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Intel Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K Review



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. Obviously, at this point, this leaves Intel and AMD. To test these unlocked processors, all the energy saving features, as well as performance boosting technologies, have been disabled on the motherboard in order 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 this CPU that allows it to deliver performance in excess of what is available when the technology is disabled. A comparison will be made against both AMD processors and both the Intel socket 1366 and socket 1156 processors. Once the stock testing is completed, I will overclock the second generation Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K  to see if they deliver any overclocking headroom. Both stock and overclocked testing will be accomplished on the test platforms listed below.



Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1155


Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1156


Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366


Testing Setup: Intel Core i5 Clarksdale Socket 1156


Testing Setup AMD Quad-Core:


Testing Setup AMD Hexa-Core:


Comparison CPUs:



Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K 4773MHz 104 x 46
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 2600K 4608MHz 105 x 44

The rumors have been that overclocking is dead with the introduction of the second generation Core processor lineup. If you read between the lines and didn't just jump to conclusions and read some of the early articles about the new lineup, you would know there is definitely going to be some overclocking going on. Back in May of this year, we got a taste of what was to come with the K-Spec 875 and 655 processors from Intel. The bclock increases are not going to be what we have been accustomed to seeing based on the way the chip is designed and how the internal timing is set up. The bclock range will come in from 102 to 109MHz, but anything over 105MHz is unusual. Both of these chips would do 104MHz with ease and the 2600K did 105MHz and not a single MHz more. From what I have been told about the unlocked multipliers is that you have that bell curve of chips that can hit over a 50 multiplier with 54 being about the maximum possible. The interesting thing about the Sandybridge processors is that the architecture does not respond to cold, as the tale is told, with the processors actually down-clocking the cooler they get. When I had a sneak peek at this architecture and some motherboards, I was suprised to see that these kind of numbers can be run with not much more than a modest tower-style heat sink with a single fan. So the two CPUs I have gotten to play with seem to be quite capable. The Intel H67 board used for the stock testing on the 2500K would not allow any overclocking, so I moved the chip over to the Intel P67 board and was able to hit almost 4.8 GHz in about ten minutes by upping the bclock to 104MHz and the multiplier to 46 - pretty simple really. The 2600K was just as easy to clock, but I spent a little more time trying things out with it and was able to pull an almost 4.7GHz clock out of it with a few adjustments to the core voltage. These numbers are easily 1+GHz overclocks. The other thing that you need to know is that all the energy savings tools, such as C1E and EIST, are used with overclocking this platform. In the past, this was one of the tools or tricks utilized to reach higher overclocks, but the opposite is true now. To minimize power consumption at idle, you need to lower the voltage and core clock speeds. To reach the overclocked speeds, you increase the Turbo Multiplier to get your maximum clock speed.



Intel has made available its Extreme Tuning utility. This compact program lets you make adjustments to just about all the tools necessary to increase the performance of your second generation Core processor. For adjustments, you have the bclock and multipliers for both Turbo Boost mode and the maximum non turbo multiplier, as well as the ability to disable or enable Turbo Boost Technology, define the maximum current allowed to the processor, adjust the memory timings, monitor the temperature and usage % of the CPU, and more. You can also view the current settings with the system information tab. It's a handy utility, but with each change you will have to reboot, so it is not as functional as the tools offered by ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and others.




Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will represent the overclocked scores in the testing.




  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. Bibble 5
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  9. HD Tune 3.50
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  3. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  4. 3DMark Vantage

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Intel DP67BG
  3. Closer Look: Intel DH67BL
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  6. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, Bibble 5
  7. Testing: Office 2007, POV Ray, GeekBench
  8. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2010
  9. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune
  10. Testing: Far Cry 2
  11. Testing: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  12. Testing: Batman: Arkham Asylum
  13. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  14. Testing: Integrated Graphics Performance
  15. Testing: SLI Performance
  16. Upcoming Reviews
  17. Conclusion
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