Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Most enthusiasts are completely familiar with Intel Hyper-Threading technology, which enables an extra logical core for every physical core. This helps to keep parts of each core busy when other parts are occupied, improving utilization of available execution resources, mostly during heavy multi-tasking scenarios. While most of our benchmarks see little to no benefit from its presence, the $2000 machine’s builder paid $95 extra for a CPU that had this feature simply because it’s useful to many real-world buyers (Ed.: It's worth noting that the higher-end CPU also runs at a higher default clock rate and includes 2 MB extra of shared L3 cache, too).
Fortunately, Sandra does benefit from Hyper-Threading, putting the $2000 machine’s 4.48 GHz overclocked Core i7-2600K ahead of the 4.49 GHz overclocked Core i5-2500K in the $1000 build.
The $500 machine’s performance appears quaint by comparison.
We encounter a different type of benchmark-versus-reality situation in Sandra's Memory Bandwidth metric. We know that super-fast memory has barely any advantage over moderately-fast memory in all of our real-world tests. And yet, the $2000 PC comes to the table with far more memory bandwidth. Though this chart might suggest otherwise, the $2000 machine’s DDR3-1866 kit was chosen for its price and availability, and not its showmanship.