The long awaited Sandy Bridge architecture is here and I really think that it was worth the wait. Intel is very excited about this new line of processors and they want you to be too. It is always great to see companies improve on existing products and make things better and they really have with their 2nd generation of Core processors.
Intel has really released a lot of processors and chipsets with Sandy Bridge, you have 29 new processors and 10 new chipsets so it is very easy to get confused. Let’s talk about the processor we have been testing the Core i5-2500K. The i5-2500K is the highest clocked i5 processor of the 2nd generation Core processors running at a stock speed of 3.3GHz and it has a turbo speed of up to 3.7GHz.
Since this is a “K” processor it has an unlocked multiplier, which makes overclocking very easy. Out of all the CPU’s I’ve overclocked the process to overclock the Core i5-2500K has to be one of the easiest. I achieved a 1.2GHz (4.5GHz) overclock by only slightly adjusting the CPU voltage. I could have easily gotten even more out of the CPU if I really messed around with the voltages and other settings. Another thing that I really liked about the overclocking is that you overclock the CPU separately from the memory. This makes things very easy as well, because you don’t have the memory holding you back. Another thing I really liked when overclocking was that the CPU really did not get as hot as other processors I have reviewed. Even at the stock clock the temperatures were much lower.
This processor can be run on either a P67 or H67 chipset motherboard. We tested it on a P67 motherboard, the MSI P67A-GD55. With the P67 chipset you are not able to use the on-die graphics, which is one of the biggest announcements with Sandy Bridge. The P67 chipset is geared towards gamers and enthusiast who want to be able to use a discrete video card and overclock their CPU. H67 on the other hand is for people who do not need that great of graphics power and want to use their computer for media needs and other basic tasks. The on-die graphics are not going to replace a mid to high end video card, but they will compete pretty well with any low-end graphics card. Also keep in mind on H67 you cannot overclock the CPU.
All in all Intel has really improved on their 1st generation Core processors in all aspects, pure performance, overclocking ability, thermal characteristics and power consumption. Right now the Core i5-2500K which we reviewed sells at my favorite online retailer for about $225. The older Core i5-661 (3.3Ghz) sells for $209 so the pricing on the new Core i5 is very reasonable. The only downside is that on top of the processor you have to buy a new motherboard as well. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Intel Core i5-2500K LGA 1155 “Sandy Bridge” Processor a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award!
– Great performance
– 1.2GHz overclock!
– Overclocking is made easy with a P67 motherboard
– 95W TDP and low CPU temperatures
– Cannot be overclocked on a H67 motherboard
– Consumers need to buy a new motherboard on top of purchasing the CPU