Intel Launches Two New CPU Series and a Chipset

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 processors have dominated the market when it comes to performance, but they also come at a higher price premium. Today, Intel is unleashing Core i5 and i7 8XX series processors, and the accompanying P55 Express chipset that supports these 'Lynnfield' processors to the market. These processors are largely based around the Nehalem architecture that launched in November of 2008, so many of the key technology features remain the same. 

Intel Core i5 and Core i7 Lynnfield Processors

The changes in Lynnfield are significant, though, as they need a new socket, CPU coolers and the P55 chipset. This is due to the fact that Intel has changed the integrated memory controller back to dual-channel, brought the PCI Express connectivity onto the processor, and improved their Turbo Mode functionality to offer varying levels of increased performance depending on the type of application being used. The end result is a processor that is smaller with a more budget-friendly single-chipset motherboard to go along with it. The performance hit by losing features like triple-channel memory is present, but unless you plan on running Super PI for work, the cost savings should be substantial and worth it.

NVIDIA Ion mini-ITX DIY System Build Guide

To give you an idea of the new Lynnfield processor the above picture shows an AMD Phenom II 965 BE processor on the left with an Intel 'Nehalem' Core i7 975 processor in the middle and the Intel 'Lynnfield' Core i5 750 on the right. As you can see, the new LGA 1156 socket is actually smaller than even the AMD Phenom II's socket AM3 processor.  It happens to be comparable to Intel Core 2 LGA 775 socket if you recall the size of one of those processors.

NVIDIA Ion mini-ITX DIY System Build Guide

Pictured above is the Lynnfield die that shows all 774 million transistors in the 296 mm² package that is manufactured on Intel's 45nm high-k fab process. The new Core i7 and i5 processors are the first Intel processors to integrate both a 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 graphics port and two-channel memory controller, enabling all input/output and manageability functions to be handled by the single-chip Intel P55 Express Chipset. Previous Intel chipsets required two separate chips. A new Direct Media Interface (DMI) connects between the processor and chipset. So what is the difference between a Lynnfield Core i5 and Core i7 processor?

Intel Core i7-800 processor series:

Intel Core i5-700 processor series:

Basically, any Lynnfield processor that has HyperThreading technology is a Core i7 part and those without HyperThreading are Core i5 or Core i3 processors.

Intel Core i5 and Core i7 Lynnfield Processors

Today, Intel is releasing two Core i7 processors: the Core i7-870 and the i7-860. Since these are part of the Core i7 800 family they are quad-core processors with HyperThreading enabled (support of 8 threads). They are also releasing the Core i5-750, which is a quad-core part without HyperThreading. All of the Lynnfield processors have the same 8MB L3 cache as the Core i7 offerings. As you can see from the chart above, the base clock speed of the Core i7-870 is 2.93GHz, but the Turbo frequency is nearly 700MHz higher at up to 3.6GHz.  Under certain loads the processors will have the ability to scale up to some pretty high frequency, which is how it does so well against current Core i7-900 series processors. Let's take a closer look at CPU-Z and Intel Turbo Boost technology.

The Core i7-870 and Core i5-750 CPUs

Intel Core i7 870 Lynnfield Processor Idle

Here is a look at the Intel Core i7-870 processor sitting at an idle state on the desktop of our Windows Vista SP2 64-bit test system. Notice that the processor is only running at 1.2 GHz thanks to Intel's SpeedStep technology.  This is key as it will have lower idle power consumption and generate less heat. 

Intel Core i7 870 Lynnfield Processor

During regular use the Intel Core i7-870 can jump up to the rated clock frequency of 2.93GHz (as shown above) as we had turbo mode disabled.

Intel Core i7 870 Lynnfield Processor

Here we had Turbo mode enabled and some of the cores were at load, so the Intel Core i7-870 was running at 3.20GHz. The Intel Core i7-870 processor has the ability to go all the way up to 3.6GHz when fully loaded with 5+ threads.

Intel Core i7 870 Lynnfield Processor

Intel Turbo Boost Technology is very interesting technology and it's impressive to see the core go from 1.2GHz to 3.6GHz depending on the work load that is taking place.


Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield Processor

Here is the Core i5-750 processor at an idle state.

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield Processor

Here is the Core i5-750 processor running in a Turbo Boost mode.

The P55 Express Chipset

The new Intel P55 Express chipset supports 8 PCI Express 2.0 x1 Ports (2.5GT/s) for flexible device support. Dual graphics cards are supported in a "2x8" configuration. The chipset also supports 6 SATA 3 GB/s Ports with Intel Matrix Storage Technology providing RAID levels 0/1/5/10. Up to 14 USB 2.0 Ports can be supported with the chipset's integrated USB 2.0 Rate Matching Hub, along with Intel High Definition Audio for premium digital sound. The new processors are the first to be supported by the new Land Grid Array (LGA) 1156 package and socket technology.

Intel P55 Express Block Diagram

Intel P55 Express Chipset:

Some Intel P55 Express Motherboards We've Been Using:

We've already brought you reviews on the Gigabyte P55-UD6 and P55M-UD4 motherboards today, so let's take a quick look at a couple of the boards we have been using for CPU testing.

Intel Extreme Series DP55KG 'Kingsberg' motherboard

The Intel Extreme Series DP55KG 'Kingsberg' motherboard is the highest end motherboard that Intel will be offering with the P55 Express chipset.

Intel Extreme Series DP55KG 'Kingsberg' motherboard

The board has a very clean layout and features six phase power management.

Intel Extreme Series DP55KG 'Kingsberg' motherboard

The board features a x16 PCI Express slot and a x8 PCI Express slot for graphics cards and has been licensed to support both ATI CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU technology.  The motherboard also features on-board Bluetooth and has a location for an antenna to be attached.

Intel Extreme Series DP55KG 'Kingsberg' motherboard

The rear I/O panel on the Intel DP55KG 'Kingsberg' motherboard is packed full of goodies. Starting from the left you'll see two eSATA headers, which is a nice touch. Just to the right of that is a little button. This is the Back-to-BIOS switch, which can be used to recover the BIOS if your overclocked settings fail to work out for you. After that, you can see the S/PDIF in/out connectors, eight USB 2.0 headers, 1334 Firewire and then all the audio jacks for the Intel High Definition Audio (7.1 Dolby Home Theater support).

ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard

ASUS sent out the P7P55D Deluxe motherboard, which is one of their top P55 motherboards when it comes to both features and pricing.

P7P55D Premium: $279
Maximus III Formula: $259
P7P55D Deluxe: $229
Sabertooth P55: $219
Maximus III Gene: $209
P7P55D EVO: $199
P7P55D Pro: $179
P7P55D: $155
P7P55D LE: $139

This board is loaded with features like additional ESD protection, Stack Cool 3/+ with two 2oz copper layers, Xtreme Phase, T-probe and Turbo V/EVO.

ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard

The board also has 16+3 phase VRM circuits, so it is solid for sure!

ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard

The ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard has three x16 PCI-E slots with support for both Crossfire and SLI, two x1 slots and two PCI slots.

ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard

The rear IO panel has a pair of PS/2 ports for both the mouse and keyboard, a clear CMOS button, the optical and Coax digital sound output, eight USB 2.0 ports, dual Gigabit LAN, 1394 and ten channel surround sound.

The Test System

Before we look at the numbers, here is a brief glance at the test system that was used.

The Test System

AMD Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

All AM2 and AM2+ CPUs

Click Here

Motherboard

MSI DKA790GX Platinum Click Here

Memory

Mushkin PC2-8500 Click Here

Video Card

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

Click Here

Hard Drive

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

Click Here

Cooling

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283

Click Here

Power Supply

Cooler Master UCP-1100W

Click Here

Operating System

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Click Here

All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. All of the modules were run in dual channel mode with a 120mm fan placed on top of them to keep them cool except for the Core i7 system that was run in triple channel. The EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB used NVIDIA ForceWare 169.28 video card drivers. The LGA 775 test system used the ASUS P5E3 motherboard using BIOS version 1404 and the LGA 1366 test system used the ASUS P6T Deluxe motherboard with BIOS v8004. The AMD Phenom testing was done on the MSI DKA790GX Platinum motherboard with BIOS v1.8 and ATI system driver version 8.582. The Intel Core i5 and Core-i7 870 processor testing was done on the ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard with BIOS version 0701.

Memory Settings:

Here is the Intel LGA 1366 Test platform:

Intel Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

See Above

Motherboard

ASUS P6T Deluxe

Memory

6GB Corsair DDR3 1600MHz

Video Card

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

Hard Drive

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

Cooling

Thermaltake BigWater 760i

Power Supply

Corsair HX1000W

Operating System

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

 

Here is the Intel LGA 775 Test platform:

Intel Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

See Above

Motherboard

ASUS P5E3 Deluxe

Memory

4GB Corsair DDR3 1800C7

Video Card

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

Hard Drive

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

Cooling

Corsair Nautilus 500

Power Supply

PC Power and Cooling 1KW

Operating System

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

 

Here is the Intel Skulltrail Test platform:

Skulltrail Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

2x Intel Core 2 QX9775

Motherboard

Intel D5400XS 

Memory

4GB Micron 800MHz FB-DIMM

Video Card

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

Hard Drive

Western Digital RaptorX 150GB

Cooling

Zalman AT Fan/Heatsink

Power Supply

PC Power and Cooling 1KW

Operating System

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

Temperature Testing

Intel Core i5 750 Retail Boxed CPU Cooler

Intel's new LGA 1156 CPU socket is smaller than LGA 1366, and as a result the CPU heatsink mounting holes are 3mm closer together. While this will reduce the amount of flex in the motherboard when the heatsink is mounted it also means that a new heat sink mounting system is needed. Intel has developed their own CPU cooler that will come with retail boxed processors and it is tiny!

Intel Core i5 750 Retail Boxed CPU Cooler

The aluminum fins stand just 0.75" tall, which should give you an idea of just how thin this heat sink really is.

Intel Core i5 750 Processor Temperature at Idle

First up to bat is the Intel Core i5 750 processor and at idle the CPU temperature with the retail boxed CPU cooler was observed at being 39C.

Intel Core i5 750 Processor Temperature at Load

Firing up Prime95 and running the blended test we were able to get the CPU up to 74C in just a matter of minutes!  This is pretty hot and even the ASUS TProbe v10007 alerted that the temperature was hot, so it will be interesting to see how the Core i7 870 does on the same CPU cooler.

Intel Core i7 870 Processor Temperature at Idle

The Intel Core i7 870 processor ran at 40C when at idle with the retail boxed CPU cooler.  This is actually fairly nice considering the Intel Core i5 750 was running at 39C.  Keep in mind that both processors idle at the same clock frequency and base clock, so it should be similar.

Intel Core i7 870 Processor Temperature at Load

While the two processors had similarities at idle the Intel Core i7 870 processor ran much hotter at full load with the retail boxed CPU cooler. The Intel Core i7 870 actually hit 91C before we aborted the test due to how high the temperature got under full load. The Lynnfield processors are good news for after market CPU cooler manufacturers as not many enthusiasts and gamers will want to see their processors reaching over 70C at load.

Thermalright MUX-120 CPU Heatink

Intel also sent over the Thermalright MUX-120 heatsink for testing, which really helped improve thermal performance on the Intel Core i7 870 processor.  The temperature dropped from 40C to 32C at idle and from 91C to 64C at full load under Prime95 by just moving over to the Thermalright MUX-120 CPU cooler. This is the cooler that we stuck with for testing as it provided adequate cooling for both the Core i5 and Core i7 Lynnfield processors.

Overclocking the Core i7 870 CPU

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get. The Thermalright MUX-120 CPU cooler was used for overclocking as the retail boxed cooler wasn't up for the job as seen on the previous page.

Intel Core i7 870 Retail CPU Overclocking

Here is a CPU-Z v1.52.2 screen shot of the Intel Core i7 870 processor to see what we are going to be overclocking.  The processor has a base clock of 133MHz with a multiplier of 24 (in turbo mode); that is good for 3.2GHz. 

Intel Core i7 870 Retail CPU Overclocking

With everything left to default in the BIOS and by just raising the base clock to 168MHz the system booted up, and thanks to Turbo mode we were able to reach 4045MHz in a matter of seconds. The system was rock solid and the memory kit was running at an impressive 2022MHz with CL8 timings.  The ASUS P7P55D Deluxe motherboard was running BIOS 0701, which came out just yesterday on 9/7/2009 and it seems to be very stable and overclocking-friendly.

Intel Core i7 870 Retail CPU Overclocking

In order to reach higher we dropped the memory multiplier down by one level and pushed up the base clock to 180MHz, and sure enough the system booted and was rock solid. This is an overclock of more than 1.1GHz, which is impressive for just air cooling.  With a little more time with this board we should be able to reach 4.5GHz as this processor seems to have a little more left in it.  The Intel Core i5 750 processor also was able to get up to 4.0GHz, so Lynnfield processors are overclocking-friendly.

Sandra 2009 Memory Bandwidth

Sisoft; Sandra 2009:

Sisoftware Sandra 2009

The Sisoft Sandra 2009 benchmark utility just came out recently and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. With Sandra 2009 you can now easily compare the performance of the tested device with its speed and its (published) power (TDP)! Sandra XII SP2 also has SSE4 (Intel) and SSE4A (AMD) benchmark code-paths, which is great for those of you testing next-generation AMD & Intel chips.

Sandra 2009 SP2 Benchmark Scores

Results: Sandra 2009 SP4 showed that the Intel Core i7 870 with the dual channel memory running at 1600MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings was just shy of reaching 20GB/s of memory bandwidth.  The Intel Core i5 750 processor with the dual channel memory running at 1333MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings had 17GB/s of memory bandwidth, which is nearly half of what we were able to reach with the Intel Core i7 975 processor and the memory running at 1866MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings.  Clearly the Intel Core i7 870 and Core i5 750 processors will have less memory than the LGA 1366 processors since they are just dual channel, but will that matter in real world tests and in the games?

Photodex ProShow Gold 3.2

ProShow Gold allows the user to combine photos, videos and music to create spectacular slide shows. The software provides the capability to share memories with friends and family on DVD, PC and the Web. ProShow Gold brings still photos to life by adding motion effects like pan, zoom, and rotate. The user can also add captions to a photo or video and choose from over 280 transition effects.

Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 Benchmark Settings

The workload we are using takes 29 high resolution jpeg photos and converts them to an mpeg2, widescreen DVD quality, 3min 9sec slideshow video file. The input photos are in 3872x2592 resolution and total about 170MB in size.

Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 Benchmarking

ProShow Gold 3.2 lets you share your slide shows in virtually any format and on any device. You can upload your shows directly to YouTube or choose from over 20 devices to directly output to including the iPod, Blackberry, ZuneTM and more. Not bad for software that runs under $70 and is optimized for eight-cores! Our benchmark testing wasn't at 100% load the entire time, but averaged around 95% during the testing period.

Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Photodex Proshow Gold 3.2 software showed that the Intel Core i7 870 processor with turbo mode enabled was more than able to compete with nearly any processor on the desktop market. Even the Core i5 750 processor was impressive as it was just slightly slower than the Intel QX9770, which was the fastest desktop processor in the world just a couple years ago and cost over $999.

Microsoft Excel 2007

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 is a powerful and widely used tool with which you can create and format spreadsheets and analyze and share information to make more informed decisions. It allows you to import, organize and explore massive data sets within spreadsheets and then communicate your analysis with professional-looking charts. Excel 2007 also provides tools to “see” important trends and find exceptions in your data. Legit Reviews has two benchmarking tests that we do on Microsoft Office Excel 2007.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Testing

The first workload executes approximately 28,000 sets of calculations using the most common calculations and functions found in Excel. These include common arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, division, rounding and square root. It also includes common statistical analysis functions such as Max, Min, Median and Average. The calculations are performed after a spreadsheet with a large dataset is updated with new values and must re-calculate many data points. The input file is the 6.2 MB spreadsheet seen above.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Lots of people use Microsoft Office at work and home, so this is an important test for many of our readers. Many people don't run 28,000 sets of calculations at once, but if you do the CPU will determine how fast the task is completed. 

The Black-Scholes model is used in our second Excel test to calculate a theoretical call and put price using the five key determinants of an option's price: stock price, strike price, volatility, time to expiration, and short-term (risk free) interest rate.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Testing

This workload calculates the European Put and Call option valuation for Black-Scholes option pricing using Monte Carlo simulation. It simulates the calculations performed when a spreadsheet with input parameters is updated and must recalculate the option valuation. In this scenario we execute approximately 300,000 iterations of Monte Carlo simulation. In addition, the workload uses Excel lookup functions to compare the put price from the model with the historical market price for 50,000 rows to understand the convergence. The input file is a 70.1 MB spreadsheet and with 10 times the calculations of the first test; this one should take a bit longer to complete.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: With 300,000 iterations of Monte Carlo simulation taking place in this benchmark it takes all the processors a bit longer to finish as it puts a good load on the system. The new Lynnfield processors again do well in this benchmark with the Intel Core i7 870 processor being the fourth fastest that we have ever benchmarked.

Cinebench R10

MAXON; CINEBENCH R10:

CINEBENCH is the free benchmarking tool for Windows and Mac OS based on the powerful 3D software CINEMA 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using CINEBENCH 10 carry significant weight when analyzing a computer's performance in everyday use. Especially a system's CPU and the OpenGL capabilities of its graphics card are put through their paces (even multiprocessor systems with up to 16 dedicated CPUs or processor cores). The test procedure consists of two main components: the first test sequence is dedicated to the computer's main processor. A 3D scene file is used to render a photo realistic image. The scene makes use of various CPU-intensive features such as reflection, ambient occlusion, area lights and procedural shaders. In the first run, the benchmark only uses one CPU (or CPU core) to ascertain a reference value. On machines that have multiple CPUs or CPU cores, and also on those who simulate multiple CPUs (via HyperThreading or similar technologies), MAXON CINEBENCH will run a second test using all available CPU power. Again, higher Frames/Second and lower rendering time in seconds equal better performance.

Cinebench 10

Cinebench R10 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench R10 Results

Results: Running Cinebench R10 in 64-bit mode showed that the Intel Core i7 870 and Core i5 750 processors were more than able to keep up with the other processors.

POV-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

Processor Performance on Pov-Ray 3.7 Beta 25:

The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file, and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own.

The most significant change from the end-user point of view between versions 3.6 and 3.7 is the addition of SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, which, in a nutshell, allows the renderer to run on as many CPU's as you have installed on your computer. This will be particularly useful for those users who intend on purchasing a dual-core CPU or who already have a two (or more) processor machine. On a two-CPU system the rendering speed in some scenes almost doubles. For our benchmarking we used version 3.7 beta 25, which is the most recent version available.  The benchmark used all available cores to complete the render.

Pov-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

Once rendering on the object we selected was completed, we took the score from dialog box, which indicates the average PPS for the benchmark. A higher PPS indicates faster system performance.

Pov-Ray 3.7 Beta 25

Benchmark Results: Looking at POV-Ray 3.7 Beta 25, the Intel Core series of processors dominated the top of the performance chart and is far ahead of the other processors. There is nearly a 20 second gap between the Intel Core series of processors and the next fastest processor by either brand.

POV-Ray Real-Time Raytracing

Legit Reviews was e-mailed by one of the developers over at POV-Ray to see if LR could include real-time raytracing in our performance analysis, and we were more than happy to include the data in our testing. 

E-Mail From POV-Ray -- I thought I might ping you about an experimental feature we've added to the POV-Ray SMP beta: real-time raytracing. It's mostly useful to folks who have multi-core systems and in fact is something that I've wanted to do for years but the hardware just wasn't there (at least not in the consumer price range). It works best on a kentsfield or later, but a core 2 duo should be sufficient if you don't mind sub-10fps frame rates.

If you want to try it out it please feel free to grab it from:  http://www.povray.org/beta/rtr/

POV-Ray real-time raytracing

This experimental software by POV-Ray was a welcomed addition to our testing and was able to spread the work load across all the cores in even our eight core test system as seen above.

POV Ray RTR Benchmark Chart

Results: POV-Ray Real-Time Raytracing is a fun benchmark to run and it again showed the Intel Core i7 870 processor as the fourth fastest processor that we have ever benchmarked. The Intel Core i5 750 did well, but was significantly slower than the Core i7 920 in this benchmark.

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark 2006

3DMark06

Futuremark's 3DMark06 has a built-in CPU test is a multi-threaded DirectX gaming metric that's useful for comparing relative performance between similarly equipped systems. This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are processed with a software renderer that is dependent on the host CPU's performance. Calculations that are normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the CPU for processing and rendering. The frame-rate generated in each test is used to determine the final score.

Futuremark CPU Benchmark Results

Futuremark CPU Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: No big shocker here as the Intel Core i7 870 is still in fourth place where it has been all day. The Intel Core i5 750 seemed to slip a little in this benchmark since it doesn't support Hyper-Threading technology.

World in Conflict

World in Conflict Benchmarking

World in Conflict (also known as WiC or WIC) is a real-time tactical video game developed by Massive Entertainment and published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows and the Xbox 360. The game was released in North America on 18 September 2007 and was included in our testing as it is a recent DirectX 10 game title. It also has a threaded engine for multi-core processor support, which is ideal for this testing. The plot in World in Conflict is to defend their country, their hometown, and their families in the face of Soviet-led World War III, delivering an epic struggle of courage and retribution. You are a field commander leading the era's most powerful military machines in the heroic effort to turn back the invasion…one city and suburb at a time. Let's get on to the benchmarking! WIC was tested using the most recent patch available, which is patch number 10.

World in Conflict Benchmark Results

World in Conflict Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results with a GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card: World In Conflict showed that the Intel Core i7 870 and Core i5 750 are great processors and easily blow by anything that AMD has to offer on the desktop processor market. This is great news for gamers as the Intel Core i5 750 offers insane gaming performance with a very nice price point. One thing that should be pointed out is that the Intel Core i5 750 and Core i7 870 were run with Turbo mode enabled and the Intel Core i7 965 and 975 were run with Turbo mode disabled. This is one of the reasons that the processors are so close, but that doesn't help the performance gap with any of the AMD processors.

Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fan, video card and hard drive model. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, POV-Ray 3.7 was run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load. Both processors were tested on a system using identical hardware.

Power Consumption Results

Results: The power supply that we have dedicated to just our CPU testing systems recently failed and is no longer in production. Since we had to the change power supply all the power consumption results of the processors will have to be re-tested. The Intel Core i7 870 and Core i5 750 processors both idle around 132-134W, but the peak power consumption at 100% CPU load was very different. The Intel Core i7 870 consumed 233W at load, while the Core i5 750 consumed just 199W.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

NVIDIA Ion mini-ITX DIY System Build Guide

The Intel Lynnfield desktop processor lineup does bring some killer performance to the mainstream market, but only the Intel Core i7-860 and Core i5-750 processor are what I would consider mainstream.  The Intel Core i7-870 processor is priced at $555, which is more of a higher end sku if you ask us.

The Intel Core i5-750 offer the biggest bang for the buck and with a solid motherboard like the ASUS P7P55D Deluxe that we benchmarked on you can easily break the 4GHz mark and then some. We were able to reach over 4.3GHz on the Core i7-870 by only increasing the base clock, which speaks volumes on how easy it has become to overclock right out of the box. It really doesn't need to be overclocked, though, if you are choosing between the Intel Core i5-750 and the AMD Phenom II 965 BE or 955 BE as the Core i5 easily outperforms the Phenom II. That means AMD would have to cut prices yet again to compete with Intel, if they want to continue out the price war between the two companies.  Even if you don't look at the performance of the chips and look at just the power consumption numbers the Intel Core i5-750 wins by a long shot when it comes to load power consumption.  The AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE has a max TDP of 140W, while the Intel Core i5-750 has a TDP of 95W.  Our power consumption testing showed that the Core i5-750 used 43W less power at load than the Phenom II 965BE.

That being said we are surprised that the Intel Core i7-870 easily defeated the Intel Core i7-920 and Core i7-940 in the vast majority of the benchmarks. It has been rumored that Intel was going to quit producing the Core i7-920 and now we see why.  The new Lynnfield processors are brutally fast, cost less and run cooler. It will be interesting to see what Intel decides to do with the Core i7-900 series in the months to come.

Intel has successfully brought Nehalem's features and benefits to the mainstream market with Lynnfield, but did they do it too well? Only time will be able to tell, but one thing is certain, the new Core i5 and Core i7-800 series should sell very well when it comes time to build that new Windows 7 system in the months to come.