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Testbed Configuration and Testing Methodology

In order to paint a complete picture of the contemporary Core i5 performance, we subjected all five above described 3000-series Core i5 processors to our extensive testing routine. They will be competing against Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 processors from the same price range released earlier: Core i5-2400 and Core i5-2500K. They current price allows a fair comparison between these CPUs and the new 3000-series processors: Core i5-2400 is priced at the same level as Core i5-3470 and Core i5-3450, while Core i5-2500K is priced just below Core i5-3570K.

Besides these processors, we also included the performance numbers of higher-end Core i7-3770K and Core i7-2700K, as well as an AMD FX-8150 CPU. By the way, it is remarkable that after yet another price slashing this Bulldozer representative ended up at the level of the least expensive Core i5 3000-series CPUs. In other words, AMD is no longer exercising the idea of making their eight-core product a worthy competitor to Intel’s Core i7.

As a result, we put together test platforms with the following hardware and software components:

  • Processors:
    • AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi, 8 cores, 3.6-4.2 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.1-3.4 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.3-3.7 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-3450 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.1-3.5 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-3470 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.2-3.6 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-3550 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.3-3.7 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-3570 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.4-3.8 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.4-3.8 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i7-2700K (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores + HT, 3.5-3.9 GHz, 8 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores + HT, 3.5-3.9 GHz, 8 MB L3).
  • CPU cooler: NZXT Havik 140;
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS Crosshair V Formula (Socket AM3+, AMD 990FX + SB950);
    • ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe (LGA1155, Intel Z77 Express).
  • Memory: 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866 SDRAM, 9-11-9-27 (Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2/8GX).
  • Graphics cards:
    • AMD Radeon HD 6570 (1 GB/128-bit GDDR5, 650/4000 MHz);
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (2 GB/256-bit GDDR5, 1006/6008 MHz).
  • System disk: Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5).
  • Power supply unit: Corsair AX1200i (80 Plus Platinum, 1200 W).
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64.
  • Drivers:
    • AMD Catalyst 12.8 Driver;
    • AMD Chipset Driver 12.8;
    • Intel Chipset Driver 9.3.0.1019;
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver 15.?26.?12.?2761;
    • Intel Management Engine Driver 8.?1.?0.?1248;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 11.?2.?0.?1006;
    • NVIDIA GeForce 301.42 Driver.

For our tests of the AMD FX-8150 based system we installed KB2645594 and KB2646060 OS patches.

We used Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card to test the CPUs performance in a system equipped with a discrete graphics accelerator. We used AMD Radeon HD 6570 was utilized as a reference point during the tests with integrated graphics involved.

Intel Core i5-3570 processor didn’t participate in the tests performed in a system with a discrete graphics card, because its computational performance is identical to that of the Intel Core i5-3570K working at the same clock frequencies.

 
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