Intel Core i5, Core i7 800 Processors and P55 Express

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: We have a number of different performance comparisons to consider here. First, we have the Core i5 and Core i7 800 series performance comparisons versus the legacy Core 2, socket 1366 Core i7, and AMD platforms. Then we have to talk about the performance of the three P55 Express-based motherboards we tested.

As was evident in our testing, the new Core i7 870 processor offers excellent performance. The i7 870 was typically the fastest processor we tested, with the lone exception being the much more expensive Core i7 975. The Core i7 750 too was a strong performer. In the majority of our tests, the Core i5 750's performance fell somewhere in between the Core 2 Quad Q9650 and Core i7 920, and usually well ahead of the Phenom II X4 965.

The three P55 Express based motherboards from Gigabyte, Asus, and Intel we tested all offered similar performance, but a trend did emerge throughout testing. Generally speaking, the Gigabyte P55-UD6 was the highest performer overall, followed by the Asus Maximus III Formula, and then the Intel DP55KB. The Asus board, however, pulled ahead in the gaming tests, likely due to its superior audio solution. We expect performance between P55-based motherboards to not differ much in the future, once motherboard manufacturers have had time to thoroughly tweak their BIOSes for maximum performance.

The three Core i5 and Core i7 800 series processors launching today have vastly different price points, as you'll see in the chart posted below...

At $199, the Core i5 750 can easily be considered a hot new mainstream quad-core offering.  As our performance data demonstrated, the chip offers a ton of horsepower for its price point. The Core i7 860, which we were unfortunately not able to test also comes in at a palatable $285. Extrapolating the Core i7 860's expected performance based on our Core i7 870 numbers isn't too difficult however, and we're comfortable assuming its performance will be superior to any Core 2 or Phenom II processor--not bad for under 300 bucks. At $555 however, the Core i7 870 is not what you'd consider a mainstream processor, at least in terms of its price entry point. In fact, at that price it's the third most expensive chip in Intel's current desktop CPU line-up. Regardless, it obviously offers very robust processing throughput commensurate with its price tag.

We should also point out that P55 Express based motherboards are expected to be quite affordable once the dust settles and they are available in quantity. Enthusiast-class offerings should hover around $200 mark, give or take a few dollars depending on the brand and number of additional integrated features. Entry- to mid-level offerings will start at around $100 on up, which should make for some excellent, high-performance budget-priced systems come this holiday season.

Ultimately, Intel's has done what they set out to do with Lynnfield--bring Nehalem's features and benefits down into more mainstream price points. The new Core i5 and Core i7 800 series processors are excellent additions to Intel's already stellar CPU line-up and the P55 Express chipset is shaping up to be the darling of motherboard manufacturers and potentially the overclocking community at large.


  • Excellent Performance
  • Low Power
  • Highly Overclockable
  • More Affordable Prices
  • New Socket and Coolers
  • Potentially Confusing Naming Convention
  • Core i7 870 Is Still Expensive

Related content