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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.png
BF31920x1200.png


Battlefield Bad Company 2

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

BFBC21680x1050.png
BFBC21920X1200.png


Crysis Warhead

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

CrysisWarhead1680x1050.jpg
CrysisWarhead1920x1200.png


Crysis 2

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

Crysis21680x1050.png
Crysis21920x1200.png


Deus Ex Human Revolution

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

DXHR1680x1050.png
DXHR1920x1200.png


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

Mafia21680x1050.png
Mafia21920x1200.png


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

Metro20331680x1050revised.png
Metro20331920x1200revised.png


3dmark 11

3dmark11i3550.png
3DMARK112600K.png


Unigine Heaven

heaveni3550.jpg
heaven2600k.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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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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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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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I must be missing something, why again is the (cheaper and older) i3 pulling ahead in a ton of these tests (mostly max FPS)?

confused.gif


Is the i3 forcefully clocked at 4.3 while the 2600 is using Turbo and constricting to a single core?

These results are unnerving.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEddie;15200558
I must be missing something, why again is the (cheaper and older) i3 pulling ahead in a ton of these tests (mostly max FPS)?

confused.gif


Is the i3 forcefully clocked at 4.3 while the 2600 is using Turbo and constricting to a single core?

These results are unnerving.
There are many reasons for the variance in max fps. For example, in 1 run I could look at the wall for half a second while turning, and in another i can stop and stare at it for 5 seconds, which would = higher max fps. That is just a simple but possible explanation
tongue.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kvjavs;15200721
What are the performances like at stock? Not considering an i3 550, but an i3 2100 so I can make the switch to Intel/Sandy Bridge.

But I don't wanna lose too much performance, and considering the new i3's cannot overclock, wondering what performances may be.... just in BF3 though
tongue.gif
Actually, AMD CPUs are faster in BF3.
CPU_02.png
 
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