Intel Core i5 Performance Preview

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Tuesday , August 25, 2009

We take our retail purchased Intel Core i5-750 out for a spin and pit it against Intel's Core i7-965, We tweak the i5-750 to run at the same processor and memory speeds. i5 at 3.2GHz/1600MHz vs. i7 at 3.2GHz/1600MHz.


While the below paragraph is a regurgitation from our i5-750 Overclocking Preview article, we want our readers to be clear that we are not breaking any non-disclosure agreements.

So just how do we have this information for you here today considering that we are under a non-disclosure agreement with Intel when it comes to the new Core i5 processor? Well, you just go buy one online from Fry’s! That said, we have had a great relationship with Intel for a long time now, well, ever since that little Pentium III 1.13GHz recall thing we were involved in back in 2000. That did make for good news stories by Mike Magee way back when.

Shifting back to today, we are making an effort to keep everyone happy, meaning HardOCP readers and Intel. Intel gives us great support here at HardOCP and we do not want to forsake the relationship built over the years. So, while this week we will take a couple of looks at Intel new Core i5, we will not be sharing any actual benchmark numbers till the official launch date and time which is next week. Today we will be sharing with you our view of how the Intel Core i5-750 weighs in against a Core i7-965, clock for clock. You will of course notice the graphs do not have any numbers on them. We will publish the numbers next week at the official time of the launch. This way we get to give you a glimpse into what Core i5-750 is while we keep our relationship with Intel copacetic.

We do however feel as though clock-for-clock comparisons in this fashion are most important to our core readership as we know most of you will be overclocking your CPUs. Also, if you are a one of those persons that need "Lower is Better" or "Higher is Better" on the graphs to know what is going on, you will be better off waiting for the full article next week.

The Big Differences

Our Intel Core i5-750 processor's biggest difference in performance will likely be related to its lack of HyperThreading. (Other higher models of Core i5 processors are reported to have HT.) Our i5-750 is a 4C/4T unit where our i7-965 is a 4C/8T unit. Our L1, L2, and L3 Caches sizes are identical however. (32KB / 32KB / 256KB / 8MB) Our i5 is the newer "LynnField" core name whereas our older i7 is a "Bloomfield" core. Both cores are based on the Nehalem microarchitecture. Our i5 has dual channel DDR3 where our i7 has triple channel DDR3. Our i5 also has a tremendously lower TDP rating as well as having a new memory controller and PCIe controller that is now on-die. There are some differences as well, but we can save that for next week.

Core i5 Test Setup


We used our retail purchased Intel Core i5-750 from Fry’s shown here. This processor is rated at 2.66GHz and utilizes the new socket LGA 1156. Our processor is S-spec # SLBLC, with a product code of BX80605I5750, and batch # L926B439.

We have used our P55-GD80 motherboard to easily clock our i5-750 at 3.2GHz with a memory clock of 1600MHz (8-8-8-1t) using 4GB of RAM.


For this overclocking shown here today, we used MSI’s P55-GD80 motherboard which we previewed last week. Embedded below is that video which shows you the GD-80’s features.


Patriot Memory’s yet-to-be-released 2GHz spec DDR3 Viper memory was run up to 1680MHz as you will see. It was run at stock voltages of 1.65v.


For cooling we used Thermalright’s TRUE Copper air cooling unit with a 72 CFM fan, which might be considered somewhat extreme at first glance. Keep in mind that we do NOT have mounting brackets yet for this cooler, so it was simply setting on top of the processor. Since it was just setting on top, we did not want to introduce a fan being directly attached to the heatsink causing a lot of vibration, so we simply set the fan off to the side blowing across the fins. Hardly an ideal setup, but it worked rather well.

Video Card

A BFG Tech GTX 280 was used for testing with 185.85 drivers.

Core i7 Test Setup

We used a stock clock (3.2GHz) Core i7-965 processor with 6GB of 1600MHz DDR3 at 8-8-8-1t on an ASUS Rampage II GENE motherboard and a BFG Tech GTX 280 video card with 185.85 drivers.