Although we were afraid of the results, this time around we decided to try something new, forgoing the Core i5 in favor of a dual-core Core i3 CPU in our build. Can the higher clock rate compensate for the loss of two physical cores in our $1000 system?
Test Systems And Benchmarks
We compare our new build to the $1000 enthusiast system we put together for our last SBM in September 2010. The Intel Core i3-550/Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 SLI combo should have a higher capacity for playable high-resolution graphics than the preceding Core i5-750/GeForce GTX 470 config. But the previous system’s quad-core CPU is expected to outperform our dual-core model in threaded productivity and transcoding applications.
I can't say I'm impressed this time. You should never have went with a clarksdale, they are simply bad. Getting a more reasonably priced motherboard, cutting another $20 from the HDD and PSU, and an i5 750, would have been much better.
Still, we have more information than before so I can't complain.
The CPU choice was a little disappointing this time around. A Core i5 or even a comparably priced AMD processor would have done much better (especially in productivity because four cores are typically better than two).
I think we're missing the point of including the Core i3 in this month's build. The purpose was to explore the CPU bottle-necking that can be observed on today's common applications because threading implementation has managed to find itself actually put into effect. Throwing in an i5 760 would have been too predictable and too boring. This puts perspective on the fact that dual-cores matched with high clock speeds are no longer the performance kings as was true more than a year ago.