Testbed Configuration and Methodology
During our tests of energy-efficient T-series processors we decided to compare their performance against that of the regular LGA1155 CPUs. This will show us how much slower the 45 W and 35 W CPUs are compared with regular Sandy Bridge. Therefore, besides the four processors with the “T” letter in the model name we also included the following models: Core i5-2310, Core i3-2120, Core i3-2100, Pentium G850 and Pentium G620.
When we tested energy-efficient Sandy Bridge processors we tried to recreate their typical “environment” that is why we didn’t have a fast external graphics card and used a built-in graphics core instead. We built our platform around a popular Mini-ITX mainboard on Intel H61 chipset – Asus P8H61-I.
As a result, our testbed included the following hardware and software components:
- Intel Core i5-2500T (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 2.3 GHz, 6 MB L3, 45 W);
- Intel Core i5-2390T (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 3 MB L3, 35 W);
- Intel Core i5-2310 (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 2.9 GHz, 6 MB L3, 95 W);
- Intel Core i3-2120 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 3.3 GHz, 3 MB L3, 65 W);
- Intel Core i3-2100 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 3.1 GHz, 3 MB L3, 65 W);
- Intel Core i3-2100T (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.5 GHz, 3 MB L3, 35 W);
- Intel Pentium G850 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.9 GHz, 3 MB L3, 65 W);
- Intel Pentium G620 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.6 GHz, 3 MB L3, 65 W);
- Intel Pentium G620T (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.2 GHz, 3 MB L3, 35 W).
- Processor cooler: default boxed cooler from Intel.
- Mainboard: ASUS P8H61-I (LGA1155, Intel H61, Mini-ITX).
- Memory – 2 x 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM (Kingston KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX):
- DDR3-1067 7-7-7-21 with Pentium G620 and Pentium G620T processors;
- DDR3-1333 9-9-9-27 with all other processors.
- Hard drive: Kingston SNVP325-S2/128GB.
- Power supply unit: Tagan TG880-U33II (880 W).
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64.
- Intel Chipset Driver 126.96.36.1990;
- Intel HD Graphics Driver 188.8.131.521;
- Intel Management Engine Driver 184.108.40.2065;
- Intel Rapid Storage Technology 10.5.0.1027.
As usual, we use Bapco SYSmark 2012 suite to estimate the processor performance in general-purpose tasks. It emulates the usage models in popular office and digital content creation and processing applications. The idea behind this test is fairly simple: it produces a single score characterizing the average computer performance.
SYSmark 2012 produces very expected results. Core i5-2500T loses about 9% to Core i5-2310, Core i3-2100T is about 17% slower than its 65 W counterpart, and Pentium G620T is 13% behind the regular Pentium G620. At the same time, 45 W quad-core Core i5-2500T outperforms all dual-core processors with 65 W TDP. The same is true for the dual-core Core i5-2390T, which gets a lot of help from Turbo Boost technology. A slower dual-core energy-efficient Core i3-2100T processor performs about as fast as Pentium G850, while Pentium G620T is not too fast at all and should only be able to compete against the yet to come LGA1155 Celeron processors.
Let’s take a closer look at the performance scores SYSmark 2012 generates in different usage scenarios. Office Productivity scenario emulates typical office tasks, such as text editing, electronic tables processing, email and Internet surfing. This scenario uses the following applications: ABBYY FineReader Pro 10.0, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Word 2010 and WinZip Pro 14.5.
Media Creation scenario emulates the creation of a video clip using previously taken digital images and videos. Here they use popular Adobe suites: Photoshop CS5 Extended, Premiere Pro CS5 and After Effects CS5.
Web Development is a scenario emulating web-site designing. It uses the following applications: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.
Data/Financial Analysis scenario is devoted to statistical analysis and prediction of market trends performed in Microsoft Excel 2010.
3D Modeling scenario is fully dedicated to 3D objects and rendering of static and dynamic scenes using Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, Autodesk AutoCAD 2011 and Google SketchUp Pro 8.
The last scenario called System Management creates backups and installs software and updates. It involves several different versions of Mozilla Firefox Installer and WinZip Pro 14.5.