Intel Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K Reviewccokeman - January 2, 2011
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The Integrated Graphics core has seen an increase in performance capabilities. With an increase in capabilities there is usually an increase in performance. When I tested the Clarkdale processor back late last year, graphics performance in games was pretty much nonexistent. Sure, you could get playable frame rates for casual games, such as the Sims, World of Warcraft, and other casual online games available, but nothing that is recent. Testing titles that typically require a discrete graphics card to play came to a sudden and abrupt end after the first games tested on the Clarkdale Core i5 661. Here it seems the new second generation Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K processors have a leg up on past integrated products. Using several of the benchmarks we normally use in our video card reviews, we dropped the settings down to the settings used in our low-end discrete GPU tests to see how the two new solutions fared. Far Cry 2 was run in DX9 mode with the global settings to low. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the global settings were adjusted to medium. Lastly, in 3DMark Vantage, the Entry and Performance presets were used.
In the Batman testing, the 2600K was markedly faster than the 2500K, but in both instances, the performance delivered was playable from 800x600 up to 1680x1050. The Far Cry 2 testing showed the 2500K to be playable up to 1280x1024 and the 2600K all the way to 1680x1050 when played in DirectX 9 mode.
One other test I ran was to use Arcsoft's Media Converter 7 to show how well the IGP helps with the conversion of video files to a portable format. In this test, with Intel Quick Sync technology enabled, the Integrated solution on the 2600K offered a 4x+ decrease over the CPU only, while the 2500K offered a 5x+ decrease in the time it took to convert the test file to a format viewable on my HTC Incredible Android based smart phone. Those are pretty substantial improvements in performance when you compare the numbers.
These speed ups in performance are well above previous generation hardware based on Intel's documentation. One big difference is that this work is done on the hardware instead of through software like on the Clarkdale and Arrandale processors. The graphics are not ready to take on the discrete cards for gaming, but look more than capable of running with cards built to enhance the computing experience for the everyday user. To make sure that the consumer can utilize the performance advantages of the second generation Core processors, Intel has worked with a multitude of software companies to have software titles ready to go at launch time from companies such as Arcsoft, Cyberlink, Corel, Roxio, and Adobe. This should allow you the opportunity to get the latest and greatest software for video editing, DVD authoring, and video conversion. You can pair this system up with a 3D capable display and viewing system to watch the latest 3D Blu-Ray content in stereoscopic 3D. In all, a win-win proposition for the consumer looking for an upgrade since not everyone out there is a hardcore gamer or enthusiast.