Intel Core i5-661: Clarkdale Rings The Death Knell Of Core 2

Benchmark Results: Media/Transcoding Apps

We start things off with iTunes 9, which is not optimized for threading and will most likely reward the most efficient architecture with the highest clock rate.

The fast Core i5-661 CPU gets an extra kick from Turbo Boost in this single-threaded application to take the win in our CD conversion test. It’s followed by the Core i5-750, which also gets Turbo’ed into second place, and the Core 2 Duo E8500, which doesn’t need Turbo.

It’s important to remember that, while our comparison here covers Intel’s architecture powering its newest entry-level processors, the Core i5-661 is priced to compete against the fastest CPU that AMD sells: its Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition.

The flagship Phenom II exerts itself in our MainConcept test, taking a first-place finish. Without Hyper-Threading to help it, and with Turbo Boost lending minimal benefit, the Lynnfield-based Core i5-750 takes second place. The Core 2 Quad Q9400 shows that four true cores trump two Hyper-Threaded cores as it takes third.

HandBrake has been popularly requested by our readers, so we’ve added it to our 2010 benchmark suite, converting a .vob from The Last Samurai to .mp4 format.

AMD’s Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition repeats its victory, besting Intel’s Core i5-750 by one second. The Core 2 Quad Q9400 takes third place, beating out the Core i5-661. Nevertheless, Intel’s Clarkdale-based CPUs demonstrate the benefits of Hyper-Threading by finishing the job more than five minutes faster than the 3.16 GHz Core 2 Duo E8500.

The Lynnfield-based Core i5-750 wins in the DivX and Xvid codecs, breezing past the Phenom II in both cases. The Clarkdale CPU takes second place in Xvid, which isn’t well-optimized for threading and instead gets by on its higher clock rate and Turbo Boost acceleration. The Phenom II does take second in DivX, though, by virtue of the codec’s threaded nature.

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  • ^ Many more reasons to buy AMD Phenoms II X4 in the mid-range segment...
    Only drawback with the AMD CPUs is the power consumption, that I feel can be brought down with slight undervolting...
    14
  • I'm looking to upgrade from my Athlon X2 @ 2.7GHz because I do more with the computer now than I did before - sometimes I'll play a game while my TV tuner is recording from my cable signal, and having more cores would help these multiple tasks run more smoothly.
    I was waiting until the Clarkdale-based i5 launched, thinking it would be a quad-core that was more competitively priced against the Phenom II X4, but it looks like a Phenom II X4 is my only option to get more cores for less money.
    The only good news coming out of this launch is that LGA1156 is not changing for the Clarkdale chips, so it looks to be the most future-proof platform to upgrade to, if one was so inclined. I'm personally going with a Phenom II since I can get one without changing motherboards. This is one of the more disappointing launches in the last year or so.
    11
  • Well... I think that takes care of the dreaded "But can it play Crysis?" question regarding its GMA :D :P :P
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Well... I think that takes care of the dreaded "But can it play Crysis?" question regarding its GMA :D :P :P
    10
  • Video on page 1 not working ... "This is a private video..."
    -1
  • can i ask why you teased us at the end with the 4.5ghz OC but didn't include them in the benchmarks? =[ i'm guessing most of use at tom's like to OC... it could be the difference that gets us to buy the i5 661 over the phenom II
    0
  • xc0mmiexVideo on page 1 not working ... "This is a private video..."


    Fixed! Had to keep it private pre-launch :)
    1
  • I really like the improvements Larrabee brought about....not! I do like the fact they are making progress but they really need to skip ahead a few generations or buy out some other company to design a GPU for themselves.
    -1
  • ^ Many more reasons to buy AMD Phenoms II X4 in the mid-range segment...
    Only drawback with the AMD CPUs is the power consumption, that I feel can be brought down with slight undervolting...
    14
  • I'm looking to upgrade from my Athlon X2 @ 2.7GHz because I do more with the computer now than I did before - sometimes I'll play a game while my TV tuner is recording from my cable signal, and having more cores would help these multiple tasks run more smoothly.
    I was waiting until the Clarkdale-based i5 launched, thinking it would be a quad-core that was more competitively priced against the Phenom II X4, but it looks like a Phenom II X4 is my only option to get more cores for less money.
    The only good news coming out of this launch is that LGA1156 is not changing for the Clarkdale chips, so it looks to be the most future-proof platform to upgrade to, if one was so inclined. I'm personally going with a Phenom II since I can get one without changing motherboards. This is one of the more disappointing launches in the last year or so.
    11
  • eklipz330can i ask why you teased us at the end with the 4.5ghz OC but didn't include them in the benchmarks? =[ i'm guessing most of use at tom's like to OC... it could be the difference that gets us to buy the i5 661 over the phenom II


    We have another overclocking piece planned--I wanted to get a Core i3, at least, to include :)
    4
  • I would love to see what GTA IV would do do the dual cores in gaming! I do know that its a bear of a game on the CPU and it would truly show off if hyperthreading could actually make a major difference.
    3
  • Great video once again! Thanks for this and the review itself. Very informative. I really liked the graph on the first page too :)
    0
  • good touch on the world of warcraft fraps. although not very playable on high settings is good to know what speeds it actualy gets
    0
  • Would be nice to know if this thing can handle blue ray playback, as some of these would probably be sold as a HTPC. Ya, they put features for it, but does it play or not?

    Last preview I read showed it doing fine in windowed mode, but blowing chunks at full screen playback, dropping to 15fps and lower.
    2
  • Idle power in the 70s for an IGP-based system is a huge failure not a win, though using an 1100W PSU probably deserves a lot of the blame. Systems built on the 780G, 730i, G4x, etc. (similar to this test platform, but use a more appropriate PSU) idle in the 40s.
    3
  • Nice dual....
    E8500 was beaten badly...

    Wud really like to see what these chips can do once overclocked.
    1
  • Where are the H55 and H57 motherboards priced? So what if the processor is $200 if the motherboard is going to be another $200 on top of it, like P55. I'm not an AMD fanboi, but for less than $300, you can get excellent computing power. Platform cost is where AMD rules, currently.
    6
  • Very meh at their price points with disappointing idle consumption. Intel is just biding time until AMD's 32 nm process is ready. No reason why they couldn't have a 4 GHz stock chip, load power proves it.

    If you use a E8600 with integrated G45 graphics, I bet you that power consumption will be lower that the 661 (integrated). This GPU-on-package is all just a marketing ploy.

    I really wish you had benchmarks for the low end chips though I doubt IT managers will be running out to replace their fleets of E7500's.
    0
  • same as the p55 but less room for Gpu's.... and newer h55,h57 onboard gpu.... well I guess if you really want to get over all the unneeded jargon and you dont really have a budget just skip this and go X58..... regardless.... even if you have a little extra money to spare and you ARE on a budget, save on the 2nd GPU,monitor, or RAM and get an X58 now!
    -6
  • I think there is a big mistake in the gaming benchmarks...

    Wolfdale is a awesome gaming chip. Its a first to me that the Core 2 Quad is faster in Crysis and all the other games vs. Wolfdale...

    Are you sure it was running at full speed?
    1
  • I think there is a big mistake in the gaming benchmarks...

    Wolfdale is a awesome gaming chip. Its a first to me that the Core 2 Quad is faster in Crysis and all the other games vs. Wolfdale...

    Are you sure it was running at full speed?
    -6
  • That Yorkfield is 2.66 GHz! No chance in hell it beats the E8500 in gaming...

    I hope this is just a mistake...

    E.g. in Crysis 1920 x 1200 with (breace yourself) 8x AA! No way in hell are these scores correct.

    Did you test the E8500 with a slower video card?
    -6