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

Power Consumption

This chart is good news for the folks who make decisions in offices around the world.

The Core i5-661—Intel’s highest-TDP Clarkdale-based CPU at 87W (the rest are 73W parts)—idles little more than 7W above the Core i5-750, despite its dual-die package. Amazingly, it’s 36W below the Lynnfield-based processor under load, though.

Core i5-661 uses less power at idle and under load than the Core 2 Duo E8500. It almost defies reality that the Core 2 Quad Q9400 would use such little power in comparison. But we’re actually using the Core 2 Quad Q9400S, rated for 65W (same as the 65W dual-core model). Now those load consumption numbers make a lot more sense, don’t they?

And while AMD’s Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition uses less power at idle, it’s a gross consumer under load (and this is the 125W version, too).

At the end of the day, the Core i5-661 is an absolute win in the power department for anyone already planning to use integrated graphics. Add discrete graphics, though, and that 45nm die largely goes to waste. Your outlook on Clarkdale’s power picture will largely depend on which side of that fence you’re standing.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • Zoonie
    Well... I think that takes care of the dreaded "But can it play Crysis?" question regarding its GMA :D :P :P
  • xc0mmiex
    Video on page 1 not working ... "This is a private video..."
  • eklipz330
    can i ask why you teased us at the end with the 4.5ghz OC but didn't include them in the benchmarks? =
  • cangelini
    xc0mmiexVideo on page 1 not working ... "This is a private video..."
    Fixed! Had to keep it private pre-launch :)
  • 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.
  • gkay09
    ^ 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...
  • dtemple
    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.
  • cangelini
    eklipz330can i ask why you teased us at the end with the 4.5ghz OC but didn't include them in the benchmarks? =
    We have another overclocking piece planned--I wanted to get a Core i3, at least, to include :)
  • 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.
  • maximus20895
    Great video once again! Thanks for this and the review itself. Very informative. I really liked the graph on the first page too :)