Low-Power CPUs: Specific Applications Only
We’ve seen Intel’s approach to low-power processors evolve over the past few years.
Back in ’09, the company was selling 65 W Core 2 Quads that delivered just as much speed as its 95 W models. We covered two of those chips in Core 2 Quad Gets Efficient: Enter The Q8200S And Q9550S.
Then, in 2010, Intel tried to get tricky. When we published Intel Core i5-750S: Since When Does The S Mean Slow?, the company unhappily tried to justify the existence of a low-power Lynnfield-based model to us. But it was charging an extra $60 for a Core i5 that ran slower than the non-S version, and only cut 12 W from the original i5-750’s TDP. That’s the very definition of paying more for less.
This time around, we’re again asked to accept low-power Core i5s with –S and –T suffixes that underperform the non-appended chips. But at least we’re not being assailed by higher prices on those same SKUs. The Core i5-3750T (45 W) and -3550S (65 W) are both listed as $205 products. The Core i5-3550 costs $205, while the Core i5-3570K is a $225 part.
In general, though, it’s smarter to spend an extra $20 on the unlocked K-series part that runs at higher clock rates, includes the more capable HD Graphics 4000 engine (with its correspondingly-faster Quick Sync feature), and even achieves superior energy efficiency at its stock frequency.
Why on earth would you want one of those low-power parts then? Only one reason: to cram the performance you do get from them into a smaller form factor. In some environments, a 77 W chip simply doesn’t work. Even though our average power numbers show all of these CPUs to be fairly close to each other, our load consumption results demonstrate that it’s possible to push higher-end Ivy Bridge CPUs all the way up to their thermal ceilings. By trimming voltage and frequency, Intel prevents the –S and –T models from dissipating as much heat, ideally increasing their utility in all-in-ones, HTPCs, and embedded applications.
If you’re not looking at a strict thermal limit, skip those parts altogether in favor of Intel’s Core i5-3570K. It only costs $20 bucks more and does a number of things better. The days when you could buy a lower-TDP Core 2 Quad that didn’t compromise performance are over. Today, Intel’s –S and –T SKUs are all about dipping in under power limits at the expense of speed. This time around, at least, those parts don’t add the insult of a higher price tag, too.
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Good article. I think I will get the 3570K over 2500K.Reply
nice work in sorting out the facts and reminding us about the history and change from the lower power offerings in the intel stable..Reply
Does Intel allow underclocking and undervolting on H-series boards? If so, S and T series are pretty redundant.Reply
2700K looks a clear Winner to me ! got one last week from Microcenter at an ironic but sensational price 270$ !!!! hey 3770K try and beat that !Reply
In the real world gaming section you got a great big graph for the 3770k by adding a discreet graphics card . Why didn't you try a Llano system with an identical graphics card? Afraid the second tier AMD product would kick sand in intels face?Reply
Outlander_04In the real world gaming section you got a great big graph for the 3770k by adding a discreet graphics card . Why didn't you try a Llano system with an identical graphics card? Afraid the second tier AMD product would kick sand in intels face?Because this is a story about the Intel chips. To the contrary, though, the AMD-based platform is more likely to bottleneck a discrete graphics card than the Intel one. AMD's strength is in the integrated graphics right now.Reply
The performance of a Llano chip is included in the article to compare its performance so it not just about intel cpu's . The intels were not as good in gaming in the integrated graphics so a graphics card was added so they'd look better there too . Its an unfair comparison and shows intel bias IMOReply
Outlander_04The performance of a Llano chip is included in the article to compare its performance so it not just about intel cpu's . The intels were not as good in gaming in the integrated graphics so a graphics card was added so they'd look better there too . Its an unfair comparison and shows intel bias IMOReply
Actually a lot of sites have shown just what Chris is talking about. Even a dual core Pentium with a HD6670 beats the top end Llano piece (a quad core) even with CFX of the IGP with a HD6570. Llano is great for some things but overall in DT its only a low end entry level product and is much weaker per core and per clock than Intels CPUs.
What Chris did was pulled the same charts from his first IB review and added in the HD2500 (the new low end Intel IGP) for comparison.
If someone cannot take this information and realize that its just for comparison and that its not to show anything better, then thats their problem. If this was a Llano article, or the Trinity article when it comes out, you better believe Chris will do everything to check ever performance aspect. But its not. Its an article to see if the T and S models are worth it.
Overll, llano is overrate in my book. We have barley sold any at my work place. Just doesn't have the pulling power like a CPU and discrete GPU does.
should have compared the Core i5-3570K vs the Core i5-2500KReply
If you are going to show the performance of an intel cpu with a graphics card then any reasonable comparison would also show the AMD cpu with the same graphics card .Reply