Intel Core i5 750 Core i7 870 Reviewccokeman - September 7, 2009
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While AMD has been pumping out what seemed like an endless stream of new processors in the effort to unseat the blue beast, Intel has been working to improve on the Nehalem architecture. One thing that the AMD guys could again harp on was the cost of the system, when you made that cost comparison the AMD guys had something to smile about because when you get right down to it the i7 while offering superior performance is priced substantially higher than competing products. At launch you had motherboards coming in at well over the 3 Benjamin level (300+ dollars) with the i7 920 similarly priced. Add the 6GB of memory and your cost of entry was over a grand! Right now the cost of entry on the socket 1366 i7 is roughly $632 (Cost of the OCC testbed components). This is lower than at introduction but still about $100 more than the top AMD components (Motherboard, Processor, Memory). With Pricing on the i5 750 and P55 Chipset motherboards pricing has come down substantially, with the i5 750 coming in at around $192 and performance motherboards that be had for less than $200. What you have with the i5 750 is a processor that can deliver performance comparable to the AMD 955 Black edition for yes less money! By turning off Turbo Technology you get worst case scenario performance. By enabling Turbo Technology the i5 750 can compete in the speed limited single threaded applications with the ability to bump the clock speed to 3.2GHz. The 870 will push up to 3.6GHz. Both above the 3.2 and 3.4GHz clock speeds of AMD's best processors. When it comes to gaming there is not a bunch of difference between brands when the GPU is the limiting factor. One test that shows the difference in CPU gaming performance is in the Futuremark testing. In 3Dmark Vantage Entry and Performance tests where the CPU and system performance count heavily the i5 750, i7 870 and P55 platform delivered a superior level of performance when compared to the AMD chips.
An area I was only to eager to explore was the overclocking capabilities of both of these processors. I was not expecting much from the Intel DP55KG Extreme series motherboard, but boy, did it present some serious improvements in overclocking ability! Both of the socket 1156 Processoers reach clock speeds above 4.2 GHz with the 870 reaching almost 4.5GHz with some benchmark stability. That just about floored me, since this literally is the fastest air cooled CPU I have ever tested! Even water cooled my best i7 920 is a 4.3 GHz chip. The Kingsberg board proved to be easy to overclock and delivered excellent performance. The one thing I had hoped was fixed was the extreme temperatures delivered when you throw the current to the processor. Each chip took some voltage reach the maximum clock speeds and responded with temperatures that the CO stepping i7 920s delivered. At the 4.4GHz clock speed temps were in the 80+Celsius range with the MUX 120 Thermalright heatsink. This is right where the i7 9 series were hitting so no real improvement when you push the cores. With the new socket Intel now has a platform that can compete on the price points and deliver excellent performance at this level, what with the P55 chipset and Lynnfield i5 750 and i7 860 for the majority of people, and the i7 9 series still as the premiere performance platform.
- Pricing (i5 750)
- Turbo Technology
- SLI and Crossfire capable
- Temperatures when overclocked