Intel Clarkdale Core i5 Desktop Processor Debuts

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Test Setup and SANDRA

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set memory timings for either DDR3-1333 with 8,8,8,24 timings. The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

 HotHardware's Test Systems
 Intel and AMD - Head To Head
System 1:
Core i5 661
(3.33GHz - Dual-Core)

Asus P7H57D-V EVO
(H57 Express Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280 or IGP 
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64 
NVIDIA Forceware v190.62
System 2: 
Core i5 750
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus Maximus III Formula 
(P55 Express Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64 
NVIDIA Forceware v190.62
System 3: 
Core i7 920
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Gigabyte EX58-UD5
(X58 Express Chipset)

3x2GB OCZ DDR3-1333
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64 
NVIDIA Forceware v190.62
System 4:
Core 2 Q9650
(3GHz - Quad-Core)
Core 2 Quad Q9400
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Gigabyte X48T-DQ6
(X48 Express Chipset)

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64 
NVIDIA Forceware v190.62
System 5:
AMD Phenom II X4 965
(3.4GHz Quad-Core)

Asus M4A79T Deluxe
(AMD 790FX Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64 
NVIDIA Forceware v190.62
 Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2010c
 Synthetic Benchmarks


We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2010c, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran three of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the suite with Intel's new Core i5 661 processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, and Memory Bandwidth).  All of the scores reported below were taken with the processor running at its default clock speed of 3.33GHz with 4GB of DDR3-1333 RAM running in dual-channel mode, although Turbo mode was enabled as well.


Processor Arithmetic
Core i5 661


Processor Multimedia
Core i5 661


Memory Bandwidth
Core i5 661

The new Intel Core i5 661 performed well in the SiSoft SANDRA benchmarks that we ran.  Because the processor is HT enabled, it can process up to 4 threads simultaneously on its two physical execution cores, thus it performed in-line with some of Intel's quad-core processors and was clearly the fastest Intel dual-core CPU. Memory bandwidth was also very good, with numbers approaching the 12GB/s range.


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