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

Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra 2011

As we’ve come to expect, Intel’s processors deliver solid integer performance, while the AMD CPUs do well in floating point math. These same results are reflected in both the Arithmetic and Multimedia benchmarks.

The Cryptography test naturally favors the Intel CPUs with AES-NI support. It’s notable that AES hashing bandwidth is actually higher in Sandy Bridge than it was back on Clarkdale. This was something that Intel announced back at IDF 2010, and we see that claim quantified here. Also, bear in mind that the new second-gen Core i3s—just like the first generation—ship with AES-NI disabled. That’s why the Core i3-2100 falls into last place.

Finally, Intel’s dual-channel memory controller appears to be improved, moving up to 1 GB/s more using the exact same modules set to the exact same latencies compared to Lynnfield. The Clarkdale-based Core i5-655K is naturally much slower, since its memory controller is off-die/on-package. Core 2 Quad pulls up the rear, complemented by the last of a dying breed of platforms with chipset-based memory controllers.

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.
  • JE_D
    BENCHIES! Thanks Tomshardware!
  • Editor, page 10 has mistakes. Its LGA1155, not LGA1555.
  • cangelini
    MoneyFace pEditor, page 10 has mistakes. Its LGA1155, not LGA1555.
    Fixed, thanks Money!
  • juncture
    "an unlocked Sandy Bridge chip for $11 extra is actually pretty damn sexy."

    i think the author's saying he's a sexually active cyberphile
  • cangelini
    juncturei think the author's saying he's sexually active
    Just this.
  • fakie
    Contest is limited to residents of the USA (excluding Rhode Island) 18 years of age and older.

    Everytime there's a new contest, I see this line. =(
  • englandr753
    Great article guys. Glad to see you got your hands on those beauties. I look forward to you doing the same type of review with bulldozer. =D
  • joytech22
    Wow Intel owns when it came to converting video, beating out much faster dedicated solutions, which was strange but still awesome.

    I don't know how AMD's going to fare but i hope their new architecture will at least compete with these CPU's, because for a few years now AMD has been at least a generation worth of speed behind Intel.

    Also Intel's IGP's are finally gaining some ground in the games department.
  • cangelini
    fakieContest is limited to residents of the USA (excluding Rhode Island) 18 years of age and older.Everytime there's a new contest, I see this line. =(
    I really wish this weren't the case fakie--and I'm very sorry it is. We're unfortunately subject to the will of the finance folks and the government, who make it hard to give things away without significant tax ramifications. I know that's of little consolation, but that's the reason :(

  • LuckyDucky7
    "It’s the value-oriented buyers with processor budgets between $100 and $150 (where AMD offers some of its best deals) who get screwed."

    I believe that says it all. Sorry, Intel, your new architecture may be excellent, but unless the i3-2100 series outperforms anything AMD can offer at the same price range WHILE OVERCLOCKED, you will see none of my desktop dollars.

    That is all.