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Review: i3 550 4.3ghz vs i7 2600 4.3ghz in games

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
So as promised earlier I have completed series of benchmarks comparing $120 i3 550 to $320 i7 2600K. Both cpu's have been overclocked to 4.33Ghz. This comparison focuses at gaming performance, and might help some of you decide if it's worth upgrading or not, also those who shop for budget gaming cpu may find this review helpful.

Now i3 550 is a Dual-core 32nm 1156 socket budget processor. It represents previous generation CPU family based on Nehalem microarchitecture, though it is still widely available on the market. Specs can be found here

I7 2600K on the other hand is top of the line 1155 socket quad core CPU which is based on most recent Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. Specs can be found here

Test bench

1156 platform:
Motherboard: Msi H55M-ED55
Cpu: i3 550 Oc'ed to 4.33Mhz

1155 platform:
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth P67
Cpu: i7 2600K Oc'ed to 4.33Mhz

Common components:
Graphics: Asus HD6950 unlocked & Oc'ed to 930/1400Mhz (11.10 preview driver)
Ram: 8Gb (2GBx4) Wintec Ampx DDR3 (i3 550 @ 1440; i7 2600K @ 1343)
SSD: 90 Gb OCZ Agility 2
HDD: 1Tb Samsung 7200Rpm
Case: Fractal Desigh Core 3000
Psu: Antec Neo Eco 520w
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Benchmarks performed:
- Battlefield 3 Beta
- Battlefield Bad Company 2
- Crysis Warhead
- Crysis 2
- Deus Ex Human Revolution
- Mafia 2
- Metro 2033
- 3dMark 11
- Unigine Heaven

I have used fraps to measure Fps during 180 seconds of gameplay.

Results:

Battlefield 3 Beta

Settings:
VSync=off, All Ultra, No AA, M.Blur=50, AF=16x, Ambient Acc=Hbao.
Testing has been done at Operation Metro map Outdoors only.

BF31680x1050.pngBF31920x1200.png

Battlefield Bad Company 2

Settings:
Everything Maxed, AA=4x, AF=4x, vsync=off
Testing has been done at Atacama Desert map.

BFBC21680x1050.pngBFBC21920X1200.png

Crysis Warhead

Settings:
Everything Enthusiast, AA=off, Vsync=off
Testing has been Done during "Call Me Ishmael" episode

CrysisWarhead1680x1050.jpgCrysisWarhead1920x1200.png

Crysis 2

Settings:
Extreme preset, Vsync=off, DX11 Patch installed
"Second Chance" episode

Crysis21680x1050.pngCrysis21920x1200.png

Deus Ex Human Revolution

Settings:
Everything maxed, AA=MLAA, Vsync=off.
"Tai Yong Medical - Upper city Labs" episode

DXHR1680x1050.pngDXHR1920x1200.png

Mafia 2
Settings: Everything Maxed, Vsync=off
"Old Country" episode

Mafia21680x1050.pngMafia21920x1200.png

Metro 2033
Settings: Quality=High, Vsync=off, AA=4x, AF=4x, Tesselation=on, Advanced DOF=off. "Prologue" episode

Metro20331680x1050revised.pngMetro20331920x1200revised.png

3dmark 11

3dmark11i3550.png3DMARK112600K.png

Unigine Heaven

heaveni3550.jpgheaven2600k.jpg

Synthetic benchmark results can be called predictable, although as you can see they not always reflect real games performance. However some people may find these results interesting.

CPUz Screenshots
i3 550:

375

i7 2600k:

374

In the end i'd like to say that both cpu's are amazing and i really enjoyed comparing them even though they are in totally different "weight categories". As you can see for 115 dollars i3 550 is a kick ass cpu and I'd take it any day over any sandy bridge dual core (i3 21xx series) due to inability of latter to overclock. I can conclude that clarkdale processors when pushed over 4.0Ghz are not much of a bottleneck even for high end single GPU's like hd6970.

I also would like to note that ability to overclock differs from chip to chip, however as far as i know when coupled with decent board any clarkdale can reach 4.0ghz. 2600K on the other hand is known as insane overclocker - chips that surpass 5.0ghz are not that rare.

I hope some of you guys found this comparison helpful. Have a nice overclocking.
Edited by ekg84 - 1/22/12 at 7:04pm
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post #2 of 87
Interesting...
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post #3 of 87
Good work. Metro results are a bit strange.. but I'm surprised the SB CPU doesn't pull ahead further. One thing you seem to have missed out is GTA IV.. I guess you don't own that? tongue.gif
    
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post #4 of 87
Was expecting alot more difference between them tbh.
    
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post #5 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razi3l;15198251 
Good work. Metro results are a bit strange.. but I'm surprised the SB CPU doesn't pull ahead further. One thing you seem to have missed out is GTA IV.. I guess you don't own that? tongue.gif

Thanx man and Yeap, i dont have that one redface.gif
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post #6 of 87
The SB should be just as fast or faster in all situations at the same clock. I think there's something wrong with these tests here. No hate.
    
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post #7 of 87
Thread Starter 
Found the problem with the metro. For whatever reason it didnt want to enable aa during i3 testing. Edited. Looks about right now.
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post #8 of 87
sli wouldve been nice to have
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post #9 of 87
very nice results.. Never thought Dual Core i3 was actually that good.smile.gif
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post #10 of 87
Nice benchmarks, I think this might be very useful for people building gaming rigs on a tight budget. Interesting comparison. Also seeing comparison with 2500K cpu would be interesting. And as said above SLI performance. Nonetheless nice review. Thanks.
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