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Hardware Setup

Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review
By
Test Hardware


Processors
Intel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) 3.4 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge) 3.3 GHz (33 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge) 3.1 GHz (31 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i3-2100 (Sandy Bridge) 3.1 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i7-875K (Lynnfield) 2.93 GHz (22 * 133 MHz), LGA 1156, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i5-655K (Clarkdale) 3.2 GHz (24 * 133 MHz), LGA 1156, 4 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core i7-950 (Bloomfield) 3.06 GHz (23 * 133 MHz), LGA 1366, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (Yorkfield) 2.83 GHz (8.5 * 333 MHz), LGA 775, 12 MB L2, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (Thuban) 3.3 GHz (16.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo CORE enabled, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X4 970 (Deneb) 3.5 GHz (17.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled
Motherboard
Gigabyte P67A-UD7 (LGA 1155) Intel P67 Exrpress, BIOS F6a

Gigabyte H67MA-UD2 (LGA 1155) Intel H67 Express, BIOS F6a

Gigabyte P55A-UD7 (LGA 1156) Intel P55 Express, BIOS F8b

Gigabyte X58A-UD7 (LGA 1366) Intel X58 Express/ICH10R, BIOS FC

Gigabyte 890FXA-UD5 (Socket AM3) AMD 890FX/DB850, BIOS F6

Intel DX48BT2 (LGA 775) Intel X48 Express/ICH10R, BIOS 2006

Asus P7H57D-V EVO (LGA 1156) Intel H57 Express, BIOS 1606
Memory
Kingston 8 GB (4 x 2 GB) DDR3-2133, KHX2133C9AD3W1K2/4GX x 2 @ DDR3-1333, 7-7-7-20 and 1.65 V

Crucial 12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333, MT16JTF51264AZ-1G4D1 @ DDR3-1333, 7-7-7-20 and 1.65 V
Hard Drive
OCZ RevoDrive X2 240 GB PCI Express x4 (Main Test Bed)

Intel SSDSA2M160G2GC 160 GB SATA 3Gb/s (Graphics/Quick Sync Test Bed)
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB

AMD Radeon HD 5550 1 GB DDR3

AMD Radeon HD 4550 512 MB DDR3
Power Supply
Cooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 263.09 (For GTX 580)

Intel GFX_Vista64_Win7_64_8.15.10.2266_PV (For Sandy Bridge and Clarkdale)

AMD Catalyst 10.12 (For Radeon HD 6870 1 GB)


That's a ton of hardware, right? Well, not all of it was used for all of the tests.

All 10 processors are represented in the bulk of the benchmarks. However, for the entry-level gaming metrics, we used the H67- and H57-based motherboards hosting a Core i7-2600K and Core i5-661 CPU. Onto the H67 platform, we dropped two AMD discrete cards for comparison to Intel's on-die and on-package solutions.

We chose the Radeon HD 6870 1 GB and GeForce GTX 570 1.25 GB as best-case examples of what each respective company's GPGPU technologies could do versus Quick Sync. That platform consisted of Gigabyte's H67 board hosting a Core i7-2600K processor.

OCZ's RevoDrive X2 240 GB was used exclusively on the main test bench, while we leaned on an Intel SSD for the platform that was separately running the gaming/Quick Sync tests.

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