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Intel Core i5 750 Core i7 870 Review

ccokeman    -   September 7, 2009
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Testing:

The only way to know how a processor performs is to run it through a series of benchmarks using both synthetic and real tasks to make a comparison as to how the processor performs against architectures from the same manufacturer as well as competing manufacturers. Really this leaves Intel and AMD at this point. To test the Core i5 750 and Core i7 870 all of the energy saving features as well as performance boosting technologies have been disabled on the motherboard to be able to gain repeatable results. Otherwise the results would not be a valid form of comparison. Intel's Turbo Boost technology provides a serious clock increase on each of these CPUs that allow each one to deliver performance in excess of what is shown here. A comparison will be made against the latest from AMD the Phenom II X4 955 and 965 as well as the Intel Socket 1366 Core i7 920 and 965 EE. Once the stock testing is completed I will lean on both the i5 750 and i7 870 to see just what kind of overhead these processors have. Both stock and overclocked testing will be accomplished on the Intel DP55KG Kingsburg Extreme series motherboard. When I completed the testing of the socket 1366 i7 processors last year I used the DX58SO that allowed overclocking but not to a level I was subsequently able to reach on aftermarket boards. I'm hoping that the DP55KG offers up more overhead than the last Intel board I looked at. If you are interested in the performance of processors not included in this comparison you can take a look back at OCCs last Socket 775 review on the e7200 and for your AMD fix the Phenom IIx2 550 review. Each of these reviews cover a pretty good selection of the processors from each family.

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1156

  • Processor(s): Intel Core i5 750 133x20, Intel Core i7 870 133x22 socket 1156 CPU's
  • Motherboard: Intel DP55KG Extreme (Kingsberg)
  • Memory: Kingston HyperX KHX1600C*D3K2/4GX 7-7-7-20 1333MHz
  • Video Card : NVIDIA GTX 260 (216)
  • Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
  • Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On 8x DVD+/-RW
  • OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition

 

Testing Setup AMD AM3 CPU's:

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366

  

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 750 210.5x20 4210MHz
  • System Memory: Kingston HyperX 842 MHz 8-8-8-24
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 870 191x22 4200MHz
  • System Memory: Kingston HyperX 8-8-8-24 765MHz

I was expecting a to learn a whole new way of overclocking when these two processors arrived but was pleasantly surprised to see that the more things change the more they stay the same. Overclocking is accomplished pretty much the same way you reach your goals with the socket 1366 i7 processors. Whereas the 965 and 920 CPU's were a bit stubborn with the Intel DX58SO motherboard they were originally tested with that was not the case this time around with the i5 750 and the i7 870. Both of these chips were able to run over 4GHz almost right off the bat. This may be due to almost a years worth of tweaking X58 based motherboards but the fact remains that the DP55KG Extreme series motherboard seemed to be more overclocking friendly than the DX58SO. I followed basic overclocking principals to reach the 4+GHz speeds by increasing the bclock until the system would not boot. Then I would give a small bump to the core and QPI voltages to help maintain stability and then wash, rinse, repeat until the highest stable speed was reached. Along the way you will need to address the memory timings and speeds. When finding the maximum CPU clock speed I forced the memory to run slower than it is capable of just to eliminate this variable. The i5 750 has a locked memory multiplier much like the i7 920 did when I originally tested it so to reach 1600MHz memory speeds a bclock of 200 is required. The i7 870 on the other hand did not have this hurdle so upping the memory speeds was as easy as changing the memory multiplier and upping the bclock to reach the memory speed you are looking for. All and all the experience was satifying knowing that the lessons learned over the past year still held true. The final clock speeds reached on the i5 750 was 4210Mhz reached with a bclock of 210MHz and multiplier of 20 with the memory running at 842MHz. That is a 1.5GHz overclock on a processor that is going to retail for less than 200 dollars. The 8 series i7 870 delivered a similar clock speed but got there a little differently. On this CPU the bclock was at 191MHz using a 22 multiplier. This contributed to a slower memory clock speed. Still neither of the i7s I looked at last November would go over 4.0GHz. This is an improvement. The end result when it came to it was a 4426MHz benchmark speed from the i7 870 on an Intel board. Pretty sick!

 

 

 

Manually overclocking the DP55KG and both processors is one way to increase performance but really for those who are not going to overclock their processors the default settings allow for Turbo mode to be activated when running single threaded applications. What this does is increase the processor frequency dynamically to provide an increase in performance with no work from the end user other than enjoying the benefits. The Core i5 750 has a maximum Turbo mode speed of 3.2GHz while the 800 series i7 can reach 3.6GHz. To see just how far I could get the chips to reach in Turbo mode I ran Cinebench 10's single threaded test to only load 1 core. What I witnessed was the the i5 750 reached 3.184GHz just under the 3.2GHz maximum potential speed. The i7 870 reached a speed of 3.440GHz during the same test validating the fact that the technology does work well and provides a tangible benefit.

 

 

Most motherboards designed for enthusiasts come with proprietary monitoring and basic overclocking utilities. Intel has not left us out with the inclusion of the Intel Desktop Control Center that can be used to monitor the system as well as running stability tests to verify your overclocked settings.

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. PCMark Vantage Professional
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10
  9. HD Tune 2.55
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty World At War
  5. Dead Space 
  6. Fallout 3
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar
  6. Testing: Office 2007, PcMark Vantage
  7. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2009
  8. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench 10, HD Tune
  9. Testing: Far Cry 2
  10. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  11. Testing: BioShock
  12. Testing: Call of Duty World at War
  13. Testing: Dead Space
  14. Testing: Fallout 3
  15. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  16. Testing: 3DMark 06
  17. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  18. Conclusion
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