Sandy Bridge: Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K

Published by Marc Büchel on 03.01.11
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Sandy Bridge CPU / GPU / Overclocking

With Sandy Bridge Intel shows the first major overwork of their Core i7 800 series CPU architecture. The two CPUs we tested aim at the performance desktop segment where they can really show what they're capable of. If you compare Sandy Bridge with Lynnfield you see that the graphics core has now been integrated into the same piece of silicium like the CPU. To make the graphics core profit as much as possible Intel equipped Sandy Bridge with a ring architecture. This enables communication between every single compartment. In plaintext this means that the graphics core can access data which lies in Level 3 Cache. Furthermore even the System Agent can control the graphics core to for example change clock speeds. Furthermore Intel also overworked their TurboBoost technology which now comes in version 2.0. Now TurboBoost is even more flexible and as we already mentioned it can also control the GPUs clock speeds.

If one starts looking for differences between the P67 and P55 Chipset you'll find plenty. Therefore let us start with the DMI link (Direct Media Interface). With the P67 DMI is a 20 Gb/s interface which allows quick communication between the CPU and the chipset itself. Compared to the previous generation the DMI link is now ten times faster. With P67 you also get eight PCI-Express x1 slots instead of six like with the P55. Also the onboard LAN controller has now been connected to the chipset via a PCI-Express x1 lan. Very important for owners of high-end SSDs is that P67 natively comes with up to six SATA3 6Gbps ports.

As we already mentioned with the new core processors Intel integrated the graphics unit into the same piece of silicium like the CPU. Therefore all the new Core CPU don't feature a multi chip package anymore. The differences between HD2000 and HD3000 are mainly between the number of execution units as well as the clock speeds. HD2000 has got six execution units whereas HD3000 has been equipped with twelve. Compared to the older graphics units we find on Lynnfield HD2000 and HD3000 do perform much better. One reason for this is the Level 3 cache which can be accessed directly. Intel itself even goes that far that they say that casual gaming should be possible with HD3000 and HD2000.


It's been a discussion over and over again at Intel wether they should control overclocking or not. With Sandy Bridge Intel decided to limit overclocking via the busclock which only leaves the multiplyer to increase clock speeds. Also the multiplyer can only be changed if you own a K-Series CPU. With the 2600K for example one is able to increase the multiplyer all the up to 57 which means that a maximum of 5'700 MHz would be possible. If we now take into account that on the latest ASUS boards you can achieve a maximum of 107 busclock you end up with 6'099 MHz. Generally Sandy Bridge is entirely different in terms of overclocking which is why we're going to release an article which focuses only on this topic.

Page 1 - Introduction Page 9 - SuperPi / WPrime[/en]
Page 2 - Specifications Page 10 - WinRar
Page 3 - Sandy Bridge CPU/GPU/Overclocking Page 11 - Crysis
Page 4 - Test Setup Page 12 - PT Boats Knights of Seas
Page 5 - Futuremark Page 13 - Resident Evil 5
Page 6 - Cinebench Page 14 - Street Fighter 4
Page 7 - SiSoft Sandra 1 Page 15 - Power consumption
Page 8 - SiSoft Sandra 2 Page 16 - Conclusion

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Sandy Bridge: Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K - CPUs > Reviews - Reviews - ocaholic