Articles: CPU

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Testbed Configuration

Since Intel is currently shipping Pentium processors for three different platforms we had to include a pretty substantial number of LGA775, LGA1155 and LGA1156 processors. Among them are three different types of Pentium CPUs, LGA1155 and LGA1156 Core i3 processors and even a Core 2 Duo. Besides, similarly priced dual- and triple-core Socket AM3 processors will also compete in our today’s test session.

As a result, we put together systems featuring the following hardware and software components:

  • Processors:
    • AMD Athlon II X3 455 (Rana, 3 cores, 3.3 GHz, 1.5 MB L2)
    • AMD Athlon II X2 265 (Regor, 2 cores, 3.3 GHz, 2 MB L2);
    • AMD Phenom II X2 565 (Callisto, 2 cores, 3.4 GHz, 6 MB L3);
    • Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 (Wolfdale, 2 cores, 2.93 GHz, 3 MB L2);
    • Intel Core i3-2100 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 3.1 GHz, 3 MB L3);
    • Intel Core i3-530 (Clarkdale, 2 cores, 2.93 GHz, 4 MB L3);
    • Intel Pentium E6800 (Wolfdale, 2 cores, 3.33 GHz, 2 MB L2);
    • Intel Pentium G850 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.9 GHz, 3 MB L3);
    • Intel Pentium G840 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.8 GHz, 3 MB L3);
    • Intel Pentium G620 (Sandy Bridge, 2 cores, 2.6 GHz, 3 MB L3);
    • Intel Pentium G6960 (Clarkdale, 2 cores, 2.93 GHz, 3 MB L3);
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS Crosshair IV Formula (Socket AM3, AMD 890FX + SB850, DDR3 SDRAM);
    • ASUS P8Z68-V Pro (LGA1155, Intel Z68 Express);
    • ASUS P5Q3 (LGA775, Intel P45 Express, DDR3 SDRAM);
    • Gigabyte P55A-UD6 (LGA1156, Intel P55 Express).
  • Memory — 2 x 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM (Kingston KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX):
    • DDR3-1067 7-7-7-21 with Core 2 Duo E7500, Pentium E6800 and Pentium G6960 processors;
    • DDR3-1333 9-9-9-27 with Core i3-530, Pentium G850, Pentium G840 and Pentium G620 processors;
    • DDR3-1600 9-9-9-27 with Core i3-2100, Athlon II X2 265, Athlon II X3 455 and Phenom II X2 565 processors.
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 6970.
  • Hard drive: Kingston SNVP325-S2/128GB.
  • Power supply unit: Tagan TG880-U33II (880 W).
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64.
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Driver;
    • Intel Management Engine Driver;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology;
    • AMD Catalyst 11.5 Display Driver.


General Performance

To estimate the performance in general-purpose applications we used a new benchmark – Futuremark PCMark 7, which measures the systems performance during execution of typical algorithms. In the end this test generates several scores: total score and computational performance score, as well as performance indexes for office tasks, entertainment applications and HD-content creation and processing tasks.

The diagrams above show that new Pentium processors for LGA1155 platforms do not really stand out among other similar products. It means that Intel decided not to disturb the established market by launching their new Sandy Bridge processors in the sub-$100 price range. According to PCMark 7 results, the main advantage of the new CPUs is not their superb price-to-performance ratio, but their full compatibility with contemporary mainboards, which offers possibilities for simple future upgrades by replacing these processors with faster and more feature-rich ones later on.

However, it doesn’t mean that the new Pentium processors are the same as the old members of this family. Even the junior LGA1155 CPU in the lineup, Pentium G620, is a little faster than the top CPU models for LGA1156 and LGA775 platforms. Moreover, Pentium G850 or Pentium G840 can often compete against the previous-generation Core i3 (Clarkdale). However, the contemporary Core i3-2100 is still unattainable for them. It has higher clock speed and supports Hyper-Threading technology, which turns it into a solution of a different class. Speaking of Socket AM3 processors, we can state that the new LGA1155 Pentium CPUs are fully-fledged competitors to dual- and triple-core Athlon and Phenom II processors.

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