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Intel Core i5 661 Review

Date: 2010-1-5

   Conclusion If you haven’t figured it out yet, Clarkdale spells the end of the road for the high end, and much loved Core 2 Duo line (E8xxx, Penryn) and the Core 2 Quad (Q9xxx, Yorkfield). W...

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Intel Core i5 661 Benchmarking

Intel Core i5 661 Review

On August 11, 2008, Intel announced the Core Processor Family with the first desktop versions of the new Nehalem-based processor family are branded the Intel Core-i7 series. These “Bloomfield?processors have dominated the market when it comes to performance, but they also come at a higher price premium. Nearly 4 months ago Intel announced the Lynnfield Core-i5 and i7 CPU’s for the LGA 1156 platform with the promise of an even more mainstream processor on the way. It has been a long time coming, but Intel has finally brought Nehalem performance to the small form factors. Today we are looking at the latest in their lineup, the Clarkdale Core-i5 and i3 CPU’s.

Intel Core i5 661 Review

While most of us love our desktop PC’s, the trend is for smaller and less powerful systems. Things like HTPC’s and media appliances are a clear indication that the next decade will give us extremely powerful, yet small and portable systems. With that in mind, Intel has decided to bring the brute force of Nehalem, shrink it to 32nm, and pair it with a 45nm graphics processor. This is a very powerful combination, all contained in the same package! Intel has been following a “Tick-Tock?model and with the shrink to 32nm, Clarkdale is a “Tock?part, falling into the Westmere family.

Before we get into the whole of “Clarkdale? let’s take a look at what the lineup looks like and breakdown the differences.

Intel Core i5 661 Review

As you can see, there are five more processors being added to the Core-i5 line. Core-i3 is starting with just two. Both Core i5-6xx and Core i3-5xx support an integrated graphics chip on the same package as the CPU, thus eliminating a device that is normally put on the motherboard. This simplifies the motherboard packaging and design, which should lead to lower prices for a motherboard, while increasing the “CPU?price. It is important to keep that in mind as you look at the price list above, as 3 of the CPU’s listed are equal to, or more expensive than the Core i5-750 CPU, which is a 4 Core/4 Thread part.

Core i5-6xx CPU’s feature a Dual Core processor with Hyper Threading, and the ability to Turbo Boost two multiplier levels above their rated speed in certain scenarios.

Core i3-5xx CPU’s feature a Dual Core processor with Hyper Threading. They do not have Turbo Boost technology and will run no higher than their rated speed.

All of the CPU’s listed are rated for a Maximum TDP of 73W except for the i5-661. The reason it is specified for 87W is because the GPU onboard is running at 900MHz, while all others run at 733MHz. This means that the i5-661 is the best for gaming performance and media playback within the lineup. For the price, I would consider it the best choice of the line up.

From a home user point of view, the i5-660 doesn’t make much sense considering the price, but for a desktop PC used for strictly business purposes, it looks very good.

Intel Core i5 661 Review

In the photo above we have the Core i5-750 on the left, with the Core i5-661 on the right.

Intel Core i5 661 Review

Again, i5-750 on the left, i5-661 on the right. From the top you can't tell any difference, but flip them over and there is clear evidence that something is new.

Intel Core i5 661 Review

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