Intel Core i5-750 review
Impressive performance and low power demands at a tempting price
Review Date: 8 Sep 2009
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £142 (£163 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The Core i5-750 is one of Intel’s first three CPUs based on the Lynnfield core (the other two being the Core i7-860 and the Core i7-870). It’s a refinement of the Nehalem microarchitecture first revealed in the Core i7-900 series CPUs.
Like its stablemates, the i5-750 combines four CPU cores on one 45nm die, with on-chip memory and PCI bus controllers. The 8MB of shared L3 cache remains too. And rather than the LGA 1366 format of the older Core i7s, Lynnfield chips use the more petite new LGA 1156 socket.
The most exciting development is Turbo Mode, which borrows power from idle CPU cores to overclock active threads. This was introduced with the first Core i7 CPUs, but those parts could boost a single thread only by a maximum of 266MHz, whereas Lynnfield can raise the speed of a single core by as much as 667MHz – a significant enhancement.
Though Core i7 parts feature Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology, the Core i5 operates as a straightforward quad-core processor. And its clock speed is lower than any i7: disregarding Turbo Mode, it runs at a nominal speed of 2.66GHz, compared to 2.8GHz for the Core i7-860 and 2.93GHz for the Core i7-870.
Yet in real life the Core i5-750 performs very well. When tested in a Gigabyte P55 motherboard with 2GB of DDR3-1066 RAM, an ATI Radeon HD 4550 graphics card and a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 hard disk, it powered the system to a persuasive 1.85 in our real world benchmarks. That places it effectively neck and neck with the older Core i7-920, which scored 1.86 in a similar configuration.
What’s more, Lynnfield CPUs consume far less power than their predecessors. Thermal design power for the Core i5-750 is quoted as 95W, but our test system idled at a stunningly low 60W, and even when we drove all four cores up to full load, total power draw peaked at just 124W. Some older Core i7 systems draw that much when idle.
The best part is that the Core i5-750 is unexpectedly affordable, with early pricing coming in as low as £142 exc VAT. If that holds up it would make it a very attractive alternative to a Core i7-920 — especially since P55 motherboards are also significantly cheaper than X58 models.
The obvious alternative is AMD’s Phenom II X4 965, which can deliver superior performance for a similar price. But if power efficiency is a concern, Lynnfield makes the Phenom looks absurdly Watt-hungry.
It’s clear that, once again, Intel has raised the technological bar, and we suspect the Core i5-750 will be a hit with system builders and enthusiasts alike.
Author: Darien Graham-Smith
Do I look bothered ?
The problem is that whilst the hardware is great (I think), my personal opinion is that both Intel and AMD are beating their heads against a brick-wall in the sense of me as a "consumer" not having any incentive to "up-grade". The problem is simple and has always been the same:
Once they are 'in a groove' hardware improvements are easy but software isn't, the slowest ship in the Convoy is software development and there is very little going on in that area to make upgrading a "must". Yes 64 bit is better but even a twin dual core, long available can make that better and the main graphics programs that can take advantage such as Adobe and Autodesk, have done so long since.
Who really cares about i5, i7 and their AMD equivalents ? Sure they will appear in new machines as OEM installs but do they do anything for Mr & Mrs average punter to improve their lives, I think not.
I dislike Apple, I dislike their arrogance and consider their "fans" as total Muppets lacking in any friends but all that said, in the past 10 years, the most significant consumer product just has to be the iPhone. Now others may not agree but, if you do, just how sad is that and just why should we give a frig about the latest bit of Intel nonsense ?
Just an opinion folks.
By Bikey2 on 10 Sep 2009
I do agree with previous comments that whilst hardware is constantly innovating and raising speeds, their remains a serious fundamental problem,software transportability. Let me explain, whilst seriously tempted to upgrade my hardware, their is no simple way of transferring my applications to the new hardware without having to re-install from the original disks, re-authorise and then spend ages downloading and installing all updates. Yes i do accept that drivers need to be re-installed for the new hardware, but this is the area where software innovation needs to be made. Once a simple way is developed where complete applications along with thier data and data structures can be developed i strongly believe that millions of us will upgrade, boosting the industry and offering further incentives for faster development.
By georgioua on 5 Sep 2010
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