 GT/s

(3.2 GHz)

HT
4.0 GT/s (2.0 GHz)
Motherboard Asus
P5E3 Premium
Gigabyte
P55-UD6
Gigabyte
EX58-UD3R
Gigabyte
EX58-UD3R
Asus
M4A79T Deluxe
BIOS revision 0803 F3 F6 F6 1501
North bridge X48
Express MCH
P55
PCH
X58
IOH
X58
IOH
790FX
South bridge ICH9R ICH10R ICH10R SB750
Chipset drivers

Matrix Storage Manager 8.5.0.1032

INF
update 9.1.1.1015

Matrix Storage Manager 8.9.0.1023

INF
update 9.1.1.1015

Matrix Storage Manager 8.9.0.1023

INF
update 9.1.1.1015

Matrix Storage Manager 8.9.0.1023

Memory size 4GB
(2 DIMMs)
4GB
(2 DIMMs)
6GB
(3 DIMMs)
6GB
(3 DIMMs)
4GB
(2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair
TW3X4G1800C8DF

DDR3 SDRAM

Corsair
CMD4GX3M2A1600C8

DDR3 SDRAM

OCZ
OCZ3B2133LV2G

DDR3 SDRAM

OCZ
OCZ3B2133LV2G

DDR3 SDRAM

Corsair
TW3X4G1600C9DHXNV

DDR3 SDRAM

Memory
speed (Effective)
1333
MHz
1333
MHz
1066
MHz
1333
MHz
1333
MHz
CAS latency (CL) 8 8 7 8 8
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 8 8 7 8 8
RAS precharge (tRP) 8 8 7 8 8
Cycle time (tRAS) 20 20 20 20 20
Command
rate
2T 2T 2T 2T 2T
Audio Integrated 

CH9R/AD1988B

with Microsoft 6.1.7600.16385 drivers

Integrated

P55 PCH/ALC889A

with Realtek 6.0.1.5919 drivers

Integrated

ICH10R/ALC888

with Realtek 6.0.1.5919 drivers

Integrated

ICH10R/ALC888

with Realtek 6.0.1.5919 drivers

Integrated

SB750/ALC1200

with Realtek 6.0.1.5919 drivers

Hard drive WD
RE3 WD1002FBYS 1TB SATA
Graphics Asus
ENGTX260 TOP SP216 (GeForce GTX 260) with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
OS Windows
7 Ultimate x64 Edition RTM
Power
supply
PC
Power & Cooling Silencer 610 Watt

Thanks to Corsair and OCZ for providing us with memory for our testing.

The test systems’ Windows desktops were set at 1600×1200 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are usually publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Memory subsystem performance

This bit of geeky goodness gives us a peek into the cache hierarchy of each chip at various block sizes to see how much bandwidth is available. Not surprisingly, the Lynnfield Core i5-750 and Core i7-870 look very similar to the Core i7-975, only a bit slower. They also look more similar to the Phenom II, with its three-level cache hierarchy, than to the Core 2 Quad Q9650, with its large L2 caches and no L3.

The CPUs sort themselves out pretty clearly by socket type here. Notice how close the Lynnfield processors, with dual channels of 1333MHz memory, come to matching the Core i7-920 and 950, with three channels of 1066MHz RAM. The Phenom II, which also has dual channels of DDR3 at the same clock speed and timings, can’t quite match the Lynnfield chips in measured throughput. The poor old Core 2 is limited by its front-side bus and can’t reach half the bandwidth the Lynnfield chips deliver.

Having only two channels of memory actually gives the Lynnfield processors an advantage in access latencies over the Core i7-900 series. Even the Core i7-975 Extreme, with which we used 1333MHz memory, isn’t as quick to memory as the Core i5-750 and i7-870. Once again, the Lynnfield memory subsystem outperforms a very similarly configured Phenom II, as well.

Now, we’ll take a closer (and gratuitously indulgent) look at access latencies across the board with our ridiculous 3D graphs.

All told, the Lynnfield chips have some of the lowest access latencies we’ve ever measured in a processor. Interesting fact: we measured the Lynnfield chips’ L1 cache latency at three cycles, whereas the Bloomfield Core i7 L1 caches measured consistently at four cycles. Also, Lynnfield L2’s latency was eight cycles, while Bloomfield’s was 11. I believe L3 latencies are best left in nanoseconds as we’ve reported them in the graphs above, since L3 cache speeds are independent of core clocks.

Crysis Warhead

We measured Warhead performance using the FRAPS frame-rate recording tool and playing over the same 60-second section of the game five times on each processor. This method has the advantage of measuring real gameplay, but it comes at the expense of precise repeatability. We believe five sample sessions are sufficient to get reasonably consistent results. In addition to average frame rates, we’ve included the low frame rates, because those tend to reflect the user experience in performance-critical situations.

We tested at relatively modest graphics settings, 1024×768 resolution with the game’s “Mainstream” quality settings, because we didn’t want our graphics card to be the performance-limiting factor. This is, after all, a CPU test.

The new Core i5 and i7 processors kick off our real-world performance tests with a flourish, finishing second and third behind a thousand-dollar processor. The Core 2 and Phenom II are quite a bit slower, both in average frame rates and in the lows.

To give you a closer look at things, here are frame rates over time from a single, hopefully representative test run.

That last graph gives us the clearest impression of the competitive situation among some key contenders. The Lynnfield chips produce frame rates that are pretty consistently between 10 and 20 FPS higher than the fastest Core 2 Quad or Phenom II.

Far Cry 2

We decided to try something new with Far Cry 2, as well, and test with its built-in benchmark tool to give us some automation and more repeatable results. This tool should be a little more realistic than your average timedemo, because it’s purported to keep the game’s AI and physics engines active. For this first test, we ran the tool’s “Ranch Small” demo at 1024×768 with DirectX 10 enabled and all of the game’s visual and physical simulation options at their highest settings.

These results pretty closely mirror what we saw in Crysis Warhead, with the Lynnfield processors taking second and third place once again—undeniably impressive, especially the showing from the Core i5-750. We can only surmise that its very low memory access latencies must be giving it this unlikely edge over the Core i7-950.

Another trend of note is the relatively poor showing of the high-frequency dual-core processors we’ve included the group, the Core 2 Duo E8600 and the Phenom II X2 550. This isn’t a trend we’ve come to expect, the higher clocked dual-cores falling behind even the slower quad cores like the Core 2 Quad Q9550. We are using newer versions of both of these games, which could have better threading optimizations. I kind of doubt that’s it, though. My stronger suspicions involve Windows 7 and the switch to Nvidia GPUs and graphics drivers. Somewhere along the line, something has changed that’s tipped the balance in the favor of higher core counts.

Incidentally, that fact makes me hesitate to credit Turbo Boost for the strong performance of the Lynnfield processors. If more than two cores are occupied, they’ll only be running at one or two ticks up from stock clocks.

Now, some of you have been pestering me to take GPU limitations into account when testing CPU gaming performance. This game’s automated benchmark tool gave us an opportunity to take a look at that angle, so we did by testing at two additional resolutions: 1280×1024 with 4X antialiasing, and 1600×1200 with 4X antialiasing. When GPU performance limits came into play, well, some expected things happened. And some unexpected.

True to form when a GPU becomes the primary constraint, the pack of CPUs begins to bunch together. Yes, Virginia, it’s true: if your graphics card is too slow for the resoluton and quality settings you’re using, a faster CPU won’t do you much good when gaming. Shocking, I know.

Oddly, though, the CPUs don’t quite converge on the same point. Instead, the Core i5 and i7 processors converge on a point about 10 FPS below the other quad-cores. I’m not sure what the story is here—could be some sort of platform optimization issue. We may have to investigate further when we have time, but we don’t today.

Wolfenstein

Here’s a shiny new game with a benchmarking function that we can test. We recorded a demo during a multiplayer game on the Hospital map and played it back using the “timeNetDemo” command. The screen resolution was set to 1024×768 with the game’s quality options maxed out. We didn’t enable the game engine’s multithreaded renderer via the CLI, because doing so didn’t produce higher performance; instead, we tested at the game’s default settings.

Left 4 Dead

We also used a custom-recorded timedemo with Valve’s most excellent zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. Here, we tested at 1280×1024 with 16X anisotropic filtering enabled and all of the game’s quality options cranked, though these settings were quite apparently not GPU limited. The game’s multicore rendering option was enabled by default.

Unlike the two games on the previous page, both of these games run exceptionally, preposterously well on all of the processors we tested. Nevertheless, the new Core i5-750 and i7-870 remain near the top of the charts.

Source engine particle simulation

Next up is a test we picked up during a visit to Valve Software, the developers of the Half-Life games. They had been working to incorporate support for multi-core processors into their Source game engine, and they cooked up some benchmarks to demonstrate the benefits of multithreading.

This test runs a particle simulation inside of the Source engine. Most games today use particle systems to create effects like smoke, steam, and fire, but the realism and interactivity of those effects are limited by the available computing horsepower. Valve’s particle system distributes the load across multiple CPU cores.

The Core i7-870 gets a nice boost from Hyper-Threading here, allowing it to nearly double the performance of the fastest Phenom II available. Without HT, the i5-750 can’t break from the pack like its stable mate does.

WorldBench

WorldBench’s overall score is a pretty decent indication of general-use performance for desktop computers. This benchmark uses scripting to step through a series of tasks in common Windows applications and then produces an overall score for comparison. WorldBench also records individual results for its component application tests, allowing us to compare performance in each. We’ll look at the overall score, and then we’ll show individual application results alongside the results from some of our own application tests.

The Lynnfield processors’ strong showing continues in WorldBench, which is in many ways a world apart from the gaming tests on the previous pages.

Productivity and general use software

MS Office productivity

Firefox web browsing

Multitasking – Firefox and Windows Media Encoder

WinZip file compression

7-Zip compression and decompression

Note that 7-Zip is a new addition to our test suite and not part of WorldBench. As the results indicate, this application is very nicely multithreaded and shows us the true potential of our multicore and multithreaded processors. Here’s another case where the Core i7-870’s Hyper-Threading separates it cleanly from the Core i5-750. Without HT, the i5-750 performs about like the Phenom II X4 955.

Nero CD authoring

We’ve long known the Nero test was limited by disk controller performance as much as anything, and that has long been a problem for AMD chipsets. This time around, rather than use AMD’s problematic AHCI driver, we opted for the Microsoft AHCI driver built into Windows 7, instead. We’ve found that driver to offer higher throughput than AMD’s, at the expense of some additional CPU utilization. True to form, the AMD systems’ Nero scores are much better than they’ve been in the past, relatively speaking, with the exception of the Phenom II X2 550, which doesn’t have an extra core to give to the cause.

Image processing

Photoshop

This test is also somewhat disk-controller limited on the AMD platform, it seems. The Core i5-750 struggles a little bit here, curiously enough, compared to the typically slower Core 2 Quad processors.

The Panorama Factory photo stitching
The Panorama Factory handles an increasingly popular image processing task: joining together multiple images to create a wide-aspect panorama. This task can require lots of memory and can be computationally intensive, so The Panorama Factory comes in a 64-bit version that’s widely multithreaded. I asked it to join four pictures, each eight megapixels, into a glorious panorama of the interior of Damage Labs.

In the past, we’ve added up the time taken by all of the different elements of the panorama creation wizard and reported that number, along with detailed results for each operation. However, doing so is incredibly data-input-intensive, and the process tends to be dominated by a single, long operation: the stitch. So this time around, we’ve simply decided to report the stitch time, which saves us a lot of work and still gets at the heart of the matter.

Rough day for the Phenom II, eh?

Media encoding and editing

x264 HD benchmark

This benchmark tests performance with one of the most popular H.264 video encoders, the open-source x264. The results come in two parts, for the two passes the encoder makes through the video file. I’ve chosen to report them separately, since that’s typically how the results are reported in the public database of results for this benchmark. These scores come from the newer, faster version 0.59.819 of the x264 executable.

The first pass really only uses four threads effectively, but the second one is more widely multithreaded, which gives the Core i7-870 a nice boost.

Windows Live Movie Maker 14 video encoding

For this test, I used Windows Live Movie Maker to transcode a 30-minute TV show, recorded in 720p .wtv format on my Windows 7 Media Center system, into a 320×240 WMV-format video appropriate for mobile devices.

The Lynnfield chips continue to impress. Not much more I can say about that.

Windows Media Encoder video encoding

Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator

I’ve included these last two video-related tests for the sake of completeness, because they contribute to the WorldBench overall score. They are, however, older applications that are obviously not multithreaded, which any video editing app worth its salt would be these days. I wouldn’t read too much into these results.

LAME MT audio encoding

LAME MT is a multithreaded version of the LAME MP3 encoder. LAME MT was created as a demonstration of the benefits of multithreading specifically on a Hyper-Threaded CPU like the Pentium 4. Of course, multithreading works even better on multi-core processors.

Rather than run multiple parallel threads, LAME MT runs the MP3 encoder’s psycho-acoustic analysis function on a separate thread from the rest of the encoder using simple linear pipelining. That is, the psycho-acoustic analysis happens one frame ahead of everything else, and its results are buffered for later use by the second thread. That means this test won’t really use more than two CPU cores.

We have results for two different 64-bit versions of LAME MT from different compilers, one from Microsoft and one from Intel, doing two different types of encoding, variable bit rate and constant bit rate. We are encoding a massive 10-minute, 6-second 101MB WAV file here.

Something interesting to note here: the Core i7-870 ties the Core i7-975 Extreme for the fastest single-threaded encode time with both compiled versions of the app. Those processors share a top Turbo Boost speed of 3.6GHz with one core active.

3D modeling and rendering

Cinebench rendering

The Cinebench benchmark is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D rendering engine. It’s multithreaded and comes with a 64-bit executable. This test runs with just a single thread and then with as many threads as CPU cores (or threads, in CPUs with multiple hardware threads per core) are available.

Turbo Boost grants the Core i7-870 the second-best score in the single-threaded rendering test, and then Hyper-Threading gives it the third-best showing in the multithreaded rendering test, right behind the Core i7-950.

Here’s something interesting to think about.

We typically think in terms of performance scaling, from one to many cores, when talking about processors. Generally, a bigger performance boost going from one thread to many is considered a positive sign. Yet the aggressive Turbo Boost function in Lynnfield pulls in the other direction by improving single-threaded performance. In terms of performance gained from one thread to many, the Core i5-750 finishes last among the quad-core processors here—not that there’s anything wrong with that. We just need to recalibrate our thinking. Conversely, Hyper-Threading opens up the possibility of much better performance scaling than one might expect, as the over 400% improvement in the Core i7-975’s performance indicates. Of course, the bottom line in any case is absolute performance.

POV-Ray rendering

We’re using the latest beta version of POV-Ray 3.7 that includes native multithreading and 64-bit support. Some of the beta 64-bit executables have been quite a bit slower than the 3.6 release, but this should give us a decent look at comparative performance, regardless.

In these rendering tests, the Phenom II X4 processors are giving the Core i5-750 stiff competition.

3ds max modeling and rendering

Valve VRAD map compilation

This next test processes a map from Half-Life 2 using Valve’s VRAD lighting tool. Valve uses VRAD to pre-compute lighting that goes into games like Half-Life 2.

The Core i7-870 finishes these last two rendering tests in style, separating again from the Core i5-750 thanks to Hyper-Threading.

Folding@Home

Next, we have a slick little Folding@Home benchmark CD created by notfred, one of the members of Team TR, our excellent Folding team. For the unfamiliar, Folding@Home is a distributed computing project created by folks at Stanford University that investigates how proteins work in the human body, in an attempt to better understand diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cystic fibrosis. It’s a great way to use your PC’s spare CPU cycles to help advance medical research. I’d encourage you to visit our distributed computing forum and consider joining our team if you haven’t already joined one.

The Folding@Home project uses a number of highly optimized routines to process different types of work units from Stanford’s research projects. The Gromacs core, for instance, uses SSE on Intel processors, 3DNow! on AMD processors, and Altivec on PowerPCs. Overall, Folding@Home should be a great example of real-world scientific computing.

notfred’s Folding Benchmark CD tests the most common work unit types and estimates performance in terms of the points per day that a CPU could earn for a Folding team member. The CD itself is a bootable ISO. The CD boots into Linux, detects the system’s processors and Ethernet adapters, picks up an IP address, and downloads the latest versions of the Folding execution cores from Stanford. It then processes a sample work unit of each type.

On a system with two CPU cores, for instance, the CD spins off a Tinker WU on core 1 and an Amber WU on core 2. When either of those WUs are finished, the benchmark moves on to additional WU types, always keeping both cores occupied with some sort of calculation. Should the benchmark run out of new WUs to test, it simply processes another WU in order to prevent any of the cores from going idle as the others finish. Once all four of the WU types have been tested, the benchmark averages the points per day among them. That points-per-day average is then multiplied by the number of cores on the CPU in order to estimate the total number of points per day that CPU might achieve.

This may be a somewhat quirky method of estimating overall performance, but my sense is that it generally ought to work. We’ve discussed some potential reservations about how it works here, for those who are interested. I have included results for each of the individual WU types below, so you can see how the different CPUs perform on each.

The Hyper-Threaded processors don’t fare well in the individual tests since they’re being asked to run eight threads simultaneously throughout. Once we reach our final points per day projection, though, the i7-870 cleans up. The Core i5-750, meanwhile, is only 20 points ahead of its closest Phenom II rival.

Power consumption and efficiency

Our Extech 380803 power meter has the ability to log data, so we can capture power use over a span of time. The meter reads power use at the wall socket, so it incorporates power use from the entire system—the CPU, motherboard, memory, graphics solution, hard drives, and anything else plugged into the power supply unit. (We plugged the computer monitor into a separate outlet, though.) We measured how each of our test systems used power across a set time period, during which time we ran Cinebench’s multithreaded rendering test.

All of the systems had their power management features (such as SpeedStep and Cool’n’Quiet) enabled during these tests via Windows’ “Balanced” power options profile.

We can slice up these raw data in various ways in order to better understand them. We’ll start with a look at idle power, taken from the trailing edge of our test period, after all CPUs have completed the render.

This is where Lynnfield’s integration pays off. The Core i5-750 and i7-870 systems idle at roughly 20W lower than the Core 2 Quad or Phenom II X4 systems. The reduction from the Bloomfield system is even more dramatic.

Next, we can look at peak power draw by taking an average from the ten-second span from 15 to 25 seconds into our test period, during which the processors were rendering.

The Lynnfield chips’ power consumption under load isn’t quite so tame—there’s quite a bit of dynamic range in these designs in terms of power draw. Still, you can probably already surmise that no competing processor offers as much performance for the power consumed.

We can quantify power efficiency by looking at total energy use over our time span. This method takes into account power use both during the render and during the idle time. We can express the result in terms of watt-seconds, also known as joules.

We can quantify efficiency in an even more focused manner by considering the amount of energy used to render the scene. Since the different systems completed the render at different speeds, we’ve isolated the render period for each system. We’ve then computed the amount of energy used by each system to render the scene. This method should account for both power use and, to some degree, performance, because shorter render times may lead to less energy consumption.

The Core i5-750 and Core i7-870 trade places at the top of the leaderboard in these last couple of tests. However you choose to quantify it, though, these Lynnfield processors are the most power-efficient desktop CPUs around (outside of low-power specials, of course), and overall, it’s not even close.

Conclusions

The Lynnfield chips’ combination of price, performance, and power efficiency effectively clears the field in the desktop CPU market, leaving little room for competition from the Phenom II or older, cheaper Core 2 Quad processors—or even faster, pricier Core i7s.

Not only does the Core i5-750 outperform its like-priced would-be competitor, the Phenom II X4 955, but it also beats out the Phenom II X4 965 overall. That reality hit home most acutely, perhaps, in our gaming tests, where the Lynnfield chips simply excelled. Nah, you don’t need the fastest CPU to run most games well these days, but Intel’s new processors have a distinct advantage on this front. AMD will have to slash its prices further to remain competitive from a price-performance standpoint, but even then, the Phenom II X4 965 has a 140W TDP and the i5-750 has a 95W TDP. That 45W difference is reflected almost precisely in our peak system power draw results. At idle, the Phenom II X4 965 draws 22W more, as well. AMD is unlikely to field a truly attractive alternative to this $199 processor without dipping below the $150 mark. Otherwise, how could one avoid the temptation to step up?

Meanwhile, the Core i7-870 performs at least as well as the Core i7-950 overall, and it does so on a cheaper, more power-efficient platform. I could see Intel killing off everything in the Core i7-900 series except for the 975 Extreme, leaving the LGA1366 socket as an ultra-high-end, boutique kind of offering. I doubt anyone would mind. The Core i7-870 is all the processor any enthusiast needs, except for the crazy people with credit card limits much higher than their IQs. (No offense, crazy guys. Just joshing, you know. No stalky-stalky, please.)

Speaking of crazy things, after seeing our test results, I’m puzzled by the fact that Intel didn’t choose to put its best foot forward by offering us a peek at the Core i7-860. I think its higher Turbo Boost speeds, faster uncore clock, 1600MHz memory capability, Hyper-Threading, and $285 price tag are likely to make it the best overall value of the nascent Lynnfield lineup. One way or another, we’ll have to get our hands on one soon. You may have to, as well, if you know what’s good for you.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 10 years ago

    This comment is most definitely late, but I believe all the tests from now on should be done with turbo boost disabled, since the results of it will ALWAYS be different from eachother as with overclocking in general.

    Chip speed grades will no longer function as static factors in testing and will be a dynamic variable. What is to stop Intel or AMD from shipping testers extremely cherry picked chips in order to boost their benchmarks?

    Sure it should have a spot in the overclocking section, but not standard for everything else.

    “Second, we decided to make a switch from averaging the results of multiple test runs, as we have typically done in the past, to reporting the median. This change was prompted by a number of considerations. We like how the median filters out statistical outliers, which are increasingly common as CPU performance becomes more variable and tests become more complex.”

    Consider reporting the average and standard deviation. This could be represented on graphs by the number with a circle around it for the deviation from that point on a graph by having +/- in different colors over the baseline.

    I know not everyone understands what or how standard deviations work, they should be able to understand graphical representations. IMO its a lot better then a median.

    • VILLAIN_xx
    • 10 years ago

    Dude, when is the CSr[<2<]r benchmark gonna retire? CS4 has been out for a while, there must be a test for it. Ps. 🙁

    • glenster
    • 10 years ago

    Another consideration for comparison is that the Core i7 960 3.2GHz is due Q4 2009 for $562–see Wikipedia > Nehalem > 45 nm processor architecture. Another site says it’s due Oct.18.

    • swaaye
    • 10 years ago

    Instead of the LAME MT MP3 encoder, which I think is kinda of questionable worth actually because apparently it is inferior to regular LAME from a quality standpoint, I would like to see AAC and lossless audio encoding. AAC because it is very popular these days, and superior to MP3. Lossless because I see current-day storage options as making lossy audio obsolete. Good lossless options are WMA Lossless and FLAC.

    Nero has a freely available AAC encoder:
    §[< http://www.nero.com/eng/downloads-nerodigital-nero-aac-codec.php< ]§ A basic UI is also available: §[<http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/nero_aac_ui.htm< ]§ FLAC is open source free software. Combine it with FLACdrop for ease of use. §[<http://www.rarewares.org/lossless.php<]§ Just a thought....

    • sergeant_skyes
    • 10 years ago

    amd is such a goner now. almost at the same price point intel’s new beast is out performing the phenom 2’s in almost all the areas.and the new p55 platform is having better sata performance than amd’s.unless amd drops the price to atleast $150 mark it is almost impossible for them to stay in the competition.they have to do something fast, bring out bulldozer and their new sb8xx platform ASAP or they can kiss goodbye to their processor business.well lets see what they do..

      • sigher
      • 10 years ago

      There will always be people who don’t like intel, and AMD has their own tricks, aint over ’till it’s over.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Can’t really call ‘goner’ until Clarkdale is out so Intel has all but the very low-end covered with non-Core 2 CPUs. So give it 3 months :p

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      Actually I think it’s a great idea. It shows that even when the Phenom gets all the way up to 3.8GHz it still can’t obliterate the new CPUs like (someone) who has been crapping the comments claims.

      I really like the hypothetical 3.8GHz showdown, showing which is really faster clock for clock.

        • swaaye
        • 10 years ago

        I’m worried that it comes across as capitulation to the moron trolls though. But you are right that it is nice to see some per clock comparisons.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Per-clock is probably the most obvious or simple way to do it but I’d rather see ‘average-ish oveclock’ comparisons, maybe from user forums or polls. Self-selection aside that would give a fair real-world speed to use for various processors it would though necessitate a delay because few have i5 systems.

        • tfp
        • 10 years ago

        I’d like to see them add a Core2 quad in there just for the heck of it.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          There will be it just wasn’t done for the one preview test graph. Read the comments.

            • tfp
            • 10 years ago

            yes I know and I haven’t seen the new graphs yet either. I’m sure they will add a number of CPUs, I’m just looking forward to seeing the new additions.

    • Convert
    • 10 years ago

    I had to read through the article a couple of times before I realized that the new i7 processors are actually socket 1156…

    I’m all confused now, so basically the new i7’s on 1156 are better than the 1366 i7’s except for QPI (the chart on page 4 is wrong then right?) being on 1366 and 1156 i7’s being straddled with 2GB DMI. That and triple channel, which apparently doesn’t give 1366 an advantage. Plus the 1156 board has 6 memory slots? How does that work?

    So really when everything is said and done with 1366 will only be worth anything when processors over 4 cores are out? Seems pretty lame to me, I mean the new i7’s are so much better than the old one’s it’s pretty silly.

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      LGA 1156 i7s are actually slower then LGA1366 i7s at a per clock basis. The turbo-cooling on LGA1156 i7s is more aggressively tuned which allows LGA1156 i7s to catch up and at times outrun LGA1366 i7s.

        • Convert
        • 10 years ago

        Well it’s a feature of the processor so technically they are faster.

        Given the advanced clocking abilities you get a faster processor that uses less power in everyday situations, seems like there really isn’t a reason to buy a 1366 i7.

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    /[

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 10 years ago

    I wish that you guys did some overclocking testing. If I were to buy one of these, there’s no way I would be running this thing at stock.

    • vikramsbox
    • 10 years ago

    This has got to be the most hilarious line of posts that I’ve seen in TR for a long time. Its redefined my thinking of forums.
    Loved or hated- snakeoil’s on the way to becoming a legend. Single handed he’s managed to draw the attention away from one year of intel’s hard work. Of 300+ comments, he commands over a third! Doesn’t take much to get the public attention. Makes me wonder why Intel is working so hard when it knows very well that it could sell crap like the P4 and the Atom in truckloads.
    More unbelievable is how guys who lambast him actually follow his posts with great fervor! They complain that he’s a troll and should be banned but actually fuel the fire by becoming his fans!
    Bloomfield, lynnfield, QPI,DMI, blah this, blah that, its becoming so complicated and incomprehensible that snakeoil seems a better opening for peoples’ brains!
    All in good humor folks!
    Seriously though, I don’t see so much use in arguing or debating the tests. Modern platforms are so powerful that even if CPU A loses to CPU B, it still has enough oomph to satisfy its owner in all usage scenarios.
    I personally feel that desktop platforms are becoming worse than laptops in the sheer difference in the platforms available.

      • Trymor
      • 10 years ago

      Nice step back (perspective wise). But I’m still going to buy a Core i7-860 when it hits $150, and upgrade my platform 😛

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    I have an idea!

    Have snakeoil and Porkster go meet each other. In theory, they should annihilate each either in an explosion of tears and sweat. 😉

    • maxxcool
    • 10 years ago

    309 comments today… jebus i play hookey from work and come back to find this ?? o.0 wow…

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      That’s nothing my boy.

      Back when AG was alive, FP threads on hot topics like this used to go all the way up to 500+ comments.

      The #1 most commented article is the still the infamous “Is there a problem with IBM 75GXPs?”. It had ~2500 comments when I last checked it.

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        Man! That must have been fun? What was the outcome of it? 😉

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          well obviously the outcome was the death of the Anonymous Gerbil. 😉

        • maxxcool
        • 10 years ago

        2500 … 0.0 … nice….

    • agawtrip
    • 10 years ago

    AMD needs an PII X4 4GHz stock clock @ $200-$250

      • ish718
      • 10 years ago

      With 200w TDP. You will need liquid cooling to run that processor.

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Hardly, but I also don’t think they have any such yields in safe ranges.

    • snakeoil
    • 10 years ago

    finally the last nail in lynnfield’s coffin.

    intel decided to cripple lynnfield big time with a second blatantly outlandish and outrageous bottleneck.

    yes, they decided to remove qpi that can handle 25GBps and instead used the prehistoric and discontinued dmi that is only 2GBps.

    this is not only pathetic, is almost criminal negligence because with this crappy bandwidth when the new sata 3.0 arrives the chipset is going to implode, not even speaking about usb 3.0.

    so lynnfield is a ticking time bomb, when the new direct 11 cards arrive this is going to be a mess.

    what’s wrong with intel?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Why bother man? There’s just so much idiocy in your post I think it’s close to the critical density required to create a big idiotbang. Perhaps in the new tardiverse that’s created you’ll be pleased that there’s no Intel or, well, no anything. I’m sure most will be pleased there would be no more you in this universe.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 10 years ago

    After reading all six pages of this comments thread its hard not to get the impression that a concerted effort at damage control is underway and one of its targets is The Tech Report.
    The vast majority of complaints are in fact,sour grapes it seems.
    Complaining about the Turbo Boost?
    Aww…if AMD chips could do it as well they would be all over it.
    The Lynnfield is bandwidth/platform restrictive?
    Seriously…read the damn review again.These new chips clobber just about everything that came before it….and do it with style.
    Low power consumption and thermal envelopes that are impressive.
    Flat out great number crunching power….only an i7 965 Extremely Expensive edition is faster.
    i5750 and i7860 are available right now at incredibly good prices.
    Where are your $1000 plus FX60s now?
    So…what?….the 11 people world wide that decide to buy twin 5870 X2s are humiliated by a (theoretical) 2 frame per second bandwidth impediment?
    LOL…gosh…how will they make do?

    • agawtrip
    • 10 years ago

    for me, i find this review is misleading if you are not a gamer – for i5-750 and PII x4 965.

    why?

    1. motherboard and video card – non-gamer dont buy sli/xfire board. onboard graphics is fine(780g/785g). for now, boards for i5 setup doesn’t have onboard graphics. what will you do? you will be forced to buy a video card (maybe 4550/9400gt for $40).

    i5-750 – $195, GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 – $150, nvidi 9400gt – $40
    — TOTAL ——– $385

    PII x4 965 – $245, GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H – $90, no video card
    — TOTAL ——– $335

    AMD setup is actually cheaper but slower. it’s all up to you.

    2. power consumption – since you are forced to buy video card, it will consume additional power while AMD setup (780/785G) won’t.

    well that’s just my opinion.
    please inform me and the others if i given up wrong informatin

    • sigher
    • 10 years ago

    Sounds like the conclusion was written first, and sponsored, why act like people care about 22W and as if AMD is competing really in the performance area, what AMD had is lower cost, what this is is intel trying to hack something cheap together that outperforms AMD on the same price level throwing in every trick, and succeeding basically.
    What this is *[

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      So you’re flatly accusing TechReport of taking money from Intel in exchange for the conclusions in their review?

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        Sound slike it to me… Hope I’m wrong.

      • sigher
      • 10 years ago

      I was indeed suggesting that it seems so, and don’t act all surprised, everybody knows 85% (that actual number is a personal estimate, but a high number is confirmed by others) of sites take gifts or favorite treatment and return the favor with some smoothed out ‘reviews’
      And it just read like that, perhaps it’s because all test were done and a conclusion written then the intro, or perhaps the enthusiasm took the best of the author(s), but I’m not going to lie to please the establishment about what it reads like.

      Oh and signing a NDA so you can get pre-release stuff and have articles ready weeks in advance that you sit on is for me a first solid step of falling down into the pit, you signed away your integrity at that point.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 10 years ago

    Oh wow!! When I saw some 230 comments, I was like, oh great, serious discussion going on for such a great review and then I saw that more than half of it was about snakeoil. I was a little disgusted by it. Why are you people feeding him? Can’t you just say, “Yea, whatever”? Such a great review tarnished by trying to put out a fire with fire. This might/is probably the most stupidest person around, but even to say, “hahahah” to him is too much. Why are you all talking to a wall? That is what snakeoil is: a wall that is NOT open to discussion. There is no having a dialog with him, so just please stop. We have the power to make him go away. Scott and Geoff doesn’t need that burden, it is us commenters that are making it so hard for them.

    Anyway, Scott/Geoff, great review. I was mildly surprised that the i5/i7-870 could keep up with the $1K i7 Extreme in most everything. TR is about the only site that can influence my decision making with a well tested and written review. The performance/price ratio the i5/i7 8xx is most definitely going to be very hard to beat. Not to forget the power usage, the ability to turn cores off and give them power boosts when needed. Very impressive process. Like another said it is an step up in evolution and not a revolution. But it is a big step up. And most of it in the right path too.

    Again, great review and I hope you all (TR staff) are not feeling discouraged by the one individual. I know you are probably not, but I’m letting you know you have a lot of good readers out there who listen to you. you know the expression about 1 bad apple can ruin a basket. Well, it is NOT the case here!

      • snakeoil
      • 10 years ago

      hey im not a wall. i have feelings.

      what’s wrong with intel?

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      I don’t think they have ever responded to him. He’s terribly dull/predictableg{<.<}g

      • MrJP
      • 10 years ago

      Spot on. Good post.

      • glynor
      • 10 years ago

      I absolutely agree. Great post.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 10 years ago

      “Ignore the troll.”

      You’d think this would be common sense. It really says something that someone actually has to stand up and tell people that.

    • snakeoil
    • 10 years ago

    l[http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3634&p=11&cp=23#comments<]§

    • SpeedyVV
    • 10 years ago

    Best i5-i7 article on the net. Period.

    I read 10 in all.

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed. It is excellent work.

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Yes. Someone please ban snakeoil.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 10 years ago

    To all the AMD fanboys…all I can say is “Its TURBO time” 🙂

      • maxxcool
      • 10 years ago

      That is a hilarious movie…

    • thebeastie
    • 10 years ago

    Why hasn’t this review like all the other Lynnfield reviews have the power used on the 4Ghz overclock.
    I am dieing to see how much power is used at full load and overclocked.
    I am guessing its more then the bloomfields.

    • WasF
    • 10 years ago

    I know x264 59.819 is what’s used in the HD benchmark, but revision 819 is so outdated! Last one today is 1251 with a *[

    • Palek
    • 10 years ago

    Here’s a conspiracy theory: snakeoil is the brainchild of Anand, Damage and some other computing enthusiast site owners. They’re doing it for kicks, to keep things “interesting”. Damage is laughing his head off right now.

      • maxxcool
      • 10 years ago

      lol! But more than likely Snakeoil’s posts (and maybe a few of my better whimsical ones) probably made damage have a seizure and he’s all curled up under the test bench with a nice 30yr old bottle of Scotch…

    • swaaye
    • 10 years ago

    Wow. This reminds me of Core 2 Duo vs. Athlon 64. A64 really woke Intel up and got the ball rolling over there. 🙂 It’s crazy to see the cheap i5 beat AMD’s top chip. Ugly stuff. Look at that Intel pricing. Reminds me of the ’90s.

    The performance is almost just academic at this point though. Gamers with almost of any flavor of Core 2 or Phenom with a middle/high clock rate are gonna be GPU limited. But if you have a dual core or older and are itching for some serious multithread performance, the choice is pretty clear. Massive gains to be had in the right upgrade situation.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      I’m personally not too compelled by any long-term upgrade possibilities, well, ever, but especially in this case. The IGP-integrated Clarkdale will require a different motherboard and Sandy Bridge will require a new chipset. The longest upgrade path for dropping in a new CPU looks to be either AM3 but the current performance is *meh* especially now with i5 or LGA1366 which is a little more costly and the upgrades there are going to be $$$$ and just more cores.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      /[<"Reminds me of the '90s."<]/ From what I can remember a PPro processor was something like $1300 in the mid-nineties, and 4-way systems typically went close to $10Kg{<.<}g We haven't even factored in inflation, that was a ton more money back then. (Back in the day when Dell actually made kick ass hardware, btw.) Now (and for the past few years) you can get 90% of the performance of peak x86 at 10-15% of the price. Just wait, unless absolute performance is absolutely necessaryg{<.<}g

        • dextrous
        • 10 years ago

        We just unracked a Dual 450MHz Intel server with 512MB RAM running NT 4. Looked up the invoice from the late 90s – $21k. Man how things have changed…..

        • swaaye
        • 10 years ago

        PPro was essentially Intel’s first Xeon-ish line. A chip with features tailored primarily for servers and workstations and a special fun price to match. The $2-3k Xeon Dunnington 6 core is still out there. 🙂

        But I was thinking more along the lines of how a PII 266 was around $600 or so. That was consumer-targeted hardware at the time. For some reason I can’t remember how much P4s used to cost but they probably were in the same range I guess.

    • thermistor
    • 10 years ago

    SsNhAaKrEiOkIoLu

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 10 years ago

    The naming scheme seems kinda funny given that the i7-870 beats the i7-950 in a large number of tests.

      • spuppy
      • 10 years ago

      7 > 5.

      The first digit obviously (to me anyway) relates to the platform.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    Nice review — though I’m up to 6 collapsed threads here in the comments (and counting).

    The GPU scaling graph is curious, as you note; and the WorldBench Photoshop results are a little odd also. In the latter case it could simply be some oddity of the crazy PS virtual memory system interacting badly with Nehalem, or even a result of Adobe using aggressive compiler optimizations that are better tuned for Core 2. CS2 is getting long in the tooth and isn’t particularly threaded IIRC so I doubt it’s an SMT artifact; but that’s quite possible in the case of FarCry (especially if nVidia’s drivers are mucking things up — poisoning the cache, etc).

    I look forward to your deeper investigation of this.

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    Damage, WTF? Some one is pooping on your website. Please, for the love of reason and dignity and peace among men, take action.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 10 years ago

      If damage doesn’t ban this douche sooner or later, I’ll start trollin too, since he’s doing it and techreport seems okay with it.

        • SecretMaster
        • 10 years ago

        That is horrible logic.

        But I agree, ban the fool SnakeOil

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          Snake? Snake?! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!

        • Contingency
        • 10 years ago

        FREE SHINTAI!!!! (and ban Krogoth)

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          Not him, at least Krogoth isn’t scripted.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      It’s might not be a simple call. Lots of page hits for comments or sanity?

        • Bauxite
        • 10 years ago

        Yeah, although you can only ignore principles [of not letting the very wide and deep gutter of the internet overflow into your yard] for so long.

        Short term (more page hits) vs Long term (keeping your quality)

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          Quality of commenters was never a priority, I don’t think. Or else there’d be an approval process like there is at Gawker sites.

      • glynor
      • 10 years ago

      I think the best medicine for his ilk is to just be ignored.

      The best thing was another article last week where he trotted out his usual diatribe and the crickets were chirping to the degree where he replied to his own post saying “hello?” or something to that effect.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 10 years ago

        That’s what I tried telling everyone and no one listened to me.

          • SecretMaster
          • 10 years ago

          I ignore him by and large; I think I responded once or twice. But it still is quite irritating and annoying as a reader to see the BS he spews. After awhile it gets tiring very fast.

          Also in regards to this one article, he has more or less questioned the integrity of Scott’s reviews with baseless and stupid accusations. To me that is uncalled for.

          It’s one thing to disagree and raise valid/discussion worthy points. It is another to spew garbage.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Maybe people were confused and ignored your suggestion to ignore snakeoil instead.

        • flip-mode
        • 10 years ago

        So do I. But look at this page. It is a mess. While the best medicine that may be, it is medicine not taken, and so the patient remains ill until another cure is found.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 10 years ago

      if you really wanted to address the i7/i5’s use of turbo mode on preformance, I suggest messing around with the heatsink as well as the uncore.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      “illegal” — I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

        • Xylker
        • 10 years ago

        inconceivable!

      • cocobongo_tm
      • 10 years ago

      You’re right man. For once, I don’t think your really after a laugh. In fact I am of the same opinion as you, on this “Turbo Mode” matter.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      If I wanted to read AnandTech I’d go to AnandTech. I also happen to agree with the response you quoted – nobody that buys one of these CPUs is going to turn turbo off.

      • Kaleid
      • 10 years ago

      Should graphic cards also have fixed speeds? From the looks of it my 4770 downclocks its core to 250Mhz when it is not used for a heavy load.

      Does it perform an illegal action when it overclocks to 900Mhz core when I play games?

        • Freon
        • 10 years ago

        Yeah, what about speed step? Should that be disabled for idle power consumption tests? This is getting absurd.

        I read the entire comments on Anand and here and the only reasonable critique I can see is if you are looking to push a serious overclock 1156 vs lower end 1366 (i.e. 920) end up looking more equal. The i7 920 can possibly be overclocked about as well as any other i7/i5. But, 1366 is still more expensive to build. Boards are more plus the extra channel of memory, neither of which really seem to offer big performance gains. 1366 just seems overbuilt for the scope of the tests these sorts of sites cover. I’m sure you can cherry pick benchmarks that show triple channel makes a difference, and so be it then, but that is no basis for some of the trash being thrown by “snakeoil.” (oh the irony of his username)

        But even then, that is separate from saying turbo is “cheating” or “illegal”. The “illegal” comments lead me to seriously question the general maturity of the poster. That is a delusional statement.

      • maxxcool
      • 10 years ago

      This form the IDIOT that said i5 doesn’t support vmware

    • snakeoil
    • 10 years ago

    *[http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3634&p=11&cp=18#comments<]§

      • Convert
      • 10 years ago

      So if I understand your post correctly, and please let me know if I am wrong in thoroughly reading the link you provided, you set up multiple accounts on Anandtech’s site to push your propaganda?

      Why the **** is this guy still around anyways?

        • snakeoil
        • 10 years ago

        thats the guy gary doing damage control.

          • Convert
          • 10 years ago

          Jamahl doing damage control for AMD?

          So you just admitted to doing damage control for AMD while using a fake account on Anandtech.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 10 years ago

      What’s the point of this post troll? You got your ass handed to you by Gary.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        Testing with Turboboost on is outrageous, outlandish, egregious and preposterous! If the heatsink doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      yeah that’s more sarcasm that you failed to detect. I think you’re imploding.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Scott, this narcissist *[

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah I’ve got to agree. He went from short quirky posts that were fun, to long crazy conspiracy ones, to ones that are simply self-serving and self-contradictory. Time to end the relationship…hmm it kind of reminds me of the way some of my own relatioships went. snakeoil, is that you baby??

        • ew
        • 10 years ago

        The collapse feature is very handy for ignoring trolls. I wish there was a way to automatically collapse all threads by a certain user.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        he knows you’d never hurt him again. at least not on purpose.

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      That requires getting “Duke Nuked” out of unemployment. 😉

    • maxxcool
    • 10 years ago

    Oh, Thank you Scott/Damage for the time and the efforts into the review. I appreciated the article and the results found therein.

    When could we possibly see a over-clocking review? I am sure that will be a can of worms as well (I can hear snake already, “Its already overclocked and ilegal!!” just as he has posted on anand’s forums).

    But I for one would like to see Techreports take on the voltage tweaks needed to make the PCI-E bridge stable… and the busclock behaviors…

    Regards.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    To quote myself q[

      • maxxcool
      • 10 years ago

      Don’t make me slay your kitten… 😉

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      rofl you called it ‘illegal’ at anandtech! hahaha

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      Why are you the only one that thinks the overclocking is wrong? The chip is made to do it! The chip scales itself, it’s an advertised feature that everyone will use OOTB with stock chipsets/bios

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      You realize they’re LAUGHING at you, right? Not agreeing? I think you missed some sarcasm in the replies to your remark.

        • snakeoil
        • 10 years ago

        no, they are serious.

        Jamahl, 11 minutes ago

        Digusting! How much money did intel bung you for this disgrace?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          Yeah, see I think that’s sarcasm, too. Or maybe you finally found your soulmate. I dunno.

          • maxxcool
          • 10 years ago

          hahahaha this from the same idiot who thought xp-mode would not work or that vmware would not work…

      • maxxcool
      • 10 years ago

      “Illegal” haha! Just like you being allowed to use the Internet….

      • DrDillyBar
      • 10 years ago

      nothing “cheating” about it.

      • Freon
      • 10 years ago

      Did you eat paint chips as a child or something?

        • maxxcool
        • 10 years ago

        I used that phrase the other day in talking to my nephew and he had no idea what i was referring to… after that I felt really old. 😐

    • Chrispy_
    • 10 years ago

    So, take a Q9450 with 4GB on a P45 and compare to an I5-750 with 4GB on a P55. Sure, there’s some “new product supply/demand” premium still, but I don’t like the size of the price gap given the size of the performance gap.

    I’m using Overclockers.co.uk who are small but good in the UK for not price-gouging items in short supply.

    £130 – Q9450 (OEM)
    £44 – 4GB Corsair XMS2 PC6400
    £90 – Asus P5Q-Pro

    £145 – i5-750 (OEM)
    £73 – 4GB Corsair XMS3 1333MHz
    £115 – Asus P7P55D

    £264 compared to £333 and that’s using the most biased components I could, ie – best prices (optimistic tbc oem price on the i5) and most basic Asus P55 board on sale, versus the 12MB Q9450 instead of the 6MB 9400 and a rather nifty P45 board with fancy features. Also, the 1333MHz RAM is ‘just good enough’ for the i5 but the XMS2 is a premium luxury for a 775 system with headroom to spare.

    It’s nice that it’s cheaper than i7, but it’s still in “bragging rights” territory and not yet a performance per dollar winner that the mainstream is supposed to be.

    • Konstantine
    • 10 years ago

    The Core I5 750 puts a good fight against the I7 920 and costs a 100$ less.That processor is going to be the next Q6600, Im telling ya.

    • axeman
    • 10 years ago

    Looking at the power consumption, I see this being more exciting in the mobile segment. When’s that coming? With idle power sitting well below a Core 2 Duo, any time now is fine. 🙂

    • axeman
    • 10 years ago

    Cool beans on the SMT parking. I imagine without the OS task scheduler being able to do such a thing, it could get ugly with the OS treating the CPU like a 8-way SMP system. Whereas SMT exists to try and fully utilize execution resources that might otherwise sit idle, on a quad core CPU, it could have the opposite affect if not done right.

    • axeman
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t like that they used the i7 moniker for these new chips, couldn’t they have used i6 for higher end lynnfield derivatives? The ceaseless shuffling of model names, numbers, socket types, cache sizes gives me a headache.

    • Thresher
    • 10 years ago

    Great review, as always. Looks like there is a new value equation for gamers on a budget.

    BTW, there is an ad or something that is killing my browser (IE6) here at work. I can get through the first two pages fine, but after that, memory usage skyrockets and my browser locks.

    • RickyTick
    • 10 years ago

    l[<(No offense, crazy guys. Just joshing, you know. No stalky-stalky, please.) <]l That made me chuckle out loud. Thanks. 🙂

    • shank15217
    • 10 years ago

    Leave it to Intel to artificially limit their platform so consumers have to chose between performance and price. These processors are great, they have a lot of potential in other markets than the enthusiast gaming desktop however some marketing genius decided that they should remove QPI from the processor and plug in a old DMI interface. So right from the get go people are limited to 16 (very fast, low latency pci 2.0 lanes) Thats two video cards in sli and .. nothing else why? Why didn’t Intel add a qpi link to the south bridge from the processor? (They created a new chipset for lynnfield anyways) Why did Intel see it fit to create a line of processors without hyper-threading. Intel artificially creates product lines, not based on a cost merit but based on what they think consumers should buy. These processors, although great are limited right from the get-go. Lets see, I have a 8 threaded processor with only 16 freaking pci lanes. I know a crap load of you are gonna say, uh 99% of the world doesn’t care about more than 2 graphics cards, but some of us had wet dreams of pluggin in a fast 10gbe ethernet, a fast gfx card and a maybe a good raid controller on the mb, alas not on Lynnfield platform, its only for the “desktop” segment, how silly…

    • AxMi-24
    • 10 years ago

    It would be nice with some OC data. I run BOINC 24/7 so the turbo thing is worse than worthless for me. Only thing that matters is how fast all four cores can run at the same time.

    • Freon
    • 10 years ago

    Wow, very impressive. Intel is not leaving that door open for the Phenom 2 to steal away any market share any more.

    i5 looks like a great choice for gamers who want a future proof platform. Great game benchmarks for the price. Still darn fast at other applications, probably fast enough, and the i7-860 should leave room for a reasonable upgrade later. I’d say this is the system to beat now for the $1000 rig when the time comes for the next TR round up.

    Still holding on to my overclocked E8500 for now, but I think next spring I can plan on skipping the quad 775 upgrade and go straight for LGA1156. Time to read the P55 review…

      • hp9000
      • 10 years ago

      [i5 looks like a great choice for gamers who want a future proof platform.]

      Until they decide to create a new socket for whatever the reason and leave current owners of perfectly capable motherboards hanging out to dry.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Wow, these are nice. Am I going to dump my Phenom setup to get one? No, but that doesn’t stop these from being very nice.

    If I were building today, I’d look really hard at the i5 750.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t understand why people think AMD is so doomed.

    The differences between Core i7, i5 and Phenom II are much smaller than say the days of Athlon XPs versus Pentium 4 (Northwoods) or Athlon 64s versus Pentium 4s (Prescotts).

    Any of these CPUs can handle most day to day tasks without breaking a sweat. The long-fanged A64s and 65nm Core 2 are still up to the task.

    Each of these platforms have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Simply get what makes sense for your budget and needs.

    Stupid fanboys don’t realize that high-end and enthusiast markets never mattered much in the fiscal sense. It is the mainstream OEMs (average joe/office systems) that have always driven the desktop market. Intel has lost much of its prestige and brand-name recognition to the earlier successes of AMD.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      Is a Core 2 64 similar to a Commodore 64?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        you edited your post, you rat!

      • PRIME1
      • 10 years ago

      They are doomed because they have not made any money in two years and they spent billions on a company and market (GPUs) that is also showing no profit.

      I’m a big AMD fan and hope they recover somehow, but I don’t see any future for a company that operates at a loss every year.

      I think it’s time for someone to buy AMD and take them in a better direction.

        • WaltC
        • 10 years ago

        Heh…;) If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read “AMD is doomed” over the last decade I could probably retire…;) The fact is that AMD has done far better than any other previous Intel competitor, and has actually managed to grow its business over the last decade whereas all of Intel’s former would-be competitors are dust.

        True, certainly, that AMD has been struggling of late to show a /[

          • PRIME1
          • 10 years ago

          l[

            • jdaven
            • 10 years ago

            Most of the drop in AMD stock is from the recession not from company performance. Intel has also seen quite a large drop in stock price since the end of 2008. That being said, AMD has suffered more than Intel because of the Core i5/i7 situation.

            • WaltC
            • 10 years ago

            By “investors” I was not talking about rank-and-file stock-market investors…;) Maybe you hadn’t noticed, though, that “since 2006” a lot has happened and the market as a whole has dropped precipitously.

            I was talking mainly of investors buying AMD notes and the FAB investors who have pumped billions of $ more into AMD recently–look, if I could sell off “parts of myself” for billions of dollars and yet remain involved as an /[http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/Pages/amd-joins-globalfoundries-2009jul24.aspx<]§

            • PRIME1
            • 10 years ago

            l[http://www.allbusiness.com/economy-economic-indicators/economic-indicators/11999822-1.html<]§ /[

            • WaltC
            • 10 years ago

            No–AMD retains 50% of the share voting rights relative to the joint company, Global Foundaries. AMD’s original ownership percentage fell because of the change in AMD stock valuation. Regardless of that percentage, however, AMD has 50% of the voting shares in the new company. That was part of the original agreement, and is entirely separate from AMD’s actual ownership stake in the new company. From the beginning, AMD’s actual ownership was not 50% (it was 44.2%) but it’s /[

            • leor
            • 10 years ago

            you need to read the history more carefully, AMD had a share split at 40 dropping them down to 20.

            it has definitely gone down but not to the degree you suggest.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Don’t be silly, any decent charting information you look at takes in to account splits. The only spit in the last ten years was in July 2000 during the dot.com runup, AMD went down like everything else afterward then rightfully went back up to $40 during the A64 vs P4 era peaking in Feb 2006. That’s the $40 he’s referring to.

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      It’s called profit. Companies generally need it. Companies have a hard time making it when their products are inferior. AMD has a hard enough time getting people to switch from Intel when its products are good, for various reasons; that situation is much exacerbated when there is no compelling reason at all, and in fact there is much disincentive to do so.

    • DaveJB
    • 10 years ago

    /[

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    It looks like these CPUs are pretty good, despite the confusing array of names/models/branding/etc. The 860 in particular looks like a good deal at the price. The feature that overclocks within TDP for lesser-threaded workloads is an excellent feature.

    I know if I was AMD, I would be sweating a little. It’s barely worth them making quad-core processors now (dual-core in the low-end should still be profitable) as margins will be squeezed a lot, and upcoming i3s and lower i5s will make it worse. Bulldozer is a long way away. Luckily they have the graphics to tide them over, and what I think is a better platform (2GB/s DMI, really!), although delays to the 800 chipsets will be hurting again.

    • mczak
    • 10 years ago

    other reviews seem to think die size is 296mm², not 269mm².
    Based on the die shot, I’d have to agree. Looks like intel didn’t relayout anything, in fact that former qpi link area in the bottom left corner is now just wasted, unused die space. I’m wondering though why the memory controller still seems to take up exactly the same die area, I’d have expected it to be quite a bit smaller.

    • mongoosesRawesome
    • 10 years ago

    On the table for the testing methods, you have written i5-870 instead of i7-870.

    • colinstu
    • 10 years ago

    Nice to see I don’t have think about getting an AMD proc now, and might just dump the idea of getting a a S775 quad. (This is a pinch faster, supports new tech, power efficient, etc).

    I want to like i7, the performance is great, but the power consumption isn’t really nice (wait for 32nm?).

    I hope these i5’s can OC… that was why Intel went from 1160->1156, those were the “OCing” pins I heard, maybe that was just some old rubbish… we’ll see.

      • designerfx
      • 10 years ago

      I’d wait and see what AMD does about this, and what prices Intel slashes to compensate. Might want to wait until December ish when DX11 cards come out.

        • Game_boy
        • 10 years ago

        It’s September for DX11, not Decemeber. Unless you mean Nvidia, which could be anywhere from November to mid-Q1 depending on which rumour site you believe.

          • glynor
          • 10 years ago

          Nvidia isn’t going to hit Q4 with anything other than a paper-launch with hand-picked review samples. No-way, no-how. Them even making Q4 at all is based on their first tape-out of the chip coming back /[

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      OCing pins? WTF? They were the third memory channel. Lynnfields are gorgeous overclockers.

        • colinstu
        • 10 years ago

        Good to hear. sounds like a retarded idea now, but this I heard right back when intel made the change, and almost no one knew what LGA1160/1156 (now) was anyways.

    • Nictron
    • 10 years ago

    The only hope for AMD is fusion now, using the parallel power of their GPU to compete with Intel. But then Intel is working hard on their new GPU as well.

    AMD is down and bleeding badly, let hope they can recover and go all the way 🙂

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Fusion as in CPU+GPU on one package will be done by Intel first from the looks of things. Clarkdale or whatever it’s called is scheduled for Q1 2010. Of course the GPU on it is a 45nm update of HD4500 so it’s nothing special in terms of computing power. So you must mean fusion in a loose sense as in the platform but even there AMD seems to be behind NV a bit in terms of speed, quality, and vendor support :-/ Their only hope in the near term for that is OpenCL or DX11 Compute Shaders. Of course you can put an ATi GPU in to an Intel platform too…

        • Nictron
        • 10 years ago

        Good points, I was referring towards the CPU and GPU on a single die or socket?

        Is that not AMD’s vision?

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Yeah it is AMD’s vision and I think they even had it on roadmap slides first and quite a while ago. Kind of a shame because AMDs IGPs are better even if IGPs aren’t very good for gaming regardless of who makes it.

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    Wow Intel, just, wow.

    I have not read too much of the article yet, I’ll get to that later, but it looks like Lynnfield delivers.

    The most impressive part is the idle power consumption – we all pretty much already knew that Lynnfield was going to perform very similar to Nahalem, and it looks like it does just that – but I was not expecting power consumption to be so good.

    If it wasn’t for being able to get a great AMD mobo for $90, and being able to re-use my 6GB of DDR2, an i7-750 would I have.

    Nice job Intel.

    AMD – you’re back in the shadow.

      • cocobongo_tm
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah man…back in the shadow…it’s like that movie…”The Perfect Storm”, where for the first two thirds, they fight huuge see waves and 10min till the end they finally see the sun shining but only for 5 mins, since that sun was shining through the eye of the storm. The Intel Storm. Next the storm comes back with a vengeance and kills everybody.

    • mczak
    • 10 years ago

    idle power consumption looks very good. I suspect though the core2 cpus would look better (like 5-15W better – this depends a lot on the board too afterall) if they’d use the mainstream P45 chipset rather than the boutique part X48.

    • snakeoil
    • 10 years ago

    i can’t believe all the tests are with turbo enabled.
    that is cheating because turbo is overclocking.
    to be fair all benchmarks and tests must be done with turbo disabled.

    why? because readers have brains and can think

    beware, if you are thinking to buy a new directx 11 card don’t commit the mistake of using a crippled lynnfield, because it only has 2×8 pci express which really sucks. you will regret it.

    lynfield is a failure because its a crippled core i7 and is expensive.

    and if you have the bright idea to upgrade to the next six core coming, sorry, lynnfield won’t work with six cores.

    anyway

    whats wrong with intel?

    • stmok
    • 10 years ago

    The price of the i7-870 is a head scratcher…Why would anyone pay almost twice the price for an extra 133Mhz?

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      It makes me feel nostalgic. It almost reminds me of Pentium II and Pentium 3 days. A mere bump in 66Mhz easily commanded a premium of late-90s $200 USD or more.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Since I’ve mentioned it before I’d still like to know what actual speed the new CPUs run on various benchmarks to give a better comparison to overclocked Core 2 and Phenom II CPUs. And the usual ‘overclock both’ argument doesn’t quite hold because i5/i7’s Turboboost puts them closer to their typical overclocks so their increase when overclocked would not be as much. Maybe they could oc and turboboost but oc’ing alone looks to push the thermal limits.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 10 years ago

      You’re assuming that the clock speed will be consistent. If I understand Speed boost correctly, it will dynamically juggle between stock and stock+ in the middle of running. When you read a clock speed, it would only be for a single point-in time. Imagine a cut-scene that isn’t multithreaded and the cpu will jump up another notch on the speed spectrum.

    • Pax-UX
    • 10 years ago

    Mmm… this CPU has aroused my curiosity! Great review… looks like I’ll be keeping an eye on this little CPU, although it looks like they are trying to muddy the water when it comes time to overclocking the chip by building in this tubro-boost mojo.

    • S_D
    • 10 years ago

    Great stuff, but no overclocking testing?

    • NIKOLAS
    • 10 years ago

    In respect of Gaming reviews, why not have Low Res and High Res?

    It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    Having said that, I think it is strange that the Tech Report has been using far from the fastest GPU available on the CPU reviews for sometime now, thus making me give much more weight to other site’s reviews.

      • thecoldanddarkone
      • 10 years ago

      Two or three model differences (which is what 10-20% difference atm) is making you put more stock into other reviews? F A I L.

        • axeman
        • 10 years ago

        Benchmarking higher resolutions is a pointless exercise when reviewing PROCESSORS. Techreport is using a modest resolution with a graphics card powerful *enough* that difference in CPU power are evident. Any site that shows you pages upon of benchmark results with 0-5% variance between processors is just getting more ad revenue, not providing any sort of useful data.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          Except the minimum FPS tend to vary more than 0-5% just based on the CPU’s architecture.

          What’s “not providing any sort of useful data” is an unrealistic scenario that would never exist outside of benchmarking.

          People play games with the graphics turned up, and different CPUs work differently. End of story.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 10 years ago

    Great review Scott.
    That’s the most impressive debut I’ve seen in a long time.
    The gaming results alone will have so many people rushing out to buy one.
    The Core i7 870 is so sweet.
    I wonder what it was like as the senior AMD techs read this article…lol
    Thud.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Only if they’re dumbasses who don’t look at the more real-world resolution gaming tests.

    • malicious
    • 10 years ago

    I saw the 870 and 750 boxes on display at a local computer shop today and thought, “When were those released?” Guess this review answers that question. Nice numbers from the newcomers but my heart might still be set on a 3.2 GHz i7-960 in early 2010. Hmm, I wonder if Scott’s home address will come up on google…

    • setzer
    • 10 years ago

    i5/i7 are definitely great processors but like someone pointed out they start at $200, couple that with the price of a motherboard and a 4gb DDR3 kit and you have a base system value of close to $400, add some more bells and whistles like a decent graphics card and you pass the $500 mark.
    They sure are worth the money spent, but to spend money you have to have it and as such, what we have in the sub $500 mark is the same we had before, Phenom/Athlon II or Core 2 Duo/Quad.
    This launch will probably bring better options to that price point.

    If i3 is to the lower end what these new parts are for the mid/high-end then we will have changes, otherwise like the news say Atom shipments on the rise, high-end on the low.

    • SNM
    • 10 years ago

    Hmm, I feel less bad for my i7 920 than I expected to. Hurrah!

      • Mentawl
      • 10 years ago

      I feel slightly bad for my 920, only insofar as the amount of cooling power it requires seems excessive to me. If the vaguely mentioned P55 ITX motherboard appears, I may be tempted into an SFF P55 system, purely for the lower power consumption and greater portability.

    • Contingency
    • 10 years ago

    I fail at reply.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    (Yawn)

    i5 is just an i7 (current Bloomfields) that is marginally slower at workstation and server-related tasks. Otherwise, it yields practically identical performance. The platform cost should be a bit less than current i7s, but initial supply and demand issues will prevent that for the first few months.

    Phenom IIs and older 45nm Core 2s held up pretty well. If you are currently you on either platform. There is little reason to upgrade unless time is $$$$$.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 10 years ago

    Wow. Impressive, I must say. The i5 kicked butt for the first half of the article.

    • Dagwood
    • 10 years ago

    Looks like a case of Intel competing with itself. The i5 puts the squeeze on the top end AMD stuff but at 199 it leaves a lot of room for budget processors. It looks like the real shake up is going to happen with the i3 parts.

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    Thank you for adding 7zip to the suite of testing. kick assg{

    • Atradeimos
    • 10 years ago

    Wonder what snakeoil’s going to say now?

      • JumpingJack
      • 10 years ago

      I was thinking the same damn thing…. I doubt he will show up.

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Don’t tempt fate.

        • Arxor
        • 10 years ago

        You doubted wrong.

    • End User
    • 10 years ago

    Another excellent read! Thanks 🙂

    I appreciate the effort you put into the gaming benchmarks although I am still left wanting. Higher resolutions may indeed bring the GPU into play but I would love to see, perhaps in a separate gaming performance article, 1920×1080+ benchmarks.

    • Contingency
    • 10 years ago

    Something I haven’t been able to reconcile for some time now:

    1) CPU game tests are are run at low resolutions to avoid being bottlenecked by the GPU.

    2) Even sub-$100 GPUs are being benched at 1680×1050 these days. Blame consoles, long dev cycles, or even good old competition, but games don’t stress current hardware anymore.

    I think it’s finally time for relevant benchmarks.

      • JumpingJack
      • 10 years ago

      On point 1 … why not? Resolution (total pixels) is a workload metric for the GPU, with a typical crop of GPUs at any given time, it is not a test of the CPU if you run GPU limited.

      Why would this info be good? Well, there are people who are putting system together today that may want to upgrade one part or the other later in the future. It does not provide a good picture to them to see all the CPU bunch up to the same score which reflects the GPU the reviewer chooses.

      No, let me know how the CPU handles the CPU related gaming code by removing that bottleneck … then I can choose my CPU today so that I can comfortably upgrade my GPU tomorrow and know I won’t handicap it with a bad decision.

        • Contingency
        • 10 years ago

        I’m pretty sure I didn’t say run GPU-limited CPU benchmarks. My point was that since it takes crazy-high resolutions+AA to distinguish current GPUs, testing using resolutions people actually play at may be feasible.

      • reactorfuel
      • 10 years ago

      Gaming performance is determined by the slowest, narrowest bottleneck. When you’re evaluating gaming performance for a CPU, video card, or whatever else, you want to make that component the bottleneck. You might as well complain that video cards are tested with top-end CPUs, because not very many people have $1000 ultra-high-end processors.

        • Contingency
        • 10 years ago

        Thanks for the explanation. It is clear from my comment that I have no idea how benchmarking works.

        P.S.: Your absence in the SSD thread is noted.

          • reactorfuel
          • 10 years ago

          If you don’t understand how focusing on the performance of one specific component relates to benchmarking, no, you don’t get how it works. The goal isn’t to determine the performance of the entire system; it’s to determine the performance of one component. By examining bottlenecks individually, and focusing load on the component you’re testing, it’s possible to get a good idea of the performance you’d get out of any combination of parts.

          As for the SSD thread, I do have a life beyond Internet arguments. They’re a fun diversion, but pretty much everything else comes first, and I’ve had a rather busy weekend. You’re kinda fun, but I guess I’m just not /[

            • Contingency
            • 10 years ago

            I don’t know if your problem is reading comprehension, or an inability to understand my argument. Let’s try a different approach:

            1) At what resolution are games GPU bound at?
            2) What resolution are CPUs tested at?
            1 should not equal 2, but 2 can be closer to 1 than it currently is (this is apparently a difficult concept). It is advantageous to have 2 closer since it would better reflect real world usage.

            SSD:

            My jealousy over you having a life and awesome weekend made me overlook the fact that you were too busy to post in a thread where you were called out on your BS, but not so busy to post multiple times here. Be less lame, please.

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    Frits!1111!!!!1

    The i7-870 seems to strike an extremely splendid balance in terms of performance/watt.

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