Overall, the general impression from our first encounter with the new Clarkdale processors is highly positive. It is mostly based on the fact that even though the new CPUs are formally dual-core ones, Hyper-Threading technology support makes them work almost as quad-core ones. The top Clarkdale model participating in our test, Core i5-661, looks impressive of all in this case. Almost in all test scenarios it is not only faster than the top solutions in the Core 2 Quad and Phenom II X4 series, but also outperforms the junior Lynnfield modification – Core i5-750. It looks like a combination of high clock frequency and two cores with Hyper-Threading support turns out to be a pretty powerful cocktail.
The performance of Core i3-540 also looks pretty good. In all scenarios except video creation and processing it also outperforms quad-core Core 2 Quad and Phenom II X4 processors and is definitely faster than any dual- and triple-core CPUs available in the market.
Unfortunately, the brilliant performance of the new Core i5 and Core i3 do not inspire Pentium G6950 to do the same. It is actually not surprising, as this processor doesn’t have one of the Clarkdale’s strongest trumps – Hyper-Threading support. As a result, its performance is as high as that of other dual-core Core 2 Duo solutions. In other words, if we were to base our conclusions on the results of SYSmark 2007 test, then Pentium G6950 would be considered a pretty decent replacement to old Pentium E series solutions, but unlike other Clarkdale processors it wouldn’t offer any revolutionary performance boost.