Intel Core i5 750 Core i7 870 Review

ccokeman - 2009-08-22 23:20:10 in CPU's
Category: CPU's
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: September 7, 2009
Price: Core i5 750 $196, Core i7 870 $562

Introduction:

At launch there will be three different socket 1156 processors code named "Lynnfield". The i7 870 and 860 with the i5 750 one step down. The P55 chipset and Core i5/i7 socket 1156 combo is meant to bring Nehalem technology down to the mainstream level. Mainstream usually means that the impetus is to deliver a product for the masses or an economical solution. So how do you do this? Well for one you eliminate the Northbridge and incorporate its function into the CPU so that you are only using a 2 chip solution. By integrating the discrete graphics responsibility to the CPU as well as the memory controller you effectively eliminate the need for the additional chip. Therefore less money to build means the less you have to charge the consumer. With the costs associated with Nehalem ownership, the price of admission is still on the steep side when compared to the AMD camp. So you bring the price down for the masses and try not to shorcut features and performance to reach a more palatable price of entry. In these tough economic times the disposable income available for a new system is harder to come by with people wanting more for less. With AMD already a few steps ahead on the cost for performance front the P55 chipset and Lynnfield processors look to take them to task and take back the mainstream. To do this Intel has brought out the socket 1156 i5/i7 processors that feature the i5 750 with a clock speed of 2.66 GHz, Nehalem architecture, dual channel memory support, Turbo technology, 8MB of Smart cache and support for dual graphics cards in a 8x x 8x configuration with a 95watt TDP. The 8 series i7 870 and 860 contain all of the features of the i5 but run at 2.93GHz/2.80GHz and uses Hyperthreading technology while still having the same 95 watt TDP. At 2.8 GHz the i7 860 looks to be a a worthy successor to the i7 920 that has been so successful. Looking at the block diagram below you can see that the Nortbridge is a thing of the past. Just how will this new solution to fit into the the mainstream market? Will it be the next best thing since sliced bread or will it fall a little short of average? If early pricing reports are correct AMD could be in for a long year if the performance potential is reached.

 

  

 

Closer Look:

What arrived for testing the new i5 and i7 socket 1156 processors was a kit that included the DP55KG "Kingsberg" Extreme series motherboard, A new heatsink from Thermalright the MUX-120 and a pair of processors. These being the Core i5 750 and the i7 870. The 870 came sans retail heatsink while the 750 came with a factory Intel heatsink. With the inclusion of the stock and aftermarket cooling options you can test both stock and overclocked performance. All in all a really nice kit.

 

The processors I will be looking at include the Core i5 750 that is a Quad core processor that runs at 2.66GHz and does not count hyperthreading in its list of attributes. It reaches this speed much the same way as the i7 920 does with a bclock of 133MHz with a clock multiplier of 20. The Core i7 870 runs at 2.93 GHz and reaches this speed using a multiplier of 22 with the bclock of 133Mhz for a slightly faster clock speed. While the i5 750 does not feature Hyperthreading the i7 870 does. The Lynnfield processors both come in at the same size and transistor count at 296mm2, 774M respectively. When you think Nehalem you think massive. By showing the i5 and 8 series i7 together with an i7 920 you can get an idea of just how much smaller the socket 1156 CPU's are by comparison.

 

 

One thing that was a shock was when I opened the box containing the i5 750 and the socket 1156 heatsink. The heatsink look's much like the low profile ones that come with the 65watt TDP socket 775 CPU's. As a reference I compared the size of the heatsinks(left to right) that came with my Q9450, i7 920 and the i5 750. Even though the TDP is 95 watts you would look for something a little more robust.

 

 

Thankfully Intel chose to include a high end air cooling solution in the MUX-120 from Thermalright to make sure that the overclocking testing can go off without a hitch. At first glance the MUX-120 looks like the TRUE but .....smaller. This cooling solution uses four heatpipes to transfer the thermal load from the contact plate to the fin array. The MUX-120 uses a fin array that contains 48 fins that are offset from the left to right side as well as having a small twist up or down on each end. Thermalright has included a PWM controlled fan that has a range of 1000 to 1800 RPM. The one thing that is a disappointment is the use of push pins to attach the heatsink to the motherboard. I guess this makes it easier for the masses that seem to dislike a bolt on heatsink.

 

 

 

The processor is only half of the new package from Intel. The P55 chipset and motherboard are the next piece that makes this performance puzzle complete.

 

Closer Look:

The DP55KB Extreme series motherboard is built based on the latest chipset from Intel the P55 that is a replacement for the P45 for use in mainstream level computers while the X58 is left for the high end. When you take a look at the Kingsberg board something looks like it is missing right off the bat. Right where the chipset is traditionally mounted you have the CMOS battery! Hhhmmmmm, thats not quite right! Well really it is with this newest processor class. The Northbridege traditionally handled the PCIe graphics lanes as well as the memory controller. Well now both of those functions are on the processor die so the need for this chip is gone. The P55 Express chipset handles the rest of the PCIe lanes as well as the rest of the drive connectivity and is now called the PCH instead of the ICH. This means you are only supplying power for 2 chips instead of 3, a savings right from the start. The Kingsberg board is an ATX form factor board that supports both Crossfire and SLI graphics technologies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The I/O panel features plenty of connectivity. One thing you may notice is that there is not a PS/2 port for the mouse or keyboard so you will need USB based peripherals. There are 2 eSATA ports in red, The Back to BIOS button which is basicaly a way to clear the CMOS after a really bad OC failure, S/PDIF in and output, 8 USB 2.0 ports, 1 IEEE 1394a port, Intel Pro 10/100/1000 LAN port and to round it out the 7.1 Intel High Definition sound connections. For expansion slots you get one full size 16x PCIe slot, 2 1x PCIe slots, a 4x slot that can be run at 8x when two discrete graphics cards are used in a multi GPU arrangement, 2 PCI slots and a 4x PCIe slot. Both SLI and Crossfire are supported technologies but when a multiple GPU setup is installed the 2 slots revert to an 8x x 8x arrangement.

 

 

Moving along the bottom edge of the DP55KG you have an aux fan header and not a whole lot else, as the front panel connections, USB and 1394 headers are located elsewhere. The Skull located on the bottom right corner fetures LED's to bring this Icon to life with blue LED's lighting the skull with red ones lighting up the eye sockets for a nice little bit of bling to view through your case window.

 

 

 

Moving up the right-hand side of the board you have the SATA 3.0GB/s connectivity. The black ports are controlled via the PCH while the two blue slots are controlled by the Intel Matrix Storage manager and support raid 0,1,5,10. Right behind the SATA ports in green is the Bluetooth module. The USB, IEEE and front panel connections as well as the IR transmitter and receiver headers are next in line followed by the 24 pin ATX power connector. Just inside from the edge are the DIMM slots. The Lynnfield processors offer support for Dual Channel memory configurations instead of the triple channel seen on the socket 1366 Nehalem processors. Up to 16GB of DDR3 1066MHz/1333MHz/1600MHz are supported. This is another way to cut the cost of entry when buying a new system.

 

 

 

Spinning around to the top edge you have the onboard power switch in case you decide to use this board on a tech bench or are really just a bit lazy and don't feel like hooking up the front panel connections. After this there is a fan header and the 8 pin power connection. Visible behind the Back to BIOS switch is a vertical USB header. Not sure what kind of use this could be but where there's a will there is a way.

 

 

The CPU socket area looks a bit more crowded than it really is. it looks like the DP55KG uses a 6 phase VRM circuit to power the socket 1156 processors. The heatsinks are a little on the smallish side but seem to do the job they are intended to do. Right under the CPU socket area you will find a diagnostic LED to help trouble shoot errors during the POST cycle. The PCH is located behind the expansion slots and is covered with a passively cooled aluminum heatsink, simple and effective. The bluetooth module is a nice touch that brings with it additional flexibility. No more hooking the 'crackberry' up with a wire just send your files via Bluetooth.

 

 

 

The DP55KG is just one of the P55 based motherboards that Intel is launching to take advantage of the Lynnfield processors. You have the Sharpsburg board that is the Micro ATX version and then the Warrensburg and Whitesburg boards that are the lesser featured Kingsberg and Sharpsburg boards. Intel looks to have the feature sets covered from the lower end to the top end. I have looked at the cooling , the processors and the motherboard so it's time to put the screws to the processors and see just how well they stack up against the best from the AMD camp.

 

Specifications:

Intel® Core™ i7-800 Processor Series and Intel® Core™ i5-700 Processor Series

 
Intel Core i7 870
Intel Core i7 860
Intel Core i5 750
Processor Frequency
2.93 GHz
 2.8 GHz
2.66 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache
 8 MB
8 MB
 8 MB
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology1
Single core performance up to 3.60 GHz

Single core performance up to 3.46 GHz

Single-core performance up to 3.20 GHz

Number of Simultaneous Threads
8 (with Intel® Hyper Threading
Technology8)
8 (with Intel® Hyper Threading
Technology8)
4

Processor Integrated Memory

Controller
Yes
Yes
Yes
Number of Memory Channels
2 (DDR3 1333 MHz)
2 (DDR3 1333 MHz)
2 (DDR3 1333 MHz)
Intel® Express Chipset
P55
P55
 P55
Socket
LGA1156
LGA1156
LGA1156
Microsoft* Windows* 7 Ready
Yes
Yes
Yes

 

Intel® Extreme DP55KG Desktop Board (Black, 9.6” x 12”)

Form Factor
ATX

Max Memory Speed

DDR3 1600+MHz

Graphics Support

x16 or 2x8
Nvidia SLI and ATI Crossfire Support

Additional PCIe

x4, 2x1
PCI
2
Audio
S/PDIF in/out
10 channel audio

 Intel High Definition Audio with 7.1 Dolby* Home Theater

SATA
8
eSATA
2
USB 2.0
8+1+4

Overclocking Features

Full
Third generation Watchdog Timer
Back-to-BIOS switch
 Post Code LED
VR heatsinks

Additional Features

LEDs
Efficient ChiL* digital components
On board Bluetooth

Planned exclusive software bundles

Intel® Desktop Control Center
Third party applications

 

Features:

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

 

Testing Setup AMD AM3 CPU's:

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366

  

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

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:

  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
  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

Testing:

The first part of our testing will be the system specific benchmarks.

 

Let's get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

 

 

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

  

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 100MB , 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds. Additionally I will use the built in benchmark as a comparison.

 

ZIP:

 

Lower is Better

 

RAR:

 

Lower is Better

 

Apophysis is core clock speed sensitive so results pretty much follow raw clock speeds. The WinRar testing shows that the Intel CPU's with Hyper threading perform decidedly better in the file compression tests. The i5 750 delivers results on par with the higher clocked quad core AMD processors. When overclocked to 4+GHz the socket 1156 processors lead the way.

Testing:

Office 2007 Excel Big Number Crunch:This test takes a 6.2MB MIcrosoft Excel speadsheet and performs about 28,000 sets of calculations that many of the most commonly used calculations in Excel. The measure of this test is how long it takes to refresh the sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower Is Better

 

POV Ray 3.7: This program features a built in benchmark that renders an image using Ray Tracing. The latest versions offer support for SMP (Symetric MultiProcessing) enabling the workload to be spread across the cores for a quicker completion.

Higher Is Better

 

PCMark Vantage x64 is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual CPU to see which CPU, if any, rises above the others.

 

In the Excel Big Number Crunch testing the i5 750 without hyperthreading easily out performed the best from AMD. The 870 with its higher clock speed out performed the i7 920. In POV Ray the slower clock speed on the i5 750 equated to a slightly slower performance while being clocked from 600 to 800MHz slower. The 870 easily pulled away from the AMD 965 and 955. The numbers in PCMark Vantage speek for themselves and show the strength of Intels latest cores.

Testing:

SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key functions of the CPUs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

Memory Latency

 

Cache and Memory

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

The 750 performs better than the AMD offerings across many of the benchmarks, 8 out of 14 to be more precise. The memory bandwidth delivered is lower than the 1366 i7's but well ahead of the AMD 3.4 and 3.2GHz processors.

Testing:

ScienceMark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

Higher is Better!

 

CineBench is useful for testing your system, CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Lower is Better

 

Sciencemark is very processor speed dependent and the results bare this out. When the 750 and 870 are overclocked the performance sky-rockets in both Sciencemark and Cinebench. Cinebench does not have a problem with speed dependency although it does help. However the newest socket 1156 processors are shown in a much more positive light. In Cinebench there is no contest. In HD Tune the burst speeds, avg read speeds and access times are slower than those delivered by the X58 chipset based platform. The burst and average speeds are ahead of what AMD has to offer.

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km squared of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

   

 

The AMD processors came out on top in this test by more than a few FPS.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way ,there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across the resolutions there really is not an advantage one way or the other.

Testing:

BioShock is one of the creepier games you can play. The building of a perfect Utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong. Its inhabitants driven mad with the introduction of tonics and genetic modifications. Now Rapture is just a shadow of its former glory with little girls looting the dead of what little they have left while being shadowed by guardians known as "Big Daddies". It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This First Person Shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played. The environment, as well as the story line, will wrap you up for hours on end.

 

Video Settings:

 
 

 

 

 

 

The AMD CPU's are outperformed in all three resolutions while the performance delivered is similar to that delivered by the socket 1366 i7 processors.

Testing:

Activision's Call Of Duty World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought COD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a large resolution. This game just may be my reason to move to a 30 inch monitor. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

  

 

 

 

When the clock speeds start getting pumped up this game does respond to the additional processing power.

Testing:

In Dead Space, as part of the crew of the USG Kellion, you are headed on a repair mission to repair a ship in distress. Things go from bad to worse as starting with the crash landing and seemingly silent and "Dead" ship, the USG Ishimuru. Offering a non-traditional over the shoulder viewing angle, the game gets right into the action as soon as the ventilation systems are activated. From there things get worse with the appearance of the Necromorphs. Survival now becomes a primary concern for the primary character Isaac Clarke. Survive and you may find the loved one that was aboard the Ishimuru.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional processor power does not seem to bring any benefit to this game except in the lower resolution. The scoring is similar across the two higher resolutions.

Testing:

Fallout 3 takes place after the nuclear holocaust that nearly wipes out civilization and leaves the world an irradiated mess. The vault, or fallout shelter, you are born in is Vault 101, situated in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia area. The premise of the game is that the vault has been sealed for 200 years and now your father has opened the vault and escaped without a trace. The Overseer believes you are involved, so you must escape as well into the wasteland that was once our nation's capital. I find myself looking for landmarks, since I am familiar with the streets of Washington DC.

Settings:

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Intel chips seem to perform better in Fallout 3 with the 7 and 8 series socket 1156 processors out-performing the best AMD has to offer in all 3 tests.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters, and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!

Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The socket 1156 i5 750 and i7 870 deliver performance on par with the higher clocked AMD offerings at the higher resolutions and at 1280x1024 the latest from Intel performs slightly higher.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is started. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

The i5 750 performs almost identically to the PII 955 X4 in this benchmark. The 870 does perform better than both AMD chips across all three tests.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across all four presets the Intel CPUs performed at a higher level. The i5 750, clocked almost 1GHz less than the top of the AMD food chain, delivers a superior performance against a much higher clocked CPU. The 870 is no slouch either but the socket 1156 CPU's can't quite keep pace with their socket 1366 brothers.

Conclusion:

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.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: